Verdict on a tumultuous decade: optimistic Gulf versus gloomy Levant, says Arab Youth Survey

Among Arab Spring economies, a majority of Egyptian youth said the events of 2011 and their aftermath were “negative.” (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Verdict on a tumultuous decade: optimistic Gulf versus gloomy Levant, says Arab Youth Survey

  • Young people in the Levant has turned increasingly pessimistic over the past two years, the survey reveals
  • Young Arabs increasingly believe that Daesh and its ideology are getting weaker

DUBAI: Young Arabs are sharply divided on their assessment of the big changes in the region over the past 10 years, the Arab Youth Survey reveals, with the biggest contrast between youth in the Levant and those in the Arabian Gulf.
Some 85 percent of young Arabs living in the Levant thought that things had gone in the “wrong direction” over the past 10 years, while in the Gulf only 34 percent said things had deteriorated. In North Africa, opinion was roughly split down the middle.
The rise of Daesh was seen as the most negative event affecting their outlook, with 85 percent viewing it unfavorably, while the Arab Spring was seen as a negative development by 56 percent.
Young people in the Levant has turned increasingly pessimistic over the past two years, the survey reveals, with 72 percent of those polled in 2018 agreeing with the statement “our best days are behind us.” In 2016, 64 percent were optimistic about the future.
In the Arabian Gulf, 82 percent of respondents said they were optimistic about the future.
Even among the so-called Arab Spring countries, opinions are polarized. In Yemen (50 percent) and in Egypt (52 percent) majorities of young people said the events of 2011 and their aftermath were “negative”, while in Libya (42 percent positive) and Tunisia (50 percent positive) the assessment was more favorable.
On what measures should be taken to improve economic and social conditions among young people in the region, defeating terrorist organizations (34 percent) was seen as the most important, but “creating new, well-paying jobs”, modernizing the education system, and “cracking down on government corruption”, were also identified as priorities.
Only 14 percent thought that “granting more personal freedom to citizens” was important.
There was strong support across the region for the anti-corruption campaign of the Saudi Arabian government. Some 86 percent of young Arabs region-wide welcomed the initiative, rising to 94 percent support in the Kingdom.
Among young Saudi men and women there were high levels of optimism for the Vision 2030 strategy of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Some 94 percent of women and 91 percent of men were confident that the strategy would be a success.
Across the region, and especially in the Gulf, the crown prince was identified as the leader who would have a bigger impact than any other Arab leader over the next decade.
Young Arabs increasingly believe that Daesh and its ideology are getting weaker, with 78 percent agreeing with that proposition, and 68 percent confident in their government’s ability to deal with the terrorist organization.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 23 May 2019
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.