position:minister

  • Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs
    By Hagar Shezaf Jul 05, 2019 - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-how-israel-systematically-hides-evidence-of-1948-expulsio

    International forces overseeing the evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/Israel State Archives

    Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

    “Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies. 3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.”

    The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israeli forces in Israel’s War of Independence. “There’s no name on the document and it’s not clear who’s behind it,” Dr. Novick tells Haaretz. “It also breaks off in the middle. I found it very disturbing. I knew that finding a document like this made me responsible for clarifying what happened.”

    The Upper Galilee village of Safsaf was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Hiram toward the end of 1948. Moshav Safsufa was established on its ruins. Allegations were made over the years that the Seventh Brigade committed war crimes in the village. Those charges are supported by the document Novick found, which was not previously known to scholars. It could also constitute additional evidence that the Israeli top brass knew about what was going on in real time.

    Novick decided to consult with other historians about the document. Benny Morris, whose books are basic texts in the study of the Nakba – the “calamity,” as the Palestinians refer to the mass emigration of Arabs from the country during the 1948 war – told her that he, too, had come across similar documentation in the past. He was referring to notes made by Mapam Central Committee member Aharon Cohen on the basis of a briefing given in November 1948 by Israel Galili, the former chief of staff of the Haganah militia, which became the IDF. Cohen’s notes in this instance, which Morris published, stated: “Safsaf 52 men tied with a rope. Dropped into a pit and shot. 10 were killed. Women pleaded for mercy. [There were] 3 cases of rape. Caught and released. A girl of 14 was raped. Another 4 were killed. Rings of knives.”

    Morris’ footnote (in his seminal “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) states that this document was also found in the Yad Yaari Archive. But when Novick returned to examine the document, she was surprised to discover that it was no longer there.

    Palestine refugees initially displaced to Gaza board boats to Lebanon or Egypt, in 1949. Hrant Nakashian/1949 UN Archives

    “At first I thought that maybe Morris hadn’t been accurate in his footnote, that perhaps he had made a mistake,” Novick recalls. “It took me time to consider the possibility that the document had simply disappeared.” When she asked those in charge where the document was, she was told that it had been placed behind lock and key at Yad Yaari – by order of the Ministry of Defense.

    Since the start of the last decade, Defense Ministry teams have been scouring Israel’s archives and removing historic documents. But it’s not just papers relating to Israel’s nuclear project or to the country’s foreign relations that are being transferred to vaults: Hundreds of documents have been concealed as part of a systematic effort to hide evidence of the Nakba.

    The phenomenon was first detected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. According to a report drawn up by the institute, the operation is being spearheaded by Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department (the name is a Hebrew acronym for “director of security of the defense establishment”), whose activities and budget are classified. The report asserts that Malmab removed historical documentation illegally and with no authority, and at least in some cases has sealed documents that had previously been cleared for publication by the military censor. Some of the documents that were placed in vaults had already been published.
    An investigative report by Haaretz found that Malmab has concealed testimony from IDF generals about the killing of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as documentation of the expulsion of Bedouin during the first decade of statehood. Conversations conducted by Haaretz with directors of public and private archives alike revealed that staff of the security department had treated the archives as their property, in some cases threatening the directors themselves.

    Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for two decades, until 2007, acknowledged to Haaretz that he launched the project, which is still ongoing. He maintains that it makes sense to conceal the events of 1948, because uncovering them could generate unrest among the country’s Arab population. Asked what the point is of removing documents that have already been published, he explained that the objective is to undermine the credibility of studies about the history of the refugee problem. In Horev’s view, an allegation made by a researcher that’s backed up by an original document is not the same as an allegation that cannot be proved or refuted.

    The document Novick was looking for might have reinforced Morris’ work. During the investigation, Haaretz was in fact able to find the Aharon Cohen memo, which sums up a meeting of Mapam’s Political Committee on the subject of massacres and expulsions in 1948. Participants in the meeting called for cooperation with a commission of inquiry that would investigate the events. One case the committee discussed concerned “grave actions” carried out in the village of Al-Dawayima, east of Kiryat Gat. One participant mentioned the then-disbanded Lehi underground militia in this connection. Acts of looting were also reported: “Lod and Ramle, Be’er Sheva, there isn’t [an Arab] store that hasn’t been broken into. 9th Brigade says 7, 7th Brigade says 8.”
    “The party,” the document states near the end, “is against expulsion if there is no military necessity for it. There are different approaches concerning the evaluation of necessity. And further clarification is best. What happened in Galilee – those are Nazi acts! Every one of our members must report what he knows.”

    The Israeli version
    One of the most fascinating documents about the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem was written by an officer in Shai, the precursor to the Shin Bet security service. It discusses why the country was emptied of so many of its Arab inhabitants, dwelling on the circumstances of each village. Compiled in late June 1948, it was titled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine.”

    Read a translation of the document here (1)

    This document was the basis for an article that Benny Morris published in 1986. After the article appeared, the document was removed from the archive and rendered inaccessible to researchers. Years later, the Malmab team reexamined the document, and ordered that it remain classified. They could not have known that a few years later researchers from Akevot would find a copy of the text and run it past the military censors – who authorized its publication unconditionally. Now, after years of concealment, the gist of the document is being revealed here.

    The 25-page document begins with an introduction that unabashedly approves of the evacuation of the Arab villages. According to the author, the month of April “excelled in an increase of emigration,” while May “was blessed with the evacuation of maximum places.” The report then addresses “the causes of the Arab emigration.” According to the Israeli narrative that was disseminated over the years, responsibility for the exodus from Israel rests with Arab politicians who encouraged the population to leave. However, according to the document, 70 percent of the Arabs left as a result of Jewish military operations.

    Palestinian children awaiting distribution of milk by UNICEF at the Nazareth Franciscan Sisters’ convent, on January 1, 1950. AW / UN Photo

    The unnamed author of the text ranks the reasons for the Arabs’ departure in order of importance. The first reason: “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” The second reason was the impact of those actions on neighboring villages. Third in importance came “operations by the breakaways,” namely the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds. The fourth reason for the Arab exodus was orders issued by Arab institutions and “gangs” (as the document refers to all Arab fighting groups); fifth was “Jewish ’whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee”; and the sixth factor was “evacuation ultimatums.”

    The author asserts that, “without a doubt, the hostile operations were the main cause of the movement of the population.” In addition, “Loudspeakers in the Arabic language proved their effectiveness on the occasions when they were utilized properly.” As for Irgun and Lehi operations, the report observes that “many in the villages of central Galilee started to flee following the abduction of the notables of Sheikh Muwannis [a village north of Tel Aviv]. The Arab learned that it is not enough to forge an agreement with the Haganah and that there are other Jews [i.e., the breakaway militias] to beware of.”

    The author notes that ultimatums to leave were especially employed in central Galilee, less so in the Mount Gilboa region. “Naturally, the act of this ultimatum, like the effect of the ’friendly advice,’ came after a certain preparing of the ground by means of hostile actions in the area.”
    An appendix to the document describes the specific causes of the exodus from each of scores of Arab locales: Ein Zeitun – “our destruction of the village”; Qeitiya – “harassment, threat of action”; Almaniya – “our action, many killed”; Tira – “friendly Jewish advice”; Al’Amarir – “after robbery and murder carried out by the breakaways”; Sumsum – “our ultimatum”; Bir Salim – “attack on the orphanage”; and Zarnuga – “conquest and expulsion.”

    Short fuse
    In the early 2000s, the Yitzhak Rabin Center conducted a series of interviews with former public and military figures as part of a project to document their activity in the service of the state. The long arm of Malmab seized on these interviews, too. Haaretz, which obtained the original texts of several of the interviews, compared them to the versions that are now available to the public, after large swaths of them were declared classified.

    These included, for example, sections of the testimony of Brig. Gen. (res.) Aryeh Shalev about the expulsion across the border of the residents of a village he called “Sabra.” Later in the interview, the following sentences were deleted: “There was a very serious problem in the valley. There were refugees who wanted to return to the valley, to the Triangle [a concentration of Arab towns and villages in eastern Israel]. We expelled them. I met with them to persuade them not to want that. I have papers about it.”

    In another case, Malmab decided to conceal the following segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elad Peled:
    Lev Tov: “We’re talking about a population – women and children?”
    Peled: “All, all. Yes.”
    Lev Tov: “Don’t you distinguish between them?”
    Peled: “The problem is very simple. The war is between two populations. They come out of their home.”
    Lev Tov: “If the home exists, they have somewhere to return to?”
    Peled: “It’s not armies yet, it’s gangs. We’re also actually gangs. We come out of the house and return to the house. They come out of the house and return to the house. It’s either their house or our house.”
    Lev Tov: “Qualms belong to the more recent generation?”
    Peled: “Yes, today. When I sit in an armchair here and think about what happened, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.”
    Lev Tov: “Wasn’t that the case then?”
    Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”
    Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”
    Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.”

    IDF soldiers guarding Palestinians in Ramle, in 1948. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    Another passage that the Defense Ministry wanted to keep from the public came from Dr. Lev Tov’s conversation with Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir:
    Tamir: “I was under Chera [Maj. Gen. Tzvi Tzur, later IDF chief of staff], and I had excellent working relations with him. He gave me freedom of action – don’t ask – and I happened to be in charge of staff and operations work during two developments deriving from [Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s policy. One development was when reports arrived about marches of refugees from Jordan toward the abandoned villages [in Israel]. And then Ben-Gurion lays down as policy that we have to demolish [the villages] so they won’t have anywhere to return to. That is, all the Arab villages, most of which were in [the area covered by] Central Command, most of them.”
    Lev Tov: “The ones that were still standing?”
    Tamir: “The ones that weren’t yet inhabited by Israelis. There were places where we had already settled Israelis, like Zakariyya and others. But most of them were still abandoned villages.”
    Lev Tov: “That were standing?”
    Tamir: “Standing. It was necessary for there to be no place for them to return to, so I mobilized all the engineering battalions of Central Command, and within 48 hours I knocked all those villages to the ground. Period. There’s no place to return to.”
    Lev Tov: “Without hesitation, I imagine.”
    Tamir: “Without hesitation. That was the policy. I mobilized, I carried it out and I did it.”

    Crates in vaults
    The vault of the Yad Yaari Research and Documentation Center is one floor below ground level. In the vault, which is actually a small, well-secured room, are stacks of crates containing classified documents. The archive houses the materials of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, the Kibbutz Ha’artzi kibbutz movement, Mapam, Meretz and other bodies, such as Peace Now.
    The archive’s director is Dudu Amitai, who is also chairman of the Association of Israel Archivists. According to Amitai, Malmab personnel visited the archive regularly between 2009 and 2011. Staff of the archive relate that security department teams – two Defense Ministry retirees with no archival training – would show up two or three times a week. They searched for documents according to such keywords as “nuclear,” “security” and “censorship,” and also devoted considerable time to the War of Independence and the fate of the pre-1948 Arab villages.
    “In the end, they submitted a summary to us, saying that they had located a few dozen sensitive documents,” Amitai says. “We don’t usually take apart files, so dozens of files, in their entirety, found their way into our vault and were removed from the public catalog.” A file might contain more than 100 documents.
    One of the files that was sealed deals with the military government that controlled the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens from 1948 until 1966. For years, the documents were stored in the same vault, inaccessible to scholars. Recently, in the wake of a request by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, Amitai examined the file himself and ruled that there was no reason not to unseal it, Malmab’s opinion notwithstanding.

    According to Algazi, there could be several reasons for Malmab’s decision to keep the file classified. One of them has to do with a secret annex it contains to a report by a committee that examined the operation of the military government. The report deals almost entirely with land-ownership battles between the state and Arab citizens, and barely touches on security matters.

    Another possibility is a 1958 report by the ministerial committee that oversaw the military government. In one of the report’s secret appendixes, Col. Mishael Shaham, a senior officer in the military government, explains that one reason for not dismantling the martial law apparatus is the need to restrict Arab citizens’ access to the labor market and to prevent the reestablishment of destroyed villages.
    A third possible explanation for hiding the file concerns previously unpublished historical testimony about the expulsion of Bedouin. On the eve of Israel’s establishment, nearly 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. Three years later, their number was down to 13,000. In the years during and after the independence war, a number of expulsion operations were carried out in the country’s south. In one case, United Nations observers reported that Israel had expelled 400 Bedouin from the Azazma tribe and cited testimonies of tents being burned. The letter that appears in the classified file describes a similar expulsion carried out as late as 1956, as related by geologist Avraham Parnes:

    The evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “A month ago we toured Ramon [crater]. The Bedouin in the Mohila area came to us with their flocks and their families and asked us to break bread with them. I replied that we had a great deal of work to do and didn’t have time. In our visit this week, we headed toward Mohila again. Instead of the Bedouin and their flocks, there was deathly silence. Scores of camel carcasses were scattered in the area. We learned that three days earlier the IDF had ‘screwed’ the Bedouin, and their flocks were destroyed – the camels by shooting, the sheep with grenades. One of the Bedouin, who started to complain, was killed, the rest fled.”

    The testimony continued, “Two weeks earlier, they’d been ordered to stay where they were for the time being, afterward they were ordered to leave, and to speed things up 500 head were slaughtered.... The expulsion was executed ‘efficiently.’” The letter goes on to quote what one of the soldiers said to Parnes, according to his testimony: “They won’t go unless we’ve screwed their flocks. A young girl of about 16 approached us. She had a beaded necklace of brass snakes. We tore the necklace and each of us took a bead for a souvenir.”

    The letter was originally sent to MK Yaakov Uri, from Mapai (forerunner of Labor), who passed it on to Development Minister Mordechai Bentov (Mapam). “His letter shocked me,” Uri wrote Bentov. The latter circulated the letter among all the cabinet ministers, writing, “It is my opinion that the government cannot simply ignore the facts related in the letter.” Bentov added that, in light of the appalling contents of the letter, he asked security experts to check its credibility. They had confirmed that the contents “do in fact generally conform to the truth.”

    Nuclear excuse
    It was during the tenure of historian Tuvia Friling as Israel’s chief archivist, from 2001 to 2004, that Malmab carried out its first archival incursions. What began as an operation to prevent the leakage of nuclear secrets, he says, became, in time, a large-scale censorship project.
    “I resigned after three years, and that was one of the reasons,” Prof. Friling says. “The classification placed on the document about the Arabs’ emigration in 1948 is precisely an example of what I was apprehensive about. The storage and archival system is not an arm of the state’s public relations. If there’s something you don’t like – well, that’s life. A healthy society also learns from its mistakes.”

    Why did Friling allow the Defense Ministry to have access the archives? The reason, he says, was the intention to give the public access to archival material via the internet. In discussions about the implications of digitizing the material, concern was expressed that references in the documents to a “certain topic” would be made public by mistake. The topic, of course, is Israel’s nuclear project. Friling insists that the only authorization Malmab received was to search for documents on that subject.

    But Malmab’s activity is only one example of a broader problem, Friling notes: “In 1998, the confidentiality of the [oldest documents in the] Shin Bet and Mossad archives expired. For years those two institutions disdained the chief archivist. When I took over, they requested that the confidentiality of all the material be extended [from 50] to 70 years, which is ridiculous – most of the material can be opened.”

    In 2010, the confidentiality period was extended to 70 years; last February it was extended again, to 90 years, despite the opposition of the Supreme Council of Archives. “The state may impose confidentiality on some of its documentation,” Friling says. “The question is whether the issue of security doesn’t act as a kind of cover. In many cases, it’s already become a joke.”
    In the view of Yad Yaari’s Dudu Amitai, the confidentiality imposed by the Defense Ministry must be challenged. In his period at the helm, he says, one of the documents placed in the vault was an order issued by an IDF general, during a truce in the War of Independence, for his troops to refrain from rape and looting. Amitai now intends to go over the documents that were deposited in the vault, especially 1948 documents, and open whatever is possible. “We’ll do it cautiously and responsibly, but recognizing that the State of Israel has to learn how to cope with the less pleasant aspects of its history.”
    In contrast to Yad Yaari, where ministry personnel no longer visit, they are continuing to peruse documents at Yad Tabenkin, the research and documentation center of the United Kibbutz Movement. The director, Aharon Azati, reached an agreement with the Malmab teams under which documents will be transferred to the vault only if he is convinced that this is justified. But in Yad Tabenkin, too, Malmab has broadened its searches beyond the realm of nuclear project to encompass interviews conducted by archival staff with former members of the Palmach, and has even perused material about the history of the settlements in the occupied territories.

    Malmab has, for example, shown interest in the Hebrew-language book “A Decade of Discretion: Settlement Policy in the Territories 1967-1977,” published by Yad Tabenkin in 1992, and written by Yehiel Admoni, director of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department during the decade he writes about. The book mentions a plan to settle Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley and to the uprooting of 1,540 Bedouin families from the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip in 1972, including an operation that included the sealing of wells by the IDF. Ironically, in the case of the Bedouin, Admoni quotes former Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira as saying, “It is not necessary to stretch the security rationale too far. The whole Bedouin episode is not a glorious chapter of the State of Israel.”

    Palestinian refugees leaving their village, unknown location, 1948. UNRWA

    According to Azati, “We are moving increasingly to a tightening of the ranks. Although this is an era of openness and transparency, there are apparently forces that are pulling in the opposite direction.”
    Unauthorized secrecy
    About a year ago, the legal adviser to the State Archives, attorney Naomi Aldouby, wrote an opinion titled “Files Closed Without Authorization in Public Archives.” According to her, the accessibility policy of public archives is the exclusive purview of the director of each institution.
    Despite Aldouby’s opinion, however, in the vast majority of cases, archivists who encountered unreasonable decisions by Malmab did not raise objections – that is, until 2014, when Defense Ministry personnel arrived at the archive of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the visitors’ surprise, their request to examine the archive – which contains collections of former minister and diplomat Abba Eban and Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit – was turned down by its then director, Menahem Blondheim.

    According to Blondheim, “I told them that the documents in question were decades old, and that I could not imagine that there was any security problem that would warrant restricting their access to researchers. In response, they said, ‘And let’s say there is testimony here that wells were poisoned in the War of Independence?’ I replied, ‘Fine, those people should be brought to trial.’”
    Blondheim’s refusal led to a meeting with a more senior ministry official, only this time the attitude he encountered was different and explicit threats were made. Finally the two sides reached an accommodation.
    Benny Morris is not surprised at Malmab’s activity. “I knew about it,” he says “Not officially, no one informed me, but I encountered it when I discovered that documents I had seen in the past are now sealed. There were documents from the IDF Archive that I used for an article about Deir Yassin, and which are now sealed. When I came to the archive, I was no longer allowed to see the original, so I pointed out in a footnote [in the article] that the State Archive had denied access to documents that I had published 15 years earlier.”
    The Malmab case is only one example of the battle being waged for access to archives in Israel. According to the executive director of the Akevot Institute, Lior Yavne, “The IDF Archive, which is the largest archive in Israel, is sealed almost hermetically. About 1 percent of the material is open. The Shin Bet archive, which contains materials of immense importance [to scholars], is totally closed apart from a handful of documents.”

    A report written by Yaacov Lozowick, the previous chief archivist at the State Archives, upon his retirement, refers to the defense establishment’s grip on the country’s archival materials. In it, he writes, “A democracy must not conceal information because it is liable to embarrass the state. In practice, the security establishment in Israel, and to a certain extent that of foreign relations as well, are interfering with the [public] discussion.”

    Advocates of concealment put forward several arguments, Lozowick notes: “The uncovering of the facts could provide our enemies with a battering ram against us and weaken the determination of our friends; it’s liable to stir up the Arab population; it could enfeeble the state’s arguments in courts of law; and what is revealed could be interpreted as Israeli war crimes.” However, he says, “All these arguments must be rejected. This is an attempt to hide part of the historical truth in order to construct a more convenient version.”

    What Malmab says
    Yehiel Horev was the keeper of the security establishment’s secrets for more than two decades. He headed the Defense Ministry’s security department from 1986 until 2007 and naturally kept out of the limelight. To his credit, he now agreed to talk forthrightly to Haaretz about the archives project.
    “I don’t remember when it began,” Horev says, “but I do know that I started it. If I’m not mistaken, it started when people wanted to publish documents from the archives. We had to set up teams to examine all outgoing material.”
    From conversations with archive directors, it’s clear that a good deal of the documents on which confidentiality was imposed relate to the War of Independence. Is concealing the events of 1948 part of the purpose of Malmab?

    Palestinian refugees in the Ramle area, 1948. Boris Carmi / The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “What does ‘part of the purpose’ mean? The subject is examined based on an approach of whether it could harm Israel’s foreign relations and the defense establishment. Those are the criteria. I think it’s still relevant. There has not been peace since 1948. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been resolved. So yes, it could be that problematic subjects remain.”

    Asked in what way such documents might be problematic, Horev speaks of the possibility of agitation among the country’s Arab citizens. From his point of view, every document must be perused and every case decided on its merits.

    If the events of 1948 weren’t known, we could argue about whether this approach is the right one. That is not the case. Many testimonies and studies have appeared about the history of the refugee problem. What’s the point of hiding things?
    “The question is whether it can do harm or not. It’s a very sensitive matter. Not everything has been published about the refugee issue, and there are all kinds of narratives. Some say there was no flight at all, only expulsion. Others say there was flight. It’s not black-and-white. There’s a difference between flight and those who say they were forcibly expelled. It’s a different picture. I can’t say now if it merits total confidentiality, but it’s a subject that definitely has to be discussed before a decision is made about what to publish.”

    For years, the Defense Ministry has imposed confidentiality on a detailed document that describes the reasons for the departure of those who became refugees. Benny Morris has already written about the document, so what’s the logic of keeping it hidden?
    “I don’t remember the document you’re referring to, but if he quoted from it and the document itself is not there [i.e., where Morris says it is], then his facts aren’t strong. If he says, ‘Yes, I have the document,’ I can’t argue with that. But if he says that it’s written there, that could be right and it could be wrong. If the document were already outside and were sealed in the archive, I would say that that’s folly. But if someone quoted from it – there’s a difference of day and night in terms of the validity of the evidence he cited.”

    In this case, we’re talking about the most quoted scholar when it comes to the Palestinian refugees.
    “The fact that you say ‘scholar’ makes no impression on me. I know people in academia who spout nonsense about subjects that I know from A to Z. When the state imposes confidentiality, the published work is weakened, because he doesn’t have the document.”

    But isn’t concealing documents based on footnotes in books an attempt to lock the barn door after the horses have bolted?
    “I gave you an example that this needn’t be the case. If someone writes that the horse is black, if the horse isn’t outside the barn, you can’t prove that it’s really black.”

    There are legal opinions stating that Malmab’s activity in the archives is illegal and unauthorized.
    “If I know that an archive contains classified material, I am empowered to tell the police to go there and confiscate the material. I can also utilize the courts. I don’t need the archivist’s authorization. If there is classified material, I have the authority to act. Look, there’s policy. Documents aren’t sealed for no reason. And despite it all, I won’t say to you that everything that’s sealed is 100 percent justified [in being sealed].”

    The Defense Ministry refused to respond to specific questions regarding the findings of this investigative report and made do with the following response: “The director of security of the defense establishment operates by virtue of his responsibility to protect the state’s secrets and its security assets. The Malmab does not provide details about its mode of activity or its missions.”

    Lee Rotbart assisted in providing visual research for this article.

    (1) https://www.haaretz.co.il/st/inter/Heng/1948.pdf

  • THE ANGRY ARAB: The First Elected Egyptian President? The Death of Mohammad Morsi – Consortiumnews
    https://consortiumnews.com/2019/07/03/the-angry-arab-the-first-elected-egyptian-president-the-death-of-moh

    The year of Morsi was an interesting period in contemporary Egyptian history. It was by far the freest political era, where political parties and media flourished and the state tolerated more criticisms against the ruler than before or since. But young Egyptians who participated in the 2011 revolt stress the point that freedoms under Morsi were not so much a gift from the leader to the people as they were the result of insistence on their rights by the revolutionary masses. They had just managed to oust the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak and they were not going to settle for less than an open political environment.

    But that also did not last, and the rise of el-Sisi was entirely an affair hatched by foreign governments and the security apparatus of the state. Secular, liberal, Nasserists, and even some progressives were accomplices of the coup of 2013; they were alarmed with the Islamic rhetoric of the Brotherhood and some even resented the political rise of poorer Egyptians with an Islamist bend. el-Sisi knew how to appeal to a large coalition and to pretend that he would carry on the democratization of Egypt. But the signs were on the wall: the blatant role of the Saudi and UAE regime in his coup were not disguised, and el-Sisi was an integral part of the Egyptian state military-intelligence apparatus, whose purpose is to maintain close relations with the Israeli occupation state, and to crush domestic dissent and opposition.

    Morsi’s fate was sealed when he decided to coexist with the same military council that had existed in the age of Mubarak. He could have purged the entire top brass, and replaced them with new people who were not tainted with links to the Mubarak regime. Worse, Morsi made the chief of Egyptian military intelligence—the man who is in charge of close Israeli-Egyptian security cooperation—his minister of defense (that was el-Sisi himself). Morsi assumed that the military command would quickly switch their loyalty to the democratic order instead of the old tyrannical regime.

    #angry_arab #morsi #issi #égypte

  • June 4 immunized China against turmoil - Global Times
    https://web.archive.org/web/20190603132822/http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1152903.shtml

    Cet article n’est plus disponible (404) sous son URL d’origine http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1152903.shtml depuis le 5.6.2019 19:39. Il est donc resté en ligne pendant 2 jours et 10 heures.

    Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/3 13:09:54

    June 4 marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have determined the nature of the incident. Chinese society has also made a comprehensive summary of it. Dropping the incident thereafter has been aimed at helping the country leave the shadow behind, avoid disputes, and help all Chinese people face the future.

    We consider such practice a political success, although some people have criticized it from the perspective of news governance. Merely afflicting China once, the incident has not become a long-term nightmare for the country. Neither has the incident’s anniversary ever been placed in the teeth of the storm. It has become a faded historical event, rather than an actual entanglement.

    The Chinese government’s control of the incident in 1989 has been a watershed marking the differences between China and former Eastern European socialist countries, including the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Since the incident, China has successfully become the world’s second largest economy, with rapid improvement of people’s living standards. The policy of avoiding arguing has served as a contributor to the country’s economic take-off.

    Today’s China obviously has no political conditions to suddenly reproduce the riot of 30 years ago. Chinese society, including its intellectual elite, is now far more mature than it was in 1989. In those years, China’s reform was carried out prior to those of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. China was completely inexperienced, with an intellectual circle filled with idealism. Chinese society today has seen enough of the political tragedies that occurred in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and some Arab countries.

    Having become politically mature, we now understand the significance of the country’s continuous development through evolutions instead of revolutions. We are also aware of the difficulties and complexity at the practical level.

    As a vaccination for the Chinese society, the Tiananmen incident will greatly increase China’s immunity against any major political turmoil in the future.

    We have noticed that every year around June 4, certain forces outside the Chinese mainland stir up public opinion and attack China. Such forces consist of two groups of people: student leaders and dissidents who fled abroad after 1989, and Western politicians and media outlets.

    The first group’s understanding of the incident remains fixed in 1989. They refuse to correct their understanding of China’s development and the changes that the world has been through. Their interests have been decoupled from the Chinese people and have merged with anti-China forces outside China. Their attitude toward the incident cannot represent those of today’s Chinese public.

    Western politicians’ discussions of the incident are mainly influenced by their countries’ relations with China. Due to the deterioration of China-US ties, US officials have launched fierce attacks against China that have focused on the incident since last year. But Chinese people are clear that those officials are not genuinely concerned about Chinese human rights, but are making use of the incident as a diplomatic tool to challenge China.

    However, all these noises will have no real impact on Chinese society. The actions of the external forces are completely in vain.

    RELATED ARTICLES:

    Speech at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue by Gen. Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense, PRC

    #Chine #4689

  • Rasmea Odeh Breaking the Silence in Berlin: #RasmeaSpricht #RasmeaSpeaks
    https://samidoun.net/2019/03/rasmea-odeh-breaking-the-silence-in-berlin-rasmeaspricht-rasmeaspeaks

    29 March 2019 - On Wednesday evening, 27 March, Rasmea Odeh‘s voice and words were heard in Berlin, Germany, despite a harsh, repressive campaign that included yet another ban on her speaking in person issued by Berlin’s Senator for the Interior. The successful event at be’kech in Berlin’s Wedding district brought crowds to the space despite a large police presence; the space was so crowded that many people stayed outside to watch the event through glass windows.

    The evening marked a significant achievement for Rasmea Odeh and all those defending the right to organize and advocate for Palestine in Berlin. Despite all attempts to prevent it from taking place, Rasmea’s voice was heard in Berlin and celebrated by people of conscience.
    Photo: Public-solidarity

    Once again, as was the case on 15 March, when Rasmea was to join Palestinian poet and former prisoner Dareen Tatour for an evening of solidarity and celebration of Palestinian women’s struggle, the venue itself was subject to harassment and threats. Another media smear campaign was launched against Rasmea along with attempts to demand that she once again be prohibited from speaking.

    On Wednesday afternoon, only hours before the event, Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel, an SPD politician who had earlier declared that speaking “against the state of Israel” crossed a “red line” that justified the violation of freedom of speech, once again banned Odeh from delivering a public speech at the event. However, organizers presented a video from Odeh, ensuring that her message and her story would be able to be heard by supporters in person and everyone around the world who supports her and the struggle for justice in Palestine.
    Photo: Salim Salim, Arabi21

    Once again, several vans of police filled the area (although a smaller presence than that surrounding the 15 March event). They searched the crowd for Rasmea, but left partway through the event after it was clear that she was not attending in person. A claimed counter-demonstration by pro-apartheid Zionist organizations was not immediately visible, but there may have been several participants at the corner of the street.

    The moderator of the evening opened the event with a stirring call against the silencing of oppressed and marginalized people, especially Palestinian women. She noted the growing support received by the event and the campaign to defend Odeh by a number of organizations, including the Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte, which sent a statement to the organization. The event was supported by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Berlin Muslim Feminists, Bündnis gegen Rassismus, HIRAK (Palestinian Youth Mobilization, Berlin), The Coalition Berlin, Bloque Latinoamericano Berlin, Brot und Rosen international socialist women’s organiation, Revolutionäre Internationalistische Organisation – Klasse Gegen Klasse, Berlin Against Pinkwashing, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace), RefrACTa Kollektiv Brasilien-Berlin, BDS Berlin and the Kali feminist collective.

    The event also included a speech by a Palestinian student on behalf of HIRAK, emphasizing that this week also marks the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return in Gaza. Just this week, Israel has been shelling Gaza, causing further destruction after taking hundreds of lives in the past year as Palestinians participated in collective, popular protests for their right to return and break the siege. She urged people to get involved in struggles here in Berlin, including Palestinian community organizing, the solidarity movement and the BDS campaign.

    The organizers next showed a video from 2013 in which Rasmea speaks about her life as a Palestinian woman. The video was made when she received the 2013 Outstanding Community Leader award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance:

    The screening was followed by a 20-minute video presentation – the main speech of the night – in which Rasmea discussed her situation in Berlin as well as presenting more broadly on Palestinian women, Palestinian prisoners and the continuing struggle for liberation. Full video coming shortly!

    As Rasmea spoke, including discussing her personal experience of torture, people in the packed room were silent, watching and listening closely to the Arabic speech and the subtitles in German and English. The conclusion of her speech was met with loud and prolonged applause and cheers as the event’s moderator noted that “this is what they did not want you to hear.”

    The event continued with a cultural evening featuring anti-colonial poetry by Wind Ma, a silent theater sketch by Maher Draidi of Almadina Theater, a musical performance of songs and guitar by Nicolás Miquea and a closing dabkeh performance by the Yafa Dabkeh Troupe. The event concluded with a stirring moment as people chanted together, “Viva, viva Palestina! Free, free Palestine!”

    Rasmea Odeh, born in 1947, is a lifelong struggler for Palestine and a well-known feminist organizer and activist. After surviving torture and sexual assault under interrogation by occupation forces and serving 10 years in Israeli prison, she came to the United States, where she organized over 800 women in Chicago in the Arab Women’s Committee, a project of the Arab American Action Network. In 2013, she was targeted by the FBI and U.S. immigration authorities and accused of lying about her time in Israeli prison, despite the fact that it was publicly known; she even testified before a Special Committee of the United Nations about her experience under torture and imprisonment. After a years-long court battle that won widespread grassroots support, she was deported to Jordan in 2017. She was one of the initial signatories of the call for the International Women’s Strike.
    Photo: Public-solidarity

    After she was invited to speak in Berlin on 15 March, the U.S. ambassador (with ties to the German far right) Richard Grenell, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, charged with fighting Palestine solidarity and the BDS movement internationally, and the Israeli ambassador in Germany launched calls to censor her. Media propaganda falsely labeled her an “anti-Semite,” when she is in reality a longtime anti-racist struggler who developed strong connections with other oppressed communities, particularly the Black liberation movement. In the U.S., Angela Davis and Jewish Voice for Peace were among her supporters. In this context, Berlin politicians yielded to the demands of Trump and Netanyahu, and when Rasmea arrived at the event location, she was given a sheaf of papers. Her Schengen visa was ordered cancelled and she was directed to leave the country; she was banned from speaking at the event.

    Most of the allegations in the documents simply restated attacks by pro-apartheid media publications, including labeling the BDS campaign “anti-Semitic”. The German authorities also claimed that allowing Rasmea to speak and retain her visa would “damage the relationship between Germany and Israel.” Thus, Rasmea Odeh’s voice, experience and analysis was ordered suppressed and silenced through the joint complicity of the German, U.S. and Israeli governments.

    Rasmea is committed to fighting back in court. Her lawyer, Nadija Samour, said that “cancelling a visa based on what has happened so far in the past is a completely new concept from a legal point of view.” However, she and her supporters are aware that this is not simply a legal question but a clear political battle that requires support from the broadest number of people in Germany and internationally.

    Supporters of Rasmea in the United States, including the US Palestinian Community Network, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Rasmea Defense Committee and many other groups have worked to support the growing campaign in Germany, and more organizations have been adding their voices to express support for Rasmea. By cancelling her Schengen visa, German officials are not only attempting to silence Rasmea’s speech in Berlin but to prevent her from traveling elsewhere in Europe to speak about her experiences and her views – thus denying people across the continent the opportunity to hear from a leading transnational feminist and Palestinian organizer.

    Rasmea was ordered silenced based on a desire to stop her from sharing her words and her experience, telling her story and presenting her analysis. The U.S. government is apparently committed to chasing Rasmea around the world in order to persecute her wherever she goes; meanwhile, the Israeli state continues its intensive attack on people’s right to support Palestine everywhere in the world, which has included the promotion of anti-BDS laws and falsely labeling Palestinian human rights defenders and solidarity groups as “terrorists.” The German state and Berlin authorities also chose to join this campaign, issuing two separate bans in less than two weeks against Rasmea Odeh to prevent her from delivering a live speech about her experiences, her involvement in women’s organizing and her view of Palestine.

    In many ways, Rasmea’s case does not stand alone; in Germany, it comes alongside the Humboldt 3 case and the prosecution of activists for speaking up against war crimes, attempts to block Palestine events from taking place in any location and far-right campaigns particularly targeting migrant communities. It also comes alongside the pursuit of anti-BDS laws in the US, the use of “anti-terror” frameworks to criminalize Palestinian community work and the use of visa denial to suppress political and cultural expression, such as in Australia’s recent denial of a visa to Palestinian American poet Remi Kanazi.

    In a particularly disturbing media article containing propaganda against Kanazi, pro-apartheid groups demand that Kanazi is barred for, among other things, supporting Rasmea and other Palestinian political prisoners. They also use the recent far-right, white-supremacist massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, as a justification for banning him, despite the fact that this was an attack targeting Muslims, linked to racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab propaganda, based on white supremacy, and which took the lives of a number of Palestinians specifically. It is clear that there is a global attack, backed by Erdan and the Israeli government, aimed at all Palestinians and supporters of Palestine – and especially aiming to isolate Palestinian prisoners from the international movements that continue to defend their rights.

    The campaign to defend Rasmea Odeh is not ending with this event – instead, it marks a strong beginning of a resurgent movement against the silencing of Palestinian women and for justice in Palestine. It also made it clear that Palestinian women, on the frontlines of struggle from inside Israeli prisons, to the Great Return March in Gaza to organizing for justice in Berlin, will not be silenced. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges people and organizations around the world to get involved and join this campaign by following the Facebook page, Rasmea spricht (Rasmea will speak) and sending statements of solidarity to samidoun@samidoun.net.

    #Palestine #femmes #résistance #zionisme #Allemagne

  • Brexit Is for Boys – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/19/brexit-is-for-boys-boris-johnson-jeremy-hunt-michael-gove-tories


    Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, and Rory Stewart participate in a televised Conservative Party leadership debate on June 18 in London.
    JEFF OVERS/BBC VIA GETTY IMAGES

    Since 2016, the campaign to leave the European Union has been led primarily by men. The remaining candidates for prime minister are all male—and they’re not talking about the grave consequences of Brexit for women.
    […]
    Without European courts and standards, it is not hard to imagine the next government of Brexiteers, in their zeal to cut red tape, trimming protections for women through deregulation. Already a minister in the department in charge of Brexit, Martin Callanan, has suggested that the U.K. “scrap” such protections, including the pregnant workers’ directive, because they are “barriers to actually employing people.”

    There are also logistical problems. One collateral loss of Brexit could be the European Protection Order, which ensures that restraining orders apply across EU member states—allowing, for instance, a British woman who moves to Germany to be protected from an abusive partner there. Another is EU funding to British women’s civil society groups, including those that work to combat domestic violence. What is more, a projected 28,000 caregivers who hail from EU member states will no longer be able to work in the U.K., which means some British women will likely have to leave their jobs to look after aging relatives, according to the Department of Health. Most of all, the EU withdrawal process is a time-and resource-sucking distraction, which has stalled policymaking on issues concerning women as it has in nearly every other legislative area.

  • Comment les services de renseignement israéliens collaborent à la lutte contre #BDS à travers le monde

    Mossad involved in anti-boycott activity, Israeli minister’s datebooks reveal - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-mossad-involved-in-anti-boycott-activity-israeli-minister-s-diarie

    The datebooks of Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan for 2018 reveal that he cooperated with the Mossad in the fight against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

    The diaries, which were released in response to a Freedom of Information request, show that Erdan met with Mossad head Yossi Cohen about “the struggle against the boycott.” The request was made by the Hatzlaha movement, an organization promoting a fair society and economy, to all ministers, deputy ministers and ministry directors-general.

    Officials in the Strategic Affairs Ministry are proud of their work with the state’s security agencies, but hide the content and full scope of these activities on grounds that if these would be revealed, it would undermine the covert efforts being made against BDS and its leaders. Officials in Erdan’s office said that the meeting with Cohen was merely a “review,” but sources familiar with the ministry’s activities told Haaretz that the ministry indeed cooperates with the Mossad.

    Erdan’s datebooks also show meetings with the head of the National Security Council and the head of the NSC’s intelligence branch, as well as meetings with representatives of numerous Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith, the American Jewish Congress, the umbrella organization of French Jewry, the U.S. Reform Movement and others. There are also logs of various meetings and phone calls that Erdan’s chief of staff held with foreign leaders and diplomats, as well as meetings with settler leaders, including the heads of the Samaria Regional Council and the Hebron Hills Regional Council.

    Many of Erdan’s meetings in 2018 were devoted to establishing a public benefit corporation which at first was called Kella Shlomo but whose name was later changed to Concert. Its aim was to covertly advance “mass awareness activities” as part of “the struggle against the campaign to delegitimize” Israel globally. This corporation, which received 128 million shekels (about $36 million) in government funding and was to also collect 128 million shekels in private contributions, is not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

    In early 2018 Haaretz published the list of shareholders and directors in the company, which include former Strategic Affairs Ministry director general Yossi Kuperwasser; former UN ambassador Dore Gold, a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former UN ambassador Ron Prosor; businessman Micah Avni, whose father, Richard Lakin, was killed in a 2015 terror attack in Jerusalem; Amos Yadlin, who heads Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies; Miri Eisin, who served as the prime minister’s adviser on the foreign press during the Second Lebanon War; former National Security Council chief Yaakov Amidror; and Sagi Balasha, a former CEO of the Israeli-American Council.
    Demonstrators wear shirts reading “Boycott Israel” during a protest in Paris, Dec. 9, 2017.
    Demonstrators wear shirts reading “Boycott Israel” during a protest in Paris, Dec. 9, 2017. AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu

    According to a government resolution, the funding was granted to implement part of the ministry’s activities related to the fights against delegitimization and boycotts against the State of Israel. It says the company would raise the private portion of its financing for the initiative from philanthropic sources or pro-Israel organizations. A steering committee was to be appointed for the initiative to comprise representatives of the government and the other funding partners.
    Stay up to date: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email*

    According to a ministry document revealed by The Seventh Eye website, the organization was expected to carry out mass awareness activities and work to exploit the wisdom of crowds, “making new ideas accessible to decision-makers and donors in the Jewish world, and developing new tools to combat the delegitimization of Israel.”

    Elad Mann, Hatzlacha’s legal adviser, said, “Revealing the date books of senior and elected officials is crucial to understanding how the government system works and it has great value taken together with other details of information. This is how to monitor the government and its priorities or the actions it takes with more efficiency and transparency.”

    Erdan’s office said that he “met during this past term with heads of the security echelons to give them a survey of the ministry’s activities in the struggle against the delegitimization and boycott of Israel.”

    Josh Breiner contributed to this report.

  • Tension grows in Lebanon over refugees in #Beqaa

    Tension remains high on Monday in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, following the forced displacement of hundreds of Syrian refugees at the weekend.

    Local media reported the possibility that about 400 refugees, including many women and children, may be forcibly transferred to Syria, which is where they originally fled from the armed conflict that is still underway.

    The epicentre of the refugee tension in Lebanon is in #Deir al-Ahmar in the northern Beqaa Valley.

    Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, over a million Syrians have taken refuge in Lebanon, a country whose own population is less than four million.

    Lebanese authorities have recently intensified the dismantling of refugee camps and increased pressure on the refugee community.

    Lebanon did not sign the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, and since 2011 the country has considered the presence of “foreign guests” in its territory as a temporary situation.

    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2019/06/10/tension-grows-in-lebanon-over-refugees-in-beqaa_132742bf-f2d4-48a3-ad21-4b
    #réfugiés #réfugiés_syriens #Liban #asile #migrations #expulsions #renvois #retour_au_pays #camps_de_réfugiés #démantèlement

    • Thousands of Syrian refugees could be sent back, says Lebanese minister

      Gebran Bassil claims many refugees are not living in political fear, but stay for economic reasons.

      As many as three quarters of Syrian refugees in Lebanon could return to Syria because they face no fear of political persecution or threat to their security, Lebanon’s controversial foreign minister has said.

      Gebran Bassil also urged the UK to rethink how it was spending aid money on keeping 1.5 million refugees in Lebanon, where he said they were taking the jobs from the Lebanese, and undercutting wages.

      The UK has supplied as much as £500m to help house, feed and educate Syrian refugees in Lebanon since the start of the ciivl war in 2011.

      Bassil is the son in law of the president, Michel Aoun, and the leader of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement, the largest political party in the country’s parliament. Last week he faced allegations of racism that he denies after it was alleged he had implied that some refugees might be corrupt.

      In an interview with the Guardian, he said: “Most of the Syrians – much more than 75% – are no more in security and political fear, but are staying for economic reasons. We know more than 500,000 Syrians working in Lebanon. They are working every where in breach of our labour laws, and yet even though they break the law they are not being repatriated.

      “They are working in Lebanon, taking jobs from the Lebanese because they paid at cheaper rate because they have no taxes to pay and they are being assisted on top of the wages they are paid.”

      Aid agencies working with refugees have cited concerns over loss of property and conscription into the Syrian army and fear of reprisals as major reasons why they did not want to return home. The agencies have resisted Lebanese government efforts to tear down any semi-permanent structure put up by refugees.

      Bassil insisted it was not his government’s policy to try to force Syrians to return to their homeland.

      He added: “The British taxpayers are paying money for an unlimited period of time that is not being spent in the right direction. They should be paid to return to their country. As President Trump said, money spent on a refugee to go back to his country is much much less than to keep him out of his country.”

      He defended his country’s record of welcoming Syrian refugees. He said: “No one country did what Lebanon did. No one country is able to host 200 refugees per square kilometre, more than 40% of its population. Imagine here in Britain you are receiving 50 million people. That is the comparison.

      “Despite all that we have endured we never thought of forcing anyone to return. We are talking of a dignified and safe gradual return for people who are willing. That now applies to the majority of Syrians in Lebanon because now most of Syria is safe and most of those in Lebanon do not face any political or security obstacles for their return. They are staying because they are assisted to stay in the Lebanon, and if they go back to Syria they will lose that assistance. This is the main reason.”

      Bassil added: “They are receiving aid for every aspect of their lives they are receiving free education, shelter and healthcare. They are better covered on health than the Lebanese. They are afraid that once they leave, they will lose the assistance”.

      He said the number of movements across the border is 700,000 to 800,000 a month, and people who hold refugee cards go regularly to Syria and come back to Lebanon.

      “The tension is mounting internally. Our economy is really collapsing. How can you put your own economy on your feet when you carry this burden.”

      Bassil also denied that any of his remarks could be construed as racist, arguing every country puts its citizens first.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/15/thousands-of-syrian-refugees-could-be-sent-back-says-lebanese-minister

  • The #Houthis March South - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/79228

    However, the Houthi advance in the cities of central and southern Yemen is not only a result of own capability. Their advance has been aided by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s conflicting objectives and agendas, and their relationships with some of the groups backing the internationally recognized government. Notably, the coalition did not allow pro-government fighters to open up new fronts, such as in Qaniya (on the border between Bayda and Marib provinces) and in the Nihm district (northeast of Sanaa), which would have alleviated the pressure on forces in Bayda and Dalea. Instead, they only allowed some skirmishes in Saada province near the Saudi border.

    [...]

    Escalating tensions between the Yemeni government and Abu Dhabi also played a significant role in the Houthis’ military victories. The UAE apparently viewed the new parliament (which convened in Hadramout under the protection of Saudi troops), and its announcement of the National Alliance of Yemeni Political Forces, and the creation of the Southern National Coalition as a threat to its proxy forces—and even to the legitimacy of its intervention in #Yemen. In addition, several government ministers have recently been critical of the coalition’s actions. On May 5, Minister of Interior Ahmed al-Maysari (a member of the new SNC) described the Arab coalition as a partner in the war against the Houthi “revolutionaries,” but not a partner in administering liberated areas. Minister of Transportation Saleh al-Gabwani (likewise a top-ranking leader of the SNC) tweeted that the Arab coalition was refusing to grant permission to increase the number of flights from India to Yemen, even though all seats are being reserved by international organizations, saying, “What is left for us, coalition of brothers?”

  • If mayors ruled migration : Promises and gaps

    On 8th December 2018, two days before the UN Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, some 80 cities around the world convened in Marrakech for the 5th Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development. The cities signed a Mayors’ Declaration, identifying common priorities in the follow up and review process of the Global Compact. On that same occasion, a new initiative called the Mayors Migration Council was launched, to support cities’ engagement in international deliberations and policies concerning refugees and migrants. A couple of months afterwards, on February 9th, 2019, the mayors of the main Spanish and Italian cities launched an alliance to oppose the ‘closed harbours’ policy of the Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini and to denounce the incapacity of the EU to address the situation appropriately.

    These are just two recent examples that show how city policies and mobilisation on migration can resonate well beyond municipal and national walls. Can cities’ international mobilisation rescue states (and the EU) from their failure in dealing with migration issues? Cities’ enthusiasts like Benjamin Barber, founder of the Global Parliament of Mayors, have no doubts about the governance capacity of city networks (CN henceforth): ‘Mayors can rule the world because cities represent a level of governance sufficiently local to demand pragmatism and efficiency in problem solving but sufficiently networked to be able to fashion cooperative solutions to the interdependent challenges they face’. Pragmatism and cooperative interaction are presented as the key assets of mayors, cities and, by extension, city networks’ mode of governing global challenges. On the basis of – the still scarce – existing research on city global mobilisation on migration-related issues and of the preliminary results of the MinMUS Project, we can identify the promises and challenges of transnational city networks for the building of a new multilevel governance of international migration.

    Is local policy more pragmatic?

    The idea that local governments must deal with the situation ‘as it is’, therefore taking distance from abstract – and presumably ineffective – ideological recipes, has underpinned the development of research on local migration policy. However, evidence is contradictory and, especially in the US, studies seem to show that pragmatic attitudes and accommodative solutions are just as likely to occur as decisions aiming at excluding migrants or simply ignoring the issue altogether. What a ‘pragmatic solution’ is cannot be easily established a priori, but will depend on policymakers’ interests, perceptions, and definitions of the situation.

    Data collected by the Cities of Refuge project on 27 transnational city networks in Europe show that the most networked cities are leaning towards the centre-left, progressive-side of the political spectrum. And even if membership usually outlasts political shifts, this might not correspond to active participation, as pointed out by research in the field of climate change mitigation. Furthermore, according to Cities of Refuge, cities that adhere to international networks have an average population of 1.5 million, meaning that they are primarily large cities. However, as noted by OECD, while nearly two-thirds of migrants settle in metropolitan and densely populated regions, asylum seekers are more spread across urban-rural areas.

    Territorial dispersal of asylum seekers reflects evidence on reception policies collected by the CeasEVAL Project. To face the sense of pressure generated by increasing inflows since 2011, national governments in both federal/regional countries (Germany, Italy and Spain) and centralised ones (Finland, Luxemburg, Greece and Bulgaria), have redistributed asylum seekers all over their territory, including small municipalities in rural and mountains areas. Even though the reaction of local populations has not necessarily been negative, CeasEVAL points out a high level of heterogeneity in the type of accommodation and quality of services provided, as well as in opportunities for effective integration. Policy learning and exchange of best practices would probably be of great interest to these ‘new immigrant destinations’; however, they often do not have the financial, human and political resources required to participate in international network activities.

    Hence, the international arena is a highly selective one, which risks excluding those – especially small – cities that might be more in need of accessing knowledge and other – mainly financial – resources in order to deal effectively with the challenges of migration and asylum. Modes of inclusion will also depend on the goals of city networks, which are extremely diverse.

    Cities as key players in the multilevel governance of migration?

    City networks gather together on a voluntary basis local authorities in order to pursue perceived collective interests or purposes. They lack authoritative power, and therefore have to rely upon horizontal coordination and mutual cooperation to carry out and implement their initiatives. As such, city networks are organisations which aim at realising quintessential multilevel governance policy processes: on the vertical dimension, they interact with institutions operating at different – local, regional, national and supra-national – territorial scales; on the horizontal dimension city networks establish new relations between cities and with non-public actors mobilised at a city level.

    To assess these hypotheses, the MInMUS project (website) has carried out an in-depth analysis of four transnational networks on migration, i.e.: the Migration and Integration Working Group of Eurocities, the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR), the Intercultural Cities Programme (ICC) and Welcoming America. Results show that these networks: 1) pursue different agendas and 2) are engaged in different types of policymaking processes.

    Regarding agendas, ECCAR and ICC are focused on the promotion of a specific type of local policy, i.e. anti-discrimination and interculture respectively; Eurocities seeks to represent main cities vis-á-vis the European Commission, being involved primarily in lobbying activities; whereas Welcoming America is concerned with soliciting grassroots participation and community partnerships. As for policymaking processes, Welcoming America prioritizes relations with actors such as NGOs, CSOs and private business, whereas Eurocities is more focused on relations with the European Commission and national governments. A more balanced pattern of multilevel political dynamics can be discerned in the other two cases. In particular ICC, starting from 2016, has adopted an explicit multilevel governance approach aimed at promoting cooperation and coordination both on the vertical, i.e. between different levels of government, and on the horizontal, i.e. with non-public actors, dimensions of policy-making.

    Multilevel governance, far from being the essence of city networking initiatives, is only one possible mode of policymaking interactions and it is not even the most relevant one. City networks may well find it more convenient or appropriate to pursue other types of policy interactions, centred on a vertical dimension as in the case of Eurocities or on the horizontal dimension as in that of Welcoming America. Multilevel governance seems easier to pursue in the case of networks that are already established as multilevel organisations. This is the case of ECCAR, launched by Unesco in 2004, and of ICC, officially started in 2008 as a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Patterns of relations and modes of policymaking seem to reflect to a large extent the genesis of city networks and their distinctive policy agenda.

    Getting back to our initial question: Can cities’ international mobilisation rescue states (and the EU) from their failure in dealing with migration issues? While one cannot deny the key role played by cities in the managing of migration crises as well as in supporting integration and community cohesion more generally, city networks’ skewed membership that consists mainly of larger and politically progressive cities should make us cautious about their impact on improving migrants’ living conditions at a grassroots level. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the initiative of supranational institutions ‘from above’ has played a key role in favouring cities’ collaboration around specific policy issues such as interculture and anti-discrimination. Indeed, cities and their networks represent a new actor in the multilevel political dynamics around migration; yet whether and to what extent they will be effective in promoting collaborative multilevel governance relations and influencing national government and EU agendas on migration remains to be seen.

    https://blogs.eui.eu/migrationpolicycentre/mayors-ruled-migration-promises-gaps
    #municipalisme #migrations #villes #collectivités_locales #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gouvernance

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les #villes-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759145

    ping @karine4

  • ضابط إسرائيلي : قمنا باغتيال سمير القنطار في سوريا بمساعدة أحد قادة فصائل المعارضة السورية | رأي اليوم
    https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/%d8%b6%d8%a7%d8%a8%d8%b7-%d8%a5%d8%b3%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%a6%d9%8a%d9%84%d9%8a

    Un officier israélien à la retraite déclare sur une chaîne israélienne que l’assassinat de Samir Kountar, proche du Hezbollah, en 2015 à Damas a été rendu possible grâce à des informations d’un « membre de l’opposition syrienne »... On apprend aussi que des commandos israéliens se seraient infiltrés en Syrie en prétextant apporter des soins aux blessés syriens [de l’opposition on suppose].

    #syrie #israël

    • L’original du Jerusalem Post en anglais

      Mossad, Saudi intel officials get along well, says former chief - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post
      https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Mossad-Saudi-intel-officials-get-along-well-says-former-chief-590531

      “You can be an enemy when you are walking from the room, but when you are sitting together, you can share your experience, you can talk a lot, and you can deal with many obstacles,” he continued.

      Mossad and Saudi Arabian intelligence agents communicate well, the agency’s former chief indirectly revealed in an interview with Intelligence Matters podcast host and former CIA director Michael Morell Wednesday.

      Discussing the strength of cooperation between agents of different countries’ intelligence agencies, Tamir Pardo started rattling off many of the usual suspects with whom the Mossad cooperates, and then unexpectedly tossed in the Saudis.

      Before talking about the relationship between the CIA and Israel and the United States, even to speak to Arab countries that you don’t have any kind of relation, when you meet people from your profession, it’s so easy, okay?” Pardo said.

      You can be an enemy when you are walking from the room, but when you are sitting together, you can share your experience, you can talk a lot, and you can deal with many obstacles,” he continued.

      Finally, Pardo said that when intelligence agencies “are looking for certain qualities, and whether you’re serving in the CIA, the MI6, or one of any other country, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, you need the same people, the same qualities. So it’s quite easy… They can fight each other very well, but they can talk and communicate very well.

      In November and December 2017, there was a flurry of rare public confirmation of contacts between Israel and the Saudis by former IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot, minister Yuval Steinitz and then-CIA director Mike Pompeo.

      However, Pardo’s statement dated the Israeli-Saudi intelligence cooperation back to an earlier period, since he served as Mossad director from 2011 until March 2016.

      Furthermore, Pardo’s statement was a much more personal reflection about his dealings with intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia and other countries – implying that Mossad-Saudi dealings are often similar to dealings with traditional allied intelligence agencies.

      Besides cooperation, Pardo reflected on the current tensions between Iran, Israel and the US.

      Asked by Morell if Iran sought “the elimination of the State of Israel,” he replied: “Look, that’s what they are stating, okay? I think that they know that that’s an illusion. Maybe it’s good for their own propaganda, and it might serve us if we want to do a few things, but it’s – come on. When they are facing reality, they will never be able to do it. It doesn’t matter which kind of weapon they’re going to hold.

      The reason, he said, is “because I believe that we know how to defend ourselves. We showed it when we were a very young country, against, let’s say, combined forces from all Arab countries. Now we have peace with some of them, and quite good relations with others. So I think that maybe for them, it’s a dream, but it’s more an illusion than a dream.

      Despite Pardo’s confidence that Iran does not endanger Israel’s existence, he did warn of multiple threats from the Islamic Republic.

      One is the nuclear program,” said the former Mossad chief. “The other [is] their vision that they’re going to have a corridor between Tehran and the Mediterranean Sea. And the third thing is [to] be dominant in many other countries by supporting minorities like they’re doing in Yemen, like they did in South America, in certain places in Africa.

      Pardo also told Morell that cyberattacks pose a major concern.

      I believe it’s the biggest threat that the free world, our planet, is dealing with these days,” the spy chief said. “You can compare it to a nuclear threat that we used to see during the Cold War days.

  • The creation of preconditions for Croatia’s entry into #Schengen is visible in the both on the field and diplomacy - while the Croatian border police continues to prevent the entry of refugees into the country and does not restrain from using violent methods, Minister #Božinović received praises from Bavarian Minister of Interior, Sports and Integration, #Joachim_Herrman, on the work of Croatian #police and protection of Croatian Borders (http://hr.n1info.com/Vijesti/a401099/Bavarski-ministar-unutarnjih-poslova-pohvalio-hrvatsku-granicnu-policiju.). The border area of the European Union seems to have become a mirror in which politics sees only itself and those who “pat it on the back”, while they refuse to face with the reality.

    #route_des_balkans #Allemagne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Croatie #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #buffer_zone #Balkans

    Une manière de contrôler la #frontière_sud-alpine

    Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa dobrodosli, le 15.05.2019

    ping @isskein

    • Open Letter from U.S. and Global Sociologists in Support of Brazilian Sociology Departments

      On April 25th, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, along with his Minister of Education, Abraham Weintraub, declared the government’s intent to “decentralize investments in philosophy and sociology” within public universities, and to shift financial support to “areas that give immediate returns to taxpayers, such as veterinary science, engineering, and medicine.”

      As professors, lecturers, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and other scholars in sociology and related disciplines at colleges and universities in the United States and worldwide, we write to declare our unwavering support for continued funding for sociology programs at Brazilian universities. We oppose President Bolsonaro’s attempt to disinvest in sociology, or any other program in the humanities or social sciences.

      As historical and contemporary sociologists, we understand that the decades-long marketization of higher education has convinced many politicians - in Brazil, in the United States, and globally - that a university education is valuable only insofar as it is immediately profitable. We reject this premise.

      The purpose of higher education is not to produce “immediate returns” on investments. The purpose of higher education must always be to produce an educated, enriched society that benefits from the collective endeavor to create human knowledge. Higher education is a purpose in and of itself.

      An education in the full range of the arts and sciences is the cornerstone of a liberal arts education. This is as true in Brazil as it is in the United States as it is in any country in the world.

      Brazilian sociology departments produce socially engaged and critical thinkers, both in Brazil and worldwide. Brazilian sociologists contribute to the global production of sociological knowledge. They are our colleagues within the discipline and within our shared departments and institutions. When sociologists from abroad conduct research or other academic work in Brazil, we are welcomed by Brazilian sociologists and by their departments. Many of our own students receive world-class training in sociology at Brazilian universities.

      President Bolsonaro’s intent to defund sociology programs is an affront to the discipline, to the academy, and, most broadly, to the human pursuit of knowledge. This proposal is ill-conceived, and violates principles of academic freedom that ought to be integral to systems of higher education in Brazil, in the United States, and across the globe. We urge the Brazilian government to reconsider its proposition.

      https://sites.google.com/g.harvard.edu/brazil-solidarity

    • Brazilian Government To Defund Philosophy in Public Universities

      Jair M. Bolsonaro, the current president of Brazil, has announced on Twitter his plans to stop government funding of philosophy and sociology in the nation’s public universities.

      A rough translation is: “The Minister of Education, Abraham Weintraub, is studying how to decentralize investment in philosophy and sociology at universities. Students who have already enrolled will not be affected. The objective is to focus on areas that generate immediate return to the taxpayer, such as: veterinary, engineering, and medicine.”

      By way of explanation, he added:

      Again, roughly translated, this says: “The role of the Government is to respect the taxpayer’s money, teaching young people to read, write, and learn job skills that generates income for the person and well-being for the family, which improves the society around them.”

      Those with more knowledge of the situation are encouraged to share what they know in the comments here, or by email to dailynouseditor@gmail.com.

      http://dailynous.com/2019/04/26/brazilian-government-defund-philosophy-public-universities

    • Le post de Rodrigo (reçu par email de @isskein):

      Some friends have written to ask about the Brazilian government’s announcement of an attack on the humanities (http://tiny.cc/d10t5y) –– and, very kindly, how/whether that affected me personally. As I thought other people might be interested, here’s a couple of things.
      Secondary things first: the decision, whatever it is, does not affect me directly, as PUC-Rio is thankfully under the jurisdiction of a rather more stable authority, the Vatican. (Well, the Jesuits, technically –– and let me tell you, one really comes to appreciate the charms of actual warrior priests when faced with the Holy Crusade LARPers we currently have in power.) Indirectly, however, this decision, whatever it is, can have effects across the board.

      “Whatever it is” is the main thing at this point. There is no decision as such yet, and the announcement is quite vague, possibly because, not having much of a clue how the state machine works, they still don’t know how to implement it. “Decentralising funds” doesn’t really mean anything, and public universities have autonomy to employ their resources, so “defunding the humanities” is not something Brasília can decide like that. What this can mean in the long run, however, is two things. One is something that has already been happening for a while and was already expected to get worse: a substantial cut in research funding across the board, but especially for the humanities. This does have an impact on non-public universities as well, or at least the few like PUC that do research, since the vast majority of research in Brazil is publicly funded, particularly in the humanities. The other thing, which was also expected to some extent, is that the new chancellors the government will pick for federal universities will be politically and ideologically aligned with it, and will implement this policy.

      It is worth pointing out that, because of the notoriously perverse way HE recruitment works in Brazil, the humanities tend to be the courses of choice for the students who went to the worst schools (read poor, black, brown, indigenous), as they’re easier to get into. So defunding the humanities is indirectly also a policy of restricting access to HE, reverting the positive trend of expansion established in the last two decades. With the economic crisis, of course, that reversal had already begun.

      Now, as for the context. This government’s ideological core is not just anti-intellectual, but made up of wannabe alt-right ideologues, conspiracy nuts and a bunch of ressentis who managed to square their belief in free competition with their utter failure in life by constructing the fantasy of a communist-globalist plot against the(ir) world. Less charmingly, they are historical revisionists (regarding the dictatorship, the Nazis, slavery...) and climate denialists. It is therefore in their interest to eliminate anything that refers to a reality other than the one they have fabricated or deals with the development of critical tools for analysing evidence. This extends to the war they are already waging against the state departments that deal with the census, statistics and applied research. The more they can make the world inaccessible by either fact or interpretation, the freer they are from the resistance imposed by reality –– including from the very possibility of statistically assessing the impact that their actions will have.

      Why now, though? Bolsonaro is too divisive and politically inept, his programme potentially too harmful, to build a stable majority. It’s still unclear whether he can deliver a pension reform, which is essential to ensure the continuing support of big capital, and his popularity rates have taken a considerable fall since January, especially among the poor. (See: https://tinyurl.com/yyl2kff7). He knows, on the other hand, that his greatest asset is a very engaged core base of true believers. US friends will be familiar with this behaviour from Trump: whenever the boat rocks, he will throw his base a bait, and this is mostly what this announcement is.

      Unlike Trump, Bolsonaro doesn’t even have economic recovery going for him, so if things remain as they are, we should expect him to become more divisive, and his support to become more unstable (in every sense). But there’s another political rationale to this attack specifically. As more poor people were making it into university, especially in the humanities, the left was also losing most of its direct presence in the peripheries and favelas. This means that this layer of the university-educated poor, who have increasingly taken on a protagonist role, have become central to any future left strategy in the country. This was the background from which hailed Marielle Franco, an object of especially vicious hate for Bolsonarismo, and in relation to whose death they still have serious questions to answer (https://tinyurl.com/y3btg54d).

      If you’re worried and you’d like to help, stay tuned to this story, stay in touch with colleagues in Brazil or in your countries/institutions who are doing stuff on Brazil, keep an eye on the news and be ready to call out reporting in your countries that normalises the absurdity of so much that’s going on. It might be a tad premature right now, but motions from union branch and professional association motions might be in a good order at some point; every little bit helps. It is likely that there’ll be opportunities in the future for putting pressure on foreign governments to get them to put pressure on Brazil to curb the worst impulses of this government. Several measures announced in these early months were retracted once there was some pushback, so that does not seem a far-fetched possibility. In the meantime, you might consider circulating this manifesto by 600 scientists from all over the world demanding that the EU hold Brazilian trade to minimal indigenous rights and environmental standards: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6438/341.1. This is the kind of thing we’ll probably be seeing more of in the near future.

    • MEC bloqueia 30% do orçamento de três universidades federais; outras unidades também são atingidas

      Mãos de tesoura Entidades que monitoram o investimento no ensino superior detectaram novo bloqueio de verbas de instituições federais no fim de abril, após Abraham Weintraub assumir o Ministério da Educação. Cerca de R$ 230 milhões foram contingenciados.

      Mãos de tesoura 2 Várias unidades do país sofreram com o congelamento de valores previstos no orçamento de investimentos e outras despesas correntes, mas o volume da tesourada em três universidades chamou a atenção: a Federal da Bahia, a de Brasília e a Federal Fluminense.

      Mãos de tesoura 3 De acordo com números preliminares, o valor bloqueado nas três entidades corresponde a mais da metade do contingenciamento imposto a todas as universidades. Procurado, o MEC informou que UFBA, UnB e UFF tiveram 30% das dotações orçamentárias bloqueadas.

      Mãos de tesoura 4 Em nota, a pasta disse que “estuda os bloqueios de forma que nenhum programa seja prejudicado e que os recursos sejam utilizados da forma mais eficaz. O Programa de Assistência Estudantil não sofreu impacto em seu orçamento.”

      Verão passado Em 2018, a UFF foi palco de um rumoroso “ato contra o fascismo”, na reta final da eleição presidencial. Já a UnB foi palco recentemente de debates com Fernando Haddad (PT) e Guilherme Boulos (PSOL).

      https://outline.com/NwUD9a

    • British Philosophical Association Defends Philosophy in Brazil

      The Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association (BPA) has issued a statement responding to Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who last week proposed that federal funding for the study and teaching of philosophy and sociology be ended.


      The statement reads:
      The British Philosophical Association is highly alarmed by President Bolsonaro’s plans to remove funding from Philosophy and Sociology in Brazilian Universities. Such a move is not in Brazil’s interests – having well-funded, vibrant, internationally-connected philosophy and sociology departments is crucial to healthy universities and, by extension, to healthy societies. Philosophers, alongside colleagues in the humanities, arts and social sciences, have a crucial role in helping us to understand, question, invent and reinvent the communities, towns, cities, societies and economies in which we exist. They help us understand what is valuable and why. They help us understand the results and implications of the fruits of science and technology.

      The proposal to defund philosophy departments in Brazil is bad for philosophy as a worldwide discipline; philosophy directly benefits from the diversity of experiences of the people that contribute to it. Brazil has been home to generations of distinguished philosophy scholars: Paulo Freire, Oswaldo Chateaubriand, Newton da Costa, Walter Carnielli, Itala D’ottaviano, Vladimir Safatle, Ana Paula Cavalcanti Simioni to name but a few. Brazil’s philosophy departments attract visiting philosophers from all over the world to study alongside leading figures. Brazil’s universities have produced philosophers who have gone on to work at leading universities around the world; for example, Roberto Mangabeira Unger is Professor at Harvard Law School, and two of the three Editors-in-Chief of Synthese, one of the world’s top ranking philosophy journals, are Brazilian and trained at the University of Sao Paulo – Catarina Dutilh Novaes and Otavio Bueno.

      This move strikes a blow against academic freedom and freedom more broadly; while President Bolsonaro’s statements have been framed as an attempt to channel investment towards programmes of study which might provide shorter-term benefits to Brazil’s economy, the BPA note that authoritarian governments often attempt to silence philosophers and sociologists as a move to make it more difficult for people to express views critical of those in power. The British Philosophical Association calls on leaders around the world to urge President Bolsonaro to reconsider this move.

      http://dailynous.com/2019/05/01/british-philosophical-association-defends-philosophy-brazil

    • La direction du président Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) a bloqué les dernières heures de bourses d’études et de doctorat offertes par Capes (Coordination pour l’amélioration du personnel de l’enseignement supérieur).
      Selon les informations communiquées par les coordonnateurs de programme, les fonds inutilisés temporairement auraient été retirés du système d’agence de développement rattaché au ministère de l’Éducation.

      Les bourses ont été accordées à des étudiants ayant déjà défendu leur travail récemment et seraient destinées à des étudiants approuvés dans le cadre de processus de sélection terminés ou en cours.

      La coupure a pris les universités par surprise a touché non seulement les domaines de l’homme, mais la direction du ministre Abraham Weintraub a déclaré que ce n’était pas la priorité des investissements publics, mais également de la science.

      À l’Institute of Biosciences of USP, 38 bourses d’études ont été coupées - 17 masters, 19 doctorats et deux postdoctoraux.
      voir plus :

      https://www.tudosobreposgraduacao.com/post/gest%C3%A3o-bolsonaro-faz-corte-generalizado-em-bolsas-de-pes

  • #Niger, part 3 : Guns won’t win the war

    After an ambush killed four US special forces and five local soldiers in #Tongo_Tongo, a village in the northern part of the #Tillabéri region close to Niger’s border with Mali, Boubacar Diallo’s phone rang constantly.

    That was back in October 2017. Journalists from around the world were suddenly hunting for information on Aboubacar ‘petit’ Chapori, a lieutenant of #Islamic_State_in_the_Greater_Sahara, or #ISGS – the jihadist group that claimed the attack.

    Diallo, an activist who had been representing Fulani herders in peace negotiations with Tuareg rivals, had met Chapori years earlier. He was surprised by his rapid – and violent – ascent.

    But he was also concerned. While it was good that the brewing crisis in the remote Niger-Mali borderlands was receiving some belated attention, Diallo worried that the narrow focus on the jihadist threat – on presumed ISGS leaders Chapori, Dondou Cheffou, and Adnan Abou Walid Al Sahrawi – risked obscuring the real picture.

    Those concerns only grew later in 2017 when the G5 Sahel joint force was launched – the biggest military initiative to tackle jihadist violence in the region, building on France’s existing Operation Barkhane.

    Diallo argues that the military push by France and others is misconceived and “fanning the flames of conflict”. And he says the refusal to hold talks with powerful Tuareg militants in #Mali such as Iyad Ag Ghaly – leader of al-Qaeda-linked JNIM, or the Group for the support of Islam and Muslims – is bad news for the future of the region.

    Dialogue and development

    Niger Defence Minister Kalla Moutari dismissed criticism over the G5 Sahel joint force, speaking from his office in Niamey, in a street protected by police checkpoints and tyre killer barriers.

    More than $470 million has been pledged by global donors to the project, which was sponsored by France with the idea of coordinating the military efforts of Mauritania, Mali, #Burkina_Faso, Niger, and Chad to fight insurgencies in these countries.

    “It’s an enormous task to make armies collaborate, but we’re already conducting proximity patrols in border areas, out of the spotlight, and this works,” he said.

    According to Moutari, however, development opportunities are also paramount if a solution to the conflict is to be found.

    "Five years from now, the whole situation in the Sahel could explode.”

    He recalled a meeting in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, in early December 2018, during which donors pledged $2.7 billion for programmes in the Sahel. “We won’t win the war with guns, but by triggering dynamics of development in these areas,” the minister said.

    A European security advisor, who preferred not to be identified, was far more pessimistic as he sat in one of the many Lebanese cafés in the Plateau, the central Niamey district where Western diplomats cross paths with humanitarian workers and the city’s upper-class youth.

    The advisor, who had trained soldiers in Mali and Burkina Faso, said that too much emphasis remained on a military solution that he believed could not succeed.

    “In Niger, when new attacks happen at one border, they are suddenly labelled as jihadists and a military operation is launched; then another front opens right after… but we can’t militarise all borders,” the advisor said. If the approach doesn’t change, he warned, “in five years from now, the whole situation in the Sahel could explode.”

    Tensions over land

    In his home in east Niamey, Diallo came to a similar conclusion: labelling all these groups “jihadists” and targeting them militarily will only create further problems.

    To explain why, he related the long history of conflict between Tuaregs and Fulanis over grazing lands in north Tillabéri.

    The origins of the conflict, he said, date back to the 1970s, when Fulani cattle herders from Niger settled in the region of Gao, in Mali, in search of greener pastures. Tensions over access to land and wells escalated with the first Tuareg rebellions that hit both Mali and Niger in the early 1990s and led to an increased supply of weapons to Tuareg groups.

    While peace agreements were struck in both countries, Diallo recalled that 55 Fulani were killed by armed Tuareg men in one incident in Gao in 1997.

    After the massacre, some Fulani herders escaped back to Niger and created the North Tillabéri Self-Defence Militia, sparking a cycle of retaliation. More than 100 people were killed in fighting before reconciliation was finally agreed upon in 2011. The Nigerien Fulani militia dissolved and handed its arms to the Nigerien state.

    “But despite promises, our government abandoned these ex-fighters in the bush with nothing to do,” Diallo said. “In the meantime, a new Tuareg rebellion started in Mali in 2012.”

    The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (known as MUJAO, or MOJWA in English), created by Arab leaders in Mali in 2011, exploited the situation to recruit among Fulanis, who were afraid of violence by Tuareg militias. ISGS split from MUJAO in 2015, pledging obedience to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    Diallo believes dialogue is the only way out of today’s situation, which is deeply rooted in these old intercommunal rivalries. “I once met those Fulani fighters who are the manpower of MUJAO and now of ISGS, and they didn’t consider themselves as jihadists,” he said. “They just want to have money and weapons to defend themselves.”

    He said the French forces use Tuareg militias, such as GATIA (the Imghad Tuareg Self-Defence Group and Allies) and the MSA (Movement for the Salvation of Azawad), to patrol borderlands between Mali and Niger. Fulani civilians were killed during some of these patrols in Niger in mid-2018, further exacerbating tensions.

    According to a UN report, these militias were excluded from an end of the year operation by French forces in Niger, following government requests.

    ‘An opportunistic terrorism’

    If some kind of reconciliation is the only way out of the conflict in Tillabéri and the neighbouring Nigerien region of Tahoua, Mahamadou Abou Tarka is likely to be at the heart of the Niger government’s efforts.

    The Tuareg general leads the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace, a government agency launched following the successive Tuareg rebellions, to ensure peace deals are respected.

    “In north Tillabéri, jihadists hijacked Fulani’s grievances,” Abou Tarka, who reports directly to the president, said in his office in central Niamey. “It’s an opportunistic terrorism, and we need to find proper answers.”

    The Authority – whose main financial contributor is the European Union, followed by France, Switzerland, and Denmark – has launched projects to support some of the communities suffering from violence near the Malian border. “Water points, nurseries, and state services helped us establish a dialogue with local chiefs,” the general explained.

    “Fighters with jihadist groups are ready to give up their arms if incursions by Tuareg militias stop, emergency state measures are retired, and some of their colleagues released from prison.”

    Abou Tarka hailed the return to Niger from Mali of 200 Fulani fighters recruited by ISGS in autumn 2018 as the Authority’s biggest success to date. He said increased patrolling on the Malian side of the border by French forces and the Tuareg militias - Gatia and MSA - had put pressure on the Islamist fighters to return home and defect.

    The general said he doesn’t want to replicate the programme for former Boko Haram fighters from the separate insurgency that has long spread across Niger’s southern border with Nigeria – 230 of them are still in a rehabilitation centre in the Diffa region more than two years after the first defected.

    “In Tillabéri, I want things to be faster, so that ex-fighters reintegrate in the local community,” he said.

    Because these jihadist fighters didn’t attack civilians in Niger – only security forces – it makes the process easier than for ex-Boko Haram, who are often rejected by their own communities, the general said. The Fulani ex-fighters are often sent back to their villages, which are governed by local chiefs in regular contact with the Authority, he added.

    A member of the Nigerien security forces who was not authorised to speak publicly and requested anonymity said that since November 2018 some of these Fulani defectors have been assisting Nigerien security forces with border patrols.

    However, Amadou Moussa, another Fulani activist, dismissed Abou Tarka’s claims that hundreds of fighters had defected. Peace terms put forward by Fulani militants in northern Tillabéri hadn’t even been considered by the government, he said.

    “Fighters with jihadist groups are ready to give up their arms if incursions by Tuareg militias stop, emergency state measures are retired, and some of their colleagues released from prison,” Moussa said. The government, he added, has shown no real will to negotiate.

    Meanwhile, the unrest continues to spread, with the French embassy releasing new warnings for travellers in the border areas near Burkina Faso, where the first movements of Burkinabe refugees and displaced people were registered in March.

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/special-report/2019/04/15/niger-part-3-guns-conflict-militancy
    #foulani #ISIS #Etat_islamique #EI #Tuareg #terrorisme #anti-terrorisme #terres #conflit #armes #armement #North_Tillabéri_Self-Defence_Militia #MUJAO #MOJWA #Movement_for_Oneness_and_Jihad_in_West_Africa #Mauritanie #Tchad

    @reka : pour mettre à jour la carte sur l’Etat islamique ?
    https://visionscarto.net/djihadisme-international

  • Netanyahu’s Coalition May Help Stave Off Indictment - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/world/middleeast/netanyahus-coalition-may-help-stave-off-indictment.html

    Netanyahu protégé de la justice pour prix de son élection. Ca ne traîne pas !

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who emerged from this week’s election poised to win a fourth consecutive term, may benefit from an effort by his right-wing coalition to protect him from prosecution on possible corruption charges.

    At least one right-wing party expected to join his new governing coalition has been open about its goal of passing a law granting immunity to Israeli Parliament members, including prime ministers.

    Mr. Netanyahu, who worked on Wednesday to consolidate support for a new coalition, is on track to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, but also the first to be charged with a crime while in office.

    “If Netanyahu gains the public’s trust in the coming elections,” Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Union of Right Wing Parties, wrote on Twitter last month, “it will be imperative to enact a law that will prevent him standing trial.”

    Mr. Smotrich said parliamentary immunity was necessary to honor the people’s democratic choice and ensure smooth government. By Wednesday, his party was projected to win five seats in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament.

    An aide said on Wednesday that Mr. Smotrich was demanding the post of justice minister and another leader of his party wanted to be minister of education.

    #israel

  • Source: Discussions to find successor to Bashir play out as Sudanese president expected to step down ‘soon’ | MadaMasr

    https://madamirror10.appspot.com/madamasr.com/en/2019/04/08/feature/politics/source-discussions-to-find-successor-to-bashir-play-out-as-sud

    Omar al-Bashir will step down as president of Sudan “soon,” after more than three months of popular demonstrations that came to a head in recent days when protesters in the thousands staged a sit-in outside the national Armed Forces headquarters in Khartoum, according to a Sudanese military source.

    According to the military source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, the announcement that Bashir will step down is contingent on the military, National Congress Party, security sectors and Arab backers coming to an agreement on a successor. The source adds that this successor may be an interim president who will serve for several months until a president is elected.

    According to the source, this announcement is expected to come within the week.

    Hassan Ismail, the Sudanese minister of information, denied a report published by news outlets that Bashir was close to handing over power to the military.

    Protesters remain stationed outside the military headquarters in Khartoum — which also houses the National Intelligence and Security Service headquarters, Bashir’s official residence and the Defense Ministry — and the situation remains “very tense,” eyewitnesses tell Mada Masr. At dawn on Monday, security forces tried to disperse the sit-in by firing tear gas and live bullets into the air, but the military returned fire, pushing security forces back and allowing protesters to resume their demonstration.

    While the military source says that inner circles of the Sudanese state and international actors are narrowing in on a candidate, the opposition Freedom and Change Coalition announced Monday in a press conference the formation of a committee to engage in dialogue with the military about a transition plan, making it unclear who exactly will fill the vacuum in a post-Bashir landscape.

  • Les #gilets_jaunes vus de New York...

    Low Visibility

    Driving was already expensive in France when in January 2018 the government of President Emmanuel Macron imposed a tax that raised the price of diesel fuel by 7.6 centimes per liter and of gasoline by 3.8 centimes (about 9 and 4 cents, respectively); further increases were planned for January 2019. The taxes were an attempt to cut carbon emissions and honor the president’s lofty promise to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

    Priscillia Ludosky, then a thirty-two-year-old bank employee from the Seine-et-Marne department outside Paris, had no choice but to drive into the city for work every day, and the cost of her commute was mounting. “When you pay regularly for something, it really adds up fast, and the increase was enormous,” she told me recently. “There are lots of things I don’t like. But on that I pushed.” In late May 2018, she created a petition on Change.org entitled Pour une Baisse des Prix du Carburant à la Pompe! (For a reduction of fuel prices at the pump!)

    Over the summer Ludosky’s petition—which acknowledged the “entirely honorable” aim of reducing pollution while offering six alternative policy suggestions, including subsidizing electric cars and encouraging employers to allow remote work—got little attention. In the fall she tried again, convincing a radio host in Seine-et-Marne to interview her if the petition garnered 1,500 signatures. She posted that challenge on her Facebook page, and the signatures arrived in less than twenty-four hours. A local news site then shared the petition on its own Facebook page, and it went viral, eventually being signed by over 1.2 million people.

    Éric Drouet, a thirty-three-year-old truck driver and anti-Macron militant also from Seine-et-Marne, created a Facebook event for a nationwide blockade of roads on November 17 to protest the high fuel prices. Around the same time, a fifty-one-year-old self-employed hypnotherapist named Jacline Mouraud recorded herself addressing Macron for four minutes and thirty-eight seconds and posted the video on Facebook. “You have persecuted drivers since the day you took office,” she said. “This will continue for how long?” Mouraud’s invective was viewed over six million times, and the gilets jaunes—the yellow vests, named for the high-visibility vests that French drivers are required to keep in their cars and to wear in case of emergency—were born.

    Even in a country where protest is a cherished ritual of public life, the violence and vitriol of the gilets jaunes movement have stunned the government. Almost immediately it outgrew the issue of the carbon taxes and the financial burden on car-reliant French people outside major cities. In a series of Saturday demonstrations that began in mid-November and have continued for three months, a previously dormant anger has erupted. Demonstrators have beaten police officers, thrown acid in the faces of journalists, and threatened the lives of government officials. There has been violence on both sides, and the European Parliament has condemned French authorities for using “flash-ball guns” against protesters, maiming and even blinding more than a few in the crowds. But the gilets jaunes have a flair for cinematic destruction. In late November they damaged parts of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; in early January they commandeered a forklift and rammed through the heavy doors of the ministry of state—the only time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a sitting minister had to be evacuated from a government building.

    The gilets jaunes are more than a protest. This is a modern-day jacquerie, an emotional wildfire stoked in the provinces and directed against Paris and, most of all, the elite. French history since 1789 can be seen as a sequence of anti-elite movements, yet the gilets jaunes have no real precedent. Unlike the Paris Commune of 1871, this is a proletarian struggle devoid of utopian aspirations. Unlike the Poujadist movement of the mid-1950s—a confederation of shopkeepers likewise opposed to the “Americanization” of a “thieving and inhuman” state and similarly attracted to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—the gilets jaunes include shopkeepers seemingly content to destroy shop windows. There is an aspect of carnival here: a delight in the subversion of norms, a deliberate embrace of the grotesque.

    Many have said that the gilets jaunes are merely another “populist movement,” although the term is now so broad that it is nearly meaningless. Comparisons have been made to the Britain of Brexit, the United States of Donald Trump, and especially the Italy of Cinque Stelle. But the crucial difference is that the gilets jaunes are apolitical, and militantly so. They have no official platform, no leadership hierarchy, and no reliable communications. Everyone can speak for the movement, and yet no one can. When a small faction within it fielded a list of candidates for the upcoming European parliamentary elections in May, their sharpest opposition came from within: to many gilets jaunes, the ten who had put their names forward—among them a nurse, a truck driver, and an accountant—were traitors to the cause, having dared to replicate the elite that the rest of the movement disdains.

    Concessions from the government have had little effect. Under mounting pressure, Macron was forced to abandon the carbon tax planned for 2019 in a solemn televised address in mid-December. He also launched the so-called grand débat, a three-month tour of rural France designed to give him a better grasp of the concerns of ordinary people. In some of these sessions, Macron has endured more than six hours of bitter criticisms from angry provincial mayors. But these gestures have quelled neither the protests nor the anger of those who remain in the movement. Performance is the point. During the early “acts,” as the weekly demonstrations are known, members refused to meet with French prime minister Édouard Philippe, on the grounds that he would not allow the encounter to be televised, and that sentiment has persisted. Perhaps the most telling thing about the gilets jaunes is the vest they wear: a symbol of car ownership, but more fundamentally a material demand to be seen.

    Inequality in France is less extreme than in the United States and Britain, but it is increasing. Among wealthy Western countries, the postwar French state—l’État-providence—is something of a marvel. France’s health and education systems remain almost entirely free while ranking among the best in the world. In 2017 the country’s ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product was 46.2 percent, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—the highest redistribution level of any OECD country and a ratio that allows the state to fight poverty through a generous social protection system. Of that 46.2 percent, the French government allocated approximately 28 percent for social services.

    “The French social model is so integrated that it almost seems a natural, preexisting condition,” Alexis Spire, a sociologist of inequality at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, told me recently. A number of the gilets jaunes I met said that despite the taxes they pay, they do not feel they benefit from any social services, since they live far from urban centers. But anyone who has ever received housing assistance, a free prescription, or sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave has benefited from the social protection system. The effect of redistribution is often invisible.

    And yet the rich in France have gotten much richer. Between 1983 and 2015, the vast majority of incomes in France rose by less than one percent per year, while the richest one percent of the population saw their incomes rise by 100 percent after taxes. According to World Bank statistics, the richest 20 percent now earns nearly five times as much as the bottom 20 percent. This represents a stark shift from the Trente Glorieuses, France’s thirty-year economic boom after World War II. As the economist Thomas Piketty has pointed out, between 1950 and 1983, most French incomes rose steadily by approximately 4 percent per year; the nation’s top incomes rose by only one percent.

    What has become painfully visible, however, is the extent of the country’s geographical fractures. Paris has always been the undisputed center of politics, culture, and commerce, but France was once also a country that cherished and protected its vibrant provincial life. This was la France profonde, a clichéd but genuinely existing France of tranquil stone villages and local boulangeries with lines around the block on Sundays. “Douce France, cher pays de mon enfance,” goes the beloved song by the crooner Charles Trenet. “Mon village, au clocher aux maisons sages.” These days, the maisons sages are vacant, and the country boulangeries are closed.

    The story is familiar: the arrival of large multinational megastores on the outskirts of provincial French towns and cities has threatened, and in many cases asphyxiated, local businesses.1 In the once-bustling centers of towns like Avignon, Agen, Calais, and Périgueux, there is now an eerie quiet: windows are often boarded up, and fewer and fewer people are to be found. This is the world evoked with a melancholy beauty in Nicolas Mathieu’s novel Leurs enfants après eux, which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize, in 2018.

    The expansion since the 1980s of France’s high-speed rail network has meant that the country’s major cities are all well connected to Paris. But there are many small towns where the future never arrived, where abandoned nineteenth-century train stations are now merely places for teenagers to make out, monuments of the way things used to be. In these towns, cars are the only way people can get to work. I met a fifty-five-year-old truck and taxi driver named Marco Pavan in the Franche-Comté in late November. What he told me then—about how carbon taxes can seem like sneers from the Parisian elite—has stayed with me. “Ask a Parisian—for him none of this is an issue, because he doesn’t need a car,” Pavan said. “There’s no bus or train to take us anywhere. We have to have a car.” I cited that remark in a Washington Post story I filed from Besançon; in the online comments section, many attacked the movement for what they saw as a backward anti-environmentalism—missing his point.

    Few have written as extensively as the French geographer Christophe Guilluy on la France périphérique, a term he popularized that refers both to the people and the regions left behind by an increasingly globalized economy. Since 2010, when he published Fractures françaises, Guilluy has been investigating the myths and realities of what he calls “the trompe l’oeil of a peaceful, moderate, and consensual society.” He is one of a number of left-wing French intellectuals—among them the novelist Michel Houellebecq, the historian Georges Bensoussan, and the essayist Michel Onfray—who in recent years have argued that their beloved patrie has drifted into inexorable decline, a classic critique of the French right since 1789. But Guilluy’s decline narrative is different: he is not as concerned as the others with Islamist extremism or “decadence” broadly conceived. For him, France’s decline is structural, the result of having become a place where “the social question disappears.”

    Guilluy, born in Montreuil in 1964, is something of a rarity among well-known French intellectuals: he is a product of the Paris suburbs, not of France’s storied grandes écoles. And it is clear that much of his critique is personal. As a child, Guilluy, whose family then lived in the working-class Paris neighborhood of Belleville, was forcibly relocated for a brief period to the heavily immigrant suburb of La Courneuve when their building was slated to be demolished in the midst of Paris’s urban transformation. “I saw gentrification firsthand,” he told Le Figaro in 2017. “For the natives—the natives being just as much the white worker as the young immigrant—what provoked the most problems was not the arrival of Magrebis, but that of the bobos.”

    This has long been Guilluy’s battle cry, and he has focused his intellectual energy on attacking what he sees as the hypocrisy of the bobos, or bourgeois bohemians. His public debut was a short 2001 column in Libération applying that term, coined by the columnist David Brooks, to French social life. What was happening in major urban centers across the country, he wrote then, was a “ghettoization by the top of society” that excluded people like his own family.

    Guilluy crystallized that argument in a 2014 book that won him the ear of the Élysée Palace and regular appearances on French radio. This was La France périphérique: comment on a sacrifié les classes populaires, in which he contended that since the mid-1980s, France’s working classes have been pushed out of the major cities to rural communities—a situation that was a ticking time bomb—partly as a result of rising prices. He advanced that view further in 2016 with La Crépuscule de la France d’en haut—now translated into English as Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France—a pithy screed against France’s bobo elite and what he sees as its shameless embrace of a “neoliberal,” “Americanized society” and a hollow, feel-good creed of multicultural tolerance. In 2018, one month before the rise of the gilets jaunes, he published No Society, whose title comes from Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 comment that “there is no such thing as society.”

    In Guilluy’s view, an immigrant working class has taken the place of the “native” working class in the banlieues on the outskirts of major cities. This native class, he argues, has been scattered throughout the country and become an “unnoticed presence” that France’s elite has “made to disappear from public consciousness” in order to consolidate its grip on power. Cities are now the exclusive preserve of the elites and their servants, and what Guilluy means by “no society” is that the visible signs of class conflict in urban daily life have vanished. This is his trompe l’oeil: rich, insulated Parisians have convinced themselves that everything is fine, while those who might say otherwise are nowhere near. “The simmering discontent of rural France has never really been taken seriously,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites.

    Since November, much of the French press has declared that Guilluy essentially predicted the rise of the gilets jaunes. They seem, after all, a fulfillment of his prophecy about “the betrayal of the people” by the elites, even if he is always elusive about who exactly “the people” are. While critiques from the movement have remained a confused cloud of social media invective, Guilluy has served as its de facto interpreter.

    No Society puts into words what many in the gilets jaunes have either struggled or refused to articulate. This is the hazy middle ground between warning and threat: “The populist wave coursing through the western world is only the visible part of a soft power emanating from the working classes that will force the elites to rejoin the real movement of society or else to disappear.”

    For now, however, there is just one member of the elite whom the gilets jaunes wish would disappear, and calls for his violent overthrow continue even as the movement’s momentum subsides.

    An intense and deeply personal hatred of Macron is the only unifying cry among the gilets jaunes. Eighteen months before the uprising began, this was the man who captured the world’s imagination and who, after populist victories in Britain and the United States, had promised a French “Third Way.” Yet the Macronian romance is already over, both at home and abroad.

    To some extent, the French always turn against their presidents, but the anger Macron elicits is unique. This is less because of any particular policy than because of his demeanor and, most of all, his language. “Mr. Macron always refused to respond to us,” Muriel Gautherin, fifty-three, a podiatrist who lives in the Paris suburbs, told me at a December march on the Champs-Élysées. “It’s he who insults us, and he who should respond.” When I asked her what she found most distasteful about the French president, her answer was simple: “His words.”

    She has a point. Among Macron’s earliest actions as president was to shave five euros off the monthly stipends of France’s Aide personalisée au logement (APL), the country’s housing assistance program. Around the same time, he slashed France’s wealth tax on those with a net worth of at least €1.3 million—a holdover from the Mitterand era.

    Macron came to office with a record of unrelentingly insulting the poor. In 2014, when he was France’s economic minister, he responded to the firing of nine hundred employees (most of them women) from a Breton slaughterhouse by noting that some were “mostly illiterate.” In 2016 he was caught on camera in a heated dispute with a labor activist in the Hérault. When the activist gestured to Macron’s €1,600 suit as a symbol of his privilege, the minister said, “The best way to afford a suit is to work.” In 2018 he told a young, unemployed gardener that he could find a new job if he merely “crossed the street.”

    Yet nothing quite compares to the statement Macron made in inaugurating Station F, a startup incubator in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris, housed in a converted rail depot. It is a cavernous consulate for Silicon Valley, a soaring glass campus open to all those with “big ideas” who can also pay €195 a month for a desk and can fill out an application in fluent English. (“We won’t consider any other language,” the organization’s website says.) Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have offices in it, and in a city of terrible coffee, the espresso is predictably fabulous. In June 2017 Macron delivered a speech there. “A train station,” he said, referring to the structure’s origins, “it’s a place where we encounter those who are succeeding and those who are nothing.”

    This was the moment when a large percentage of the French public learned that in the eyes of their president, they had no value. “Ceux qui ne sont rien” is a phrase that has lingered and festered. To don the yellow vest is thus to declare not only that one has value but also that one exists.

    On the whole, the gilets jaunes are not the poorest members of French society, which is not surprising. As Tocqueville remarked, revolutions are fueled not by those who suffer the most, but by those whose economic status has been improving and who then experience a sudden and unexpected fall. So it seems with the gilets jaunes: most live above the poverty line but come from the precarious ranks of the lower middle class, a group that aspires to middle-class stability and seeks to secure it through palliative consumption: certain clothing brands, the latest iPhone, the newest television.

    In mid-December Le Monde profiled a young couple in the movement from Sens in north-central France, identified only as Arnaud and Jessica. Both twenty-six, they and their four children live in a housing project on the €2,700 per month that Arnaud earns as a truck driver, including more than €1,000 in government assistance. According to statistics from France’s Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insée), this income places them right at the poverty line for a family of this size, and possibly even slightly below it. But the expenses Arnaud and Jessica told Le Monde they struggled to pay included karate lessons for their oldest son and pet supplies for their dog. Jessica, who does not work, told Le Monde, “Children are so mean to each other if they wear lesser brands. I don’t want their friends to make fun of them.” She said she had traveled to Paris for gilet jaune protests on three separate weekends—journeys that presumably cost her money.

    Readers of Le Monde—many of them educated, affluent, and pro-Macron—were quick to attack Arnaud and Jessica. But the sniping missed their point, which was that they felt a seemingly inescapable sense of humiliation, fearing ridicule everywhere from the Élysée Palace to their children’s school. They were explaining something profound about the gilets jaunes: the degree to which the movement is fueled by unfulfilled expectations. For many demonstrators, life is simply not as they believed it would be, or as they feel they deserve. There is an aspect of entitlement to the gilets jaunes, who are also protesting what the French call déclassement, the increasing elusiveness of the middle-class dream in a society in which economic growth has not kept pace with population increase. This entitlement appears to have alienated the gilets jaunes from immigrants and people of color, who are largely absent from their ranks and whose condition is often materially worse.2 “It’s not people who don’t have hope anymore, who don’t have a place to live, or who don’t have a job,” Rokhaya Diallo, a French activist for racial equality, told me recently, describing the movement. “It’s just that status they’re trying to preserve.”

    The gilets jaunes have no substantive ideas: resentment does not an ideology make. They remain a combustible vacuum, and extremist agitators on the far right and the far left have sought to capitalize on their anger. Both Marine Le Pen of the recently renamed Rassemblement National and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the left-wing La France Insoumise have tried hard to channel the movement’s grassroots energy into their own political parties, but the gilets jaunes have so far resisted these entreaties. The gilets jaunes also found themselves at the center of a diplomatic spat: in early February Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, met with two of their members on the outskirts of Paris in a jab at Macron. Two days later, France withdrew its ambassador to Rome for the first time since 1940, but the gilets jaunes have not attempted to exploit this attention for their own political gain. Instead there was infighting—a Twitter war over who had the right to represent the cause abroad and who did not.

    The intellectual void at the heart of an amorphous movement can easily fill with the hatred of an “other.” That may already be happening to the gilets jaunes. Although a careful analysis by Le Monde concluded that race and immigration were not major concerns in the two hundred most frequently shared messages on gilet jaune Facebook pages between the beginning of the movement and January 22, a number of gilets jaunes have been recorded on camera making anti-Semitic gestures, insulting a Holocaust survivor on the Paris metro, and saying that journalists “work for the Jews.” Importantly, the gilets jaunes have never collectively denounced any of these anti-Semitic incidents—a silence perhaps inevitable for a movement that eschews organization of any kind. Likewise, a thorough study conducted by the Paris-based Fondation Jean Jaurès has shown the extent to which conspiracy theories are popular in the movement: 59 percent of those surveyed who had participated in a gilet jaune demonstration said they believed that France’s political elites were encouraging immigration in order to replace them, and 50 percent said they believed in a global “Zionist” conspiracy.

    Members of the movement are often quick to point out that the gilets jaunes are not motivated by identity politics, and yet anyone who has visited one of their demonstrations is confronted with an undeniable reality. Far too much attention has been paid to the symbolism of the yellow vests and far too little to the fact that the vast majority of those who wear them are lower-middle-class whites. In what is perhaps the most ethnically diverse society in Western Europe, can the gilets jaunes truly be said to represent “the people,” as the members of the movement often claim? Priscillia Ludosky, arguably the first gilet jaune, is a black woman. “It’s complicated, that question,” she told me. “I have no response.”

    The gilets jaunes are also distinctly a minority of the French population: in a country of 67 million, as many as 282,000 have demonstrated on a single day, and that figure has consistently fallen with each passing week, down to 41,500 during “Act 14” of the protest on February 16. On two different weekends in November and December, other marches in Paris—one for women’s rights, the other against climate change—drew far bigger crowds than the gilets jaunes did. But the concerns of this minority are treated as universal by politicians, the press, and even the movement’s sharpest critics. Especially after Trump and Brexit, lower-middle-class and working-class whites command public attention even when they have no clear message.

    French citizens of color have been protesting social inequality for years without receiving any such respect. In 2005 the killing of two minority youths by French police in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois ignited a string of violent uprisings against police brutality, but the government declared an official state of emergency instead of launching a grand débat. In 2009, the overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique saw a huge strike against the high cost of living—a forty-four-day uprising that also targeted fuel prices and demanded an increase to the minimum wage. In 2017 an almost identical protest occurred in French Guiana, another French overseas department, where residents demonstrated against household goods that were as much as 12 percent more expensive than they were in mainland France, despite a lower minimum wage. The French government was slow to respond in both of these instances, while the concerns of the gilets jaunes have resulted in a personal apology from the president and a slew of concessions.

    Guilluy, whose analysis of la France périphérique ultimately fails to grapple significantly with France’s decidedly peripheral overseas territories, does not shy away from the question of identity. He sees a racial element to the frustrations of la France périphérique, but he does not see this as a problem. Some of the most frustrating moments in his work come when he acknowledges but refuses to interrogate white working-class behavior that seems to be racially motivated. “Public housing in outlying communities is now a last resort for workers hoping to be able to go on living near the major cities,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites, describing the recent astronomic rise in France’s urban real estate prices. “These projects, mostly occupied by immigrant renters, are avoided by white French-born workers. Barring some utterly unforeseeable turn of events, their expulsion from the largest urban centers will be irreversible.” It would not diminish Guilluy’s broader point about la France périphérique if he acknowledged that victims of structural changes can also be intolerant.

    Guilluy also regularly recycles anxieties over immigration, often from controversial theorists such as Michèle Tribalat, who is associated with the idea of le grand remplacement, the alleged “great replacement” of France’s white population by immigrants from North and Sub-Saharan Africa. In making his case about “the demographic revolution in process,” Guilluy has been accused of inflating his statistics. France, he wrote in Fractures françaises, “welcomes a little less than 200,000 legal foreigners every year.” But these claims were attacked by Patrick Weil, a leading French historian of immigration, who noted in his book Le sens de la République (2015) that Guilluy failed to consider that a large number of those 200,000 are temporary workers, students who come and go, and others of “irregular” status. Guilluy has not responded to these criticisms, and in any case his rhetoric has since grown more radical. In No Society he writes, “Multiculturalism is, intrinsically, a feeble ideology that divides and weakens.”

    Whether the gilets jaunes will eventually come to agree with him is a crucial question. Like Guilluy, they are responding to real social conditions. But if, following Guilluy’s lead, they ultimately resort to the language of race and ethnicity to explain their suffering, they will have chosen to become a different movement altogether, one in which addressing inequality was never quite the point. In some ways, they have already crossed that line.

    On the afternoon of Saturday, February 16, the prominent French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut got out of a taxi on the Boulevard Montparnasse. A crowd of gilets jaunes noticed him and began hurling anti-Semitic insults. The scene, recorded on video, was chilling: in the center of Paris, under a cloudless sky, a mob of visibly angry men surrounded a man they knew to be Jewish, called him a “dirty Zionist,” and told him, “go back to Tel Aviv.”

    Finkielkraut’s parents were Polish refugees from the Holocaust. He was born in Paris in 1949 and has become a fixture in French cultural life, a prolific author, a host of a popular weekly broadcast on France Culture, and a member of the Académie Française, the country’s most elite literary institution. In the words of Macron, who immediately responded to the attack, he “is not only an eminent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic affords us all.” The irony is that Finkielkraut—another former leftist who believes that France has plunged into inexorable decline and ignored the dangers of multiculturalism—was one of the only Parisian intellectuals who had supported the gilets jaunes from the beginning.

    I spoke to Finkielkraut after the attack, and he explained that the gilets jaunes had seemed to him the evidence of something authentic. “I saw an invisible France, neglected and forgotten,” he said. “Wearing fluorescent yellow vests in order to be visible—of being a ‘somewhere’ as opposed to an ‘anywhere,’ as Goodhart has said—seemed to me an absolutely legitimate critique.” The British journalist David Goodhart, popular these days in French right-wing circles, is the author of The Road to Somewhere (2017), which sees populist anger as the inevitable response to the widening gulf between those “rooted” in a particular place and cosmopolitans at home anywhere. “France is not a ‘start-up nation,’” Finkielkraut told me. “It can’t be reduced to that.”

    Finkielkraut said that the attack was a sign that the reasonable critiques orginally made by the gilets jaunes had vanished, and that they had no real future. “I think the movement is in the process of degradation. It’s no longer a social movement but a sect that has closed in on itself, whose discourse is no longer rational.”

    Although the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into his attackers, Finkielkraut has not pressed charges. He told me that the episode, as violent as it was, did not necessarily suggest that all those who had worn yellow vests in recent months were anti-Semites or extremists. “Those who insulted me were not the nurses, the shopkeepers, or the small business owners,” he said, noting that he doubted he would have experienced the same prejudice at the roundabouts, the traffic circles across the country where gilets jaunes protesters gathered every Saturday. In a sense, these were the essence of the movement, which was an inchoate mobilization against many things, but perhaps none so much as loneliness. The roundabouts quickly became impromptu piazzas and a means, however small, of reclaiming a spirit of community that disappeared long ago in so many French towns and villages.

    In Paris, where the remaining gilets jaunes have now focused most of their energy, the weekly protests have become little more than a despicable theater filled with scenes like the attack on Finkielkraut. There is no convincing evidence that those still wearing yellow vests are troubled by the presence of bigotry in their ranks. What is more, many gilets jaunes now seem to believe that pointing out such prejudice is somehow to become part of a government-backed conspiracy to turn public opinion against them.

    Consider, for instance, a February 19 communiqué released in response to the attack on Finkielkraut from La France en Colère, one of the movement’s main online bulletins. “For many days, the government and its friends in the national media seem to have found a new technique for destabilizing public opinion and discrediting the Gilets Jaunes movement,” it begins. “We denounce the accusations and the manipulations put in place by this government adept at fake news.” But this is all the communiqué denounces; it does not address the anti-Semitic violence to which Finkielkraut was subjected, nor does it apologize to a national figure who had defended the movement when few others of his prominence dared to do the same.

    A month after our last conversation, I called Priscillia Ludosky back, to see if she had any reaction to the recent turn of events in the movement her petition had launched. She was only interested in discussing what she called the French government’s “systematic abuse to manipulate public opinion.” She also believes that a government-media conspiracy will stop at nothing to smear the cause. “If there was one person who ever said something homophobic, it was on the front page of every newspaper,” she told me.

    In the days after the attack, Finkielkraut lamented not so much the grim details of what had happened but the squandered potential of a moment that has increasingly descended into paranoid feverishness. As he told me: “This was a beautiful opportunity to reflect on who we are that’s been completely ruined.”

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/03/21/low-visibility-france-gilet-jaunes

  • Driven to suicide in Tunisia’s UNHCR refugee shelter

    Lack of adequate care and #frustration over absence of resettlement plans prompt attempted suicides, refugees say.

    Last Monday night, 16-year-old Nato* slit his wrists and was rushed to the local hospital in Medenine.

    He had decided to end his life in a refugee facility run by the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, in Medenine. After running for two years, escaping Eritrea and near-certain conscription into the country’s army, making it through Sudan, Egypt and Libya, he had reached Tunisia and despair.

    A few days later, Nato was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in #Sfax, 210km north of Medenine, where he was kept on lockdown and was frustrated that he was not able to communicate with anyone in the facility.

    Nato’s isn’t the only story of despair among refugees in Tunisia. A female refugee was taken to hospital after drinking bleach, while a 16-year-old unaccompanied young girl tried to escape over the borders to Libya, but was stopped at Ben Gardane.

    “I’m not surprised by what has happened to Nato,” a 16-year-old at the UNHCR facility told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity.

    “They just keep us here without providing any support and after we ... witnessed killings of our friends. We feel completely abandoned. We don’t feel secure and protected,” he said.

    The 30 to 35 unaccompanied minors living in UNHCR’s reception facility in Medenine share a room, spending their days remembering past images of violence and abuse.

    “I cannot get out of my mind the picture of my friend dying after they pointed a gun at his temple. He was sitting next to me. Sometimes at night, I cannot sleep,” the 16-year-old said.
    ’They’re trying to hide us here’

    The UNHCR facility in Medenine struggles to offer essential services to a growing number of arrivals.

    According to the information given to Al Jazeera, the asylum seekers and refugees have not received medical screenings or access to psychosocial support, nor were they informed clearly of their rights in Tunisia.

    “We feel they are trying to hide us here,” said Amin*. “How can we say we are safe if UNHCR is not protecting our basic rights? If we are here left without options, we will try to cross the sea.”

    Amin, 19, has no vision of what his life will be. He would like to continue his education or learn a new language but, since his arrival, he has only promises and hopes, no plans.

    The young people here find themselves having to take care of themselves and navigate the questions of what their future will be like, at times without even being able to reach out to their families back home for comfort.

    “My parents are in Eritrea and since more than a year, I was able to speak with them only for three minutes,” said Senait*, a 15-year-old boy from Eritrea.

    Aaron*, a 16-year-old boy who has been on the road for three years and three months, has not been able to call his relatives at all since his arrival in Tunisia.

    “Last time I have contacted them was in 2016 while I was in Sudan. I miss them so much,” he said.

    Last week, many of them participated in a peaceful demonstration, demanding medical care, support from the UNHCR and resettlement to third countries.

    Refugee lives in suspension

    Nato, as well as a number of refugee minors Al Jazeera spoke to, arrived in Tunisia over the Libyan border with the help of smugglers. The same is true for hundreds of refugees escaping Libya.

    Tunisia registered more than 1,000 refugees and 350 asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.

    But the country has neither the capacity nor the means to host refugees, and because it doesn’t have a coherent asylum system, the refugees find themselves living a largely suspended life.

    Officially, refugees are not allowed to work and, therefore, there is no formal system of protection for those that do work.

    Awate*, a 24-year-old man from Eritrea, had been working for nine days in a hotel in the seaside city of Zarzis when he was arrested and brought to a police station where he was interrogated for 30 minutes.

    “They told me ’why are you going to work without passport?’,” he said, adding that he has not worked since.

    The UNHCR in Tunisia is pushing alternatives, which include enhancing refugees’ self-reliance and livelihood opportunities.

    A month ago, a group of 32 people moved out of the reception centre with an offer of a monthly payment of 350 Tunisian dinars ($116) and help to find private accommodation. Among them, nine decided to go to the capital, Tunis. The plan is confirmed for three months, with no clarity on what happens next.

    Aklilu*, a 36-year-old former child soldier from Eritrea who took up the offer, is now renting a small apartment on the main road to Djerba for 250 Tunisian dinars ($83).

    “Why should I be forced to settle in a country that’s not ready to host refugees?” he said. “They are thinking of Tunisia as the final destination but there are no conditions for it. The UNHCR is not making any effort to integrate us. We don’t get any language courses or technical training.”


    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/driven-suicide-tunisia-unhcr-refugee-shelter-190319052430125.html
    #Tunisie #HCR #UNHCR #camps_de_réfugiés #suicide #réinstallation #limbe #attente #transit #trauma #traumatisme #santé_mentale #MNA #mineurs_non_accompagnés #migrations #asile #réfugiés
    ping @_kg_

  • Vienna museum cancels Palestine event with leader of South African anti-apartheid struggle
    March 21, 2019 / By Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
    https://bdsmovement.net/news/vienna-museum-cancels-palestine-event-leader-south-african-anti-aparthe
    https://bdsmovement.net/sites/default/files/Ronnie+3_0.png

    March 21, 2019 — A Vienna museum, Volkskundemuseum, has cancelled an event on Palestinian rights where former minister in Nelson Mandela’s government Ronnie Kasrils was scheduled to speak (Video by Ronnie Kasrils). Kasrils is a renowned South African anti-apartheid activist of Jewish descent, and his address was scheduled for the March 29 event as part of the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). Human rights advocates immediately condemned the cancellation, and called for the event to be reinstated.

    The museum caved to pressure from Austria’s Israel lobby. The cancellation comes amid Israel’s ongoing repression of the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Two IAW events scheduled in France this week were also canceled.

    More than 80 IAW events in 40 cities across Europe, North America and Palestine have been scheduled to date. With events still to be finalized in Asia, Africa and Latin America, IAW is expected to be held in more than 200 cities worldwide this year. (...)

    #BDS #censure #Ronnie_Kasrils

    • Trump’s Golan Heights Diplomatic Bombshell Was Bound to Drop. But Why Now?
      Anshel Pfeffer | Mar 21, 2019 9:18 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-trump-s-golan-heights-diplomatic-bombshell-was-bound-to-drop-but-w?

      Trump couldn’t wait until Netanyahu joined him in Washington on Monday, and his calculated move right before the election could cause Israel damage

      Since no one is any longer even trying to pretend that Donald Trump isn’t intervening in Israel’s elections on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s behalf, the only question left to ask following the U.S. president’s announcement on Twitter that “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” is on the timing.

      Why now? Since Netanyahu is flying to Washington next week anyway, surely it would have made more sense for Trump to make the announcement standing by his side in the White House.

      You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to speculate, that given the extremely intimate level of coordination between Trump and Netanyahu’s teams, the timing is no coincidence. For a possible reason why Trump didn’t wait for Netanyahu to arrive in Washington before lobbing his diplomatic bombshell, check out Netanyahu’s pale and worried features at the press conference on Wednesday where he stated that Iran has obtained embarrassing material from Benny Gantz’s phone.

      Netanyahu is petrified that the new revelations on his trading in shares in his cousin’s company, which netted him $4.3 million and may have a connection with the company’s dealings with the German shipyard from which Israel purchases it submarines, could dominate the last stage of the election campaign. That’s why he so blatantly abused his position as the minister in charge of Israel’s intelligence services, to claim he knew what Iran had on Gantz. He desperately needs to grab back the news agenda.

      But the Gantz phone-hacking story, which leaked to the media last Thursday evening, has proven a damp squib. There is no credible evidence, except for the word of a panicking prime minister, that whoever hacked his phone, even assuming it was the Iranians, have anything to blackmail Gantz with. So the next best thing is to get a friend with 59 million followers on Twitter to create a distraction. Conveniently, this happened just before the agenda-setting primetime news shows on Israeli television.

      And how useful that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently in Israel anyway and has just visited the Western Wall, accompanied by Netanyahu – another diplomatic first as previously senior U.S. officials, including Trump during his visit in 2017, refrained from doing so together with Israeli politicians, to avoid the impression that they were prejudging the final status of eastern Jerusalem.

      A recognition of Israeli sovereignty on the Golan is also the perfect political gesture as far as Netanyahu is concerned. The Golan isn’t the West Bank, and certainly not Gaza. There is near-complete consensus among Israelis today that under no circumstances should Israel relinquish its control over the strategic Heights. Certainly not following eight years of war within Syria, during which Iran and Hezbollah have entrenched their presence on Israel’s northern border. Netanyahu’s political rivals have absolutely no choice but to praise Trump for helping the Likud campaign, anything else would be unpatriotic.

      They can’t even point out the basic fact that Trump’s gesture is empty. Just as his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was. It won’t change the status of the Golan in international law and with the exception of a few client-states in Latin America, no other country is going to follow suit. It could actually cause Israel diplomatic damage by focusing international attention on the Golan, when there was absolutely no pressure on Israel to end its 51-year presence there anyway. Trump’s tweet does no obligate the next president and a reversal by a future U.S. administration would do more damage to Israel than the good that would come from Trump’s recognition.

      But none of that matters when all Netanyahu is fighting for is his political survival and possibly his very freedom, and he will use every possible advantage he can muster.

      In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Law, unilaterally extending its sovereignty over the Golan. A furious President Ronald Reagan responded by suspending the strategic alliance memorandum that had just been signed between the U.S. and Israel. The no less furious Prime Minister Menachem Begin hit back, shouting at the U.S. Ambassador Sam Lewis, “are we a vassal state? Are we a banana republic? Are we fourteen-year-old boys that have to have our knuckles slapped if we misbehave?”

      In 2019, the U.S. is treating Israel as a vassal state and a banana republic by flagrantly interfering in its election. This time the Israeli prime minister won’t be complaining.

    • Israël demande la reconnaissance de l’annexion du Golan suite à la découverte de pétrole | Jonathan…
      https://seenthis.net/messages/430645

      Israel steps up oil drilling in Golan | The Electronic Intifada
      https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/israel-steps-oil-drilling-golan

      The members of the strategic advisory board of Afek’s parent company include Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Larry Summers, the former secretary of the US treasury.

    • Plateau du Golan-Damas condamne les propos « irresponsables » de Trump
      22 mars 2019 Par Agence Reuters
      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/220319/plateau-du-golan-damas-condamne-les-propos-irresponsables-de-trump
      Le gouvernement syrien a condamné vendredi les propos du président américain Donald Trump, lequel a déclaré que l’heure était venue pour les Etats-Unis de reconnaître la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan.

      BEYROUTH (Reuters) - Le gouvernement syrien a condamné vendredi les propos du président américain Donald Trump, lequel a déclaré que l’heure était venue pour les Etats-Unis de reconnaître la souveraineté d’Israël sur le plateau du Golan.

      Dans un communiqué publié par l’agence de presse officielle Sana, une source au ministère syrien des Affaires étrangères estime que la déclaration de Trump illustre le « soutien aveugle des Etats-Unis » à Israël et ajoute que Damas est déterminé à récupérer le plateau du Golan par « tous les moyens possibles ».

      Les déclarations de Donald Trump ne changent rien à « la réalité que le Golan est et restera syrien », ajoute cette source, estimant qu’elles reflètent une violation flagrante de résolutions du Conseil de sécurité de l’Onu.

      A Moscou, également, la porte-parole du ministère russe des Affaires étrangères, citée par l’agence de presse RIA, a déclaré que tout changement de statut du Golan représenterait une violation flagrante des décisions des Nations unies sur cette question.

    • Point de presse du 22 mars 2019
      https://basedoc.diplomatie.gouv.fr/vues/Kiosque/FranceDiplomatie/kiosque.php?type=ppfr
      1. Golan
      Q - Sur le Golan, le président américain Donald Trump vient d’annoncer que le temps est venu de reconnaître la souveraineté israélienne sur les Hauteurs du Golan, « qui est d’une importance stratégique et sécuritaire décisive pour l’Etat d’Israël et pour la stabilité régionale ». Cette analyse a-t-elle un sens, et une telle reconnaissance, venant après la négation américaine d’une paix négociée concernant le statut de Jérusalem, va-t-elle déclencher une réaction diplomatique française au nom de la seule France, de la France à l’UE, et de la France à l’ONU ?

      R - Le Golan est un territoire occupé par Israël depuis 1967. La France ne reconnaît pas l’annexion israélienne de 1981. Cette situation a été reconnue comme nulle et non avenue par plusieurs résolutions du Conseil de sécurité, en particulier la résolution 497 du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies.

      La reconnaissance de la souveraineté israélienne sur le Golan, territoire occupé, serait contraire au droit international, en particulier l’obligation pour les Etats de ne pas reconnaître une situation illégale.

  • UN envoy fears ’new crisis’ for Rohingya Muslims if moved to remote Bangladesh island

    A United Nations human rights investigator on #Myanmar has voiced deep concern at Bangladesh’s plan to relocate 23,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island, saying it may not be habitable and could create a “new crisis”.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-12/un-envoy-fears-new-crisis-for-rohingya-muslims/10890932
    #réfugiés #îles #île #Bangladesh #rohingya #réfugiés_rohingya #asile #migrations #Birmanie

    • Polly Pallister-Wilkins signale sur twitter (https://twitter.com/PollyWilkins/status/1105366496291753984) le lien à faire avec le concept de #penal_humanitarianism (#humanitarisme_pénal)

      Introducing the New Themed Series on Penal Humanitarianism

      Humanitarianism is many things to many people. It is an ethos, an array of sentiments and moral principles, an imperative to intervene, and a way of ‘doing good’ by bettering the human condition through targeting suffering. It is also a form of governance. In Border Criminologies’ new themed series, we look closer at the intersections of humanitarian reason with penal governance, and particularly the transfer of penal power beyond the nation state.

      The study of humanitarian sentiments in criminology has mainly focused on how these sensibilities have ‘humanized’ or ‘civilized’ punishment. As such, the notion of humanism in the study of crime, punishment, and justice is associated with human rights implementation in penal practices and with normative bulwark against penal populism; indeed, with a ‘softening’ of penal power.

      This themed series takes a slightly different approach. While non-punitive forces have a major place in the humanitarian sensibility, we explore how humanitarianism is put to work on and for penal power. In doing so, we look at how muscular forms of power – expulsion, punishment, war – are justified and extended through the invocation of humanitarian reason.

      In the following post, Mary Bosworth revisits themes from her 2017 article and addresses current developments on UK programmes delivered overseas to ‘manage migration’. She shows that through an expansion of these programmes, migration management and crime governance has not only elided, but ‘criminal justice investment appears to have become a humanitarian goal in its own right’. Similarly concerned with what happens at the border, Katja Franko and Helene O.I. Gundhus observed the paradox and contradictions between humanitarian ideals in the performative work of governmental discourses, and the lack of concern for migrants’ vulnerability in their article on Frontex operations.

      However, in their blog post they caution against a one-dimensional understanding of humanitarianism as legitimizing policy and the status quo. It may cloud from view agency and resistance in practice, and, they argue, ‘the dialectics of change arising from the moral discomfort of doing border work’. The critical, difficult question lurking beneath their post asks what language is left if not that of the sanctity of the human, and of humanity.

      Moving outside the European territorial border, Eva Magdalena Stambøl however corroborates the observation that penal power takes on a humanitarian rationale when it travels. Sharing with us some fascinating findings from her current PhD work on EU’s crime control in West Africa, and, more specifically, observations from her fieldwork in Niger, she addresses how the rationale behind the EU’s fight against ‘migrant smugglers’ in Niger is framed as a humanitarian obligation. In the process, however, the EU projects penal power beyond Europe and consolidates power in the ‘host’ state, in this case, Niger.

      Moving beyond nation-state borders and into the ‘international’, ‘global’, and ‘cosmopolitan’, my own research demonstrates how the power to punish is particularly driven by humanitarian reason when punishment is delinked from its association with the national altogether. I delve into the field of international criminal justice and show how it is animated by a humanitarian impetus to ‘do something’ about the suffering of distant others, and how, in particular, the human rights movement have been central to the fight against impunity for international crimes. Through the articulation of moral outrage, humanitarian sensibilities have found their expression in a call for criminal punishment to end impunity for violence against distant others. However, building on an ethnographic study of international criminal justice, which is forthcoming in the Clarendon Studies in Criminology published by Oxford University Press, I demonstrate how penal power remains deeply embedded in structural relations of (global) power, and that it functions to expand and consolidate these global inequalities further. Removed from the checks and balances of democratic institutions, I suggest that penal policies may be more reliant on categorical representations of good and evil, civilization and barbarity, humanity and inhumanity, as such representational dichotomies seem particularly apt to delineate the boundaries of cosmopolitan society.

      In the next post I co-wrote with Anette Bringedal Houge, we address the fight against sexual violence in conflict as penal humanitarianism par excellence, building on our study published in Law & Society Review. While attention towards conflict-related sexual violence is critically important, we take issue with the overwhelming dominance of criminal law solutions on academic, policy, and activist agendas, as the fight against conflict-related sexual violence has become the fight against impunity. We observe that the combination of a victim-oriented justification for international justice and graphic reproductions of the violence victims suffer, are central in the advocacy and policy fields responding to this particular type of violence. Indeed, we hold that it epitomizes how humanitarianism facilitates the expansion of penal power but take issue with what it means for how we address this type of violence.

      In the final post of this series, Teresa Degenhardt offers a discomforting view on the dark side of virtue as she reflects on how penal power is reassembled outside the state and within the international, under the aegis of human rights, humanitarianism, and the Responsibility to Protect-doctrine. Through the case of Libya, she claims that the global north, through various international interventions, ‘established its jurisdiction over local events’. Through what she calls a ‘pedagogy of liberal institutions’, Degenhardt argues that ‘the global north shaped governance through sovereign structures at the local level while re-articulating sovereign power at the global level’, in an argument that, albeit on a different scale, parallels that of Stambøl.

      The posts in this themed series raise difficult questions about the nature of penal power, humanitarianism, and the state. Through these diverse examples, each post demonstrates that while the nation state continues to operate as an essential territorial site of punishment, the power to punish has become increasingly complex. This challenges the epistemological privilege of the nation state framework in the study of punishment.

      However, while this thematic series focuses on how penal power travels through humanitarianism, we should, as Franko and Gundhus indicate, be careful of dismissing humanitarian sensibilities and logics as fraudulent rhetoric for a will to power. Indeed, we might – or perhaps should – proceed differently, given that in these times of pushback against international liberalism and human rights, and resurgent religion and nationalism, humanitarian reason is losing traction. Following an unmasking of humanitarianism as a logic of governance by both critical (leftist) scholars and rightwing populism alike, perhaps there is a need to revisit the potency of humanitarianism as normative bulwark against muscular power, and to carve out the boundaries of a humanitarian space of resistance, solidarity and dignity within a criminology of humanitarianism. Such a task can only be done through empirical and meticulous analysis of the uses and abuses of humanitarianism as an ethics of care.

      https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2019/03/introducing-new

    • Most Rohingya refugees refuse to go to #Bhasan_Char island – Xchange survey

      Nearly all Rohingya refugees asked about relocating to a silt island in the Bay of Bengal refused to go, a new survey reveals.

      According to a new report published by the migration research and data analysis outfit Xchange Foundation, the vast majority of their respondents (98.4%) ‘categorically refused’ to go to Bhasan Char, while 98.7% of respondents were aware of the plan.

      From the over 1,000 respondents who expressed their opinion, concerns were raised about their safety, security and placement in a location further from Myanmar.

      Decades long limbo

      The findings obtained by the recent Xchange Foundation Report entitled ‘WE DO NOT BELIEVE MYANMAR!,’ chart the protracted living conditions and uncertain future of almost three quarters of a million recent Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. Accumulated together with previous generations of Rohingya, there are approximately 1.2m living across over a dozen camps in the region.

      This is the sixth survey carried out by the Xchange Foundation on the experiences and conditions facing Rohingya refugees.

      The region has been host to Rohingya refugees for just over the last three decades with the recent crackdown and massacre by the Myanmar military in August 2017 forcing whole families and communities to flee westward to Bangladesh.

      While discussions between the Bangladeshi and Myanmar government over the repatriation of recent Rohingya refugees have been plagued by inertia and lukewarm commitment, the Bangladeshi government has been planning on relocating over 100,000 Rohingya refugees to the silt island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal. This process was expected to take place in the middle of April, according to a Bangladeshi government minister.

      State Minister for Disaster and Relief Management Md Enamur Rahman, told the Dhaka Tribune ‘Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed last week to complete the relocation 23,000 Rohingya families to Bhashan Char by Apr 15.’

      Is it safe?

      Numerous humanitarian organisations including Human Rights Watch, have expressed their concerns over the government’s proposals, saying there are few assurances that Rohingya refugees will be safe or their access to free movement, health, education and employment will be secured.

      HRW reported in March that the Bangladeshi authorities had issued assurances that there wouldn’t be forcible relocation but that the move was designed to relieve pressure on the refugee camps and settlements across Cox’s Bazar.

      The move would see the relocation of 23,000 Rohingya families to a specially constructed complex of 1,440 housing blocks, equipped with flood and cyclone shelter and flood walls. The project is estimated to have cost the Bangladeshi government over €250 million.

      To prepare the island, joint efforts of British engineering and environmental hydraulics company HR Wallingford and the Chinese construction company Sinohydro, have been responsible for the construction of a 13km flood embankment which encircles the island.

      When asked by the Xchange survey team one Male Rohingya of 28 years old said, ‘We saw videos of Bhasan Char; it’s not a safe place and also during the raining season it floods.’ An older female of 42 said, ‘I’m afraid to go to Bhasan Char, because I think there is a risk to my life and my children.’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM8wlvLddnw

      Threat of flooding

      Bhasan Char or ‘Thengar Char,’ didn’t exist 20 years ago.

      The island is understood to have formed through gradual silt deposits forming a island around 30km from the Bangladeshi mainland. Until now, human activity on the island has been very minimal with it being largely used for cattle and only reachable by a 3.5 hour boat trip.

      But, the island is subject to the tides. It is reported that the island loses around 5,000 square acres of its territory from low to high tide (15,000 – 10,000 acres (54 square kilometres) respectively).

      This is worsened by the threat of the monsoon and cyclone season which according to HRW’s testimony can result in parts of the island eroding. This is recorded as being around one kilometre a year, ABC News reports.

      Golam Mahabub Sarwar of the Bangladeshi Ministry of Land, says that a high tide during a strong cyclone could completely flood the island. This is exemplifed by the 6 metre tidal range which is seen on fellow islands.

      New crisis

      The UN Envoy Yanghee Lee has warned that the Bangladesh government goes through with the relocation, it could risk creating a ‘new crisis’.

      Lee warned that she was uncertain of the island was ‘truly habitable’ for the over 23,000 families expected to live there.

      The Special Rapporteur to Myanmar made the comments to the Human Rights Council in March, saying that if the relocations were made without consent from the people it would affect, it had, ‘potential to create a new crisis.’

      She stressed that before refugees are relocated, the United Nations, ‘must be allowed to conduct a full technical and humanitarian assessment’ as well as allowing the beneficiary communities to visit and decide if it is right for them.

      https://www.newsbook.com.mt/artikli/2019/05/07/most-rohingya-refugees-refuse-to-go-to-bhasan-char-island-xchange-survey/?lang=en

    • Rohingya Refugees to Move to Flood-Prone Bangladesh Island

      Thousands of Rohingya living in Bangladesh refugee camps have agreed to move to an island in the #Bay_of_Bengal, officials said Sunday, despite fears the site is prone to flooding.

      Dhaka has long wanted to move 100,000 refugees to the muddy silt islet, saying it would take pressure off the overcrowded border camps where almost a million Rohingya live.

      Some 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 in the face of a military crackdown, joining 200,000 refugees already in makeshift tent settlements at Cox’s Bazar.

      Relocations begin soon

      Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner, Mahbub Alam, said officials overseeing the relocation would be posted to #Bhashan_Char_island in the next few days.

      Approximately 6,000-7,000 refugees have expressed their willingness to be relocated to Bhashan Char, Alam told AFP from Cox’s Bazar, adding that “the number is rising.”

      He did not say when the refugees would be moved, but a senior Navy officer involved in building facilities on the island said it could start by December, with some 500 refugees sent daily.

      Bangladesh had been planning since last year to relocate Rohingya to the desolate flood-prone site, which is an hour by boat from the mainland.

      Rights groups have warned the island, which emerged from the sea only about two decades ago, might not be able to withstand violent storms during the annual monsoon season.

      In the past half-century, powerful cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the Meghna river estuary where the island is located.

      Rohingya leaders would be taken to Bhashan Char to view the facilities and living conditions, Alam said.

      Safety facilities built on the island include a 9-feet (3 meter) high embankment along its perimeter to keep out tidal surges during cyclones, and a warehouse to store months’ worth of rations, he added.

      Overcrowding in camp

      Rohingya father-of-four Nur Hossain, 50, said he and his family agreed to relocate to #Bhashan_Char after they were shown video footage of the shelters.

      “I have agreed to go. The camp here (at Leda) is very overcrowded. There are food and housing problems,” the 50-year-old told AFP.

      There was no immediate comment from the U.N., although Bangladeshi officials said they expect a delegation would visit the island in the next few weeks.

      https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/rohingya-refugees-move-flood-prone-bangladesh-island

    • Bangladesh : des réfugiés rohingyas acceptent de partir sur une île

      Des milliers de Rohingyas vivant dans des camps de réfugiés au Bangladesh ont accepté de partir pour une île isolée du golfe du Bengale, ont annoncé dimanche les autorités, en dépit des risques d’inondations.

      Dacca a depuis longtemps fait part de son intention de transférer 100.000 réfugiés musulmans rohingyas des camps de réfugiés surpeuplés, près de la frontière birmane, vers un îlot de vase boueux et isolé du golfe du Bengale.

      Le gouvernement du Bangladesh y voit une solution pour résoudre le problème des camps de réfugiés surpeuplés où vivent près d’un million de Rohingyas.

      Environ 740.000 Rohingyas ont fui la Birmanie pour le Bangladesh en 2017 pour échapper à une répression militaire massive. Ils ont rejoint les quelque 200.000 réfugiés vivant déjà dans le district bangladais frontalier de Cox’s Bazar (sud-est).

      Le commissaire bangladais aux réfugiés, Mahbub Alam, a indiqué que des fonctionnaires seront détachés, dans les prochains jours, afin de superviser cette installation.

      « Environ 6.000 à 7.000 réfugiés ont déjà exprimé leur volonté d’être réinstallés à Bhashan Char », a déclaré Alam à l’AFP depuis Cox’s Bazar, affirmant que « leur nombre est en augmentation ».

      Il n’a cependant pas donné de chiffres sur le nombre de réfugiés qui seront ainsi déplacés.

      Selon un officier supérieur de la marine qui participe à la construction d’installations sur l’île, cette opération pourrait débuter en décembre et environ 500 réfugiés seraient envoyés quotidiennement sur cette île située à une heure de bateau de la terre ferme la plus proche.

      Des groupes de défense des droits affirment que Bhashan Char est susceptible d’être submergée lors des moussons.

      Au cours des cinquante dernières années, de puissants cyclones ont fait des centaines de milliers de morts dans l’estuaire de la rivière Meghna, où l’île se situe.

      Des responsables rohingyas seront conduits à Bhashan Char afin d’y découvrir les installations et leurs conditions de vie, a affirmé M. Alam.

      Des responsables locaux ont assuré qu’une digue de trois mètres a été construite autour de l’île pour la protéger de la montée des eaux en cas de cyclone.

      Nur Hossain, un réfugié rohingya, père de quatre enfants, a déclaré que sa famille et lui ont accepté de partir pour Bhashan Char après avoir vu des images vidéo des abris.

      « Le camp ici (à Leda) est très surpeuplé. Il y a des problèmes de nourriture et de logement », a déclaré à l’AFP cet homme de 50 ans.

      L’ONU n’a jusqu’à présent pas fait de déclaration à ce sujet. Des responsables bangladais ont cependant déclaré qu’une délégation des Nations unies se rendra sur l’île au cours des prochaines semaines.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/bangladesh-des-refugies-rohingyas-acceptent-de-partir-sur-une

    • Rohingya: il Bangladesh vuole trasferirli su un’isola sperduta e pericolosa

      Le violenze dell’esercito del Myanmar avevano costretto centinaia di migliaia di Rohingya a rifugiarsi in Bangladesh nel 2017. E quando ancora un rientro nelle loro terre d’origine sembra lontano, Dacca cerca di mandarne 100 mila su un’isola remota e pericolosa nel Golfo del Bengala

      Non sono bastate le violenze dell’esercito del Myanmar e degli estremisti buddisti, che nell’agosto 2017 hanno costretto centinaia di migliaia di Rohingya a rifugiarsi in Bangladesh. E non bastano neanche le condizioni precarie in cui vivono nei fatiscenti campi profughi gestiti da Dacca. Il dramma di questa popolazione, che secondo le Nazioni Unite è una delle minoranze più perseguitate al mondo, non sembra avere fine.

      La scorsa settimana il governo del Bangladesh ha annunciato che alla fine di novembre inizierà il trasferimento di 100 mila rifugiati Rohingya a Bhasan Char, una remota isola nel Golfo del Bengala. Per le autorità questa mossa sarebbe necessaria a causa del «disperato sovraffollamento» nei campi di Cox’s Bazar, una città al confine con la ex-Birmania, che ora ospita oltre 700 mila sfollati. Ma la scelta della nuova collocazione ha sollevato una serie di preoccupazioni per la salute e la sicurezza dei Rohingya che verranno trasferiti.

      Rohinghya in Bangladesh: l’isola in mezzo al nulla

      Yanghee Lee, relatore speciale delle Nazioni Unite sulla situazione dei diritti umani in Myanmar, che ha visitato l’isola nel gennaio 2019, ha espresso seri dubbi e preoccupazioni sul fatto che «l’isola sia davvero abitabile». Bhasan Char, infatti, è soggetta frequentemente ad inondazioni e cicloni. Lee ha anche avvertito che «un trasferimento mal pianificato e senza il consenso degli stessi rifugiati, creerebbe una nuova crisi per i Rohingya».

      Il governo di Dacca ha spiegato che tutte le ricollocazioni a Bhasan Char saranno rigorosamente volontarie e che oltre 7 mila rifugiati hanno già accettato di trasferirsi. Non sappiamo, però, se questi Rohingya siano effettivamente consapevoli dell’isolamento e della pericolosità del contesto in cui andranno a vivere. L’isola, infatti, è a ore di navigazione dalla terraferma e le condizioni del mare non sono delle migliori. Durante il periodo dei monsoni i pochi residenti sono bloccati in mezzo alle acque per lunghi periodi.

      Rohingya a rischio sussistenza

      Sebbene le autorità abbiano migliorato le infrastrutture a Bhasan Char, per cercare di contrastare i rischi di inondazioni e costruito più di 1.400 edifici per ospitare gli sfollati, l’isola non ha un adeguato sistema di agricoltura e le attività commerciali sono quasi inesistenti. Inoltre vanno aggiunte le difficoltà per quanto riguarda l’istruzione e la sanità. Problematiche già presenti nei campi di Cox’s Bazar, che nei mesi scorsi avevano anche lanciato l’allarme del radicalismo islamico.

      Nell’ultimo periodo, infatti, nelle strutture dove hanno trovato rifugio i Rohingya scappati dal Myanmar sono proliferate centinaia di scuole coraniche gestite da Hefazat-e-Islam, un gruppo estremista locale fondato nel 2010, che in passato ha organizzato numerose proteste di piazza. Questa organizzazione, finanziata da alcuni Paesi del Golfo, ha di fatto riempito il vuoto educativo imposto da Dacca, che ha vietato alla minoranza musulmana di frequentare gli istituti locali.

      Chi sono i Rohingya e perché sono perseguitati

      I Rohingya sono un popolo invisibile. Di fede musulmana, dall’ottavo secolo vivono nel Nord-Ovest del Myanmar, ma non vengono considerati ufficialmente un’etnia dal governo. Proprio per questo non hanno alcun diritto e la maggior parte di loro non ha cittadinanza nel paese guidato dal premio Nobel per la pace Aung San Suu Kyi. Senza il diritto di avere cure mediche e istruzione, non possono possedere nulla e non possono avere più di due figli.

      Si è tornato a parlare della loro drammatica situazione nell’agosto di due anni fa, a causa delle persecuzioni dei militari birmani, che li hanno costretti ad un esodo nel vicino Bangladesh. Le poche testimonianze di prima mano arrivate in quei giorni del 2017 parlavano di brutalità inaudite e quotidiane: centinaia di morti, stupri, mine, sparizioni, villaggi dati alle fiamme e torture.

      Rohingya: il difficile ritorno in Myanmar

      Negli ultimi due anni, il governo del Myanmar ha negato la sua colpevolezza per le atrocità commesse e ha vietato alle organizzazioni e agli osservatori internazionali, incluso il relatore speciale delle Nazioni Unite Lee, di accedere nello stato Rakhine, dove la maggior parte dei Rohingya viveva prima dello spargimento di sangue del 2017.

      Proprio per queste ragioni, un ritorno in sicurezza in patria per la popolazione musulmana sembra, per ora, molto difficile. Lo stesso Lee, a settembre, ha dichiarato che il Paese della Suu Kyi «non ha fatto nulla per smantellare il sistema di violenza e persecuzione contro i Rohingya».

      https://www.osservatoriodiritti.it/2019/10/31/rohingya-myanmar-bangladesh-perseguitati

  • Poland defies green activists, EU with Baltic canal project | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-poland-environment-vistulaspit-idUSKCN1QL1AN


    A general view of the harvested forest on Vistula Spit near Skowronki, Poland February 20, 2019.
    Agencja Gazeta/Michal Ryniak via REUTERS

    Poland is pressing ahead with plans to dig a waterway across a narrow strip of land that separates its main eastern coastline from the Baltic Sea despite concerns among activists and in the European Union that it could damage the environment.

    The #Vistula_Spit is a heavily wooded sandbank 55 km (34 miles) long but less than 2 km wide which encloses a coastal lagoon. Poland shares both the lagoon and the spit with the neighboring Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

    Currently, the only access to the lagoon from the Baltic Sea is a channel at the Russian end of the spit. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), deeply distrustful of Russia, says a canal is needed for both security and economic reasons.

    Critics say it is a costly vanity project that could become another environment-related flashpoint between Warsaw and Brussels after increased logging in Poland’s Bialowieza Forest led to a ruling by the EU’s top court that it was illegal.

    Defending the project, which is estimated to cost 900 million zlotys ($237 million), Poland’s minister for maritime affairs, Marek Grobarczyk, said: “The first and basic reason for the construction ... is a threat from the east.

    This is the border of the EU, NATO, and above all of Poland, and it cannot really be controlled now because ships can only enter the Vistula Lagoon with Russia’s approval,” he said, adding that work would start in the second half of 2019.

    Russia has deployed advanced nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, while Warsaw is lobbying hard to have more NATO troops on its soil, especially since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

    However an EU official said on Friday Poland should refrain from building the canal before getting the green light from the European Commission.

    As with the Bialowieza Forest, parts of the Vistula Spit are protected under the EU Natura 2000 program.

  • #Pro-savana

    Vision

    Improve the livelihood of inhabitants of #Nacala_Corridor through inclusive and sustainable agricultural and regional development.

    Missions

    1. Improve and modernise agriculture to increase productivity and production, and diversify agricultural production.

    2. Create employment through agricultural investment and establishment of a supply chain.

    Objective

    Create new agricultural development models, taking into account the natural environment and socio-economic aspects, and seeking market-orientated agricultural/rural/regional development with a competitive edge.

    Principles of ProSAVANA

    1. ProSAVANA will be aligned with the vision and objectives of the national agricultural development strategy of Mozambique, the “Strategy Plan for the Agricultural Sector Development – 2011 – 2020 (PEDSA)”,

    2. ProSAVANA supports Mozambican farmers in order to contribute to poverty-reduction, food security and nutrition,

    3. Activities of ProSAVANA, in particular those involving the private sector, will be designed and implemented in accordance with Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment (PRAI) and Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests,

    4. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security of Mozambique (MASA) and Local Government, in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), will strengthen dialogue and involvement of civil society and other appropriate parties,

    5. Appropriate consideration will be given for mitigation of the environmental and social impacts, which might be provided through the activities under ProSAVANA.

    Approaches of ProSAVANA

    1. Incorporate the results of relevant studies on the natural conditions and socio-economic situations, to support the establishment of appropriate agricultural development models,

    2. Increase agricultural productivity and production through appropriate measures, including improvement of farming systems, access to agricultural extension services including techniques and quality/quantity of inputs, value chain system and expansion of farmland,

    3. Promote diversification of agricultural production, based on research results to increase profitability,

    4. Provide opportunities to change from subsistence agriculture into a sustainable agriculture, with respect given to the farmers´ sovereignty,

    5. Strengthen the capacity and the competitiveness of farmers and farmers’ organisations,

    6. Enhance the enabling environment to promote responsible investments and activities, aiming to establish a win-win relationship between small-scale farmers and agribusiness firms,

    7. Promote and strengthen local leading farmers to disseminate and scale-up development impacts,

    8. Establish regional agricultural clusters and develop value chain systems,

    9. Promote public and private partnership as one of the driving forces for inclusive and sustainable agricultural development.

    http://www.prosavana.gov.mz
    #Pro_savana #land_grabbing #terres #Mozambique #accaparement_de_terres

    ping @odilon

    Apparemment, le programme a été arrêté avant d’être implémenté.
    Programme qui avait été promu par #Lula

    • What Happened to the Biggest Land Grab in Africa? Searching for #ProSavana in Mozambique

      What if you threw a lavish party for foreign investors, and no one came? By all accounts, that is what’s happening in Mozambique’s Nacala Corridor, the intended site for Africa’s largest agricultural development scheme – or land grab, depending on your perspective.

      The ProSavana project, a Brazilian-and-Japanese-led development project, was supposed to be turning Mozambique’s fertile savannah lands in the north into an export zone, replicating Brazil’s success taming its own savannah – the cerrado – and transforming it into industrial mega-farms of soybeans. The vision, hatched in 2009, but only revealed to Mozambicans in 2013, called for 35 million hectares (nearly 100 million acres) of “underutilized” land to be converted by Brazilian agribusiness into soybean plantations for cheaper export to China and Japan.

      In my two weeks in Mozambique, including one week in the Nacala Corridor, I had a hard time finding evidence of any such transformation. It was easy, though, to find outrage at a plan seen by many in the region as a secret land grab. That resistance, which has evolved into a tri-national campaign in Japan, Brazil, and Mozambique to stop ProSavana, is one of the reasons the project is a currently a dud.

      The new face of South-South investment?

      I came to look at ProSavana because, out of all the large-scale projects I studied over the course of the last year, this one sounded almost plausible. It wasn’t started by some fly-by-night venture capitalist, growing a biofuel crop he’d never produced commercially for a market that barely existed. That’s what I saw in Tanzania, and such failed land grabs litter the African landscape.

      ProSavana at least knew its investors: Brazil’s agribusiness giants. The planners also knew their technology: Brazil’s soybeans, which had adapted to the harsh tropical conditions of Brazil’s cerrado. And they knew their market: Japan’s and China’s hog farms and their insatiable appetite for feed, generally made with soybeans. That was already more than a lot of these grand schemes had going for them.

      I was also compelled by the sheer scale of the project. When first announced, ProSavana was to encompass 35 million hectares of land, an area the size of North Carolina. That would have made it the largest land acquisition in Africa.

      ProSavana also interested me because it was not the usual neo-colonial megaproject promoted by the Global North. It was a projection of Brazil’s agro-export prowess. This was South-South investment, the new wave of development in a multipolar world. Wouldn’t Brazil do this differently, I wondered, with the kind of strong developmental focus that had characterized the country’s ascendance under the leadership of the left-leaning Workers’ Party?

      ProSavana’s premise was that the soil and climate in the Nacala Corridor of Mozambique were similar to those found in the cerrado, so technology could be easily adapted to tame a region inhospitable to agriculture.

      Someone should have gone there before they issued the press releases.

      It turns out that the two regions differ dramatically. The cerrado had poor soils, which technology was able to address. That’s also why it had few farmers, and those that were there could be moved by Brazil’s then-military dictatorship. The Nacala Corridor, by contrast, has good soils, which is precisely why it is the most densely-populated part of rural Mozambique. (If there are good lands, you can bet civilization has discovered them and is farming them.)

      Mozambique also has a democratic government, forged in an independence movement rooted in peasant farmers’ struggle for land rights. So the country has one of the stronger land laws in Africa, which grants use rights to farmers who have been farming land for ten years or more.

      The disconnect between the claims ProSavana was making to its investors and the reality of the situation reached almost laughable proportions. Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco led sales visits to Mozambique, organized by Brazil’s Getulio Vargas Foundation, which had put together the agribusiness-friendly draft “Master Plan” that was leaked to Mozambican civil society organizations in March 2013. Brazil’s biggest farmers came looking for thousands of hectares of land, only to find three disappointments: they couldn’t own land in Mozambique; what land they could lease was by no means empty; and it was far from the ports, with no decent roads to transport their soybeans. Brazil’s soybean mega-farmers packed up their giant combines and went back to the cerrado, where there are still millions of hectares of undeveloped land.

      A kinder, gentler ProSavana

      There are a few large soybean farms in Gurue, producing for the domestic poultry industry; but nothing like the export boom promised by ProSavana. According to Americo Uaciquete of ProSavana’s Nampula office, Brazilian farmers came expecting 40,000 hectares free and clear. He told me no investor could expect that in the Nacala Corridor. The only foreign investors who will farm there, he said, are those willing to take 2,000 hectares and involve local farmers.

      To me, that sounded like a very quick surrender on the ProSavana battlefield. Couldn’t the Mozambican government open larger swaths of land?

      “Not without a gun,” Uaciquete said, clearly rejecting that path. “We are not going to impose the Brazilian model here.” He went on to describe ProSavana as a support program for small-scale farmers, based on its two non-investment components: research into improved locally adapted seeds, and extension services to improve productivity.

      In Maputo, the ProSavana Directorate did its best to polish up the new, development-friendly ProSavana. Jusimere Mourao, of Japan’s cooperation agency, had it down best. She lamented that ProSavana was “poorly timed” because its “announcement” (a leak) “coincided” with international concerns about land grabbing. Hmmm….

      After taking civil society concerns into account, she said, the program had issued a new “concept note” and the Master Plan is under revision. “Small and medium producers are the main beneficiaries of ProSavana,” she said. “We have no intention of promoting the taking of their land. It would be a crime.” It’s not about promoting foreign investment, she assured me; that is up to the Mozambican government.

      The turnaround was stunning, and welcome, if not quite believable. It certainly had not quieted the coalition calling for an end to ProSavana until farmers and civil society groups are consulted on the agricultural development plan for the Nacala Corridor.

      Luis Sitoe, Economic Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, smirked when I told him I’d been in the region researching ProSavana. “Did you find anything?” For him, ProSavana had failed.

      But lest I think anything profound had been learned from that experience, he reassured me that the Mozambican government remains firmly committed to relying on large-scale foreign investment to address its agricultural underdevelopment.

      He pulled out a two-inch-thick binder to show me he was serious. It was the project proposal for the Lurio River Valley Development Project, a 200,000-hectare irrigation scheme right there in the northern Nacala Corridor. Was it part of ProSavana? Absolutely not. Had the communities been consulted on this ambitious project along the heavily populated river valley?

      “Absolutely not,” said Vicente Adriano, research director at UNAC, Mozambique’s national farmers’ union, which had just presented its own agricultural development plan, based on the country’s three million family farmers.

      The ProSavana directorate is still promising a new Master Plan for the project in early 2015. So it would be a mistake to think that ProSavana is dead. Large-scale land deals certainly aren’t, however they are branded. Investors may just be waiting for the Mozambican government to bring more to the table than just promotional brochures. Things like land, which turns out to be rather important for a successful land grab. In the Nacala Corridor, that land is anything but unoccupied.

      https://foodtank.com/news/2014/12/what-happened-to-the-biggest-land-grab-in-africa-searching-for-prosavana-i

  • Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-finland-basic-income/finlands-basic-income-trial-boosts-happiness-but-not-employment-idUSKCN1PX0
    https://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20190208&t=2&i=1354502227&w=1200&r=LYNXNPEF170XW

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

    The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

    Finland — the world’s happiest country last year, according to the United Nations — is exploring alternatives to its social security model.

    The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

    Finland’s minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros ($635) “seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year”.

    But participants in the trial were happier and healthier than the control group.

    “The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way (than) the comparison group,” chief researcher Olli Kangas said.

    Chief economist for the trial Ohto Kanniainen said the low impact on employment was not a surprise, given that many jobless people have few skills or struggle with difficult life situations or health concerns.
    Owner Sini Marttinen poses for a picture at her coffee shop she founded while benefitting from Finland’s basic income scheme in Helsinki, Finland January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Philip O’Connor

    “Economists have known for a long time that with unemployed people financial incentives don’t work quite the way some people would expect them to,” he added.
    PSYCHOLOGICAL BOOST

    Sini Marttinen, 36, had been unemployed for nearly a year before “winning the lottery”, as she described the trial.

    Her basic income gave her enough confidence to open a restaurant with two friends. “I think the effect was a lot psychological,” the former IT consultant told Reuters.

    “You kind of got this idea you have two years, you have the security of 560 euros per month ... It gave me the security to start my own business.”

    Her income only rose by 50 euros a month compared to the jobless benefit she had been receiving, “but in an instant you lose the bureaucracy, the reporting”, Marttinen said.

    Mira Jaskari, 36, who briefly found a job during the trial but lost it due to poor health, said losing the basic income had left her feeling more insecure about money.

    The center-right government’s original plan was to expand the basic income scheme after two years as it tries to combat unemployment which has been persistently high for years but reached a 10-year low of 6.6 percent in December.

    That followed the imposition of benefits sanctions on unemployed people who refused work.

    The basic income has been controversial, however, with leaders of the main Finnish political parties keen to streamline the benefits system but wary of offering “money for nothing”, especially ahead of parliamentary elections due in April.
    Slideshow (2 Images)
    TAX BIND

    Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party has proposed limiting the basic income to poor people, with sanctions if they reject a job offer, while Conservative finance minister Petteri Orpo says he favors a scheme like Britain’s Universal Credit.

    The higher taxes that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says would be needed to pay for basic income schemes might also be off-putting for voters.

    In a review of the Finnish scheme last year, the OECD warned that implementing it nationally and cost-neutrally for the state would imply significant income redistribution, especially towards couples from single people, and increase poverty.

    The researchers have acknowledged that the Finnish pilot was less than realistic because it did not include any tax claw-back once participants found work and reached a certain income level.

    Swiss voters rejected a similar scheme in 2016. Italy is due to introduce a “citizens’ wage” in April in a major overhaul of the welfare state, which will offer income support to the unemployed and poor.

    Trial participants were generally positive, however, with Tuomas Muraja, a 45-year-old journalist and author, saying the basic income had allowed him to concentrate on writing instead of form-filling or attending jobseekers’ courses.

    He said the end of the two-year trial, during which he published two books, had made it difficult again for him to accept commissions, because “I ... can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits”.

    “If people are paid money freely that makes them creative, productive and welfare brings welfare,” Muraja told Reuters about his experience of the pilot.

    “If you feel free, you feel safer and then you can do whatever you want. That is my assessment.”

    ($1 = 0.8817 euros)

  • European Border and Coast Guard: Agreement reached on operational cooperation with Montenegro

    Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Minister of the Interior of Montenegro Mevludin Nuhodžić, initialled a status agreement that will allow European Border and Coast Guard teams to be deployed in Montenegro.

    Once the agreement enters into force, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be able to assist Montenegro in border management and carry out joint operations with Montenegro, in particular in the event of a sudden change in migratory flows.

    Today’s agreement is the fifth agreed with a partner country in the Western Balkans, marking yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/news/european-border-coast-guard-agreement-reached-operational-cooperation-mont

    #Frontex #Monténégro #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #partenariat #accord
    ping @isskein

    • Border management: EU signs agreement with Montenegro on European Border and Coast Guard cooperation

      Today, the European Union signed an agreement with Montenegro on border management cooperation between Montenegro and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The agreement was signed on behalf of the EU by Maria Ohisalo, Minister of the Interior of Finland and President of the Council and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and on behalf of Montenegro by Minister of the Interior, Mevludin Nuhodžić.

      The objective of this agreement is to allow Frontex to coordinate operational cooperation between EU Member states and Montenegro on the management of the borders that the European Union and Montenegro have in common. The signing of this agreement is yet another demonstration of the deepening and expanding cooperation with Montenegro. It will bring benefits for both parties, in particular in enhancing border management activities.
      Maria Ohisalo, Minister of the Interior of Finland

      Today, we are further strengthening our border cooperation with Montenegro, taking yet one more step towards bringing the Western Balkan region closer to the EU. The migratory and security challenges we face are common and our response must be joint too.
      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

      This agreement allows Frontex to assist Montenegro in border management, carry out joint operations and deploy teams in the regions of Montenegro that border the EU, subject to Montenegro’s agreement.

      These activities aim at tackling illegal immigration, in particular sudden changes in migratory flows, and cross-border crime, and can involve the provision of increased technical and operational assistance at the border.

      Strengthened cooperation between priority third countries and Frontex will contribute to tackling illegal immigration and further enhance security at the EU’s external borders.
      Next steps

      The draft decision on the conclusion of the agreement was sent to the European Parliament, which needs to give its consent for the agreement to be concluded.
      Background

      Today’s status agreement is the second such agreement to be concluded with a partner country, after a similar agreement was signed with Albania in October 2018. Negotiations with Montenegro were concluded on 5 July 2018 and the draft status agreement was initialled by Commissioner Avramopoulos and Montenegro Interior Minister Mevludin Nuhodžić in February 2019. The Council then authorised the signature of the agreement on 19 March 2019.

      Similar status agreements have also been initialled with North Macedonia (July 2018), Serbia (September 2018) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (January 2019) and are pending finalisation.

      Frontex launched the first-ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country in Albania on 22 May this year.

      Frontex can carry out deployments and joint operations on the territory of neighbouring non-EU countries, subject to the prior conclusion of a status agreement between the European Union and the country concerned.

      Earlier this year, following a proposal by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council agreed to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard. This will allow for joint operations and deployments to take place in countries beyond the EU’s immediate neighbourhood.

      Cooperation with third countries is an important element of the European integrated border management concept. This concept is applied through a four-tier access model which includes: measures in third countries, measures with neighbouring third countries, border control measures and measures within the Schengen area.

      https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/press/press-releases/2019/10/07/border-management-eu-signs-agreement-with-montenegro-on-european-bo

    • On October 7, the European Union signed an agreement (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/de/press/press-releases/2019/10/07/border-management-eu-signs-agreement-with-montenegro-on-european-bo) with Montenegro on border management. The agreement was signed between Montenegro and Frontex (EU Border and Coast Guard Agency), allowing Frontex to support Montenegro in the border management process, conducting joint operations and recruiting teams in the region to monitor the border. The aim of the agreement is to curb illegal migration, as the EU itself states “in the wake of sudden changes in migrant flows”. The role of Frontex’s mission has never been completely clear, and it remains unclear what the specific role of Frontex officers will be in this case - what their responsibilities and the scope of their activities will be. The presence of Frontex is always justified by the EU’s argument for strengthening security, but the only security we see strengthened in this aspect is the security of Fortress Europe, but not the security of people - both those trying to cross the border and access the asylum system and those living in border areas. Let’s not forget about the cages (https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/ovo-na-slici-su-migranti-koje-je-policija-u-bih-zatvorila-u-kaveze) in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, with migrants in them, awaiting deportation to Montenegro.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, le 14.10.2019