region:middle east

  • Israeli cyber firm negotiated advanced attack capabilities sale with Saudis, Haaretz reveals

    Just months before crown prince launched a purge against his opponents, NSO offered Saudi intelligence officials a system to hack into cellular phones ■ NSO: We abide the law, our products are used to combat crime and terrorism

    Amos Harel, Chaim Levinson and Yaniv Kubovich Nov 25, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-company-negotiated-to-sell-advanced-cybertech-to-the-saudi

    The Israeli company NSO Group Technologies offered Saudi Arabia a system that hacks cellphones, a few months before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his purge of regime opponents, according to a complaint to the Israel Police now under investigation.
    But NSO, whose development headquarters is in Herzliya, says that it has acted according to the law and its products are used in the fight against crime and terror.
    Either way, a Haaretz investigation based on testimony and photos, as well as travel and legal documents, reveals the Saudis’ behind-the-scenes attempts to buy Israeli technology.
    In June 2017, a diverse group gathered in a hotel room in Vienna, a city between East and West that for decades has been a center for espionage, defense-procurement contacts and unofficial diplomatic meetings.
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    Arriving at the hotel were Abdullah al-Malihi, a close associate of Prince Turki al-Faisal – a former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services – and another senior Saudi official, Nasser al-Qahtani, who presented himself as the deputy of the current intelligence chief. Their interlocutors were two Israeli businessmen, representatives of NSO, who presented to the Saudis highly advanced technology.

    >> Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays | Revealed
    In 2017, NSO was avidly promoting its new technology, its Pegasus 3 software, an espionage tool so sophisticated that it does not depend on the victim clicking on a link before the phone is breached.
    During the June 2017 meeting, NSO officials showed a PowerPoint presentation of the system’s capabilities. To demonstrate it, they asked Qahtani to go to a nearby mall, buy an iPhone and give them its number. During that meeting they showed how this was enough to hack into the new phone and record and photograph the participants in the meeting.
    The meeting in Vienna wasn’t the first one between the two sides. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently expressed pride in the tightening ties with Gulf states, with Israel’s strength its technology. The message is clear: Israel is willing to sell these countries security-related technologies, and they forge closer ties with Israel in the strategic battle against Iran.


  • The symbol of the yellow vest, worn by demonstrators in France, has been spotted in protests across Europe and as far away as Iraq.

    As the fourth wave of “Yellow Vest” demonstrations erupts across France to protest high living costs and President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-working class policies, the movement’s influence is spreading across Europe and even the Middle East.

    https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Frances-Yellow-Vest-Movement-Spreads-as-Inequality-Deepens-20181208-


  • Accelerated remittances growth to low- and middle-income countries in 2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries grew rapidly and are projected to reach a new record in 2018, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, released today.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded remittances to developing countries will increase by 10.8 percent to reach $528 billion in 2018. This new record level follows robust growth of 7.8 percent in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 percent to $689 billion.

    Remittance flows rose in all regions, most notably in Europe and Central Asia (20 percent) and South Asia (13.5 percent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (9.8 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (9.3 percent), the Middle East and North Africa (9.1 percent), and East Asia and the Pacific (6.6 percent). Growth was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation.

    Among major remittance recipients, India retains its top spot, with remittances expected to total $80 billion this year, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines ($34 billion each), and Egypt ($26 billion).

    As global growth is projected to moderate, future remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to grow moderately by 4 percent to reach $549 billion in 2019. Global remittances are expected to grow 3.7 percent to $715 billion in 2019.

    The Brief notes that the global average cost of sending $200 remains high at 6.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under #Sustainable_Development_Goals (SDG) 10.7. Increasing the volume of remittances is also a global goal under the proposals for raising financing for the SDGs.

    https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/12/08/accelerated-remittances-growth-to-low-and-middle-income-countries-in-2018

    #remittances #migrations #statistiques #chiffres #2018 #coût #SDGs

    • #Rapport : Migration and Remittances

      This Migration and Development Brief reports global trends in migration and remittance flows. It highlights developments connected to migration-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for which the World Bank is a custodian: increasing the volume of remittances as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) (SDG indicator 17.3.2), reducing remittance costs (SDG indicator 10.c.1), and reducing recruitment costs for migrant workers (SDG indicator 10.7.1). This Brief also presents recent developments on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and proposes an implementation and review mechanism.

      https://i.imgur.com/eYyt81L.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/8TmjzYw.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/Fk0qkEd.png

      https://www.knomad.org/publication/migration-and-development-brief-30

      Pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2018-12/Migration%20and%20Development%20Brief%2030%20advance%20copy.pdf


  • Israel’s Supreme Court, a place of deceit

    Court, a Place of Deceit
    East Jerusalem residents have learned that while justice may be meant to be seen, it’s not necessarily meant to be heard

    Ilana Hammerman
    Dec 05, 2018 2:39 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-supreme-court-a-place-of-deceit-1.6719983

    “Go, and try to understand every word spoken in this chamber, which hover for a moment in its enormous space, before escaping to the sides and above through the many cracks in its walls,” I muttered to myself several weeks ago in Chamber C of Jerusalem’s Supreme Court.
    From those words I could decipher, I learned that in the case being heard there are people seeking to remain living in their homes and there are others who claim that the land under these homes belongs to them, and thus the homes as well. And some claim the destiny of the land is not the destiny of the homes. One belongs to so-and-so and his descendants, while the other belongs to another person and his issue. Plus, there are documents attesting one thing and others attesting to another. And there are documents related to this parcel of land but not to its neighbor.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    I also understood that the petitioners representing the people seeking to stay in their homes – who are making legal arguments on their behalf, pleading persistently, shouting beneath the enormous domes – are wasting their time. For the destiny of the people who have sent them here has already been determined, and the Supreme Court, sitting on high, believes that it does not have the authority to discuss the evidence they bother to formulate in the Hebrew language that is not their own.
    It turns out that all the evidence was already discussed exhaustively in a lower court, which already ruled that the residents are themselves the trespassers. And because they delayed – the proceedings intended to get rid of them were unfortunately for them done without their knowledge – the statute of limitations applies to some of their lawsuits.
    This is not the first time that I have wondered whether the acoustic conditions in this chamber do not bear witness that while justice may be meant to be seen, it is not necessarily meant to be heard. Nor is it the first time that I have thought while sitting in it that perhaps it is better that way. For more than one of the details debated here lack content that should really interest human beings who have the brains to understand and the tools to take interest and learn the facts. And indeed, I know the facts well, and so this list will end with a decisive decision.

    On that fall day, November13, the Supreme Court discussed the fate of dozens of people who have lived for 64 years in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Israeli law had made it possible for three Israeli associations – the Council of the Sephardi Community in Jerusalem, the Committee of Knesset Israel and Nahalat Shimon – to evict them from their homes and to replace them with other people.
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    The judges, after masquerading briefly while as people sincerely and innocently seeking to decide without bias between the attorneys wrangling at their feet, then began to play their true role. They obeyed the law, and with it the policy determining what the law is, and ruled against the petitioners, and in favor of the three associations; the appeal was denied.
    And what does Israeli law state, and in particular, what are its practical implications, what is the personal tragedy to which it condemns its victims? Because the law here serves to cover for usurpation and ideology, things are best explained simply without leaving this issue to legalists.
    A woman my age, sitting with me in her house, from which she is to be evicted, explained the story in simple terms, albeit it with agitation. Here is a summary: Her parents were born in Jaffa and raised there. She was born in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, to which her family was expelled/fled in 1948. As part of a family reunification program, she went from there to Sheikh Jarrah to live with her husband, who also comes from a family of refugees from Jaffa. That family had been lucky enough to find temporary shelter with relatives in Jerusalem, and the Jordanian regime, the sovereign at the time, allocated her and other refugee families land in Sheikh Jarrah in 1954, and the UNRWA funded the construction of their homes.
    Some 40 members of her family, including her, her children and her grandchildren, live there. Meanwhile, they became subjects of Israel, which tripled the size of Jerusalem in 1967 and extended civilian law over all of it. According to that system of laws and to the decisions of the courts of the new sovereign, the entire compound in Sheikh Jarrah, where hundreds of families live, now belongs to those who made themselves the inheritors of the small Jewish community that had bought it during the Ottoman period.
    Therefore, this family, like its partners in misery who were already evicted and the dozens of others destined to be condemned in future cases – can expect soon to receive notice of an eviction date from the bailiff’s office. If they don’t leave of their own free will, they will be evicted by force in the dead of night. The woman who told me the story kept looking in my eyes, asking: “Perhaps you will tell me where we should go to now? Where to?”
    A week later, on November 21, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of hundreds of other Jerusalem Palestinians – residents of Batan al-Hawa in the Silwan neighborhood. These residents are being harassed by other Israeli groups: Ateret Cohanim and Elad. Regarding this appeal as well, exacting hearings had already been held in Chamber C, and then too I really tried to grasp the legal thinness in their tale before they drift off through the traditional openings in the lofty dome. And this story also deserves being told in the language of man.
    It goes like this: At the end of the 19th century, merciful Jews bought a modest site in the village of Silwan, which then was outside Jerusalem, to build under cover of Ottoman law, a poorhouse for Yemenite Jews who couldn’t find a roof to live under in the holy city. Not many years later, the land was full of violent altercations and the poorhouse residents were forced to evacuate their homes. Years passed. They and their successors spread across the country.
    The country’s rulers changed three times, and self-proclaimed heir also arose: Atret Cohanim. It was clever in various ways – the time was the beginning of this century and Silwan had become a Jerusalem neighborhood crowded with tens of thousands of Palestinians, and the ruler was now the State of Israel – and demanded and received the inheritance from the Administrator General, who had received it from the state, which authorized him to determine what would be done with properties in Jerusalem that had once belonged to Jews. Based on this procedure, the courts in Israel awarded Ateret Cohanim rights to the compound in the heart of Silwan. And now justice will be done without pity.
    You can read in full how everything unfolded, if you want, in the 2015 investigative report published by Nir Hasson in this paper . It’s a tale spiced with bribes paid behind closed doors, people who were tempted to condemn their souls in order to attain a more comfortable life and, above all, the story of M, the resident of a West Bank settlement, whose hand is in everything but whose name it is forbidden to publish, lest it be to his detriment. The story does not end well or fairly, or even with finality, as the rejection of the petition makes clear – it just gets worse.
    Thus, you may want to go the trouble of visiting the neighborhood for yourself, in order to see the explosive and forlorn reality that the splendor of Chamber C in the Supreme Court swallowed in its entirety, like it swallowed the more modest site in Sheikh Jarrah. The law that rules here is the law of naked power. The military regime that embitters the lives of thousands to protect a few dozen Jews, who settled among the thousands in homes whose residents were already evicted, and to protect the stylized national park established next to them for the thousands of visitors streaming here. The sovereign here is the Elad organization. Thanks to its iniquities, you can see how the lives of thousands of Palestinians here are imprisoned and destroyed, and feel the cracks that are gaping in their residences because of the tunnel dug under them for the greater glory of Israel’s ideological archaeology.
    And if you don’t want to venture into areas unfamiliar to you and to your worldview, remain at home, but turn on your honest brain and the integrity of your heart. It will not take much to persuade you that all the legal hairsplitting that has for decades filled the courts of the Jewish-democratic state with hearings on the fate of the homes and lands of people in the territories conquered in 1967 collapses and is crushed like so much straw, in spite of the opposition by lawyers who continue to insist on defending human rights and serving as extras in an absurd farce. For one and only one law whispers yet thunders here behind the scenes, and only that one triumphs over this theater of deceit – the law of the godly promise written in a book that is thousands of years old: “For I give all the land that you see to you and your offspring forever” (Genesis 13:15).
    Thus, this and nothing else is the lesson: Until the statute of limitations is applied to this ancient law, there will be no justice here. For whether the god who made the promise still lives on high and watches his creatures in great sorrow from there, or whether he has been redeemed and died – here, on Earth, in this unholy land, the lives of tens of thousands of people are being destroyed and will be destroyed many times over, because of those who appointed themselves as the arm of power of the sole rulers.


  • Pushing for an Israeli victory is the only way to end the conflict with the Palestinians

    Il faut lire ce point de vue d’un néoconservateur américain car il reflète une partie de la pensée de la droite pro-israélienne

    Lieberman and Bennett failed to impose a new paradigm on how to deal with Hamas, but more and more people in Israel are recognizing that compromises and concessions have only led to more violence

    Daniel Pipes SendSend me email alerts
    Dec 02, 2018 4:04 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-an-israeli-victory-is-the-only-way-to-end-the-conflict-with-the-pa

    From a practical political point of view, Avigdor Lieberman, Naftali Bennett, and their idea to take a tougher stand toward Hamas just went down to defeat, if not humiliation. 
    That’s because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again showed his political skills; the first is now ex-defense minister, the second failed to become defense minister.
    >> ‘Get used to the rockets’: What Netanyahu should tell Israelis living near Gaza | Opinion
    From a longer-term point of view, however, the duo raised an issue that for decades had not been part of the Israeli political discourse but, due to their efforts, promises to be an important factor in the future: that would be the concept of victory, of an Israeli victory over Hamas and, by extension, over the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians in general.
    Victory – defined as imposing one’s will on the enemy so he gives up his war goals - has been the war goal of philosophers, strategists, and generals through human history. Aristotle wrote that “Victory is the end of generalship.” Karl von Clausewitz, the Prussian theorist, concurred: “The aim of war should be the defeat of the enemy.” Gen. James Mattis, the U.S. secretary of defense, finds that “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over.” 
    Palestinians routinely speak of achieving victory over Israel, even when this is fantastical: to cite one example, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas called his Hamas counterpart, Ismail Haniyeh, after eight days of violence with Israel that left Gaza badly battered in November 2012 to “congratulate him on the victory and extend condolences to the families of martyrs.”

    Contrarily, in Israel, the notion of victory has been sidelined since at least the Oslo Accords of 1993, after which its leaders instead focused on such concepts as compromise, conciliation, confidence-building, flexibility, goodwill, mediation, and restraint. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immemorially articulated this attitude in 2007 when he stated that "Peace is achieved through concessions.”
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    >> Israel is incomparably stronger than Hamas – but it will never win: Interview with Hamas leader in Gaza
    his perverse understanding of how wars end led Israel to make extraordinary blunders in the 15 years after Oslo, for which it was punished by unremitting campaigns of delegitimization and violence, symbolized, respectively, by the Durban conference of 2001  and the Passover Massacre of 2002. 
    Such nonsense ended during Netanyahu’s near-decade-long term as prime minister, but it has not yet been replaced by a sturdy vision of victory. Rather, Netanyahu has put out brush fires as they arose in Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Syria, and Lebanon. While agreeing with the concept of an Israeli victory when personally briefed, he has not spoken publicly about it.
    Meanwhile, other leading figures in Israel have adopted this outlook. Former deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan called on the army “to return the path of victory.” Former education and interior minister Gideon Sa’ar has stated that “The ‘victory paradigm,’ like Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ concept, assumes that an agreement may be possible in the future, but only after a clear and decisive Israeli victory ... The transition to the ‘victory paradigm’ is contingent upon abandoning the Oslo concept.”
    In this context, the statements by Lieberman and Bennett point to a change in thinking. Lieberman quit his position as defense minister out of frustration that a barrage by Hamas of 460 rockets and missiles against Israel was met with a ceasefire; he called instead for “a state of despair” to be imposed on the enemies of Israel. Complaining that “Israel stopped winning,” Bennett demanded that the IDF “start winning again,” and added that “When Israel wants to win, we can win.” On rescinding his demand for the defense portfolio, Bennett emphasized that he stands by Netanyahu “in the monumental task of ensuring that Israel is victorious again.”
    >> Netanyahu’s vision for the Middle East has come true | Analysis
    Opponents of this paradigm then amusingly testified to the power of this idea of victory. Ma’ariv columnist Revital Amiran wrote that the victory the Israeli public most wants lies in such arenas as larger allocations for the elderly and unbearable traffic jams. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg, replied to Bennett that for her, a victorious Israel means winning Emmy and Oscar nominations, guaranteeing equal health services, and spending more on education.
    That victory and defeat have newly become a topic for debate in Israel constitutes a major development. Thus does the push for an Israeli victory move forward.
    Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum think tank, which promotes Israel Victory, a project to steer U.S. policy toward backing an Israeli victory to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. Follow him on Twitter @DanielPipes


  • Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia | The Times of Israel
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-israel-would-be-in-big-trouble-without-saudi-arabia

    US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that Israel would face major regional difficulties in the Middle East if it were not for the stabilizing presence of Saudi Arabia.

    “Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with members of the military from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.

    Pour mémoire, ce constat qui avait rarement été fait avaec autant de franchise... #israël #usa #arabie_saoudite


  • Funding gaps threaten to leave nearly 1 million children out in the cold in the Middle East and North Africa
    https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/funding-gaps-threaten-leave-nearly-1-million-children-out-cold-middle-east-a

    With cold and rainy weather sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, nearly 1 million children affected by crises in the region risk being left out in the cold. UNICEF is facing a US$33 million funding gap – two-thirds of the total appeal - for lifesaving winter assistance for children including warm clothes, blankets and winter health, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

    “Years of conflict, displacement and unemployment have reduced families’ financial resources to almost nothing. Staying warm has simply become unaffordable,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With little nutritious food and healthcare, children have grown weak, becoming prone to hypothermia and dangerous respiratory diseases. Without help to protect them from the freezing weather, these children are likely to face dire consequences.”

    Falling temperatures will bring even further hardship to thousands of families who are living in extremely basic conditions especially in camps or crowded shelters with little protection from the freezing cold. Last winter, two children died from the cold as they were attempting to flee the war in Syria to Lebanon in search of safety.

    Overall this winter, UNICEF aims to reach 1.3 million children in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Turkey and Egypt with warm clothes; thermal blankets; water, sanitation, health and hygiene support; and cash assistance for families. UNICEF’s winter response complements existing programmes in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, protection and education and aims to keep vulnerable children across the region warm, healthy and in school this winter.

    #réfugiés


  • Israeli cyber firm negotiated advanced attack capabilities sale with Saudis, Haaretz reveals

    Just months before crown prince launched a purge against his opponents, NSO offered Saudi intelligence officials a system to hack into cellular phones ■ NSO: We abide the law, our products are used to combat crime and terrorism

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-company-negotiated-to-sell-advanced-cybertech-to-the-saudi

    The Israeli company NSO Group Technologies offered Saudi Arabia a system that hacks cellphones, a few months before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his purge of regime opponents, according to a complaint to the Israel Police now under investigation.
    But NSO, whose development headquarters is in Herzliya, says that it has acted according to the law and its products are used in the fight against crime and terror.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Either way, a Haaretz investigation based on testimony and photos, as well as travel and legal documents, reveals the Saudis’ behind-the-scenes attempts to buy Israeli technology.
    In June 2017, a diverse group gathered in a hotel room in Vienna, a city between East and West that for decades has been a center for espionage, defense-procurement contacts and unofficial diplomatic meetings.
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    Arriving at the hotel were Abdullah al-Malihi, a close associate of Prince Turki al-Faisal – a former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services – and another senior Saudi official, Nasser al-Qahtani, who presented himself as the deputy of the current intelligence chief. Their interlocutors were two Israeli businessmen, representatives of NSO, who presented to the Saudis highly advanced technology.

    >> Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays | Revealed
    In 2017, NSO was avidly promoting its new technology, its Pegasus 3 software, an espionage tool so sophisticated that it does not depend on the victim clicking on a link before the phone is breached.
    During the June 2017 meeting, NSO officials showed a PowerPoint presentation of the system’s capabilities. To demonstrate it, they asked Qahtani to go to a nearby mall, buy an iPhone and give them its number. During that meeting they showed how this was enough to hack into the new phone and record and photograph the participants in the meeting.
    The meeting in Vienna wasn’t the first one between the two sides. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently expressed pride in the tightening ties with Gulf states, with Israel’s strength its technology. The message is clear: Israel is willing to sell these countries security-related technologies, and they forge closer ties with Israel in the strategic battle against Iran.
    >> $6 billion of Iranian money: Why Israeli firm Black Cube really went after Obama’s team
    According to the complaint, the affair began with a phone call received by a man identified as a European businessman with connections in the Gulf states. On the line was W., an Israeli dealing in defense-related technologies and who operates through Cyprus-based companies. (Many defense-related companies do business in Cyprus because of its favorable tax laws.) W. asked his European interlocutor to help him do business in the Gulf.

    FILE Photo: Two of the founders of NSO, Shalev Julio and Omri Lavi.
    Among the European businessman’s acquaintances were the two senior Saudi officials, Malihi and Qahtani.
    On February 1, 2017, W. and the businessman met for the first time. The main topic was the marketing of cyberattack software. Unlike ordinary weapons systems, the price depends only on a customer’s eagerness to buy the system.
    The following month, the European businessman traveled to a weapons exhibition in the United Arab Emirates, where a friend introduced him to Malihi, the Saudi businessman.
    In April 2017, a meeting was arranged in Vienna between Malihi, Qahtani and representatives of Israeli companies. Two more meetings subsequently took place with officials of Israeli companies in which other Israelis were present. These meetings took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol, Cyprus, where Israeli cybercompanies often meet with foreign clients.
    >> Snowden: Israeli firm’s spyware was used to track Khashoggi
    The meetings were attended by W. and his son. They were apparently friendly: In photographs documenting one of them, W. and Qahtani are shown after a hunting trip, with the Saudi aiming a rifle at a dead animal.
    In the Vienna meeting of April 2017, the Saudis presented a list of 23 systems they sought to acquire. Their main interest was cybersystems. For a few dozens of millions of dollars, they would be able to hack into the phones of regime opponents in Saudi Arabia and around the world and collect classified information about them.
    According to the European businessman, the Saudis, already at the first meeting, passed along to the representatives of one of the companies details of a Twitter account of a person who had tweeted against the regime. They wanted to know who was behind the account, but the Israeli company refused to say.

    Offices of Israeli NSO Group company in Herzliya, Israel, Aug. 25, 2016Daniella Cheslow/AP
    In the June 2017 meeting, the Saudis expressed interest in NSO’s technology.
    According to the European businessman, in July 2017 another meeting was held between the parties, the first at W.’s home in Cyprus. W. proposed selling Pegasus 3 software to the Saudis for $208 million.
    Malihi subsequently contacted W. and invited him to Riyadh to present the software to members of the royal family. The department that oversees defense exports in Israel’s Defense Ministry and the ministry’s department for defense assistance, responsible for encouraging exports, refused to approve W.’s trip.
    Using the initials for the defense assistance department, W. reportedly said “screw the D.A.” and chartered a small plane, taking with him NSO’s founder, Shalev Hulio, to the meetings in the Gulf. According to the European businessman, the pair were there for three days, beginning on July 18, 2017.
    At these meetings, the European businessman said, an agreement was made to sell the Pegasus 3 to the Saudis for $55 million.
    According to the European businessman, the details of the deal became known to him only through his contacts in the defense assistance department. He said he had agreed orally with W. that his commission in the deal would be 5 percent – $2.75 million.
    But W. and his son stopped answering the European businessman’s phone calls. Later, the businessman told the police, he received an email from W.’s lawyer that contained a fake contract in which the company would agree to pay only his expenses and to consider whether to pay him a bonus if the deal went through.
    The European businessman, assisted by an Israeli lawyer, filed a complaint in April 2018. He was questioned by the police’s national fraud squad and was told that the affair had been transferred to another unit specializing in such matters. Since then he has been contacted by the income tax authorities, who are apparently checking whether there has been any unreported income from the deal.
    The European businessman’s claims seem to be substantiated by correspondence Haaretz has obtained between Cem Koksal, a Turkish businessman living in the UAE, and W.’s lawyers in Israel. The European businessman said in his complaint that Koksal was involved in mediating the deal.
    In a letter sent by Koksal’s lawyer in February of this year, he demanded his portion from W. In a response letter, sent in early March, W.’s attorney denied the existence of the deal. The deal had not been signed, the letter claimed, due to Koksal’s negligence, therefore he was due no commission or compensation of any kind.
    These issues have a wider context. From the claims by the European businessman and Koksal’s letter, it emerges that the deal was signed in the summer of 2017, a few months before Crown Prince Mohammed began his purge of regime opponents. During that purge, the Saudi regime arrested and tortured members of the royal family and Saudi businessmen accused of corruption. The Saudis also held Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri for a few days in a Riyadh hotel.
    In the following months the Saudis continued their hunt for regime opponents living abroad, which raised international attention only when the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul came to light in October.
    It has recently been claimed that NSO helped the Saudi regime surveil its opponents. According to an article in Forbes magazine and reports from the Canadian cyber-related think tank Citizen Lab, among the surveillance targets were the satirist Ghanem Almasrir and human rights activist Yahya Asiri, who live in London, and Omar Abdulaziz, who lives in exile in Canada.
    These three men were in contact with Khashoggi. Last month, Edward Snowden, who uncovered the classified surveillance program of the U.S. National Security Agency, claimed that Pegasus had been used by the Saudi authorities to surveil Khashoggi.
    “They are the worst of the worst,” Snowden said of NSO, whose people he accused of aiding and abetting human rights violations.
    NSO’s founders and chief executives are Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio. The company is registered in Cyprus but its development headquarters is in Herzliya. In 2014 the company was sold to private equity firm Francisco Partners based on a valuation of $250 million.
    Francisco Partners did not respond to Haaretz’s request for comment.
    In May, Verint Systems offered to buy NSO for $1 billion, but the offer was rejected. The company is awash in cash. Earlier this month all its employees went on vacation in Phuket, Thailand. Netta Barzilai, Lior Suchard, the Ma Kashur Trio and the band Infected Mushroom were also flown there to entertain them.
    The Pegasus system developed by NSO was a “one-click system,” meaning that the victim had to press on a link sent to him through phishing. The new system no longer requires this. Only the number of the SIM card is needed to hack into the phone. It’s unknown how Pegasus does this.
    Technology sources believe that the technology either exploits breaches in the cellphone’s modem, the part that receives messages from the antenna, or security breaches in the apps installed on a phone. As soon as a phone is hacked, the speaker and camera can be used for recording conversations. Even encoded apps such as WhatsApp can be monitored.
    NSO’s operations are extremely profitable.
    The company, which conceals its client list, has been linked to countries that violate human rights. NSO says its products are used in the fight against crime and terror, but in certain countries the authorities identify anti-regime activists and journalists as terrorists and subject them to surveillance.
    In 2012, NSO sold an earlier version of Pegasus to Mexico to help it combat the drug cartel in that country. According to the company, all its contracts include a clause specifically permitting the use of its software only to “investigate and prevent crime or acts of terror.” But The New York Times reported in 2016 that the Mexican authorities also surveilled journalists and lawyers.
    Following that report, Mexican victims of the surveillance filed a lawsuit in Israel against NSO last September. This year, The New York Times reported that the software had been sold to the UAE, where it helped the authorities track leaders of neighboring countries as well as a London newspaper editor.
    In response to these reports, NSO said it “operated and operates solely in compliance with defense export laws and under the guidelines and close oversight of all elements of the defense establishment, including all matters relating to export policies and licenses.
    “The information presented by Haaretz about the company and its products and their use is wrong, based on partial rumors and gossip. The presentation distorts reality.
    “The company has an independent, external ethics committee such as no other company like it has. It includes experts in legal affairs and international relations. The committee examines every deal so that the use of the system will take place only according to permitted objectives of investigating and preventing terror and crime.
    “The company’s products assist law enforcement agencies in protecting people around the world from terror attacks, drug cartels, child kidnappers for ransom, pedophiles, and other criminals and terrorists.
    “In contrast to newspaper reports, the company does not sell its products or allow their use in many countries. Moreover, the company greatly limits the extent to which its customers use its products and is not involved in the operation of the systems by customers.”
    A statement on W.’s behalf said: “This is a false and completely baseless complaint, leverage for an act of extortion by the complainants, knowing that there is no basis for their claims and that if they would turn to the relevant courts they would be immediately rejected.”


    • Par ailleurs,

      Some commentators predict that the Saudi crown prince is now so indebted to Trump that his support for the plan will be even more emphatic, but it’s more reasonable to assume that his newly-precarious hold on power will dissuade him from expressing emphatic support for a peace plan that is bound to enrage Palestinians as well as the proverbial “Arab street” in Riyadh, Mecca and other Arab cities.

      Netanyahu might actually welcome Saudi reticence that could help convince the Trump administration to hold off once again with its plan. The recent coalition crisis made it crystal clear that Netanyahu could be one of the first victims of his Washington BFF’s blueprint. Any peace plan published by the White House, even one viewed by Palestinians and the world as completely one-sided in Israel’s favor, will necessarily include relinquishment of territory, in East Jerusalem as well as the West Bank. It will be uniformly rejected by most of the Israeli right. Netanyahu is certainly loath to reject the fruit of Trump’s pro-Israel peace team’s labor, but anything less than a resounding “no” on his part could persuade even more voters to opt for parties to his right in the upcoming elections.

      The bottom line is that even the friendliest U.S. president in human history, as Netanyahu often describes him, is carrying a ticking time bomb that could soon blow up in the prime minister’s face. And as Netanyahu has recently learned from the botched military incursion in Gaza, the downing of the Russian plane and the horrid Khashoggi killing in Istanbul, unexpected developments can shake up the Middle East and demolish his image as its master manipulator. When lady luck thumbs her nose at the start of an election year, even the conventional wisdom about Netanyahu’s inevitable victory could dissipate in an instant, along with his hitherto-lauded grand strategies.


  • Trump: Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia | The Times of Israel
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-israel-would-be-in-big-trouble-without-saudi-arabia

    US President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested that Israel would face major regional difficulties in the Middle East if it were not for the stabilizing presence of Saudi Arabia.

    “Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump told reporters after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with members of the military from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in Florida.


  • Spotify’s Palestinian launch puts local artists on the map | MEO
    https://middle-east-online.com/en/spotifys-palestinian-launch-puts-local-artists-map

    Palestinian musicians are fast reaping dividends from their presence on Spotify, which launched its internet streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa last week.

    “The Arab hub provides a unique platform that brings the full spectrum of Arab culture and creativity, past and present,” said Suhel Nafar, a musician from the Israeli city of Lod who serves as the music streaming service’s senior Arab music and culture editor.

    Spotify is the first major streaming company to launch a programme specific to the occupied Palestinian territories, allowing local artists to reach new global audiences despite local challenges.

    #tic_arabes #palestine


  • Israeli academics and artists warn against equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    Their open letter ahead of a conference in Vienna advises against giving Israel immunity for ‘grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law’

    Ofer Aderet
    Nov 20, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-professors-warn-against-equating-anti-zionism-with-anti-se

    An open letter from 35 prominent Israelis, including Jewish-history scholars and Israel Prize laureates, was published Tuesday in the Austrian media calling for a distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel, “harsh as it may be,” and anti-Semitism.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The letter was released before an international gathering in Vienna on anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in Europe.
    The event this week, “Europe beyond anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism: Securing Jewish life in Europe,” is being held under the auspices of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been due to take part but stayed in Israel to deal with the crisis in his coalition government. 
    “We fully embrace and support the [European Union’s] uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism. The rise of anti-Semitism worries us. As we know from history, it has often signaled future disasters to all mankind,” the letter states. 
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    “However, the EU also stands for human rights and has to protect them as forcefully as it fights anti-Semitism. This fight against anti-Semitism should not be instrumentalized to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel’s occupation and severe violations of Palestinian human rights.” 

    The signatories accuse Netanyahu of suggesting an equivalence between anti-Israel criticism and anti-Semitism. The official declaration by the conference also notes that anti-Semitism is often expressed through disproportionate criticism of Israel, but the letter warns that such an approach could “afford Israel immunity against criticism for grave and widespread violations of human rights and international law.”
    The signatories object to the declaration’s alleged “identifying” of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. “Zionism, like all other modern Jewish movements in the 20th century, was harshly opposed by many Jews, as well as by non-Jews who were not anti-Semitic,” they write. “Many victims of the Holocaust opposed Zionism. On the other hand, many anti-Semites supported Zionism. It is nonsensical and inappropriate to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.”
    Among the signatories are Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; sculptor Dani Karavan; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and graphic designer David Tartakover.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent

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    • La liste des signataires:
      Moshe Zimmerman, an emeritus professor at Hebrew University and a former director of the university’s Koebner Center for German History; Moshe Zukermann, emeritus professor of history and philosophy of science at Tel Aviv University; Zeev Sternhell, a Hebrew University emeritus professor in political science and a current Haaretz columnist; Israel Prize laureate, sculptor Dani Karavan; Israel Prize laureate, photographer Alex Levac; Israel Prize laureate, artist Michal Naaman; Gadi Algazi, a history professor at Tel Aviv University; Eva Illouz, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and former President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; Gideon Freudenthal, a professor in the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University; Rachel Elior, an Israeli professor of Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Anat Matar, philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Yael Barda, a professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Miki Kratsman, a former chairman of the photography department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design; Jose Brunner, an emeritus professor at Tel Aviv University and a former director of the Minerva Institute for German History; Alon Confino, a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; Israel Prize laureate, graphic designer David Tartakover; Arie M. Dubnov, Chair of Israel Studies at George Washington University; David Enoch, history, philosophy and Judaic Studies professor at Israel’s Open University; Amos Goldberg, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate and vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities David Harel; Hannan Hever, comparative literature and Judaic Studies professor at Yale University; Hannah Kasher, professor emerita in Jewish Thought at Bar-Ilan University; Michael Keren, emeritus professor of economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Israel Prize laureate, Yehoshua Kolodny, professor emeritus in the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Nitzan Lebovic, professor of Holocaust studies at Lehigh University; Idith Zertal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Dmitry Shumsky, professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University; Israel Prize laureate David Shulman, professor emeritus of Asian studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Jewish philosophy professor at Tel Aviv University; Dalia Ofer, professor emerita in Jewry and Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Paul Mendes-Flohr, professor emeritus for Jewish thoughts at the Hebrew University; Jacob Metzer, former president of Israel’s Open University; and Israel Prize laureate Yehuda Judd Ne’eman, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University arts faculty


  • Kuwait flood damages estimated at over $300 million
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2018/11/12/kuwait-flood-damages-estimated-at-over-300-million
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/file/getimagecustom/098e5608-0588-4406-bf44-c30f579a705a/600/338

    Flash floods after heavy rains in Kuwait have caused hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of damage in the country, wreaking havoc on roads, bridges and homes.
    […]
    Bad weather - accompanied by torrential rains and flash floods - have hit several countries in the region, including Jordan where 12 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 tourists forced to flee the famed ancient desert city of Petra.

    Kuwait City hit by Heavy rain and flash floods | Airport | 7th Ring road | 14-Nov-2018
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdhQn4J-4ck


  • A Haven for Money in the Middle East, Dubai Is Losing Its Shine - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-18/a-haven-for-money-in-the-middle-east-dubai-is-losing-its-shine

    There’s a deeper problem. Dubai prospered as a kind of Switzerland in the Gulf, a place to do business walled off from the often violent rivalries of the Middle East, says Jim Krane, author of the 2009 book “City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism.’’

    Now the state that Dubai is part of, the United Arab Emirates, has become an active player in those conflicts, fighting in civil wars from Libya to Yemen and joining the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar.

    “It’s a situation that Dubai finds itself in mostly through no fault of its own,’’ says Krane. “You can go to war with your neighbors, or you can trade with them. It’s really hard to do both.’’
    ‘Unpleasant Surprise’

    Stories of Qatari citizens being ordered to leave the U.A.E. shocked businesses that serviced the region from headquarters in Dubai. American executives were especially concerned about the prospect of being forced to pick sides, says Barbara Leaf, who was U.S. ambassador in the U.A.E. until March.

    “It has cast a shadow,’’ she says. “It was a very unpleasant surprise when U.A.E.-based companies found out they could no longer fly or ship goods directly to Doha.’’ The dispute rumbles on, even though the U.S. is applying renewed pressure for a settlement.

    #émirats


  • Are Jared and Ivanka Good for the Jews? - The New York Times

    Jewish communities stand more divided than ever on whether to embrace or denounce Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

    By Amy Chozick and Hannah Seligson
    Nov. 17, 2018

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/style/ivanka-trump-jared-kushner.html

    On election night in Beverly Hills, Jason Blum, the hot shot horror-movie producer, was accepting an award at the Israel Film Festival. The polls in a string of midterm contests were closing, and Mr. Blum, a vocal critic of President Trump, was talking about how much was at stake.

    “The past two years have been hard for all of us who cherish the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this country,” Mr. Blum said.

    That’s when the crowd of mostly Jewish producers and power brokers started to chant, “We like Trump!” An Israeli man stepped onto the stage to try to pull Mr. Blum away from the microphone as the crowd at the Saban Theater Steve Tisch Cinema Center cheered.

    “As you can see from this auditorium, it’s the end of civil discourse,” Mr. Blum said, as security rushed the stage to help him. “Thanks to our president, anti-Semitism is on the rise.”
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    In the weeks after a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, in one of the most horrific acts of anti-Semitism in years, debates about the president’s role in stoking extremism have roiled American Jews — and forced an uncomfortable reckoning between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his daughter and son-in-law’s Jewish faith.
    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
    Credit
    Doug Mills/The New York Times

    Image

    Rabbi Jeffrey Myers greets Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump near the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
    Rabbis and Jewish leaders have raged on Twitter and in op-eds, in sermons and over shabbat dinners, over how to reconcile the paradox of Jared Kushner, the descendant of Holocaust survivors, and Ivanka Trump, who converted to Judaism to marry Mr. Kushner.

    To some Jews, the couple serves as a bulwark pushing the Trump administration toward pro-Israel policies, most notably the decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To many others, they are the wolves in sheep’s clothing, allowing Mr. Trump to brush aside criticism that his words have fueled the uptick in violent attacks against Jews.

    “For Jews who are deeply opposed to Donald Trump and truly believe he is an anti-Semite, it’s deeply problematic that he’s got a Jewish son-in-law and daughter. How can that be?” said Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
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    Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump serve as senior advisers in the White House. At a time when Judaism is under assault — the F.B.I. said this week that anti-Semitic attacks have increased in each of the last three years — they are unabashedly Orthodox, observing shabbat each week, walking to an Orthodox Chabad shul near their Kalorama home in Washington, D.C., dropping their children off at Jewish day school and hanging mezuzas on the doors of their West Wing offices.

    After the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Kushner played a key role in Mr. Trump (eventually) decrying “the scourge of anti-Semitism.” And Mr. Kushner helped arrange the president’s visit to the Squirrel Hill synagogue, including inviting Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States to accompany them. There, in Pittsburgh, thousands marched to protest what one organizer described as the insult of the Mr. Trump’s visit.
    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.
    Credit
    Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

    Image

    Arabella Kushner lights the menorah as her parents look on during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in 2017.CreditOlivier Douliery/Getty Images
    The White House has referenced Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s religion to dismiss accusations that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has emboldened anti-Semites. “The president is the grandfather of several Jewish grandchildren,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters.

    Using the couple in this way has unnerved many Jews who oppose the president and say Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump violated the sacred, if sometimes unspoken, communal code that mandates Jews take care of each other during times of struggle. “I’m more offended by Jared than I am by President Trump,” said Eric Reimer, a lawyer in New York who was on Mr. Kushner’s trivia team at The Frisch School, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in New Jersey that they both attended.

    “We, as Jews, are forced to grapple with the fact that Jared and his wife are Jewish, but Jared is participating in acts of Chillul Hashem,” said Mr. Reimer, using the Hebrew term for when a Jew behaves immorally while in the presence of others.
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    For Mr. Reimer, who hasn’t spoken to Mr. Kushner since high school, one of those incidents was the administration’s Muslim ban, which prompted members of the Frisch community to sign an open letter to Mr. Kushner imploring him “to exercise the influence and access you have to annals of power to ensure others don’t suffer the same fate as millions of our co-religionists.”

    Leah Pisar, president of the Aladdin Project, a Paris-based group that works to counter Holocaust denial, and whose late father, Samuel Pisar, escaped Auschwitz and advised John F. Kennedy, said she found it “inconceivable that Jared could stay affiliated with the administration after Pittsburgh” and called Mr. Kushner the president’s “fig leaf.”

    Those kinds of accusations are anathema to other Jews, particularly a subset of Orthodox Jews who accused liberal Jews of politicizing the Pittsburgh attack and who say that any policies that would weaken Israel are the ultimate act of anti-Semitism.
    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

    Image

    Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    “Jared and Ivanka are one of us as traditional Jews who care deeply about Israel,” said Ronn Torossian, a New York publicist whose children attend the Ramaz School, the same Upper East Side yeshiva where Mr. Kushner’s eldest daughter Arabella was once enrolled. “I look at them as part of our extended family.”

    Even some Jews who dislike Mr. Trump’s policies and recoil at his political style may feel a reluctance to criticize the country’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish couple, grappling with the age-old question that has haunted the Jewish psyche for generations: Yes, but is it good for the Jews?
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    To that end, even as liberal New York Jews suggest the couple would be snubbed when they eventually return to the city, many in the Orthodox community would likely embrace them. “They certainly won’t be banned, but I don’t think most synagogues would give them an aliyah,” said Ethan Tucker, a rabbi and president of the Hadar yeshiva in New York, referring to the relatively limited honor of being called to make a blessing before and after the reading of the Torah. (Mr. Tucker is also the stepson of Joe Lieberman, the first Jewish candidate to run on a major party ticket in the U.S.) “I don’t think people generally honor people they feel were accomplices to politics and policies they abhor,” Mr. Tucker said.

    Haskel Lookstein, who serves as rabbi emeritus of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, the modern Orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side that Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump attended, wrote in an open letter to Mr. Trump that he was “deeply troubled” by the president saying “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” in response to the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va.

    When reached last week to comment about the president’s daughter and son-in-law days after the Pittsburgh attack, Mr. Lookstein said simply, “I love them and that’s one of the reasons I don’t talk about them.”

    Talk to enough Jews about Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, and you begin to realize that the couple has become a sort of Rorschach test, with defenders and detractors seeing what they want to see as it relates to larger rifts about Jewish identity.

    “It’s not about Jared and Ivanka,” said Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “People look at them through the prism of their own worldviews.”
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    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
    Credit
    Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

    Image

    From left to right on front row, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara Netanyahu, Mr. Kushner, Ms. Trump, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.CreditSebastian Scheiner/Associated Press
    Those worldviews are rapidly changing. One in five American Jews now describes themselves as having no religion and identifying as Jews based only on ancestry, ethnicity or culture, according to Pew. By contrast, in the 1950s, 93 percent of American Jews identified as Jews based on religion.
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    As Jews retreat from membership to reform synagogues, historically made up of political liberals who were at the forefront of the fight for Civil Rights and other progressive issues, Chabad-Lubavitch, the Orthodox Hasidic group with which Mr. Kushner is affiliated, has become a rapidly-growing Jewish movement. The growth of Chabad correlates with fierce divisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a small but growing contingent of American Jews who prioritize Israel above any other political or social issue.

    Mr. Kushner, in particular, has become a sort of proxy for these larger schisms about faith and Israel, according to Jewish experts. “There is a great deal of anxiety around the coming of the Orthodox,” said Dr. Sarna, the Brandeis professor. “Jared in every way — his Orthodoxy, his Chabad ties, his views on Israel — symbolizes those changes.”

    Mr. Kushner is the scion of wealthy real-estate developers and his family has donated millions of dollars to the Jewish community, including through a foundation that gives to settlements in the West Bank. Mr. Kushner influenced the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy, to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to shutter a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find a better supporter of Israel than Donald Trump and Jared plays a role in that,” said Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. Mr. Kushner is currently working on a Middle East peace plan expected to be rolled out in the coming months.

    Haim Saban, an entertainment magnate and pro-Israel Democrat, is optimistic about Mr. Kushner’s efforts. He said in an interview from his hotel in Israel that although he disagrees with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, “Jared and by extension the president understand the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel on multiple levels — security, intelligence, but most of all, shared values.”
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    That embrace has only exacerbated tensions with secular Jews who overwhelmingly vote Democratic and oppose Mr. Trump. According to a 2018 survey by the American Jewish Committee, 41 percent of Jews said they strongly disagree with Mr. Trump’s handling of U.S.-Israeli relations and 71 percent had an overall unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump. (In response to questions for this story, a White House press aide referred reporters to an Ami magazine poll of 263 Orthodox Jews in the tristate area published in August. Eighty-two percent said they would vote for President Trump in 2020.)

    “To wave a flag and say ‘Oh, he’s obviously pro-Jewish because he moved the embassy’ just absolutely ignores what we know to be a deeply alarming rise of anti-Semitism and all sorts of dog-whistling and enabling of the alt-right,” said Andy Bachman, a prominent progressive rabbi in New York.
    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.
    Credit
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

    Image

    President Trump praying at the Western Wall.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times
    In September, Mr. Kushner and his top advisers, Jason D. Greenblatt and Avi Berkowitz, hosted a private dinner at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side. Over a kosher meal, Mr. Kushner, aware of concerns within the Jewish community that Israel policy had become an overly partisan issue, fielded the advice of a range of Jewish leaders, including hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor Paul Singer and Mr. Saban, to craft his Middle East peace plan. “He called and said ’I’ll bring 10 Republicans and you bring 10 Democrats,’” Mr. Saban said.

    The undertaking will only bring more kvetching about Mr. Kushner. Indeed, some of Mr. Trump’s most ardent Jewish supporters have already expressed their displeasure at any deal that would require Israel to give up land.

    “I’m not happy with Jared promoting a peace deal that’s sending a message that we’re ready to ignore the horrors of the Palestinian regime,” said Morton A. Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America and a friend of Republican megadonor Sheldon G. Adelson.

    “But …” Mr. Klein added, as if self-aware of how other Jews will view his position, “I am a fanatical, pro-Israel Zionist.”
    Amy Chozick is a New York-based writer-at-large and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, writing about the personalities and power struggles in business, politics and media.


  • https://www.auroraabrasive.com/7-inches-stainless-steel-cutting-disc
    The global consumption of abrasives will increase by 5.9 percent per year and will reach 38 billion by 2013. The first regions to achieve growth are Asia, the Middle East/Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The demand for abrasives in the four regions will exceed that of the United States, Japan and Western Europe.
    The consumption of abrasive tools is mainly due to the steady growth of the economy and the steady development of the industry, which leads to the continuous expansion of the production of durable consumer goods and the increase in investment in fixed assets. China, India and Russia account for a large share of the sales of abrasives. In particular, China will replace the United States as the world’s largest abrasives consumer market. It is estimated that by 2013, China’s consumption of abrasive tools will account for two-thirds of the global demand for new products. Sales in Thailand and Indonesia in Southeast Asia will also show good growth.

    The development of the global abrasives market is not optimistic compared with developing countries, its economic growth is weak, and the growth of durable consumer goods production is slow. It is expected that the demand for abrasives in the United States, Italy and France will grow by less than one percent by 2013, and the annual demand for abrasives in Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom will decline. Luo Baihui believes that the final result is that the per capita consumption of purchased abrasives will increase as the production costs of various products increase. Sales of abrasives in Canada, South Korea and Spain are expected to grow steadily with the economy and demand will increase. In the industrialized regions, the industrial output of these three countries has been in a leading position.

    The consumer demand for global abrasive tools is mainly non-metallic abrasive products, including: fixed abrasives, coated abrasives and abrasives, polishing powders, etc. It is estimated that by 2013, the sales of non-metallic abrasives will occupy most of the market, which will exceed the sales of metal abrasives, such as shot peening, steel grit, wire brush and grinding wheel. The consumer durables market is undoubtedly the largest sales target for abrasives, accounting for two-thirds of all abrasive products.


  • Opinion | Who’s the Real American Psycho? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/opinion/sunday/dick-cheney-donald-trump-vice-movie.html

    Par #Maureen_Dowd

    Even for Washington, the capital of do-overs and the soulless swamp where horrendous mistakes never prevent you from cashing in and getting another security clearance, this is a repellent spectacle. War criminals-turned-liberal heroes are festooned with book and TV contracts, podcasts and op-ed perches.

    Those who sold us the “cakewalk” Iraq war and the outrageously unprepared Sarah Palin and torture as “enhanced interrogation,” those who left the Middle East shattered with a cascading refugee crisis and a rising ISIS, and those who midwifed the birth of the Tea Party are washing away their sins in a basin of Trump hate.

    #criminels #etats-unis


  • Exclusive: Khashoggi murder further complicates ’Arab NATO’ plan - U.S. sources | Reuters

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mideast-alliance-exclusive/exclusive-khashoggi-murder-further-complicates-arab-nato-plan-u-s-sources-i

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s strategy to contain Iranian power in the Middle East by forging Arab allies into a U.S.-backed security alliance was in trouble even before the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, three U.S. sources said, the plan faces fresh complications.

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    Khashoggi’s murder on Oct. 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has drawn international outrage against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Turkish officials and some U.S. lawmakers accusing the kingdom’s de facto ruler of ordering the killing.

    The Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) aims to bind Sunni Muslim governments in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan in a U.S.-led security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran. 

    But feuds among Arab allies, especially a Saudi-led economic and political boycott of Qatar, have hampered the founding of the alliance since Riyadh proposed it last year.

    A summit meeting in the United States where Trump and the Arab leaders would sign a preliminary accord on the alliance was expected in January. But the three U.S. sources and a Gulf diplomat said the meeting now looks uncertain. It has already been postponed several times, they added. 

    Khashoggi’s murder raised “a whole bunch of problems” to be solved before the plan - informally referred to as the “Arab NATO” - can move forward, one U.S. source said. One issue is how the Americans could have the Saudi crown prince, who goes by the initials MbS, attend the summit without causing widespread outrage.

    “It’s not palatable,” the source said.


  • Felicia Langer. Remembering Israel’s human rights law trailblazer, a Holocaust survivor who called to boycott Israeli products

    A communist labeled ’the terrorists’ attorney,’ Felicia Langer called her clients ‘resistance fighters.’ In 1990 she gave up and left for Germany, where she died over the summer

    Ofer Aderet SendSend me email alerts
    Nov 06, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-remembering-israel-s-human-rights-law-trailblazer-1.6632132

    After the Six-Day War, attorney Felicia Langer opened an office near the Old City in Jerusalem and began representing Arabs. Langer was a strange type in the local topography: a Jewish Holocaust survivor with a Polish accent who adhered to European manners and believed in the ideology of communism.
    “Her engagement with Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip was perhaps the strangest thing in the Middle East,” wrote attorney Michael Sfard. Her acquaintances saw in her a pathfinder in legal battles that advanced the human rights of Palestinians. Her enemies saw in her a traitor and accessory of terrorists.
    >> Holocaust survivor and Palestinians’ rights lawyer Felicia Langer dies in exile at 87
    She was born in the city of Tarnov, Poland in 1930 as Felicia Amalia White. In World War II she fled with her family to the Soviet Union, where her father died. After the war, she returned to the land of her birth and married Holocaust survivor Moshe Langer. In 1950 they immigrated to Israel – “not because of Zionist ideology,” according to her, but to live near her mother.
    Archival documents attest to the tense relationships between her and the Israeli establishment. In 1968 an intelligence officer in the military government in Hebron testified before the Legal Attaché of the West Bank that she “held extreme left-wing opinions.” In 1975, the Foreign Ministry reported that the Shin Bet security service viewed her legal activities as being guided by political motivations to harm “the state and the image of the state.” She faced threats to her life throughout her career. Occasionally, she felt compelled to hire a bodyguard.
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    Langer fought the expulsion of Palestinian leaders, housing demolitions of terror suspects, administrative detentions (imprisonment without charges), and torture. “She never hesitated to accuse the establishment of crimes and to represent her clients as victims of an evil regime,” wrote Sfard.

    When they called her “the defense attorney of terrorists,” she replied that her clients were not terrorists, but “resistance fighters.” “A people under occupation has the right to wage violent struggle,” she said. Among her famous clients was the mayor of Nablus, Bassam Shakaa, one of the leaders of resistance to the occupation, whose expulsion Langer succeeded in preventing. Other clients included the parents of the attackers of Bus 300, who sought to sue the state for killing their sons, and a young Dutch woman who was detained at Ben-Gurion International Airport after she gathered intelligence for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Langer maintained that she was just a “small cog.”
    In 1990, she immigrated to Germany, after handling what she estimated to have been 3,000 cases. “I could no longer help the Palestinian victims in the framework of the existing legal system and its flouting of international law, which is supposed to protect the people that I defended,” she said in an interview with Eran Torbiner. “It is forbidden to be silent; silence also can kill,” she said, in explaining her call for the boycott of Israeli goods. As a German citizen, she called on Germany to fight the occupation.
    Langer lived in Tübingen, teaching and writing books. Critics were angered by her comparison of Israel to the Nazis, and accused her of hypocrisy for ignoring the crimes of communist regimes. When she was asked once to describe her “love of homeland,” she answered: “Hatred of occupation.” In June, Langer died of cancer at age 87.

    Ofer Aderet
    Haaretz Correspondent


    • Exclusive: Khashoggi sons issue emotional appeal for the return of their father’s body
      By Nic Robertson, CNN
      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/04/middleeast/salah-khashoggi-abdullah-khashoggi-intl/index.html

      Updated 0004 GMT (0804 HKT) November 5, 2018

      (...) Khashoggi was labeled as a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer and a dangerous Islamist in phone calls the Saudi crown prince had with Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, and John Bolton, national security adviser, according to reports in both the Washington Post and New York Times. The Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terror group in many Arab nations, but not the US or Europe, has long been seen as an existential threat by the desert kingdom’s leaders.
      ‘It’s just labels and people not doing their homework properly, and reading his article and going in depth. It’s easier to stick a label on him,’ Abdullah said, when asked about the Muslim Brotherhood claim.
      Asked how Khashoggi should be remembered, Salah replied, ‘as a moderate man who has common values with everyone... a man who loved his country, who believed so much in it and its potential.’
      “Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through.”
      Reflecting on their father’s career as a journalist, they say Khashoggi was ‘like a rock and roll star’ when they were out with him in Saudi Arabia.
      ‘He was a public figure that was liked by everyone else,’ Salah said. ‘You don’t see that much in media, in print media.’ (...)

      #Jamal_Khashoggi


  • Israa Al-Ghomgham, a Saudi woman facing the death penalty for peaceful protest · Global Voices
    https://globalvoices.org/2018/10/31/israa-al-ghomgham-a-saudi-woman-facing-the-death-penalty-for-peaceful-

    uman rights advocate Israa Al-Ghomgham is facing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, for her non-violent human rights related activities.

    Al-Ghomgham was arrested in 2015 along with her husband, activist Mousa Al-Hashim, over their roles in anti-government protests in Al-Qatif back in 2011, when pro-democracy protests spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

    #arabie_saoudite #barbares #droits_humains


  • Report: Netanyahu asked Trump to stick with Saudi crown prince after Khashoggi murder - Middle East News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/netanyahu-asked-trump-to-stick-with-saudi-crown-prince-after-khashoggi-murd

    WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked senior officials in the Trump White House to continue supporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

    Citing U.S. officials, the report stated that Netanyahu described the Crown Prince as a “strategic ally” in the Middle East.

    The report said that a similar message was conveyed to the White House by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.


  • L’Austria esce dal patto Onu per le migrazioni: “Limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”

    L’accordo internazionale che punta a difendere i diritti dei rifugiati entrerà in vigore a dicembre. Prima di Vienna, anche Usa e Ungheria si sono sfilati. Il governo Kurz: “Migrare non è un diritto fondamentale”.

    L’Austria esce dal patto Onu per le migrazioni: “Limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”

    L’accordo internazionale che punta a difendere i diritti dei rifugiati entrerà in vigore a dicembre. Prima di Vienna, anche Usa e Ungheria si sono sfilati. Il governo Kurz: “Migrare non è un diritto fondamentale”

    L’Austria annuncia il suo ritiro dal patto delle Nazioni Unite sulle migrazioni, e segue così l’esempio di Stati Uniti e Ungheria, che prima di lei sono uscite dall’accordo internazionale, in controcorrente con gli oltre 190 Paesi che l’hanno firmato. Lo ha comunicato il cancelliere Sebastian Kurz, motivando la scelta sovranista come una reazione necessaria per respingere un vincolo Onu che “limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”. Non ci sarà, dunque, nessun rappresentante di Vienna alla conferenza dell’Onu a Marrakech, in Marocco, il 10 e 11 dicembre. Mentre all’Assemblea generale delle Nazioni Unite dell’anno prossimo l’Austria si asterrà.

    COSA PREVEDE L’ACCORDO

    Il patto per le migrazioni era stato firmato da 193 Paesi a settembre 2017 ed entrerà in vigore a dicembre con la firma prevista al summit di Marrakech. Prevede la protezione dei diritti dei rifugiati e dei migranti, indipendentemente dallo status, e combatte il traffico di esseri umani e la xenofobia. E ancora, impegna i firmatari a lavorare per porre fine alla pratica della detenzione di bambini allo scopo di determinare il loro status migratorio; limita al massimo le detenzioni dei migranti per stabilire le loro condizioni, migliora l’erogazione dell’assistenza umanitaria e di sviluppo ai Paesi più colpiti. Facilita anche il cambiamento di status dei migranti irregolari in regolari, il ricongiungimento familiare, punta a migliorare l’inclusione nel mercato del lavoro, l’accesso al sistema sanitario e all’istruzione superiore e ad una serie di agevolazioni nei Paesi di approdo, oltre che ad accogliere i migranti climatici.

    LE RAGIONI DI VIENNA

    Un documento di 34 pagine, per politiche in favore di chi lascia il proprio Paese che promuovano una migrazione sicura. L’Austria in un comunicato respinge tutti i criteri stabiliti da quella che è stata ribattezzata la “Dichiarazione di New York”. Kurz, che da giovanissimo ministro degli Esteri fece il suo esordio mondiale proprio all’Assemblea generale dell’Onu, decide così di strappare e imporre il suo giro di vite sui migranti, spinto dal suo alleato al governo, l’ultradestra dell’Fpö di Heinz-Christian Strache, il quale a margine dell’annuncio del ritiro ha aggiunto: “La migrazione non è e non può essere un diritto fondamentale dell’uomo”. Il governo di Vienna, in particolare, spiega che “il patto limita la sovranità nazionale, perché non distingue tra migrazione economica e ricerca di protezione umanitaria”, tra migrazione illegale e legale. “Non può essere - continua il governo Kurz - che qualcuno riceva lo status di rifugiato per motivi di povertà o climatici”.

    “SEGUIAMO IL LORO ESEMPIO”

    Il patto, in realtà, non è vincolante ai sensi del diritto internazionale, una volta firmato. Si delinea come una dichiarazione di intenti, per mettere ordine nelle politiche sulle migrazioni a livello mondiale, all’insegna della solidarietà. Per questo, la mossa di Vienna assume un valore simbolico, sull’onda delle dichiarazioni di Kurz e i suoi che vorrebbero chiudere le porte dell’Europa all’immigrazione e controllare i confini. Trascina dietro di sé la lodi di altri partiti populisti europei, uno tra tutti l’AfD tedesca, con la leader Alice Weidel che non ha tardato a twittare: “Anche la Germania non aderisca, il Global Compact apre la strada a milioni di migranti africani e legalizza l’immigrazione irregolare”.

    https://www.lastampa.it/2018/10/31/esteri/laustria-esce-dal-patto-onu-per-le-migrazioni-limita-la-sovranit-del-nostro-paese-GbGo3HsbsGygjZ3aOjVfkJ/pagina.html
    #Global_compact #global_compact_on_refugees #migrations #réfugiés #asile #Autriche #Hongrie #USA #Etats-Unis

    • Austria to shun global migration pact, fearing creep in human rights

      Austria will follow the United States and Hungary in backing out of a United Nations migration pact over concerns it will blur the line between legal and illegal migration, the right-wing government said on Wednesday.

      The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member nations except the United States, which backed out last year.

      Hungary’s right-wing government has since said it will not sign the final document at a ceremony in Morocco in December. Poland, which has also clashed with Brussels by resisting national quotas for asylum seekers, has said it is considering the same step.

      “Austria will not join the U.N. migration pact,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative and immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.

      “We view some points of the migration pact very critically, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labor migration,” said Kurz, who argues that migrants rescued in the Mediterranean should not be brought straight to Europe.

      U.N. Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour called the move regrettable and mistaken and said the compact simply aimed to improve the management of cross-border movements of people.

      “It is no possible sense of the word an infringement on state sovereignty - it is not legally binding, it’s a framework for cooperation,” she told Reuters.

      Vienna currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, a role that usually involves playing a mediating role to bridge divisions within the bloc. Instead its move highlighted the disagreements on migration that have blighted relations among the 28 member states for years.

      The Austrian government is concerned that signing up to the pact, even though it is not binding, could eventually help lead to the recognition of a “human right to migration”. The text of a cabinet decision formally approving its move on Wednesday said it would argue against such a right.

      “We reject any movement in that direction,” Freedom Party leader and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

      Arbour said such concerns were unfounded.

      “The question of whether this is an invidious way to start promoting a ‘human right to migrate’ is not correct. It’s not in the text, there’s no sinister project to advance that.”

      Austria took in roughly 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people traveled to Europe, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

      That experience dominated last year’s parliamentary election and helped propel Kurz’s conservatives to power. He has said he will prevent any repeat of that influx and has implemented policies that include restricting benefits for new immigrants.

      The U.N. pact addresses issues such as how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.

      The United Nations has hailed it as a historic and comprehensive pact that could serve as a basis for future policies.

      Austria will not send an envoy to the signing ceremony in Morocco and will abstain at a U.N. General Assembly vote on the pact next year, Kurz’s office said.

      In a paper this month, the Brookings Institution, a U.S. think tank, said the pact “reflects widespread recognition, among even the most skeptical member states, that managing migration effectively is in the common interest”.

      Amnesty International criticized Vienna’s stance.

      “Instead of facing global challenges on an international level, the government is increasingly isolating Austria. That is irresponsible,” the rights group said in a statement.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-migrants-austria/austria-to-withdraw-from-u-n-migration-agreement-apa-idUSKCN1N50JZ

    • Communication Breakdown in Austria – How Far-Right Fringe Groups Hijacked the Narrative on the Global Compact for Migration

      Yesterday Austria announced its withdrawal from the UN Global Compact for Migration (GCM), thus joining the United States and Hungary. The decision was met with little surprise. It followed an announcement in early October that Austria would reconsider its continued participation in the GCM process. And it followed weeks of efforts by the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and other far-right actors to discredit the GCM.

      As the Austrian decision gained media attention, many outside the world of migration policy wondered what the Global Compact for Migration is. This post is both for newcomers and long-time observers. For the newcomers, I explain how the GCM came about and why it is significant. Long-time observers may want to skip to the section discussing the context and implications of the Austrian decision to withdraw.
      What is the UN Global Compact for Migration?

      The short answer is that it is a non-binding agreement on migration at the UN level. The lengthy intergovernmental negotiations concluded in July, which means that the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is already available. The text lays out 23 objectives covering a wide array of policies, including objectives on addressing the drivers of migration, better data gathering, border management, enhanced regular pathways and more. In December, states will adopt the GCM in Marrakesh, right after the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

      The long answer is that the Global Compact for Migration encompasses more than the final text. The process leading up to the agreement is just as noteworthy. The negotiations between states and with close participation of civil society actors stretched over eighteen months. At several thematic sessions, states, non-governmental organisations, researchers, grassroots organisations, and think tanks came together in New York, Vienna, and Geneva. In the sessions, actors mostly read out their condensed two- or three-minute statements. But intense discussions happened during panels, outside, at side-events, and during breaks. And parallel to the global proceedings, there were regional and, in some cases, also national consultations. It was thus also a process of learning and coalition-forming.
      Why did Austria decide to leave the Global Compact for Migration?

      The official Austrian critique of the Global Compact for Migration rests on two points. First, it argues that the GCM would eventually be a legally binding document. Second, the GCM is portrayed to diminish states’ national sovereignty. Neither of these statements holds true. Already in the preamble, it clearly says that it is “a non-legally binding, cooperative framework” and that it “upholds the sovereignty of States.” And during the lengthy negotiations, states overwhelmingly emphasized their sovereignty. The decision to leave therefore appears to be much more about short-term domestic politics than about the above-stated concerns.

      Already during the parliamentary election in 2017, the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) outdid each other with anti-immigration rhetoric. Now that they form the current governing coalition, they have passed increasingly restrictive migration and integration policies. Their recent measures stretch from budget cuts for language courses parallel to restricting welfare based on language skills. In light of this, the Austrian decision is not surprising.

      But until recently, the Global Compact for Migration had not been a point of contention for the Freedom Party. In fact, the Austrian foreign ministry – currently headed by a minister affiliated with the FPÖ – took part in the negotiations. The timing of this withdrawal therefore merits attention. Some weeks ago, fringe groups on the far-right started to mobilize against the GCM. With online petitions, posters, and a protest in front of the UN headquarters in Vienna. The websites contain close to no information on the GCM. Instead, they make the baseless assertion that it would lead to “limitless migration” and repeat the alarmist imagery that Nigel Farage used for his “Breaking Point” banner ahead of the Brexit referendum. At the helm of this disinformation campaign is Martin Sellner, leader of the far-right Identarian movement.

      Shortly after, the Austrian Freedom Party also started to publicly criticize the Global Compact for Migration in widely read Austrian tabloids. During the evening news on the day of the official withdrawal, Armin Wolf confronted FPÖ Vice-Chancellor Strache with the question why the FPÖ had only begun its criticism after far-right fringe group activism had started. Strache denied any connection in the timing. Meanwhile, Martin Sellner celebrated the success of the imitative. Instead, Strache argued that it took time to reach a judgment on the final product. However, the text had been in its final shape for months.
      What can be learned from this?

      To be clear, one should not be tempted to overstate the significance of fringe actors. But one also should not leave the debate in the wider public about the Global Compact for Migration in their hands. The GCM negotiation process has been inclusive to those actors wishing to participate and all previous drafts of the agreement had been available online. The efforts were thus comparatively transparent. But, nonetheless, the communication with the wider public was not proactive.

      In the months that I had been involved with the GCM process, I was repeatedly surprised how many people within the world of migration and integration were unaware of the negotiations, even less so the wider public. And while it is not necessary to indulge in the technicalities of such a lengthy process, it meant that many people in Austria heard about the GCM only when far-right groups brought it to the fore. In the absence of wider public engagement, there was no counter-movement to challenge the misinformation that was spreading.

      What are the implications of this decision? And what is next?

      There is already talk of other countries following the path of Austria, Hungary, and the US. But instead of getting stuck in speculations about who else may withdraw, efforts should concentrate on the majority that upholds the Global Compact for Migration. This incident provides an opportunity to start a conversation beyond those tightly involved in migration policy.

      And it is important to remember that December will just be the beginning, not the end. Ahead lies a long road of implementation. Then, inclusiveness – especially of those directly affected by the GCM – and proactive communication will remain crucial.


      https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/2018/communication-breakdown-in-austria-how-far-right-fringe-groups-hijacked

      –-> et sur cette image, le fameux slogan australien #No_Way (you won’t make Australia home)
      #modèle_australien #Australie

    • Le Pacte de l’ONU pour les migrations divise le parlement

      Le gouvernement souhaite signer, avec une réserve, un projet de traité international sur les réfugiés. Des commissions parlementaires délivrent des messages contradictoires.

      Le Conseil fédéral doit-il approuver le Pacte mondial des Nations unies pour les migrations les 10 et 11 décembre à Marrakech ? C’est son intention. Il l’a annoncée le 10 octobre. Mais cette perspective fait des vagues, à tel point qu’une commission parlementaire émet de sérieuses réserves à ce sujet alors que d’autres sont divisées. Comme il l’avait promis, le gouvernement les a consultées avant de prendre une décision définitive.

      La Commission des institutions politiques du Conseil national (CIP-N) s’est manifestée la première. Le 19 octobre, elle a adopté une motion qui demande que la décision d’approbation soit soumise aux Chambres fédérales. Une semaine plus tard, la Commission de politique extérieure du Conseil des Etats (CPE-E) a adressé au Conseil fédéral une lettre annonçant son intention de déposer une requête similaire. Vendredi dernier, la CIP-N a franchi un pas de plus : par 15 voix contre 9, elle a formellement décidé de recommander au Conseil fédéral de ne pas approuver ce traité migratoire. Cette revendication sera discutée en séance plénière du Conseil national le 6 décembre.

      Ambassadeur actif et décrié

      Lundi, la CPE-N a émis un avis différent. Par 14 voix contre 10, elle recommande au Conseil fédéral d’apposer sa signature au bas du pacte de l’ONU. Dans des proportions similaires, elle a refusé de soumettre celui-ci au vote obligatoire ou de recueillir formellement l’avis des Chambres fédérales. La commission sœur du Conseil des Etats n’a pas encore rendu son verdict. Elle se réunit une nouvelle fois lundi prochain.

      C’est l’UDC qui a ouvert les feux. Mi-septembre, alors que personne à Berne ne se préoccupait de la prochaine signature de cette convention migratoire, elle a condamné ce texte, contraignant politiquement mais pas juridiquement, avec la plus grande virulence. Celui-ci prône une « migration sûre, ordonnée et régulière ». Selon le Conseil fédéral, ses objectifs recoupent les siens : réduire la migration irrégulière, renforcer l’aide sur place, lutter contre la traite des êtres humains et le trafic des migrants, sécuriser les frontières, respecter les droits humains, faciliter le rapatriement, la réintégration ou l’intégration durable dans le pays d’accueil. La Suisse a même joué un rôle moteur dans l’élaboration de ce texte, puisque l’ambassadeur auprès de l’ONU, Jürg Lauber, en a été l’une des chevilles ouvrières avec son homologue mexicain, Juan José Gomez Camacho, et la représentante spéciale de l’ONU pour les migrations internationales, Louise Arbour.
      Plusieurs pays ont renoncé

      L’UDC fait de ce document une lecture très différente. Elle y voit un moyen de permettre « aux migrants d’accéder plus facilement aux pays de leur choix, indépendamment de leurs qualifications ». Elle brandit la menace d’une immigration massive vers la Suisse. A quelques semaines du vote sur l’initiative contre les juges étrangers, et en vertu de l’article constitutionnel qui dit que la Suisse doit gérer son immigration de manière indépendante, l’UDC exige le rejet de ce pacte. Elle n’est pas seule. Le projet est aussi controversé au sein du PLR.

      Pour le Conseil fédéral, la situation n’est pas simple. Les Etats-Unis, la Hongrie et l’Autriche ont déjà fait savoir qu’ils ne participeraient pas à la signature. Comme l’ambassadeur Lauber, sur qui l’UDC tire à boulets rouges et qui est aussi la cible d’une campagne sauvage de la droite identitaire, a contribué activement aux négociations, un refus de la Suisse serait considéré comme un affront au sein de l’ONU.

      Par ailleurs, on rappelle volontiers que les fondements de ce texte, dont l’élaboration a débuté en 2016, recoupent la politique migratoire défendue par Didier Burkhalter et Simonetta Sommaruga. Or, le premier nommé a quitté le Conseil fédéral et c’est son successeur Ignazio Cassis, à qui l’on reproche de ne pas défendre suffisamment son émissaire auprès des Nations unies, qui a repris le flambeau. Début octobre, le gouvernement a proposé d’approuver le pacte assorti d’une réserve portant sur le traitement des mineurs âgés d’au moins 15 ans.

      https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/pacte-lonu-migrations-divise-parlement

    • Ne pas signer le Pacte de l’ONU sur les migrations est « une erreur politique »

      La #Suisse ne signera pas le Pacte de l’ONU sur les migrations, du moins pas pour l’instant, a décidé le Conseil fédéral. « Une erreur politique », selon le président du Parti socialiste Christian Levrat.

      Le Conseil fédéral a reconnu mercredi que ce Pacte est dans l’intérêt de la Suisse, mais estime qu’il est trop tôt pour le signer.

      https://www.rts.ch/info/suisse/10013083-ne-pas-signer-le-pacte-de-l-onu-sur-les-migrations-est-une-erreur-polit

    • Pour Louise Arbour, la volte-face de la Suisse porte atteinte à sa crédibilité multilatérale

      La représentante spéciale de l’ONU pour les migrations démonte le mythe de la perte de souveraineté des Etats qui adopteront le pacte à Marrakech en décembre. Elle ne comprend pas non plus la peur des « soft laws » qui saisit le parlement fédéral

      Alors que le Conseil des Etats débat ce jeudi d’une motion de l’UDC exhortant le Conseil fédéral à ne pas adopter le Pacte mondial de l’ONU pour les migrations ainsi que d’une proposition de la Commission des institutions politiques de soumettre son adoption à l’Assemblée fédérale, les Nations unies mettent les choses au point.

      Interrogée par Le Temps au Palais des Nations à Genève, Louise Arbour, représentante spéciale du secrétaire général de l’ONU pour les migrations, s’étonne des discussions au sujet du pacte qui serait, selon certains parlementaires fédéraux, « de la soft law [droit souple, ndlr] susceptible de se transformer en droit coutumier (obligatoire) ».

      « Je suis avocate moi-même. Je ne comprends pas cette notion selon laquelle ce pacte deviendrait subrepticement obligatoire contre la volonté de la Suisse. Je vous rassure. Ce n’est pas le cas. Aucune disposition du pacte n’empiète sur la souveraineté des Etats qui l’adoptent. »

      Un débat particulièrement agressif

      La responsable onusienne relève que le pacte, qui sera formellement adopté à Marrakech les 10 et 11 décembre prochain (sans la Suisse qui a, sur proposition du conseiller fédéral Ignazio Cassis, finalement renoncé à s’y rendre), offre un menu d’options et de bonnes pratiques que les Etats peuvent choisir d’adopter ou non. « Je suis étonnée que la Suisse s’inquiète de ce pacte. Elle applique elle-même déjà pleinement ce que prévoit le document », précise la Canadienne.

      A Berne, la tonalité du débat demeure très agressive. Certains parlementaires UDC vont jusqu’à demander que l’ambassadeur de Suisse auprès des Nations unies à New York, Jürg Lauber – par ailleurs diffamé dans une campagne menée par des mouvements identitaires et d’extrême droite autrichiens, allemands et suisses – soit traduit en justice pour « trahison ».

      Ignorance ou mauvaise foi ?

      Là encore, Louise Arbour n’en revient pas : « Ce genre de discours montre comment les processus internationaux sont mal compris. J’espère que c’est de l’ignorance et non de la mauvaise foi. Il faut savoir comment un tel processus fonctionne. Quand l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU décide de mettre en place un processus, le président de l’assemblée nomme des cofacilitateurs pour leurs qualités personnelles et non pour leur appartenance nationale.

      L’élaboration du pacte a été cofacilitée de façon neutre par l’ambassadeur Jürg Lauber et son homologue mexicain, Juan José Gomez Camacho. Tant la Suisse que le Mexique avaient des délégations complètement distinctes de leurs ambassadeurs. Il ne faut pas tout mélanger quant à la réelle implication de la Suisse. »
      Un pacte basé sur les faits

      Pour la responsable onusienne, le revirement de la Suisse par rapport à ses positions de négociation est problématique. « Que les Etats qui ont négocié dans leur capacité nationale et même obtenu des concessions d’autres Etats se dissocient aujourd’hui des positions qu’ils ont prises est très décevant. Une telle volte-face porte atteinte à leur crédibilité comme partenaires dans un environnement multilatéral. »

      Louise Arbour tente d’identifier la raison des résistances : « La migration peut être une question traitée de manière très fractionnée, parfois par plusieurs ministères. Sans grande cohésion. Cela peut avoir contribué à la difficulté de faire passer le message. »

      Pas le fruit de bureaucrates

      Quant à l’idée que le pacte migratoire serait le produit de l’imagination de bureaucrates de New York, elle s’en défend : « Le processus ayant mené au pacte a été très respectueux, et surtout basé sur la réalité et des faits. » Les crispations (sensibles en Hongrie, aux Etats-Unis, en Israël, en Suisse, etc.) autour du pacte ne sont pas justifiées, estime-t-elle.

      La meilleure manière de mener une politique migratoire nationale efficace est de coopérer avec ses voisins. La migration implique forcément une interdépendance. C’est ce cadre coopératif que propose le pacte, « négocié non pas en secret, mais avec la société civile, le secteur privé, les syndicats », ajoute Louise Arbour.

      Hors de l’ONU, la pression sur le Conseil fédéral est venue mercredi du CICR dont le président, Peter Maurer, appelle à adopter le pacte « négocié de façon totalement transparente pendant près de trois ans ». La Commission fédérale des migrations abonde dans le même sens, jugeant nécessaire de s’associer à cet effort mondial de réguler la migration.

      https://www.letemps.ch/monde/louise-arbour-volteface-suisse-porte-atteinte-credibilite-multilaterale

    • Global Compact, il governo sospende il patto Onu sull’immigrazione

      L’annuncio del premier Conte su input del ministro Salvini: l’Italia non parteciperà neanche al summit di Marrakech di dicembre.
      L’Italia sospende l’adesione al Global Compact sull’immigrazione, il patto firmato da oltre 190 Paesi il 19 settembre 2016 e ribattezzato “Dichiarazione di New York“. Inoltre l’Italia non parteciperà nemmeno al summit Onu di Marrakech, in Marocco, che tra il 10 e l’11 dicembre adotterà il documento.

      https://www.tpi.it/2018/11/29/global-compact-immigrazione-italia
      #Italie

    • What’s to Fear in the U.N. Global Compact for Migration?

      The forthcoming adoption of the United Nations’ global migration compact has sparked turmoil, particularly among members of the European Union. But the compact itself refutes much of the criticism, says Solon Ardittis, director of Eurasylum.

      After two years of intense intergovernmental negotiations, the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be formally adopted on December 10-11 in Marrakech. Though the compact went largely unnoticed by most political parties and the public throughout the negotiation period, its forthcoming adoption is now sparking turmoil in Europe and around the world.

      To date, at least a dozen U.N. member states have declared they do not intend to sign it or are considering doing so. Last fall, the United States became the first to withdraw. Hungary followed earlier this year, which set off a domino effect of withdrawals in the European Union over the past few weeks. Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia have said they won’t sign, and Italy has signaled its disapproval, too. In Belgium, profound disagreement among coalition partners over the compact is threatening to bring down the government.

      So what exactly does the compact proffer to make it the source of such growing discontent? The 30-page document is an international, nonbinding agreement that aims “to make an important contribution to enhanced cooperation on international migration in all its dimensions.” Emerging in the wake of Europe’s 2015 refugee crisis, it draws on a range of existing international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the vast majority of member states are signatories. And it aims to develop an international cooperative framework acknowledging that no nation can address the contemporary problems of migration alone. This is the first time in history that all U.N. member states have come together to negotiate an agreement on migration in such a comprehensive manner.

      The compact is comprised of 23 objectives. These include, inter alia: collecting adequate data; ensuring all migrants have legal proof of identity; saving lives and establishing coordinated international efforts on missing migrants; strengthening the transnational response to smuggling and trafficking; managing borders in an integrated manner; and giving migrants access to basic services. The compact also includes a follow-up and review mechanism.

      Crucially, while acknowledging states’ shared responsibilities, the compact reaffirms their sovereign right to determine their national migration policies and to govern migration within their jurisdictions. It also stresses that the compact’s implementation will account for different national realities, capacities and levels of development; and will respect national policies and priorities.

      Given such lenient and largely unthreatening policy objectives, what’s behind the growing resentment?

      First, after only recently appearing on the radar of political parties in Europe and internationally, the compact now seems to offer a golden opportunity for populist parties and opinion-makers to push their claims that nations are losing control over their sovereignty and borders. Ironically, the same parties that now criticize the compact have traditionally challenged national governments for not taking sufficiently coordinated action to manage irregular migration, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, or for addressing the growing number of migrant fatalities at sea. The compact represents a foundation for such coordinated action.

      Its most vocal opponents claim, among other things, that the compact does not sufficiently distinguish between legal and illegal migration, that it mixes up the rights of asylum seekers with those of economic migrants, or even stipulates the number of migrants that each member state will need to accept. All this is strictly contradicted in the compact itself.

      Nevertheless, such unfounded criticism has eventually led many governments to adopt a low profile, avoid media exposure and be represented at the Marrakech conference next week at a much less senior level than anticipated. One notable exception is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has intensified efforts to reassure “concerned citizens” and to reaffirm that the compact aims to strengthen the protection of national borders rather than weaken them.

      Also worthy of mention is E.U. migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos’s Dec. 4 warning that withdrawal from the compact could hamper cooperation with third countries to control migration and send mixed messages about the E.U.’s resolve to cooperate on an equal basis with its African partners to address future migration challenges. While the E.U. of course has its own cooperation channels and modalities with key migration origin and transit countries, particularly on development and migration management policies, there is little doubt the Global Compact would open additional avenues for the E.U. (and indeed other U.N. member states) to engage in more informal, multistakeholder and non donor-dominated discussions on a range of migration-related policy initiatives.

      The second point that needs be stressed, particularly with respect to the E.U., is that the compact bears no comparison to some of the remarkably more constraining transnational legal and policy frameworks on migration adopted over the past decade. In particular, there have been a wide array of E.U. directives on immigration (legal and irregular), migrant integration policies, migrant smuggling, trafficking in human beings and a range of related policy areas that have been regulated at European Union, rather than member state, level after the E.U. executive gained increased competences to legislate in this field.

      Of course, the E.U. has a history of controversial policy interventions on migration. However, with the exception of the E.U. refugee relocation program, which has generated limited consensus among member states, and of the United Kingdom and Denmark’s decision to opt out of some of the E.U.’s most stringent migration policy instruments, to date none of the bloc’s migration-related policies, including those that were legally binding and requiring transposition into national law, has generated as much turmoil as the U.N. Global Compact for Migration.

      The compact may have some inherent weaknesses, such as not sufficiently demonstrating that it will be relevant and actionable in member states with such contrasting migration features and policy approaches. Doubts also persist on the levels of financial resources that will be allocated to implement such a nonbinding and largely aspirational policy framework.

      It remains that the agreement to be signed next week need not become a cause for concern for any member of society, and even less so be used as a scapegoat by potentially ill-intentioned or ill-informed commentators. Despite its nonbinding nature, the Global Compact looks set to establish some potentially innovative ways for all key stakeholders – in government, civil society and the private sector – to communicate and cooperate on a range of contemporary migration issues.

      At this stage, what should really matter is the degree of genuine commitment signatory parties will express in the next few years and the quality and political clout of the follow-up and review mechanisms to be established after the compact is adopted. All the rest is unnecessary and unhelpful noise.

      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2018/12/05/whats-to-fear-in-the-u-n-global-compact-for-migration

    • Dispute over UN migration pact fractures Belgian government

      Belgium’s center-right government is fighting for its survival this week after the largest coalition party broke away from its three partners and said it would not back a global U.N.-backed migration pact.

      The right-wing N-VA party started a social media campaign against the migration pact Tuesday, more than two months after Prime Minister Charles Michel pledged he would sign the pact for Belgium at a meeting next week in Marrakech, Morocco.

      Instead of a coalition breakup, Michel announced late Tuesday he would take the issue to parliament for vote in the days to come.

      “I want parliament to have its say,” Michel said, staving off an immediate collapse of the government that has been in power for three years. “I have the intention to go to Marrakech and let the position of the parliament be known.”

      Michel’s statement came at the end of a hectic day dominated by an anti-pact social media campaign by the N-VA, of the biggest coalition partner.

      The in-your-face campaign featured pictures of Muslim women with their faces covered and stated the U.N. pact focused on enabling migrants to retain the cultural practices of their homelands.

      The party quickly withdrew the materials after the campaign received widespread criticism.

      “We made an error,” N-VA leader Bart De Wever told VRT network.

      De Wever apologized for the pictures of women wearing face-covering niqab in western Europe, but immediately added “these pictures are not fake. You can take pictures like this every day in Brussels. It is the stark reality.”

      Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel pledged at United Nations headquarters in September that he would go to a meeting in Marrakech, Morocco where the U.N.’s Global Compact Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is to be signed next week.

      Amid the N-VA upheaval, a Cabinet meeting was canceled Tuesday afternoon and Michel resumed consultations with vice-premiers looking for a way out of the crisis.

      Remarking on the party’s withdrawn campaign, Christian Democrat Vice Premier Kris Peeters said: “I only have one word for this — indecent.”

      Even with the parliamentary vote, the options for ensuring the government’s survival were slimming down.

      The United Nations says the compact will promote safe and orderly migration and reduce human smuggling and trafficking.

      The N-VA said it would force Belgium into making immigration concessions. “In our democracy, we decide. The sovereignty is with the people,” the party said in a statement.

      Many experts said the accord is non-binding, but the N-VA said it still went too far and would give even migrants who were in Belgium illegally many additional rights.

      The U.N. compact was finalized in July with only the U.S. staying out. Several European nations have since pulled out of signing the accord during the Dec. 10-11 conference in Morocco.

      https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/belgian-government-fights-for-survival-over-un-migrants-pact

      #Belgique

    • Le pacte migratoire de l’ONU sème la discorde

      191 pays ont approuvé un accord sur la migration échafaudé par l’ONU. Ce jeudi à Berne, les Chambres devraient empoigner le pacte qui en découle, sous tension, et les pays favorables l’adopteront bientôt au Maroc. Histoire d’un texte controversé

      L’Europe s’est-elle remise de la crise migratoire de 2015 ? A voir les résistances qui ont émergé ces dernières semaines contre l’adoption du Pacte mondial de l’ONU sur les migrations, qui doit être formellement adopté à Marrakech le 11 décembre, il est permis d’en douter. Le pacte suscite un déferlement de propos haineux, voire complotistes. A l’ONU, on enregistre avec incompréhension, voire avec une once de panique, les critiques virulentes qui font florès, surtout en Europe. Le pacte est-il devenu un monstre qu’on ne contrôlerait plus ? Sur les 191 pays qui avaient accepté l’accord sur un tel pacte à New York en juillet dernier, seuls deux tiers disent désormais vouloir se rendre au Maroc. Les volte-face se multiplient.

      #Libre_circulation_mondiale

      Mercredi, en Belgique, le premier ministre, Charles Michel, a évité de peu une possible chute de son gouvernement. Au sein de la coalition gouvernementale, le parti flamand N-VA s’oppose avec véhémence au pacte. Le parlement belge a finalement apporté son soutien au premier ministre. Le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » en France, qui est aussi divers que peu structuré, est également happé par la vague anti-pacte. Sur Facebook, des « gilets jaunes » disent vouloir empêcher le président Emmanuel Macron de se rendre à Marrakech. Selon eux, le pacte va créer « un #chaos total » et permettra à quelque 900 000 migrants (voire 4 millions d’entre eux selon certains) d’entrer en France.

      Ils réclament la destitution du chef de l’Elysée. A l’image de l’UDC en Suisse, qui estime à tort que l’adoption du pacte équivaudrait à instaurer une libre circulation mondiale des personnes, les républicains et le Rassemblement national de Marine Le Pen en France soufflent aussi sur les braises. Ce samedi, cette dernière participera à Bruxelles à un meeting du parti nationaliste flamand Vlaams Belang en compagnie de Steve Bannon, l’ex-chef stratège de Donald Trump et héraut du souverainisme.

      Un pacte épouvantail de la #globalisation

      Des « gilets jaunes » allemands réunis sous la bannière du mouvement #Pegida à Berlin ont véhiculé le même type de message, exigeant la démission de la chancelière Angela Merkel, laquelle s’était distinguée en autorisant l’arrivée sur sol allemand d’un million de migrants de Syrie en 2015. L’onde de choc ne s’arrête pas là. Si Budapest a tout de suite exprimé son opposition au pacte onusien, d’autres pays de l’Europe de l’Est et du centre ont suivi : la #Bulgarie, la #Pologne, la #République_tchèque et l’Autriche. En #Slovaquie, le ministre des Affaires étrangères, qui soutenait le pacte, a démissionné face au refus de son gouvernement.

      En Italie, le ministre de l’Intérieur et chef de file du parti d’extrême droite de la Lega, Matteo Salvini, a été catégorique : « Le gouvernement italien, comme les Suisses qui ont porté à bout de bras le pacte avant de faire marche arrière, ne signera rien et n’ira pas à Marrakech. C’est le parlement qui devra en débattre. » Le pacte est devenu une sorte d’épouvantail de la globalisation dont se sont saisis les mouvements populistes et extrémistes. La bataille symbolise celle qui oppose désormais violemment les élites globalisées et les populations qui estiment subir la #mondialisation.

      Aux Etats-Unis, l’opposition de l’administration de Donald Trump n’est pas surprenante tant sa politique migratoire ultra-restrictive est le moyen de cimenter une base électorale remontée contre ce que le président appelle le « #globalisme ». L’#Australie, #Israël mettent aussi les pieds au mur. Même la #République_dominicaine s’est ralliée au camp du refus, craignant que les centaines de Haïtiens tentant chaque jour de franchir la frontière puissent venir s’établir sans problème dans le pays.

      Souveraineté intacte

      Ce pacte, juridiquement non contraignant, ne touche pas à la #souveraineté des Etats. Il ne contraint aucun pays à modifier sa #politique_migratoire, aussi dure soit-elle. Sert-il dès lors à quelque chose ? Il remplit un vide. Aucun cadre n’existait pour améliorer la coordination internationale du phénomène global de la migration. Avec ses 23 objectifs, il vise à encourager les potentiels migrants à rester dans leur pays d’origine en traitant au mieux les problèmes structurels qui les poussent à partir. Il prévoit une feuille de route que les Etats peuvent utiliser ou non pour gérer les 260 millions de migrants qui se déplacent chaque année. Il veut améliorer les voies de migration régulières.

      Face à cette #rébellion inattendue, la haut-commissaire de l’ONU aux Droits de l’homme, Michelle Bachelet, a déclaré hier à Genève : « Certains responsables politiques n’agissent pas en leaders. Ils suivent les sondages. » Directeur de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations, le Portugais Antonio Vitorino exprime lui aussi son courroux : « Nous assistons de la part de certains secteurs politiques à la #manipulation, à la distorsion des objectifs du pacte. On a la sensation que la migration est devenue le #bouc_émissaire des problèmes culturels et sociaux. »

      https://www.letemps.ch/monde/pacte-migratoire-lonu-seme-discorde
      #populisme

    • European governments in melt-down over an inoffensive migration compact

      IT WAS LIKE watching paint dry, or other people’s children play baseball. Last month Gert Raudsep, an Estonian actor, spent two hours on prime-time television reading out the text of a UN migration agreement. Estonia’s government was tottering over whether to pull out of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to give it its full name. So Mr Raudsep was invited to present the source of the discord to worried viewers. Thoughts of weary migrants from Africa and Latin America kept him going, he said. “But my eyes got a bit tired.”

      Mr Raudsep’s recital made for dull viewing because the compact is a dull document. Its 23 “objectives” are peppered with vague declarations, platitudes and split differences. Partly in the spirit of other global agreements like the Paris climate deal, it encourages states to co-operate on tricky cross-border matters without forcing them to do anything. It urges governments to treat migrants properly, but also to work together on sending them home when necessary. At best it helps build the trust between “sending” and “receiving” countries that is the foundation of any meaningful international migration policy.

      None of this has prevented European governments from melting down over it. In the end Estonia resolved its row; it will join more than 180 other countries in Marrakesh on December 10th-11th to adopt the compact. But so far at least ten others, including seven from Europe, have followed the lead of Donald Trump and pulled out of a deal that they helped negotiate. The agreement is agitating parliaments, sparking protests and splintering coalitions; Belgium’s is on the verge of collapse. More withdrawals may follow.

      Why the fuss? The text explicitly states that governments retain the sovereign right to make immigration policy. But critics say that cannot be trusted. Although the compact is not legally binding, they argue it is “soft law” that might one day be used to press governments into hard commitments, such as acknowledging a “human right” to migration or expanding the grounds for asylum.

      This is, largely, codswallop. The compact is hardly perfect; the drafters should have refrained from urging governments to “educate” journalists on migration, for example, or to hold “culinary festivals” to celebrate multiculturalism. Yet until cynical politicians started paying attention, the main charge the compact faced was toothlessness. Most of the political arguments against it emerged after governments had already approved the draft in July.

      That suggests other forces are at work. In Slovakia, the compact stirred passions only after the speaker of parliament, embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, sought a way to change the subject. The government has since withdrawn from the compact, which led the foreign minister, a former president of the UN General Assembly, to offer his resignation. In Germany a row over the compact, triggered by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), has forced the candidates running to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democratic Union to declare themselves: for or against? (The party chooses her successor on December 7th.) Now the AfD boasts, correctly, that its ideas have infiltrated the mainstream.

      As has become depressingly routine in Europe, the row over the UNcompact has little to do with its ostensible target and everything to do with the smouldering embers of a culture war that the drastic reduction in illegal immigration since the surge of 2015 has failed to extinguish. (A pointless spat over border controls nearly destroyed Mrs Merkel’s coalition earlier this year.) Immigration remains a potent topic for the right; the trouble in Belgium started when the country’s largest party, the nationalist New Flemish Alliance, began a social-media campaign against the compact, replete with imagery of women in niqabs and the like (it later apologised). But in the absence of a genuine crisis to mobilise support, fake problems must be confected. The UN compact is a sitting duck. There is no downside to hammering a multilateral agreement on a controversial subject negotiated by obscure officials in air-conditioned rooms abroad. That it was agreed by governments in plain sight, with parliamentarians invited to participate, is by-the-by.
      Displacement activity

      In Berlin, where outrage over the compact took the establishment by surprise, some say the government should have forcefully made the case for it as soon as it was agreed. Instead, caught on the back foot, Mrs Merkel and other defenders of the deal are locked into an awkward argument: that fears about the compact are overblown because it is not legally binding, but that it is also an important tool for managing migration. Yet aside from Mrs Merkel’s perennial reluctance to lead rather than react to debates, arguing for the deal earlier would simply have given opponents a bigger target and more time to shoot at it. A more sobering conclusion is that, for now, it has become impossible to have a level-headed conversation about managing migration in Europe.

      UN insiders profess themselves frustrated but unbowed by the string of withdrawals. (Many blame Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian chancellor, whose decision in October to pull out inspired several others to follow.) Although the idea for the compact was drawn up just after Europe’s refugee crisis of 2015-16—indeed, partly at the request of panicked European leaders—its provisions are global. Europe’s navel-gazing arguments have little bearing on the lot of Bangladeshi workers in the Gulf or Zimbabweans in South Africa.

      True enough. But Europe’s rejectionist governments are shooting themselves in the foot nonetheless. Even a hard-headed policy of tough border controls, swift return of illegal immigrants and encouraging would-be migrants to stay home obliges governments to work with others, if only to strike grubby repatriation deals. Building trust by sticking to international commitments lays the foundations for that. That so many governments are choosing to do precisely the opposite does not inspire hope that Europe is groping towards a more sensible migration policy.


      https://www.economist.com/europe/2018/12/08/european-governments-in-melt-down-over-an-inoffensive-migration-compact

      #dessin_de_presse #caricature

    • Under far-right pressure, Europe retreats from UN migration pact

      A previously obscure 34-page, jargon-filled document is causing political convulsions across Europe — even though it’s not even legally binding.

      Italy this week became the latest in a string of European countries to say it would not sign the U.N.’s Global Compact on Migration at a ceremony in Marrakech in just under two weeks. From the Netherlands through Belgium and Germany to Slovakia, the pact has triggered infighting in ruling parties and governments, with at least one administration close to breaking point.

      The fight over the pact illuminates how migration remains a combustible issue across the Continent, three years after the 2015 refugee crisis and with next May’s European Parliament election on the horizon. Far-right parties keen to make migration the key campaign issue have seized on the pact while some mainstream parties have sought to steal their thunder by turning against the agreement. Liberals and centrists, meanwhile, have found themselves on the defensive — arguing that the agreement poses no harm and migration is best handled through international cooperation.

      Louise Arbour, the senior U.N. official overseeing the pact, said she is surprised by the controversy, as diplomats from 180 countries — including many that have now pulled out — signed off on the text last summer after two years of negotiations.

      The initiative was launched at the request of Europe after the migration surge of 2015, Arbour said. The countries now having “second thoughts or misgivings” were very active during the negotiations and “extracted compromises from the others,” she told POLITICO in an interview.

      Arbour, a former Canadian judge and U.N. human rights commissioner, said the recent backtracking illustrates a clear “disconnect” between some countries’ foreign policies “and domestic pressures or national concerns that were not included into the process.”

      She stressed the compact is not binding and, after its formal adoption next month, “there is not a single member state that is obligated to do anything that it doesn’t want to.”

      The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to give it its full name, sets out a “cooperative framework” for dealing with international migration. Signatories agree, for example, to limit the pressure on countries with many migrants and to promote the self-reliance of newcomers. The document states that no country can address migration alone, while also upholding “the sovereignty of States and their obligations under international law.”

      That assurance has not been enough to placate many in Europe. Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made anti-migrant policies his signature issue, pulled out while the pact was being negotiated. But the recent wave of European withdrawals was triggered by conservative Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who renounced the pact at the end of October.

      Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, Kurz’s coalition partner, declared that “Austria must remain sovereign on migration” and said the country is “playing a leading role in Europe.” At least in terms of the pact, that turned out to be true with Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia and Switzerland all following Vienna’s lead. (Croatia caused confusion after its president declared she would not sign the document but the government later said a minister would go to Marrakech and support the adoption of the pact.)
      Bratislava, Berlin and beyond

      Slovakia is among the most recent countries to withdraw its support for the pact. After an EU summit on Sunday, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said Bratislava would not support the pact “under any circumstances and will not agree with it.”

      Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák on Thursday said he would resign after parliament decided to reject the pact. Lajčák was president of the U.N. General Assembly when the migration pact was adopted.

      Populist parties in other countries have forced the pact to the top of the political agenda. The Dutch government under Prime Minister Mark Rutte has come under pressure from far-right leaders, including Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet, who refers to the agreement as the “U.N. Immigration Pact.” The government ordered a legal analysis of the text last week to ensure that signing it will not entail any legal consequences. The Cabinet finally decided on Thursday that it would support the pact, but would add an extra declaration, a so-called explanation of position, to prevent unintended legal consequences.

      In Germany, the pact has become an issue in the battle to succeed Angela Merkel — the EU politician most associated with a more liberal approach to migration — as leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Two of the leading contenders for the post, Jens Spahn and Friedrich Merz, have both criticized the agreement and called for it to be amended.

      The German chancellor mounted a spirited defense of the pact, telling the Bundestag last week that the agreement is in Germany’s national interest as it will encourage better conditions for refugees and migrants elsewhere in the world.

      Arbour argued that although the pact is not legally binding, it is still worthwhile. “The pact is a major cooperation project ... a political initiative to align initiatives for the common benefit,” she said.

      But such arguments cut little ice with the WerteUnion (“Union of Values”), a group of thousands of conservative members of the CDU and its Bavarian sister party. It takes issue with multiple sections of the pact, such as a declaration that migrants “regardless of their status, can exercise their human rights through safe access to basic services.” The group argues that as German social benefits are high, such a commitment would encourage migrants to come to Germany.

      In Belgium, the pact has put liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel’s coalition government at risk. The Flemish nationalist N-VA, the biggest party in government, has demanded Belgium withdraw from the agreement. Michel is caught between his commitment to the pact and his coalition partner’s rejection of it — while seeking to fend off a Francophone opposition that will take any opportunity to portray him as a puppet of the Flemish nationalists ahead of federal, regional and European elections next May.

      Searching for a way to keep his government afloat, Michel has been consulting with a handful of European countries including Denmark, Estonia, the U.K. and Norway, to produce a joint statement to be attached to the pact, according to Belgian media. Another idea is for several of those countries to join the Netherlands in signing a common “explanation of position,” Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

      Arbour said it’s too late to start making changes to the pact itself. Renegotiating the text or attaching an extra statement is “not what other [countries] have signed up to,” she said.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/migration-un-viktor-orban-sebastian-kurz-far-right-pressure-europe-retreats


  • Austria Immigration Detention

    Austria has sharply increased the number of people it places in immigration detention after years of declining detainee populations. While it continues the controversial practice of placing immigration detainees in “Police Detention Centres,” the country opened a new dedicated immigration detention centre in 2014, which is partly operated by the multinational security company #G4S. The country has also announced plans to significantly boost removals, focusing mainly on people from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

    https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/austria?platform=hootsuite
    #autriche #détention_administrative #rétention #statistiques #chiffes #migrations #asile #réfugiés #privatisation


  • Salaries for #blockchain engineers skyrockets despite plans of job cuts in the #financial markets
    https://hackernoon.com/salaries-for-blockchain-engineers-skyrockets-despite-plans-of-job-cuts-i

    The title may sound confusing, but the job market trends in the financial sector have begun to shift.In the next three months, Standard Chartered Bank plans to lay off 300 people from the Middle East and Africa division while JPMorgan Chase has already laid off 400 employees in the consumer mortgage division. Despite the negative sentiments in the broader market, Hired — San Francisco Recruitment Agency- states that the demand for blockchain engineer has increased by 400% since 2017.What is driving the demand?The demand for blockchain engineers derived from large companies such as Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft. It would be a growing demand as more companies work on projects that utilise blockchain technology. CEO of Bank of America (BOA), Brian Moynihan told CNBC,“The adoption of (...)

    #engineering #jobs #cryptocurrency-investment