region:middle east

  • Why the Khashoggi murder is a disaster for Israel -
    The grisly hit-job on Khashoggi has implications far beyond its exposure of the Saudi Crown Prince as brutal and reckless. In Jerusalem and D.C., they’re mourning their whole strategic concept for the Mideast - not least, for countering Iran

    Daniel B. Shapiro
    Oct 17, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-why-the-khashoggi-murder-is-a-disaster-for-israel-1.6569996

    For Israel, this sordid episode raises the prospects that the anchor of the new Middle East realities it has sought to promote - an Israeli-Sunni Arab coalition, under a U.S. umbrella, to check Iran and Sunni jihadists - cannot be counted upon.
    And Israel must be careful how it plays its hand. There will, without question, be a U.S. response to Khashoggi’s murder, even if it is resisted by the Trump administration. It will not lead to a total dismantlement of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, but Congressional and public revulsion will have its price. 

    President Hassan Rouhani giving a speech on Iranian TV in Tehran on May 8, 2018.HO/AFP
    The price could include significant restrictions on arms sales that had been contemplated. It is already leading key U.S. investors to distance themselves from the major development projects MBS has promoted. At a minimum, there will be no replay of the warm, PR-friendly visit by MBS to multiple U.S. cities last March, no more lionizing of him in the American press as a reformer who will reshape the Middle East.
    Israel, which has a clear interest in keeping Saudi Arabia in the fold of U.S. allies to maximize the strategic alignment on Iran, will need to avoid becoming MBS’s lobbyist in Washington. Israel’s coordination with its partners in the region is still necessary and desirable. Simple realpolitik requires it. But there is a new risk of reputational damage from a close association with Saudi Arabia. 
    It won’t be easy for Israel to navigate these waters, as the Washington foreign policy establishment has quickly splintered into anti-Iran and anti-Saudi camps. The idea that the United States should equally oppose Iranian and Saudi brutality toward their peoples, and not let MBS’s crimes lead to a lessening of pressure on Iran over its malign regional activities, is in danger of being lost.
    For Israelis, that may be the biggest blow in the fallout of Khashoggi’s murder. MBS, in his obsession with silencing his critics, has actually undermined the attempt to build an international consensus to pressure Iran.
    The damage is broad. Trump may be an outlier. But what Member of Congress, what European leader, would be willing to sit with MBS for a consultation on Iran now?
    That is the greatest evidence of MBS’s strategic blindness, and the damage will likely persist as long as he rules the kingdom.
    Daniel B. Shapiro is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Obama Administration. Twitter: @DanielBShapiro


  • Khashoggi and the Jewish question - Middle East - Jerusalem Post
    https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Khashoggi-and-the-Jewish-question-569256

    Khashoggi and the Jewish question
    “It is certainly not in our interests to see the status of the Saudi government diminished in Washington.”
    By Herb Keinon
    October 12, 2018 04:24

    The disappearance of Saudi government critic and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey – and the very real possibility that the Saudis either kidnapped him, killed him, or both – is no exception.

    On the surface, this story seems distant from Jerusalem. Israel was not involved in any way, and even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who never misses an opportunity to blast Israel, is not saying that Jerusalem had anything to do with it.

    (...)
    As a New York Times headline read on Thursday, “Khashoggi’s disappearance puts Kushner’s bet on Saudi crown prince at risk.”

    US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has invested much in building a relationship with MBS, and Jerusalem – for its own interests – hopes that this particular bet does not turn sour.

    (...) As Dore Gold, the head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Foreign Ministry director-general, said: “This problem could be used by the Iranians to drive a wedge between the West and Saudi Arabia.”

    That is bad for Israel, he added, because “anything that strengthens Iran’s posturing in the Middle East is bad for Israel,” and in the Mideast balance of power, a weakened Saudi Arabia means a strengthened Iran.

    It also means a strengthened Turkey, which could explain why Ankara is going the full monty on this issue, releasing surveillance tape and leaking information about the investigation.

    “Turkey is part of an axis with Qatar,” Gold said, “and that puts Saudi Arabia at odds with the Turkish government.


  • Outside In: The Trump administration’s plan to remake the Middle East
    https://mondoweiss.net/2018/10/outside-administrations-remake

    Netanyahu refers to his doctrine as “outside in:” first you pacify the outside and ally with the Sunni Arab states outside of Israel, then, in exchange, you extract a peace plan out of them that you then impose inside on a Palestine now devoid of allies. You pacify the Sunni states by supporting them militarily and by providing them political cover generally, and by supporting them, specifically, in their opposition to Iran. You then crush Palestine and leave it helpless to hold out against a peace plan forced on them by Trump and supported by a bought off Arab world who has abandoned them.

    The two Sunni Arab states that have to be bought and pacified are Saudi Arabia and Egypt. How do you subdue them? Join them in their confrontation with Iran and provide them with military and diplomatic support.

    #états-unis #Palestine


  • Bernie Sanders cites Israel’s nation-state law in slamming Trump for inspiring authoritarianism

    ’There’s no question that other authoritarian leaders around the world have drawn inspiration from the fact that the president of the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy is shattering democratic norms,’ said Sanders

    JTA
    Oct 10, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-bernie-sanders-cites-israel-s-nation-state-law-in-slamming-trump-1

    In a major foreign policy speech identifying an emerging authoritarian strain around the world, Bernie Sanders included the passage of Israel’s nation-state law as an example of President Donald Trump’s inspiring anti-democratic moves.
    “It should be clear by now that Donald Trump and the right-wing movement that supports him is not a phenomenon unique to the United States,” Sanders said Tuesday in a speech to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. “All around the world, in Europe, in Russia, in the Middle East, in Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere we are seeing movements led by demagogues who exploit people’s fears, prejudices and grievances to gain and hold on to power.”
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    Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, said Trump by himself was not responsible for the rise of authoritarianism but was spurring it forward.
    “While this authoritarian trend certainly did not begin with Donald Trump, there’s no question that other authoritarian leaders around the world have drawn inspiration from the fact that the president of the world’s oldest and most powerful democracy is shattering democratic norms,” said Sanders.
    He cited as examples the rise in popularity of a far right-wing politician in Brazil, increased repression in Saudi Arabia, and policies of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    >> There’s a reason the opposition didn’t attend the nation-state protest | Opinion
    “It’s also hard to imagine that Israel’s Netanyahu government would have taken a number of steps— including passing the recent ‘Nation State law,’ which essentially codifies the second-class status of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, aggressively undermining the longstanding goal of a two-state solution, and ignoring the economic catastrophe in Gaza — if Netanyahu wasn’t confident that Trump would support him,” Sanders said.


  • Migration: the riddle of Europe’s shadow population
    Lennys — not her real name — is part of a shadow population living in Europe that predates the arrival of several million people on the continent in the past few years, amid war and chaos in regions of the Middle East and Africa. That influx, which has fuelled Eurosceptic nativism, has if anything complicated the fate of Lennys and other irregular migrants.

    Now she is using a service set up by the Barcelona local administration to help naturalise irregular migrants and bring them in from the margins of society. She is baffled by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of politicians who suggest people like her prefer living in the legal twilight, without access to many services — or official protection.❞

    The fate of Lennys and other irregulars is likely to take an ever more central role in Europe’s deepening disputes on migration. They are a diverse group: many arrived legally, as Lennys did, on holiday, work or family visas that have since expired or become invalid because of changes in personal circumstances. Others came clandestinely and have never had any legal right to stay.

    The most scrutinised, and frequently demonised, cohort consists of asylum seekers whose claims have failed. Their numbers are growing as the cases from the surge in migrant arrivals in the EU in 2015 and 2016 — when more than 2.5m people applied for asylum in the bloc — work their way through the process of decisions and appeals. Almost half of first instance claims failed between 2015 and 2017, but many of those who are rejected cannot be returned to their home countries easily — or even at all.

    The question of what to do about rejected asylum applicants and the rest of Europe’s shadow population is one that many governments avoid. Bouts of hostile rhetoric and unrealistic targets — such as the Italian government’s pledge this year to expel half a million irregular migrants — mask a structural failure to deal with the practicalities.

    Many governments have sought to deny irregular migrants services and expel them — policies that can create their own steep human costs. But authorities in a growing number of cities from Barcelona to Brussels have concluded that the combination of hostile attitudes and bureaucratic neglect is destructive.

    These cities are at the frontline of dealing with irregular status residents from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. Local authorities have, to varying degrees, brought these populations into the system by offering them services such as healthcare, language courses and even legal help.

    The argument is part humanitarian but also pragmatic. It could help prevent public health threats, crime, exploitative employment practices — and the kind of ghettoisation that can tear communities apart.

    “If we provide ways for people to find their path in our city . . . afterwards probably they will get regularisation and will get their papers correct,” says Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona. “It’s better for everybody.”

    The size of Europe’s shadow population is unknown — but generally reckoned by experts to be significant and growing. The most comprehensive effort to measure it was through an EU funded project called Clandestino, which estimated the number of irregular migrants at between 1.9m and 3.8m in 2008 — a figure notable for both its wide margin of error and the lack of updates to it since, despite the influx after 2015.

    A more contemporaneous, though also imprecise, metric comes from comparing the numbers of people ordered to leave the EU each year with the numbers who actually went. Between 2008 and 2017, more than 5m non-EU citizens were instructed to leave the bloc. About 2m returned to countries outside it, according to official data.

    While the two sets of numbers do not map exactly — people don’t necessarily leave in the same year they are ordered to do so — the figures do suggest several million people may have joined Europe’s shadow population in the past decade or so. The cohort is likely to swell further as a glut of final appeals from asylum cases lodged since 2015 comes through.

    “The volume of people who are in limbo in the EU will only grow, so it’s really problematic,” says Hanne Beirens, associate director at Migration Policy Institute Europe, a think-tank. “While the rhetoric at a national level will be ‘These people cannot stay’, at a local community level these people need to survive.”

    Barcelona: cities seek practical solutions to ease migrant lives

    Barcelona’s pragmatic approach to irregular migration echoes its history as a hub for trade and movement of people across the Mediterranean Sea.

    It is one of 11 cities from 10 European countries involved in a two-year project on the best ways to provide services to irregular status migrants. Other participants in the initiative — set up last year by Oxford university’s Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society — include Athens, Frankfurt, Ghent, Gothenburg, Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm and Utrecht.

    A report for the group, published last year, highlights the restrictions faced by undocumented migrants in accessing services across the EU. They were able to receive only emergency healthcare in six countries, while in a further 12 they were generally excluded from primary and secondary care services.

    Some cities have made special efforts to offer help in ways that they argue also benefit the community, the report said. Rotterdam asked midwives, doctors, and schools to refer children for vaccinations, in case their parents were afraid to reveal their immigration status.

    The impact of some of these policies has still to be demonstrated. Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona, says authorities there had an “intuition” their approach brought benefits, but he admits they need to do a cost-benefit analysis. As to the potential for the scheme to be exploited by anti-immigrant groups, he says Europe needs “brave politicians who explain how the world works and that the system is complicated”.

    “A lot of people in Barcelona are part of the system — they have [for example] a cleaning lady from Honduras who they pay €10 per hour under the counter,” he says. “Someone has to explain this, that everything is related.” Michael Peel

    https://www.ft.com/content/58f2f7f8-c7c1-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
    #naturalisation #villes-refuge #ville-refuge #citoyenneté #sans-papiers #migrerrance #régularisation #statistiques #chiffres #Europe #Etat-nation #limbe #pragmatisme #Barcelone

    cc @isskein

    –----

    Au niveau de la #terminologie (#mots, #vocabulaire), pour @sinehebdo:

    Belgian policy towards irregular migrants and undocumented workers has stiffened under the current government, which includes the hardline Flemish nationalist NVA party. It has prioritised the expulsion of “transmigrants”— the term used for people that have travelled to Europe, often via north Africa and the Mediterranean and that are seeking to move on from Belgium to other countries, notably the UK. Several hundred live rough in and around Brussels’ Gare du Nord.

    –-> #transmigrants


  • Netanyahu likely to extend secrecy of some 1948 war documents 20 more years

    Defense establishment asked to lengthen classification period to 90 years, from 70, for material on Deir Yassin massacre, among other events

    Jonathan Lis and Ofer Aderet Oct 04, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-likely-to-extend-secrecy-of-some-1948-war-documents-20-m

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to sign regulations extending the period of confidentiality for information in the defense archives from 70 years to 90 years. The Defense Ministry and other organization requested the extension to prevent the release this year of some materials relating to the period of the War of Independence in 1948.
    The extension is intended to prevent the exposure of intelligence sources and methods that are still in use today by security forces. The archives also include information that was received from foreign sources under the condition that it would not be released, say defense officials. The draft regulations state that even after 70 years have passed, exposure of some of the archival materials could harm national security. In 2010, Netanyahu extended the period of confidentiality for security archives from 50 years to 70 years.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The legal adviser to the Israel State Archives, Naomi Aldubi, circulated a draft of the new regulations to the relevant government ministries Wednesday. The document states that the new regulations will apply to materials held by the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad and the archives of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, nuclear research centers and the Israel Institute for Biological Research. The new rules would also prevent the publication of raw intelligence from Military Intelligence as well as information concerning intelligence gathering for materials classified as secret and higher, along with materials concerning certain Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry units.
    The decision is expected to make life much more difficult for historians, other researchers and journalists and would also limit the public’s access to valuable historical information of public interest. For example, the new regulations would prevent the release of certain materials concerning the massacre at Deir Yassin in 1948.
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    In practice, the government will be able to prevent the release of any document related to the War of Independence that it wishes to keep secret. The new rules also contradict the recommendations of the supreme advisory council overseeing the Israel State Archives, which recommended extending the confidentiality of only some of the documents for five years.

    The Archives Law states that any person has the right to examine documents stored in the state archives, but also grants the government authority to restrict access according to the level of classification — for example, materials classified as “secret” — and according to the amount of time that has passed since the materials were created. This period ranges between 15 and 75 years, in accordance with the materials’ source and contents. For example, the classification period for the minutes of classified sessions of Knesset committees is limited to 20 years; for foreign policy documents the period is 25 years; for police archives, 30 years and for minutes of the security cabinet 50 years. Intelligence materials, including those of the Shin Bet, Mossad, Atomic Energy Commission and Biological Institute, remain classified for 70 years.
    Even after this period expires, the state archives and other archives, such as the IDF Archives, have not acted on their own initiative to release the materials. In practice, the end of the classification period alone is not sufficient for automatic declassification of the material. First, the chief archivist must examine the materials. After that, a special ministerial committee, headed by the justice minister, has the right to apply additional restrictions on access to them.
    The committee used its power to prohibit access to the so-called Riftin report on extrajudicial executions carried out by the Haganah pre-independence army. In 1998, half a century after the report was written, its confidentiality period expired, after which it should have been unsealed. In the 20 years that have passed since then, two state archivists requested, and received, extensions of the classification period from the ministerial committee.
    The draft proposal does stipulate that the relevant organizations must draw up new protocols that would enable the unsealing of classified materials after 50 years, on their own initiative. In addition, they would be instructed to conduct an annual review of their classified documents in order to determine whether they can be declassified.


  • Can Islamist moderates remake the politics of the Muslim world? - CSMonitor.com

    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2018/0919/Can-Islamist-moderates-remake-the-politics-of-the-Muslim-world

    By Taylor Luck Correspondent

    AMMAN, JORDAN; TUNIS, TUNISIA; KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
    Alaa Faroukh insists he is the future. After nearly a decade in the Muslim Brotherhood, he says that he has finally found harmony between his faith and politics, not as a hardcore Islamist, but as a “Muslim democrat.”

    “We respect and include minorities, we fight for women’s rights, we respect different points of view, we are democratic both in our homes and in our politics – that is how we honor our faith,” Mr. Faroukh says.

    The jovial psychologist with a toothy smile, who can quote Freud as easily as he can recite the Quran, is speaking from his airy Amman clinic, located one floor below the headquarters of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, the very movement he left.

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    “The time of divisive politics of older Islamists is over, and everyone in my generation agrees,” says the 30-something Faroukh. “The era of political Islam is dead.”

    Faroukh is symbolic of a shift sweeping through parts of the Arab world. From Tunisia to Egypt to Jordan, many Islamist activists and some established Islamic organizations are adopting a more progressive and moderate tone in their approach to politics and governing. They are reaching out to minorities and secular Muslims while doing away with decades-old political goals to impose their interpretation of Islam on society.

    Taylor Luck
    “The time of divisive politics of older Islamists is over, and everyone in my generation agrees. The era of political Islam is dead,” says Alaa Faroukh, a young Jordanian who left the Muslim Brotherhood for a moderate political party.
    Part of the move is simple pragmatism. After watching the Muslim Brotherhood – with its call for sharia (Islamic law) and failure to reach out to minorities and secular Muslims – get routed in Egypt, and the defeat of other political Islamic groups across the Arab world, many Islamic activists believe taking a more moderate stance is the only way to gain and hold power. Yet others, including many young Muslims, believe a deeper ideological shift is under way in which Islamist organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of religious tolerance and political pluralism in modern societies. 

    Think you know the Greater Middle East? Take our geography quiz.
    While Islamist movements remain the largest and most potent political movement in the region, a widespread adoption of democratic principles by their followers could transform the discourse in a region where politics are often bound to identity and are bitterly polarized.

    “We believe that young Jordanians and young Arabs in general see that the future is not in partisan politics, but in cooperation, understanding, and putting the country above petty party politics,” says Rheil Gharaibeh, the moderate former head of the Jordanian Brotherhood’s politburo who has formed his own political party.

    Is this the beginning of a fundamental shift in the politics of the Middle East or just an expedient move by a few activists?

    *

    Many Islamist groups say their move to the center is a natural step in multiparty politics, but this obscures how far their positions have truly shifted in a short time.

    Some 20 years ago, the manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Sunni Islamic political group with affiliates across the Arab world – called for the implementation of sharia and gender segregation at universities, and commonly employed slogans such as “Islam is the solution.”

    In 2011, the Arab Spring uprisings swept these Islamist movements into power or installed them as the leading political force from the Arab Gulf to Morocco, sparking fears of an Islamization of Arab societies.

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    But instead of rolling back women’s rights, the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda pushed through gender equality laws and helped write the most progressive, gender-equal constitution in the Arab world. The Moroccan Justice and Development Party (PJD) has played down its Islamic rhetoric, abandoning talk of Islamic identity and sharia and instead speaking about democratic reform and human rights. And the Brotherhood in Jordan traded in its slogan “Islam is the solution” for “the people demand reform” and “popular sovereignty for all.”

    The past few years have seen an even more dramatic shift to the center. Not only have Islamist movements dropped calls for using sharia as a main source of law, but they nearly all now advocate for a “civil state”­ – a secular nation where the law, rather than holy scriptures or the word of God, is sovereign.

    Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
    Supporters of the National Alliance for Reform rally in Amman, Jordan, in 2016. They have rebranded themselves as a national rather than an Islamic movement.
    In Morocco and Jordan, Islamist groups separated their religious activities – preaching, charitable activities, and dawa (spreading the good word of God) – from their political branches. In 2016, Ennahda members in Tunisia went one step further and essentially eliminated their religious activities altogether, rebranding themselves as “Muslim democrats.”

    Islamist moderates say this shift away from religious activities to a greater focus on party politics is a natural step in line with what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has done with his Justice and Development Party in Turkey, or even, they hope, with the Christian democrats in Europe: to become movements inspired by faith, not governing through faith.

    “While we are a Muslim country, we are aware that we do not have one interpretation of religion and we will not impose one interpretation of faith over others,” says Mehrezia Labidi, a member of the Tunisian Parliament and Ennahda party leader. “As Muslim democrats we are guided by Islamic values, but we are bound by the Constitution, the will of the people, and the rule of law for all.”

    Experts say this shift is a natural evolution for movements that are taking part in the decisionmaking process for the first time after decades in the opposition.

    “As the opposition, you can refuse, you can criticize, you can obstruct,” says Rachid Mouqtadir, professor of political science at Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco, and an expert in Islamist movements. “But when you are in a coalition with other parties and trying to govern, the parameters change, your approach changes, and as a result your ideology changes.”

    The trend has even gone beyond the borders of the Arab world. The Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM), founded in 1971 by Malaysian university students inspired by the Brotherhood and now one of the strongest civil society groups in the country, is also shedding the “Islamist” label.

    In addition to running schools and hospitals, ABIM now hosts interfaith concerts, partners on projects with Christians and Buddhists, and even reaches out to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists in its campaign for social justice.

    “We are in the age of post-political Islam,” says Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin, ABIM vice president, from the movement’s headquarters in a leafy Kuala Lumpur suburb. “That means when we say we stand for Islam, we stand for social justice and equality for all – no matter their faith or background.”

    *


  • Israeli settlers flood Khan al-Ahmar with wastewater
    Oct. 2, 2018 4:16 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 2, 2018 4:42 P.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=781301

    JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — As Israel threatened to raid and demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar at any moment since the evacuation period ended, Israeli settlers stormed the village and flooded the area with wastewater, on Tuesday afternoon.

    Locals said that Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim stormed the village, and were confronted by international and local activists along with residents of Khan al-Ahmar.

    Israeli settlers managed to flood the area with wastewater before activists and residents were able to stop them.

    Following the Israeli High Court’s approval for the demolition, it had granted a deadline for the residents of Khan al-Ahmar to evacuate the village until October 1st.

    Since the deadline has ended, the village is in danger of being demolished by Israeli forces at any moment, which would displace 181 people, half of whom are children. (...)

    #Khan_al-Ahmar

    • Amnesty International: ’Demolition of Khan al-Ahmar is a war crime’
      Oct. 2, 2018 5:18 P.M.
      http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=781303

      BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Amnesty International said, on Tuesday, that the demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of occupied Jerusalem, and the displacement of its residents by Israeli forces as part of an illegal Israeli settlement expansion plan is a “war crime.”

      Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, denounced Israel’s planned demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and stressed that “this act is not only heartless and discriminatory, it is illegal.”

      The demolition of the village would displace 181 residents, 53% of whom are children and 95% of whom are refugees registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

    • La démolition du village palestinien de Khan al Ahmar est un acte cruel et un crime de guerre
      2 octobre | Amnesty International
      https://www.aurdip.org/la-demolition-du-village.html

      La démolition prévue le 1er octobre d’un village en Cisjordanie et le transfert forcé de sa population pour laisser place à des colonies israéliennes illégales est un crime de guerre révélateur du mépris qu’entretient le gouvernement israélien à l’égard des Palestiniens, a déclaré Amnesty International le 1er octobre 2018.

      Quelque 180 habitants de la communauté bédouine de Khan al Ahmar, à l’est de Jérusalem, risquent d’être expulsés de force et transférés par l’armée israélienne. Les autorités israéliennes offrent aux villageois le choix entre deux destinations possibles : un site jouxtant l’ancienne décharge municipale de Jérusalem, non loin du village d’Abou Dis, ou un site à proximité d’une station d’épuration, non loin de la ville de Jéricho.

      « Après presque 10 ans de lutte contre cette démolition injuste, les habitants de Khan al Ahmar redoutent de voir se concrétiser le jour terrible où l’habitation qui est la leur depuis plusieurs générations sera mise en pièces, a déclaré Saleh Higazi, directeur adjoint du programme Afrique du Nord et Moyen-Orient à Amnesty International.


  • The Germans will ignore Israeli apartheid again

    Each day that has passed since May 1999, Europe in general and Germany in particular have crossed another red line in the normalization of the status quo

    Amira Hass SendSend me email alerts
    Oct 02, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-germans-will-ignore-israeli-apartheid-again-1.6515798

    Angela Merkel is the answer to two questions: 1. Will Israel, “having no alternative,” attack the Gaza Strip before Friday, that being “the only possible response” to the multiplying demonstrations at the border fence? And 2. Now that the Monday-evening deadline given to the residents of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar to dismantle their simple structures has passed, will Israel’s Civil Administration raze the entire community Tuesday?
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    It probably won’t happen this week, so as not to embarrass Merkel. The German chancellor and her cabinet are scheduled to arrive Wednesday for meetings with their Israeli colleagues, the seventh such intergovernmental consultations since the tradition began in 2008. In between, the German delegation will visit an exhibition on technological innovation sponsored by the Foreign Ministry, at which six Israeli companies will present their wares.

    Officially, Germany — like all European Union member states — opposes the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the forced eviction of its residents, actions that violate international law and Israel’s obligations as an occupying power. Officially, Germany is concerned by the military escalation and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. Therefore, like all European states, it hopes for a nonviolent resolution of the military tension.
    But the consulting cabinet ministers aren’t supposed to delve into the bottomless expectation gap between the parties on the future of the Palestinian territories that were captured in 1967. The Germans are still talking about a two-state solution, even as Israel is realizing the eight-state vision (of defeated, disconnected Palestinian enclaves scattered throughout the expanse of Jewish sovereignty).
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    In any event, the joint consultations address the real issues of mature countries. The parties will discuss their excellent technological, military and intelligence ties, their common place in the advanced industrial world, their cultural and scientific ties — not to mention, of course, the Holocaust and Germany’s eternal obligations to Israel.
    >> Read more: Israel Gives Residents of West Bank Bedouin Village Week to Evacuate
    We can infer, from the slogans inserted in the joint statement after the 2016 consultations, that some German minister will blurt out something about human rights, and the response will be that Israel is the only democracy in the region. An open expression of Israeli military and bureaucratic superiority during the visit wouldn’t go over well with the foreign guests.
    And so, the bulldozers and the deadly armed drones, the pride of Israeli technology, along with our female combat soldiers who operate them remotely, the pride of Israeli feminism, will be forced to wait patiently. Not this week.
    On the other hand, why should they wait patiently? Why shouldn’t it happen this week? The German ministers already ignore that an important part of Israeli technological, military and intelligence development is linked to maintaining the occupation and keeping the permanent conflict on a low flame that occasionally flares up. They must ignore this, mentally and emotionally, to continue cultivating partnerships with Israel. They can also ignore Israel’s use of its military capabilities during their visit.
    Each day that has passed since May 1999 (when the final-status agreement with the Palestinians was to go into effect), Israel has crossed another red line in shaping its unique regime of separation (apartheid, in Afrikaans). None of these crossings or violations of international resolutions led European countries to put genuine political pressure on Israel.
    Each day that has passed since May 1999, Europe in general and Germany in particular have crossed another red line in the normalization of Israeli apartheid. They make a complete separation between their partner in technological, scientific and intellectual progress and the Israel that plans to erase in the near future the small village and other communities, and that for 10 years has imprisoned 2 million people in the biggest concentration facility in the world.
    And the umbrella of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust is used to excuse and explain this intolerable ability to repress and compartmentalize.


  • Thank you, Mother Russia, for imposing boundaries on Israel - For the first time in years another state is saying to Israel: Stop right there. At least in Syria, that’s the end of it. Thank you, Mother Russia.

    Gideon Levy SendSend me email alerts
    Sep 28, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-to-russia-with-love-1.6511224

    A ray of hope is breaking through: Someone is setting limits on Israel. For the first time in years another state is making it clear to Israel that there are restrictions to its power, that it’s not okay for it to do whatever it wants, that it’s not alone in the game, that America can’t always cover for it and that there’s a limit to the harm it can do.
    Israel needed someone to set these limits like it needed oxygen. The recent years’ hubris and geopolitical reality enabled it to run rampant. It could patrol Lebanon’s skies as if they were its own; bombard in Syria’s air space as if it were Gaza’s air space; destroy Gaza periodically, put it under endless siege and continue, of course, to occupy the West Bank. Suddenly someone stood up and said: Stop right there. At least in Syria: That’s the end of it. Thank you, Mother Russia, for setting limits on a child whom no one has restrained for a long time.
    >>What Russia and Turkey really want in Syria | Explained ■ Russia’s claims on downed plane over Syria are dubious, but will usher in new reality for Israel | Analysis ■ Russia vs. Israel: The contradicting accounts of the downing of a plane over Syria

    The Israeli stupefaction at the Russian response and the paralysis that gripped it only showed how much Israel needed a responsible adult to rein it in. Does anyone dare prevent Israel’s freedom of movement in another country? Is anyone hindering it from flying in skies not its own? Is anyone keeping it from bombing as much as it pleases? For decades Israel hasn’t encountered such a strange phenomenon. Israel Hayom reported, of course, that anti-Semitism is growing in Russia. Israel is getting ready to play the next victim card, but its arrogance has suddenly gone missing.
    In April the Bloomberg News agency cited threats from retired Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and other officers that if Russia gives Syria S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Israel’s air force would bombard them. Now the voice of bluster from Zion has been muted, at least for the moment.
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    Every state is entitled to have weapons for defense against jet bombers, including Syria, and no state is permitted to prevent that forcibly. This basic truth already sounds bizarre to Israeli ears. The idea that other countries’ sovereignty is meaningless, that it can always be disrupted by force, and that Israeli sovereignty alone is sacred, and supreme; that Israel can mix in the affairs of the region to its heart’s content – including by military intervention, whose true extent is yet to be clarified in the war in Syria – without paying a price, in the name of its real or imagined security, which sanctifies anything and everything – all this has suddenly run into a Russian “nyet.” Oh, how we needed that nyet, to restore Israel to its real dimensions.
    It arrived with excellent timing. Just when there’s a president in the White House who runs his Middle East policy at the instructions of his sponsor in Las Vegas and mentor on Balfour Street; when Israel feels itself in seventh heaven, with an American embassy in Jerusalem and no UNRWA, soon without the Palestinians – came the flashing red light from Moscow. Perhaps it will balance out, just a bit, the intoxication with power that has overtaken Israel in recent years, maybe it will start to wise up and recover.
    Russia, without meaning to, may yet turn out to be better for Israel than all the insane, corrupting support it receives from the current American administration, and from its predecessors, too.
    Russia has outlined for the world the way to treat Israel, using the only language Israel understands. Let those who truly care for Israel’s welfare, and for justice, learn how it’s done: Only by force. Only when Israel gets punished or is forced to pay a price does it do the right thing. The air force will think twice now and perhaps many times more before its next bombardment in Syria, whose importance, if indeed it has any, is unknown.
    Had such a Russian “nyet” hovered above Gaza’s skies, too, so much futile death and destruction would have been spared. Had an international force faced the Israeli occupation, it would have ended long ago. Instead, we have Donald Trump in Washington and the European Union’s pathetic denunciations of the evictions at Khan al-Ahmar.


  • The White House has revealed massive mission creep in Syria. Here’s why.
    https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/09/25/the-white-house-just-revealed-massive-mission-creep-in-syria-heres-wh

    Officially, the only mission for U.S. troops on the ground in the region ― including about 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,200 in Syria ― is to defeat and destroy ISIS.

    But recently the White House has begun to reveal a massive new mission on the horizon for U.S. troops in the Middle East: containing Iran.

    National security adviser John Bolton on Monday said countering Iran’s influence in Syria and elsewhere is a major goal of the U.S. military mission in the Middle East.

    “We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” Bolton said, signaling a fundamental shift from the current counter-terrorism operations to a mission focused more on geopolitical maneuvering and proxy warfare.


  • Saudi Arabia, Germany turn page on diplomatic dispute -
    The spat was triggered last November when Germany’s foreign minister at the time, Sigmar Gabriel, condemned ’adventurism’ in the Middle East

    Reuters
    Sep 26, 2018 5:39 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/saudi-arabia-germany-turn-page-on-diplomatic-dispute-1.6511068

    Germany and Saudi Arabia have agreed to end a prolonged diplomatic row that prompted the kingdom to pull its ambassador from Berlin and punish German firms operating in the country.
    The spat was triggered last November when Germany’s foreign minister at the time, Sigmar Gabriel, condemned “adventurism” in the Middle East, in comments that were widely seen as an attack on increasingly assertive Saudi policies, notably in Yemen.
    The comments, which aggravated already tense relations caused by a moratorium on German arms exports to Saudi Arabia, led Riyadh to withdraw its ambassador and freeze out German companies, particularly in the lucrative healthcare sector.

    Gabriel’s successor Heiko Maas, egged on by German industry, had been working for months to resolve the dispute. Earlier this month, Berlin signed off on the delivery of four artillery positioning systems to Saudi Arabia, a step that officials say accelerated the rapprochement.
    Standing alongside his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir at the United Nations on Tuesday, Maas spoke of “misunderstandings” that had undermined what were otherwise “strong and strategic ties” between the countries, saying “we sincerely regret this”.
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    “We should have been clearer in our communication and engagement in order to avoid such misunderstandings between Germany and the kingdom,” he said. “We’ll do our best to make this partnership with the kingdom even stronger than before.”
    Jubeir said he welcomed Maas’ statement and invited him to the kingdom to intensify their ties. He spoke of a “a new phase of close cooperation in all areas” between Berlin and Riyadh.
    Officials told Reuters that the Saudi ambassador, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, son of longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was expected to return to Berlin soon.
    After weeks of delay, the new German ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Joerg Ranau, is now expected to receive his accreditation and take up his position in Riyadh.
    “The Gordian knot has been broken,” said Volker Treier, foreign trade chief at the German chambers of commerce and industry (DIHK), who is in Riyadh to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the local chamber.
    “The optimism is back. Diplomacy triumphed,” he said. “Everyone we have met here has made clear they want to work closely with us again.”
    The dispute hit trade between the countries. German exports to Saudi Arabia fell 5 percent in the first half of 2018. And companies like Siemens Healthineers, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim complained that they were being excluded from public healthcare tenders.
    In a strongly-worded June letter to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, European and U.S. pharmaceutical associations warned that the restrictions could hurt Saudipatients and dampen future investment in the kingdom.
    The dispute with Germany predates one that erupted between Canada and Saudi Arabia this summer after the Canadian foreign minister, in a tweet, called for the release of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia.
    The kingdom responded by expelling the Canadian ambassador, recalling its own envoy, freezing new trade and investment, suspending flights and ordering Saudi students to leave Canada.
    Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen war, in which Arab forces are fighting Iran-aligned Houthis, remains controversial in Germany.
    Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government went so far as to write into its coalition agreement earlier this year that no arms could be sent to countries involved in the conflict. It is unclear how recent arms deliveries fit with this ban.


  • Missing at the borders
    https://missingattheborders.org/en

    We are activists from organizations based on both shores of the Mediterranean sea.

    We joined forces with families of migrants who died, disappeared or were victims of enforced disappearance during their journey to Europe.

    Jointly, we set up this web page to give voice to the families and to tell their stories.

    The project team is composed of members of the following organizations: Milano senza Frontiere, Palermo senza Frontiere, Como senza Frontiere, Carovane Migranti, Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France, Alarm Phone and Watch The Med.
    What do we want

    The Mediterranean Sea has become an open-air cemetery: since 2000, the number of casualties has topped 35,000. No one knows exactly how many victims there are along the routes from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East to the southern shores of the Mediterranean.

    Every year, we are faced with the dreadful count of lost lives. Yet, when we talk about these victims, we speak of them as mere numbers. The unique individuality of each one of them, their hopes and dreams which drove them to migrate, are completely ignored and erased.

    As for the migrants’ loved ones, the desperate condition in which these families live is not even part of the public discourse. The families are living in anguish, not knowing what happened to their son, daughter, spouse, parent or grandchild.

    We demand justice, truth and dignity for the families, by:

    – giving the families answers about what happened to their disappeared family members;
    – calling on the European Union to stop externalising border surveillance;
    – giving everyone freedom of movement.


  • Israel to expel French-American professor arrested during West Bank protest
    In a rare move, Frank Romano was arrested according to military law. However, before his hearing he was released and taken into custody by the population authority in preparation for his deportation
    Yotam Berger Sep 16, 2018 5:40 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-to-expel-french-american-professor-arrested-in-west-bank-pr

    Israel is set to expel the foreign law professor arrested on suspicion of disrupting the actions of Israeli soldiers on duty at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on Friday.

    #FranckRomano

    • ’Bad faith’: Judge slams Israel for West Bank arrest of professor, orders release - Israel News

      Judge criticizes authorities’ handling of case, rejects demand that he be immediately deported
      Yotam Berger Sep 17, 2018 1:53 AM
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-to-release-professor-arrested-protesting-west-bank-village-

      The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday ordered the release of Professor Frank Romano from custody under the condition that he leave Israel by September 25, the date of his scheduled flight back to France.

      Romano, 66, who holds both French and American citizenship and teaches law in France, arrested on suspicion of disrupting the actions of Israeli soldiers on duty at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on Friday.

      Judge Chavi Toker rejected the government’s request to immediately expel Romano from the country and criticized the way authorities handled the request. The professor is expected to remain in custody pending another hearing to be held on Monday.

      Judge Toker said that the police, military and Interior Ministry “acted in bad faith” and “refused to take responsibility for the appellant.” She noted that the court was not told of the military’s decision to the Population Authority for his immediate deportation, calling this an attempt to bypass a hearing.

      Toker added that Romano “stopped a tractor in the middle of the road,” saying that “this happens a hundred times a day in Jerusalem. He is not a dangerous man.”

      Romano was arrested together with two Palestinian activists for attempting to block the road and get in the way of security forces.

      According to military law, which is enforced in the territories, a suspect’s detention can be extended by 96 hours before being brought to a judge.

      According to the civil code, detainees must be brought before a judge no more than 24 hours after their arrest.

      Gabi Lasky, Romano’s attorney, told Haaretz that it is very rare for military code to be used on foreign citizens and that she has encountered only one such other case in the past. Theoretically, Romano could have been arrested under the civil code, because the suspected infraction is supposedly against the authorities of the state.

      Lasky said earlier Sunday that the intent was to bring Romano for a “regular” remand hearing before a Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge. But shortly before the hearing the security forces said that Romano was to be released and deported and so he would not be brought to court, although the hearing did ultimately take place.

      “Like thieves in the night, instead of bringing Frank Romano to a hearing on my request that he be released from detention, which was set for today [Sunday] at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, without informing me or the court, at 2 PM [two hours before the scheduled hearing] he was handed over to the immigration police for deportation. Now it is clear why he was arrested according to military law – to give them time to deport him before he sees a judge.”

    • Israeli court not to deport French professor
      Sept. 17, 2018 3:41 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 17, 2018 3:53 P.M.)
      http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=781098

      JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court reversed a deportation order against French activist, Frank Romano, after the court had earlier released him from detention to deport him after being accused of “disruptions” at Khan al-Ahmar village, east of Jerusalem.

      Romano, a 66-year-old law professor at the University of Paris and author of “Love and Terror in the Middle East,” and a holder of a French and American citizenship, was detained last week at Khan al-Ahmar, as he protested Israel’s intention to demolish the Bedouin village.

      He declared a hunger strike following his detention, calling on Israel to not demolish the village of Khan al-Ahmar.

      Romano was then released and allowed to return to the village; where he will continue to protest the demolition in solidarity with the residents, in attempt to prevent the demolition.

    • Cisjordanie : un juriste français arrêté après une manifestation va être expulsé (avocat)
      AFP
      Publié le 16/09/2018 à 22:20 | AFP
      http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/cisjordanie-un-juriste-francais-arrete-apres-une-manifestation-va-etre-expul

      Un juriste français, arrêté par les forces de l’ordre israéliennes lors d’une manifestation contre la démolition d’un village bédouin en Cisjordanie occupée, va être expulsé d’Israël, a annoncé son avocate dimanche.

      Frank Romano, professeur de droit né aux Etats-Unis et de nationalité franco-américaine, a été arrêté vendredi après des échauffourées entre des militants propalestiniens et des garde-frontières israéliens près du village bédouin de Khan al-Ahmar, à l’est de Jérusalem.

      « Il y a une décision administrative stipulant son expulsion », a dit dimanche à la presse son avocate Gaby Lansky. Elle avait affirmé la veille que Frank Romano était accusé d’entraves à l’action de la police et des soldats israéliens.

      M. Romano a dit qu’il contesterait la décision de l’expulser devant les tribunaux israéliens.

      « Je vais faire appel si on veut m’expulser », a dit ce juriste qui s’exprimait en français devant les journalistes lors d’une brève audience tard dimanche sur l’ordre d’expulsion.

      « Il n’y a pas de raison de m’expulser. Je n’ai pas fait d’acte de violence », a-t-il ajouté.

      La cour a ajourné l’audience sans annoncer de décision.


  • Cisjordanie : échauffourées près d’un village de bédouins promis à la démolition
    L’Express - Par AFP , mis à jour le 15/09/2018 à 08:44

    https://www.lexpress.fr/actualites/1/monde/cisjordanie-echauffourees-pres-d-un-village-de-bedouins-promis-a-la-demolit

    Un bulldozer israélien a tenté de barrer la route menant au village de Khan al-Ahmar en y déversant des pierres et de la terre, ce qui a provoqué des heurts.

    Trois manifestants ont été arrêtés, a précisé un porte-parole de la police.

    Parmi eux figure un professeur français de droit, Frank Romano, ont indiqué des manifestants, mais la police n’a pas confirmé.

    Après des années de bataille judiciaire, la Cour suprême israélienne a donné la semaine dernière son feu vert à la démolition de Khan al-Ahmar, village de tôle et de toile où vivent environ 200 bédouins à l’est de Jérusalem, près de colonies israéliennes.

    #Khan_al-Ahmar

    • French activist goes on hunger strike to protest Israeli plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar
      http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=8RTRSsa99132688974a8RTRSs

      Israeli police detaining French-American activist Frank Romano for standing in the way of bulldozers attempting to block roads to Khan al-Ahmar. (WAFA Images / Suleiman Abu Srour)

      JERUSALEM, September 15, 2018 (WAFA) – A French-American activist started a hunger strike on Friday after he was detained by Israeli police when activists in Khan al-Ahmar village, east of Jerusalem, blocked Israeli bulldozers trying to close roads to the village, according to Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, from the Save Khan al-Ahmar campaign.

      He told WAFA that Frank Romano, professor of law at University of Paris and author of “Love and Terror in the Middle East”, was detained along with four other Palestinians when they confronted Israeli police and bulldozers attempting to block roads to the village, slated for demolition by Israel in order to replace it with a settlement.

      Romano, who lives in France but is also an American citizen, was first taken to a police station in the nearby illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim before he was transferred to the Russian Compound police station in West Jerusalem where his detention was extended for four days.
      Abu Rahmeh said Romano started a hunger strike until Israel annuls the demolition decision against Khan al Ahmar.

      #FranckRomano

    • In Exceptional Move, Israeli Army Arrests French-American Law Professor in West Bank

      Frank Romano was arrested along with two Palestinians while protesting the upcoming demolition of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, police say ■ IDF allowed to keep him under arrest for up to 96 hours without bringing him to court
      Yotam Berger
      Sep 15, 2018 5:25 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-in-rare-move-idf-arrests-french-american-law-prof-in-west-bank-1.6

      Israeli border police arrest French-American law professor and other protesters and activists blocking Israeli army bulldozer operating at the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, September 1Nasser Nasser/AP

      A 66-year-old French-American citizen and two other activists were arrested Friday in the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.

      According to border police, the three, law professor Frank Romano and two Palestinians, tried to block the road and disrupt soldiers situated near the village, which is slated for demolition.

      Exceptionally, the arrest of Romano - a foreign national - was extended by 96 hours under military code rather than civil law. Military code applies to Palestinians and significantly reduces the rights granted to suspects. In comparison, in the Israeli legal system there is a duty to bring a suspect before a judge within 24 hours.

      Attorney Gaby Lasky, who represents Romano, told Haaretz that this it is very rare for military code to be used for foreign citizens, saying that she had encountered only one such other case in the past. Lasky plans to appeal to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to bring the man to a remand hearing.


  • Trump Administration to Close Palestine Liberation Organization Office in Washington - WSJ
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-administration-to-close-palestine-liberation-organization-office-in-washi
    https://images.wsj.net/im-25515/social

    The Trump administration is expected to announce Monday that it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, administration officials said Sunday night, widening a U.S. campaign of pressure amid stalled Middle East peace efforts.

    #palestine


  • The major uprising in Basra and southern Iraq is what the world should be worrying about in the Middle East right now | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/basra-iraq-protests-oil-uprising-patrick-cockburn-government-a8527521

    The causes of the protests are self-evident: Iraq is ruled by a kleptomaniac political class that operates the Iraqi state apparatus as a looting machine. Other countries are corrupt, notably those rich in oil or other natural resources, and the politically well connected become hugely wealthy. However big the rake-off, something is usually built at the end of the day.

    [...]

    Iraq will most likely continue to be misruled by a weak dysfunctional government, thereby opening the door to various dangers. Isis is down but not entirely out: it could rally its forces, perhaps in a different guise, and escalate attacks. Divisions within the Shiah community are growing deeper and more rancorous as the Sadrists – whose offices, unlike those of the other parties, have not been burned by demonstrators – grow in influence.

    A festering political crisis will not be confined to Iraq. The outside world should have learned this lesson from the aftermath of the US-led invasion of 2003. Rival Iraqi parties always seek foreign sponsors whose interests they serve as well as their own. The country is already one of the arenas of the escalating US-Iran confrontation. As with the threat of a cholera epidemic in Basra, Iraqi crises tend to spread swiftly and infect the whole region.

    #Irak #dirigeants_arabes #kleptocrates #indigents_arabes


  • Israel is too strong
    If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation
    Gideon Levy | Sep 08, 2018 11:36 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-is-too-strong-1.6464641

    In the end, after deducting all the other ills, we find that the worst of them all, the mother of all disasters, is that Israel is too strong. If it weren’t so strong – too strong – it would be more just. If it couldn’t do whatever it felt like doing, its conduct would be more moral and more considerate. A good part of its crimes and whims comes from its power drunkenness. A good part of what it does stems from the fact that it simply can. It can thumb its nose at the whole world; ignore international law; control another people by force for generations; infringe on the sovereignty of its neighbors; act like it’s the be-all and the end-all, only because it has the power to do so.

    Like any other country, Israel needs to be strong. Weakness might indeed lead to its destruction, as Israelis are told constantly from the day they are born. But too much power has ruined it and caused it damage of a different kind. It’s not its weakness, as it describes itself – surrounded by enemies that seek only to destroy it, little David facing Goliath – that molded its character. It’s the overabundance of power that it has accumulated that has molded it more than anything else. If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation.

    Even if it was born in sin, Israel is not a country of particularly bad people. Even the arrogance Israelis show the whole world is not an inborn trait. Israel probably did not intend to become what it is: a regional power, which largely dictates to the most powerful country, the United States, how it should conduct itself; a country that many others court and even fear and at the same time is considered an outcast by anyone with a conscience. Israel has become this way because it is brimming with power. It accumulated it gradually, and today it has reached its zenith.

    Israel has never been stronger. It is not by chance that now its image is at the lowest point in its history. That’s the price of too much power.

    Israel is walloping the whole world. Not only with the occupation, which it continues undisturbed despite the opposition of most of the world; not only in the horrific siege on Gaza and its cruel attacks on it, which include war crimes that Israel is never punished for; not only with the settlements, whose legitimacy most of the world also doesn’t recognize – the entirety of its foreign policy says hubris.

    The daily bombings in Syria and other countries and regular flyovers of Lebanon as if there were no border and no tomorrow; arrogant, criminal, unrestrained international assassinations; leading the world to fight the Iranian nuclear program; the shocking international criminalization campaign against the BDS movement; the fact that it refrains from signing international treaties to which all democratic countries are signatories; that it endlessly disregards resolutions by international bodies; attempts to interfere in the domestic matters of its neighbors, becomes involved in wars that have nothing to do with it and even attempts to stir things up in the European Union and lead to disunity there; takes subversive action against the (former) president of the United States and closes its embassy in Paraguay only because the latter took a step that Israel didn’t like – doing all of these things like it’s a superpower.

    It’s hard to think of another country that is not the United States, Russia or China that would dare to act like this. Israel can.

    Ostensibly, this is a dizzying success of the Zionist enterprise. Who would have dreamed that we’d become like this? In fact, this is the greatest threat to its justness. Except for a few mishaps, like in 1973, this power drunkenness has so far continued without Israel having to pay any significant price, except in terms of its image, which it has also learned to disregard.

    On the eve of the new year, Israel is not facing challenges that endanger its belligerent super-powerful status. It seems that it can probably go on doing what it is doing – in the occupied territories, the Middle East and the whole world.

    Only history itself insists on reminding us from time to time that such shows of unbridled power drunkenness usually end badly. Very badly.


  • Marine Corps F-35Bs Have Arrived Off the Coast of Africa For The Very First Time - The Drive
    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/23414/marine-corps-f-35bs-have-arrived-off-the-coast-of-africa-for-the-very-firs

    For the first time ever, U.S. Marine Corps F-35Bs Joint Strike Fighters are on an operational deployment in the Gulf of Aden, bringing them the closest they’ve ever been to conflict zones in Iraq and Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. The stealthy jets and their pilots set to join thousands of other U.S. Navy sailors and Marines for a two-week training exercise while they’re in the region, but there’s still no indication they are headed for actual combat, at least not yet.

    [...]

    Neither the Navy nor the Marines have announced any intention to send the F-35Bs into combat anywhere in the Middle East or East Africa while the Essex and her ARG are in the region, but there is always a possibility the U.S. military could decide to do so.

    #Etats-Unis #guerre


  • BDS success stories - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-bds-success-stories-1.6455621

    More than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in undermining the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world.

    Gideon Levy SendSend me email alerts
    Sep 05, 2018

    Gilad Erdan is a great success story of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, as is the Strategic Affairs Ministry that he heads. So is the anti-boycott law. Every human rights activist who is expelled from Israel or questioned at Ben-Gurion International Airport is a BDS success story. The European Broadcasting Union’s letter is another success of the global movement to boycott Israel.
    More than Lana Del Rey canceling her visit, more than SodaStream moving its factory from the West Bank to the Negev and more than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in a different area, effortlessly and perhaps unintentionally. It has undermined the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world. It was the European Broadcasting Union, of all things, a nonpolitical organization, very far from BDS, that best described the extent of the damage to Israel: The organization compared Israel to Ukraine and Azerbaijan in the conditions it set for these countries to host the Eurovision Song Contest.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Ukraine and Azerbaijan, which no one seriously considers to be democracies, in the same breath as Israel. This is how the Eurovision organizers see Israel.
    The song contest was held in Jerusalem twice before, and no one thought to set conditions to guarantee the civil liberties of participants. Now it is necessary to guarantee, in advance and in writing, what is self-evident in a democracy: freedom of entry and freedom of movement to everyone who comes for the competition.
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    In Israel, as in Ukraine and Azerbaijan, this is no longer self-evident. In the 13 years since it was founded, the BDS movement couldn’t have dreamed of a greater triumph.
    The main credit, of course, goes to the Israeli government, which in declaring war on BDS and made a great contributions to the movement. With a commander like Erdan, who is outraged over the interference with the “laws of a democratic state” and doesn’t understand how grotesque his words are, and with a ministry that is nothing but an international thought police, the government is telling the world: Israel isn’t what you thought. Did you think for years that Israel was a liberal democracy? Did you close your eyes to the goings-on in its backyard? Did you think the occupation was separate from the state, that it could be maintained in a democracy, that it was surely temporary and would be over momentarily? That at least sovereign Israel is part of the West? Well, you were wrong.


  • Opinion | Is Boycotting Israel ‘Hate’? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/04/opinion/is-boycotting-israel-hate.html

    Opponents of the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are involved in a dishonest branding campaign.

    By Joseph Levine
    Mr. Levine is a philosophy professor and a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council.

    The debate over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement against Israel has been one of the most contentious in American political culture for more than a decade. Now, given the tumultuous and deadly events of the past several months, it is likely to heat up further.

    Casualties in the ongoing protests in Gaza, which began in March, continue to mount; nearly 180 mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli forces, with more than 18,000 injured, according to the United Nations. Dozens of those deaths came in mid-May, as the United States took the provocative step of moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Tensions will surely spike again following last week’s decision by the United States to stop billions in funding to the United Nations agency that delivers aid to Palestinian refugees.

    B.D.S. began in 2005 in response to a call by more than 100 Palestinian civil society organizations, with the successful movement against apartheid South Africa in mind. The reasoning was that Israel, with its half-century occupation of Palestinian territories, would be equally deserving of the world’s condemnation until its policies changed to respect Palestinian political and civil rights. B.D.S. calls for its stance of nonviolent protest to remain in effect until three conditions are met: that Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the wall; that Israel recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and that Israel respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations Resolution 194.

    • The debate over the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement against Israel has been one of the most contentious in American political culture for more than a decade. Now, given the tumultuous and deadly events of the past several months, it is likely to heat up further.

      Casualties in the ongoing protests in Gaza, which began in March, continue to mount; nearly 180 mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli forces, with more than 18,000 injured, according to the United Nations. Dozens of those deaths came in mid-May, as the United States took the provocative step of moving its embassy to Jerusalem. Tensions will surely spike again following last week’s decision by the United States to stop billions in funding to the United Nations agency that delivers aid to Palestinian refugees.

      B.D.S. began in 2005 in response to a call by more than 100 Palestinian civil society organizations, with the successful movement against apartheid South Africa in mind. The reasoning was that Israel, with its half-century occupation of Palestinian territories, would be equally deserving of the world’s condemnation until its policies changed to respect Palestinian political and civil rights. B.D.S. calls for its stance of nonviolent protest to remain in effect until three conditions are met: that Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantles the wall; that Israel recognizes the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and that Israel respects, protects and promotes the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations Resolution 194.

      Opposition to B.D.S. is widespread and strong. Alarmingly, in the United States, support for the movement is in the process of being outlawed. As of now, 24 states have enacted legislation that in some way allows the state to punish those who openly engage in or advocate B.D.S., and similar legislation is pending in 12 more states. At the federal level, a bill called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act would criminalize adherence to any boycott of Israel called for by an international agency (like the United Nations). The bill has garnered 57 Senate co-sponsors and 290 House co-sponsors, and may very well come up for a vote soon.

      While these bills certainly constitute threats to free speech — (a view shared by the ACLU) — I am interested in a more subtle effect of a fairly widespread anti-B.D.S. strategy: co-opting rhetoric of the anti-Trump resistance, which opposes the growing influence of racist hate groups, in order to brand B.D.S. as a hate group itself.

      In my home state of Massachusetts, for example, where a hearing for one of the many state bills aimed at punishing B.D.S. activity took place in July 2017, those who testified in favor of the bill, along with their supporters in the gallery, wore signs saying “No Hate in the Bay State.” They took every opportunity to compare B.D.S. supporters to the alt-right activists recently empowered by the election of Donald Trump. (Full disclosure: I am a strong supporter of B.D.S. and was among those testifying against the bill.)

      The aim of this activity is to relegate the B.D.S. movement, and the Palestine solidarity movement more generally, to the nether region of public discourse occupied by all the intolerant worldviews associated with the alt-right. This is an area the philosopher John Rawls would call “unreasonable.” But to my mind, it is the anti-B.D.S. movement itself that belongs there.

      There are two dimensions of reasonableness that are relevant to this particular issue: the one that allegedly applies to the B.D.S. campaign and the one I claim actually applies to the anti-B.D.S. campaign. Rawls starts his account of the reasonable from the premise of what he calls “reasonable pluralism,” an inevitable concomitant of modern-day democratic government. Large democratic societies contain a multitude of groups that differ in what Rawls calls their “comprehensive doctrines” — moral, religious or philosophical outlooks in accord with which people structure their lives. What makes a comprehensive doctrine “reasonable” is the willingness of those living in accord with it to recognize the legitimate claims of differing, often conflicting doctrines, to accord to the people that hold them full participation as citizens and to regard them as deserving of respect and equal treatment. We can label this dimension of reasonableness a matter of tolerance.

      The second dimension of reasonableness is associated with the notion of “public reason.” When arguing for one’s position as part of the process of democratic deliberation in a society characterized by reasonable pluralism, what kinds of considerations are legitimate to present? The constraint of public reason demands that the considerations in question should look reasonable to all holders of reasonable comprehensive doctrines, not merely one’s own.

      For example, when arguing over possible legal restrictions on abortion, it isn’t legitimate within a democracy to appeal to religious principles that are not shared by all legitimate parties to the dispute. So, while the personhood of the fetus is in dispute among reasonable doctrines, the status of African-Americans, women, gays and Jews is not. To reject their status as fully equal members of the society would be “unreasonable.”

      One of the essential principles of democratic government is freedom of thought and expression, and this extends to the unreasonable/intolerant as well as to the reasonable, so long as certain strict limits on incitement to violence, libel and the like are observed. Still, doctrines within the “tent of the reasonable” are accorded a different status within public institutions and civil society from those deemed outside the tent. This is reflected in the kinds of public support or reprobation representatives of the state and other civil society institutions (e.g., universities) display toward the doctrines or values in question.

      To put it simply, we expect what’s reasonable to get a fair hearing within the public sphere, even if many don’t agree with it.

      On the other hand, though we do not suppress the unreasonable, we don’t believe, in general, that it has the right to a genuinely fair hearing in that same sphere. For instance, after the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., in August last year, students at my campus, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, were greeted in the fall with signs plastered everywhere that said “Hate Has No Home at UMass.” This was intended to let the Richard Spencers of this world know that even if it may not be right or legal to bar them from speaking on campus, their message was not going to be given the respectful hearing that those within the tent of the reasonable receive.

      The alleged basis for claiming that B.D.S. advocates are anti-Semitic, and thus worthy only of denunciation or punishment, not argument, is that through their three goals listed in their manifesto they express their rejection of Jews’ right to self-determination in their homeland. This idea was put succinctly by Senator Chuck Schumer at the policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in March, where he said, “Let us call out the B.D.S. movement for what it is. Let us delegitimize the delegitimizers by letting the world know when there is a double standard, whether they know it or not, they are actively participating in an anti-Semitic movement.”

      B.D.S. supporters are “delegitimizers,” according to Schumer, because they do not grant legitimacy to the Zionist project. Some might quibble with this claim about the B.D.S. goals, but I think it’s fair to say that rejection of the legitimacy of the Zionist project is fairly widespread within the movement. But does this constitute anti-Semitism? Does this put them outside the tent of the reasonable?

      To justify this condemnation of the B.D.S. movement requires accepting two extremely controversial claims: first, that the right to self-determination for any ethnic, religious or racial group entails the right to live in a state that confers special status on members of that group — that it is “their state” in the requisite sense; and second, that Palestine counts for these purposes as the rightful homeland of modern-day Jews, as opposed to the ancient Judeans. (I have argued explicitly against the first claim, here.)

      With regard to the second claim, it seems obvious to me, and I bet many others when they bother to think about it, that claims to land stemming from a connection to people who lived there 2,000 years ago is extremely weak when opposed by the claims of those who currently live there and whose people have been living there for perhaps a millennium or more.

      Remember, one needn’t agree with me in my rejection of these two principal claims for my point to stand. All one must acknowledge is that the right at issue isn’t obvious and is at least open to question. If a reasonable person can see that this right of the Jews to establish a state in Palestine is at least open to question, then it can’t be a sign of anti-Semitism to question it! But once you admit the B.D.S. position within the tent of the reasonable, the proper response is not, as Senator Schumer claims, “delegitimizing,” but rather disputing — engaging in argument, carried out in the public sphere according to the rules of public reason.

      But now we get to my second main point — that it’s the anti-B.D.S. camp that violates reasonableness; not because it is an expression of intolerance (though often it flirts with Islamophobia), but because it violates the constraints on public reason. Just how far the positive argument for the legitimacy of the Zionist project often veers from the rules of public reason is perfectly captured by another quote from Mr. Schumer’s speech to Aipac.

      “Now, let me tell you why — my view, why we don’t have peace. Because the fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East,” he said. “The view of Palestinians is simple: The Europeans treated the Jews badly, culminating in the Holocaust, and they gave them our land as compensation. Of course, we say it’s our land, the Torah says it, but they don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace. They invent other reasons, but they do not believe in a Jewish state, and that is why we, in America, must stand strong with Israel through thick and thin …”

      This quote is really quite remarkable, coming from one of the most powerful legislators in our democracy. After fairly well characterizing a perfectly reasonable attitude Palestinians have about who is responsible for the Holocaust and who should pay any reparations for it, Mr. Schumer then appeals to the Torah to justify the Jewish claim against them. But this is a totally illegitimate appeal as a form of public reason, no different from appealing to religious doctrine when opposing abortion. In fact, I claim you can’t find any genuine argument that isn’t guilty of breaching the limits of the reasonable in this way for the alleged right to establish the Jewish state in Palestine.

      This almost certainly explains why opponents of B.D.S. are now turning to the heavy hand of the state to criminalize support for it. In a “fair fight” within the domain of public reason, they would indeed find themselves “delegitimized.”

      Joseph Levine is a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the author of “Quality and Content: Essays on Consciousness, Representation and Modality.” He is a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council.

      #Palestine #USA #BDS #criminalisation_des_militants #liberté_d'expression #censure

      Et aussi à ajouter à la longue liste d’articles sur la confusion entretenue entre #Antisionisme et #Antisémitisme :

      https://seenthis.net/messages/337856
      https://seenthis.net/messages/580647
      https://seenthis.net/messages/603396
      https://seenthis.net/messages/604402
      https://seenthis.net/messages/606801
      https://seenthis.net/messages/690067
      https://seenthis.net/messages/700966
      https://seenthis.net/messages/716567
      https://seenthis.net/messages/718335
      https://seenthis.net/messages/719714


  • How Far Will the EU Go to Seal Its Borders? | Dissent Magazine
    https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/how-far-eu-seal-borders-khartoum-process-central-mediterranean-migr

    Khartoum used to be a city where you could disappear. Located on one of the key migration trails to Europe via the Horn of Africa, thousands of Eritreans, Ethiopians, and Somalis would enter the sprawling city to hire smugglers to take them north into Libya and then Europe. African refugees and migrants used to be able to travel out from the country relatively easily. But Sudan is now home to one of the European Union’s (EU) aggressive attempts to contain Africans before they can make it off the continent and onto Italian shores.

    A central pillar of the EU’s current migration policy is to pressure governments in Africa and the Middle East to stem onward migration in exchange for aid. With the continued electoral gains of far-right parties across Europe on anti-immigration platforms, these efforts are rapidly accelerating. Now as billions of euros flow from Europe into the Horn of Africa and other regions to stem migration and previously permeable border zones become impassable or more dangerous, the human cost plays out far from the remit of European citizens. How far is Europe willing to go to seal its borders?

    The question can best be answered not from the EU’s headquarters in Brussels, but in countries like Sudan. In November 2017, I spent a month reporting in Khartoum and Kassala, a town in eastern Sudan near the Eritrean border.


  • MI5 head Andrew Parker summons Jeremy Corbyn for ‘facts of life’ talk on terror | News | The Sunday Times
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/mi5-head-andrew-parker-summons-jeremy-corbyn-for-facts-of-life-talk-on-t

    Jeremy Corbyn has been summoned for a personal briefing by the head of MI5 on the terrorist threat to Britain amid questions about his approach to national security.

    Andrew Parker, the director-general of the Security Service, is expected to give the Labour leader a “full briefing” on the threat from Islamists in Britain and Isis jihadists returning from the Middle East to plot atrocities on home soil.

    The MI5 boss also wants to prime Corbyn on the extent of hostile Russian espionage activity and the growing threat from far-right extremists.

    Two senior government sources said the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday so that Corbyn could “begin to understand the facts of life” about threats he has a habit of playing down.


  • Israel Violence from God -

    Amira Hass

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-violence-from-god-1.6427708

    The IDF spokesman did not miss the target and proved what we have known for a long time. In other words, his employer, the army, is a willing captive of the settlement enterprise and the settlers.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    In a response after the attack on six activists from Ta’ayush by about a dozen or more Israelis, (Jews), at the Mitzpeh Yair settlement outpost on the holy Sabbath of the 14th of the Jewish month of Elul, 5778, the IDF spokesman lied twice: “Friction” – that’s what he called the brutal attack, after which four of the victims required treatment in the hospital. He also claimed that the soldiers declared a closed military zone. If they did, the activists didn’t hear it.

    Soldiers evacuating an injured activist after the attack in South Hebron Hills, August 25, 2018.B’Tselem
    There is no group of Israeli Jewish activists that has been and is being exposed to physical attacks by the settlers more than Ta’ayush. For almost 20 years the activists of this left-wing group have been going out to the battlefields: the pastures, fields and orchards that the settlers have their eyes on.


  • Iran’s Tanker Fleet Gives Oil-Export Lifeline as Sanctions Loom - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-24/iran-s-tanker-fleet-gives-oil-export-lifeline-as-sanctions-loom


    An Iranian tanker docking at Kharg Island
    Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

    Iran’s own fleet of tankers may provide a lifeline for its crude and condensate exports that’ll be slashed as U.S. sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation take hold.

    As Iran’s customers give in to mounting U.S. pressure, shipments from the OPEC member may drop to under 1 million barrels a day by mid-2019, down from a daily 2.5 million this year, according to industry consultant FGE. Still, the Middle East nation’s cargoes to China in the past few weeks show how changing vessel ownership and contract terms may help it sustain flows to buyers.