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Arabic press review: Gulf sets conditions to resolve Lebanon crisis

Meanwhile, Unrwa says it needs $38m for its 2022 activities in Jordan, while quest for Israeli-Palestinian 'political horizon' proves futile
Lebanese anti-government protesters lift placards demanding a stop to economic collapse, transparent elections and protection of poverty-stricken communities, in Beirut, on 12 March 2021 (AFP)

Gulf countries set out 12 conditions to help Lebanon

The Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper revealed that Gulf countries have set 12 conditions for supporting Lebanon in getting out of the severe economic crisis afflicting the country.

Al-Akhbar said the Gulf pressure on Lebanon is expected to increasing following former prime minister Saad al-Hariri’s decision on Monday to not run in the upcoming parliamentary elections and withdraw from political life.

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During his visit to Beirut, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser al-Mohammed Al Sabah submitted the "Gulf requests paper" to the Lebanese officials.

The report said that the initiative has put an end to efforts by other countries, including Egypt, and the Arab League to play a role in the Lebanese crisis, adding that Sabah’s visit and objectives were coordinated by Washington and Europe. 

The requests submitted to Beirut outlined 12 points, including Lebanon's commitment to all resolutions of international legitimacy, the resolutions of the League of Arab States, setting a time frame for the Security Council's resolution with regard to "disarming militias in Lebanon", and halting Hezbollah's interference in Gulf and Arab affairs.

The Gulf document also called on Lebanon to "commit to holding the parliamentary elections in May 2022, and then the presidential elections in October 2022, according to the scheduled dates without changes". This was in addition to extending the control of the Lebanese official authorities over all “the state's border crossing points".

The paper also included "working with the World Bank to find solutions to the issue of inability of the Lebanese citizens to withdraw their deposits in Lebanese banks".

Unrwa seeks $38m for its operations in Jordan

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unrwa) has set the funding requirements for the needs of its activities in Jordan for 2022 at about $38.5m, according to the Jordanian Al-Ghad newspaper.

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Unrwa has estimated its funding requirements in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon at around $365m, of which $232m would be allocated to Syria and $93.6m to Lebanon.

The report issued by Unrwa indicated that repercussions from Covid-19 have gone beyond a public health crisis in Jordan, with the pandemic and related lockdowns severely affecting the economy.

“Palestine refugees in Jordan (PRJ), as well as other vulnerable groups, face increased pressures and inequalities due to the drastic reduction in household incomes and livelihood opportunities, particularly for those depending on informal and daily paid labour,” the report said.

Unrwa also noted the low growth and high unemployment rates, especially among young people in the kingdom, predicting that the situation would get worse this year.

“The situation is expected to remain dire in 2022, given the high number of employment opportunities lost in several sectors,” stated the report. 

“The loss of income among financially fragile households is particularly concerning and poverty rates are likely to increase.”

Quest for Israeli-Palestinian 'political horizon' proves futile

A number of meetings have taken place between Palestinian and Israeli officials over the past few months as part of an attempt to search for a “political horizon” ahead of a Palestinian National Council's (PNC) meeting scheduled for next month, the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.

“Influential countries such as the United States, European and Arab countries have called on the Palestinians to hold meetings with Israeli officials in the framework of working on converging views and breaking the current political stalemate," the newspaper said quoting informed Palestinian sources.

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The first meeting took place in Ramallah, when President Mahmoud Abbas hosted Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz at the Muqataa headquarters - a guarded compound housing several government buildings - in September last year, and the second meeting was held at Gantz's house at the end of last month. 

However, sources said that Abbas was not satisfied with the results of these meetings.

Meawhile, Hussein al-Sheikh, the Palestinian minister of civil affairs, met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday. Sheikh later tweeted that the two discussed political and bilateral issues and that he has emphasised “the need for a political horizon between the two parties based on international legitimacy”.

The Palestinian sources told the newspaper that "these meetings have not yet provided any tangible results that can be built upon regarding the possibility of resuming the peace process again”.

They said Israel has clung to its previous positions, including its stance on East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of a future state, and refusing to pledge halting settlement activities.

The Palestinian side has kept the interested parties informed of the results of these meetings, as discussions continue with Egypt and Jordan about proposed visions on the peace process, the newspaper said.

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye