Monday, April 25, 2016

From Ian:

Root causes and red herrings
Separating 'red herrings' from 'root causes'
Over the last two decades, Israel has allowed itself to be manipulated into a perilous and potentially tragic situation. To have any hope of extricating itself from this unenviable position, it must be very clear as to what this conflict is really about -- and what it is not.
It must separate the "root causes" from the "red herrings." Mistaken diagnosis will result in mistaken policy choices which are liable to precipitate "terminal" consequences.
It is time to acknowledge the unpalatable fact that the enmity of Arabs towards the Jews and the Jewish state is:
Not about borders but about existence.
Not about what the Jewish people do but about what the Jewish people are.
Not about the Jewish state's policies but about the Jewish state per se.
And not about Jewish military "occupation" of Arab land but about Jewish political existence on any land.
Israel must internalize these truths and undertake a policy to convey them with conviction and vigor to the world. Otherwise Israel may well be "liberated."(h/t Elder of Lobby)
U.N. Watch: Palestinian pitch
Once again the indefatigable Palestinian Authority is drafting an Israel-bashing United Nations resolution condemning Israel's settlements. What's different this time? The Palestinians' hope that a lame-duck U.S. president, whose relations with Israel are strained, won't use the U.S. veto this time to quash the measure.
The United States customarily defends Israel and has nixed many half-baked Security Council resolutions that seek a back door to Palestinian statehood. These empty gestures are no path to peace but a short fuse to heightened hostilities.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said President Obama, fresh from his “achievements” with Iran and Cuba, “may try to put a basis for a new era regarding the Palestinian-Israeli issue” by not vetoing the resolution. This latest resolution draft reportedly calls the Israeli settlements illegal and seeks a one-year timetable to reach “a final status agreement.”
A State Department spokesman said it has no position because the draft resolution remains in a “very early stage.”And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed it as another attempt to force a Palestinian solution. This, after peace negotiations have been idled since the last U.S. initiative collapsed two years ago.
The Palestinians may ultimately back off. Ineffectual resolutions served cold at the United Nations only further the divide with Israel. That much should be abundantly clear, regardless of Mr. Obama's lame-duck status.
Alan Dershowitz: Obama owes Netanyahu an explanation
Jewish American jurist Alan Dershowitz last week criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's "interference in British affairs" and the hypocrisy of having reprimanded Israel's prime minister for having done the same.
In an op-ed for Fox News, Dershowitz lamented Obama having defended his prior comments urging British voters to vote against leaving the European Union, following scathing criticism that he was meddling in British affairs.
"I don't believe the EU moderates British influence in the world, it magnifies it," Obama said at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday. He later warned British voters that it could take up to a decade to strike a trade deal with the U.S. once Britain leaves the union.
In his op-ed, Dershowitz pointed out Obama's argument that "in a democracy, friends should be able to speak their minds, even when they are visiting another country," and accused him of having a "short memory" recalling how "outraged the same President Obama was when the prime minister of a friendly country, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke his mind about the Iran deal."

Fred Maroun: Palestinians: Peace Starts with Facing the Harsh Reality of Hate
The Arab states, many Europeans and the so-called "pro-Palestinian" movement have been using the same tactic since 1948 -- keep the Palestinians in poverty, victimhood, and dependence so that Israel can be blamed, with the hope that Israel would lose legitimacy and its Jewish residents would be thrown into the sea or they would pack up and leave.
Values that bring peace (acceptance of differences, religious tolerance, and non-violent conflict resolution) are taught all over the liberal democratic world, including Israel, but somehow, when it comes to Arabs, all expectations of socialized behavior are thrown out the window.
Somehow, people expect to resolve a conflict without neutralizing the root cause of that conflict: programming people to hate.
Teach Peace: This is the solution that Western politicians urgently need to talk about when they meet Palestinian officials. It should be at the start, at the middle, and at the end of every meeting and every speech, and all funding should be made contingent on it and strictly linked to it.
Israel border police are on the front line.
Israeli border police, with their distinct dark-green uniforms and armored police jeeps, are stationed at friction points around the country and in the West Bank. They are the brave heroes of what many have termed a "knife intifada," and the number of young Israelis wanting to join their ranks is growing.
In the past six months, as Palestinians have carried out hundreds of stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks against Israelis, more than 175 border police have been injured - some seriously - and two officers have been killed as they worked to protect civilians.
Despite the risks, the number of new recruits to the unit was the highest it has ever been, Israeli media reported last month. "I chose this unit because I wanted to contribute to my country," said Chen Cohen. "I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I wanted to be out in the field," said Mor Hadad, who was close friends with Hadar Cohen, who was fatally shot in Jerusalem in February. "I signed up knowing that it would be dangerous, but it's what I wanted. Now, when I go out, I think about Hadar," she said. Their motivation is high, and their motto is: "Attack us, not civilians."
"Many of the attacks have been against the border police officers, but there is no other choice because civilians cannot deal with this challenge. It is the task of a country to protect its civilians, and the border police are the best trained to fight this type of war," said Shaul Shay, a lecturer at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Majority of West Bank youth back knife attacks on Israelis, poll finds
A public opinion poll published on Monday showed that among 47 percent of Palestinian youth in the West Bank opposed stabbing attacks against Israelis, while 28% of youth in the Gaza Strip supported their continuation.
The poll was conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC) and covered a random sample of 1000 Palestinians aged 15-29. The poll has a margin of error of 3%.
The results showed that 40% of youth in the West Bank and 66% of those in the Gaza Strip believe that the recent wave of terror attacks on Israelis serves the Palestinian cause, while only 23% in the West Bank and 17% in the Gaza Strip said it harmed the Palestinian issue.
More than 35% of respondents in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip predicted that the violence would develop into a fully-fledged uprising, the results showed.
Palestinian youth seem to be equally split over "military operations" against Israel: 43% in favor and against. Support among Palestinian youth for the two-state solution stands at 42%, according to the poll. Nearly 20% said they preferred a bi-national state.
For mother of Hamas bus bomber, son’s attack was ‘self-defense’
Is it possible that Abu Srour’s whole family — father, mother, brothers and sisters -knew nothing of his Hamas activities, as they claim? What’s being said here seems distant from the mood and tone of the mourning tent, the cries of praise that the old women let loose when the masked Hamas activists came in and kissed the mother’s head. There’s a gulf between what’s being said publicly for the television cameras, the Arabic channels, and what is being said and done here in the private rooms among the family, this well-to-do family that managed to get out of the refugee camp and move to relatively upscale Beit Jalla. There’s even an Israeli visiting here, an American-born Israeli Jew who knew Abu Srour and other members of the family.
“I have no problem with the Jews,” both the mother and father say. But their son has just become the first suicide bomber in years.
And then Azhar, Abu Srour mother, says, “It was an act of self-defense. True, I, as a Palestinian, as an enlightened person, I might perhaps have acted differently, by means of the pen, by means of the written word. But everybody has his own way of resistance.
And when it’s pointed out that the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the bombing, she replies, “For me, Abu Mazen does not represent the Palestinian people. When I hear him speak, it makes me hate the fact that I’m a Palestinian because I have a president like that. When your prime minister supports the soldier who shot dead a Palestinian in Hebron, and my president condemns our actions, what am I supposed to think of him?”
At which point the father mutters cynically, “Yallah Lakalboosh” — off to jail — as though he’s expecting the PA’s security forces to come at any moment and arrest them.
Terror victim’s son asks to speak at school that hosted killer’s family
After learning that an East Jerusalem school recently hosted the family of the Palestinian terrorist who killed his father, the son of an Israeli peace activist has asked to give a talk about Jewish-Arab coexistence to the students there.
Micah Lakin Avni, the son of Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old former American school principal and civil rights activist, contacted the Jabel Mukaber elementary school in an effort to share his father’s legacy, the Ynet news website reported on Monday.
Richard Lakin was severely injured in a shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in Jerusalem on October 13 last year, and died two weeks later of his wounds.
Two other Israelis were killed in the attack — Haviv Haim, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51. The two assailants came from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. Baha Allyan, a 22-year-old graphic designer, was killed by security forces; the second terrorist, Bilal Ranem, was captured alive.
Security forces arrest 4 Hamas members in Hebron
The IDF declined to provide details on the cause for the arrests, and did not answer a question on whether the raids were launched to thwart an imminent terror plot.
According to the IDF's statement, army units arrested two Hamas members in Hebron, and two additional Hamas men in Dahariya, southwest of Hebron. "We are not providing further details on those arrested," an army spokeswoman said on Monday.
On April 21, the military imposed a general closure on the West Bank and shut down the Gaza border crossings.
On the same day, police and the Shin Bet confirmed that a Palestinian bomber who attacked a bus in Jerusalem was a 19-year-old Hamas-affilated resident of Beit Jala. Several Hamas members from the Bethlehem area were arrested within 24 hours of the blast, which injured 20 passengers.
Earlier this month, a senior military source said security forces quietly foiled a large number of Hamas mass-casualty terrorism plots forming in the West Bank recently, often at a very advanced stage of preparations.
The officer said the IDF Judea and Samaria Division together with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) encountered a continuous series of attempted attacks orchestrated by Hamas.
‘Relative quiet’ prompts Israel to end months of closure on Palestinian town
After nearly seven months of an Israeli-imposed closure, the IDF on Sunday reopened the main entrance to a Palestinian village in the West Bank, the army announced on social media.
The main road connecting the town of Bani Naim to the nearby city of Hebron was closed last October in the wake of violent clashes between local Palestinian residents and IDF soldiers.
According to Hariz Safadi, the area director for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the road was reopened due to the “calm that prevailed” in the town recently.
COGAT, Safadi said, would “continue to introduce new developments in Hebron in light of the relatively quiet situation.” He added that the IDF branch tasked with Palestinian civil affairs was “interested in taking steps to make residents’ life easier.”
83 senators, but not Sanders, urge Obama to increase Israel military aid
More than 80 of the 100 sitting US senators have signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to increase foreign aid to Israel and immediately sign an agreement on a new defense package. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not one of the 83 signatories.
US and Israeli officials have been trying to hammer out a memorandum of understanding that would increase US military aid to Israel for the next 10 years, due to be renewed before 2018.
“In light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge,” said the letter, which was seen by Reuters.
Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Coons were behind the letter, which was signed by 51 Republican and 32 Democratic senators.
Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz was one of the signatories, while Sanders was not.
Poll: Palestinian support for two-state solution declining
According to the poll, a full 67% of Palestinian Arab youth believe that negotiations are incapable of ending the conflict, compared to only 23.5% who responded that a negotiated settlement could resolve the conflict.
The poll also revealed that support for a two-state solution is sinking among young Palestinian Arabs. Only 42.8% said they favored a two-state solution, compared to 69% of Palestinian Arabs of all ages according to last month’s JMCC poll.
Support for random stabbing attacks on Israelis remains high among Arab youth, although not significantly higher than among Palestinian Arabs generally.
Among younger Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, 46.4% supported random stabbings of Israelis compared to 56.2% of all Arabs according to last month’s poll. In Gaza a whopping 78.6% of young Arabs supported knife terrorism, compared to 79.5% among all Gaza Arabs last month.
Islamic nations call emergency meeting on Golan ‘escalation’
The world’s largest body of Islamic nations has called for an emergency meeting over statements made last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would never relinquish control over the Golan Heights.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet Tuesday at its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss “Israeli escalation against the occupied Syrian Golan,” joining others in the region to express alarm over Netanyahu’s declaration
During a cabinet visit to the area last Sunday, Netanyahu said that Israel does not oppose current efforts to reach a political agreement to end the Syrian civil war, but that Israel’s boundary line with the country will not change, referring to Jerusalem’s hold on the plateau.
“I convened this celebratory meeting in the Golan Heights to send a clear message: The Golan will always remain in Israel’s hands. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights,” he declared.
In a statement released Sunday, the 57-member OIC called the comments “provoking acts” and said they considered them “a serious escalation and flagrant violation of the Resolutions of international legitimacy and International Law.”
Israel responds to Jordan's Temple Mount threats
Israel responded Monday afternoon to recent claims made by the Jordanian government, according to which Israeli actions on the Temple Mount were threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque and harming Arabs on the Mount.
Earlier in April Jordan blasted Israel for allowing 400 Jews to ascend the Mount, accusing the group of plotting against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Jordan demanded that Israel prevent what it described as “settler attacks on Al Aqsa-Mosque."
Amman called the incident “a flagrant violation of international law,” warning that Jewish visitation of the holiest site in Judaism would inflame tensions in the region and spark a religious war.
Israeli officials speaking on Monday rejected recent statements by the Jordanian government, calling them baseless.
“There’s absolutely no basis for these claims,” the officials said. “Israel is behaving responsibly, and Jordan knows that.”
Police brace for Jewish-Arab friction during Passover
With Israelis vacationing en mass this Passover holiday, security forces are bracing for possible confrontations in major religious sites. The Israel Police placed its forces on high alert nationwide, particularly in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Islamic clerics have once again started lashing out at Israel, warning on social media that Israel is trying to sabotage the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount.
More than 50,000 people arrived at the Western Wall on Monday for the traditional Priestly Blessing. Mass security forces deployed along the routes leading to the holy site and the Temple Mount, to make sure the event goes smoothly.
Tensions on the Temple Mount were palpable Sunday. Some 200 Jewish visitors arrived in organized groups, comprising several dozen visitors each. Only one group was allowed on the volatile site at any given moment, with police watching over. In one case, inspectors from the Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian trust that controls and manages the current Islamic edifices on the Temple Mount, accused visitors of violating the rules governing the area, which prohibit Jewish prayers on the site. Israeli police had to intervene and prevent the heated argument from escalating into a physical altercation.
Thirteen Jewish visitors were removed from the site Sunday, including three minors, for allegedly violating the rules. One Muslim worshipper was removed from the premises after clashing with Jewish visitors.
Israel says Istanbul bomber did not target Israelis
Israel's Counterterrorism Bureau says the suicide bomber who killed three Israeli tourists in Istanbul last month did not specifically target Israelis but was taking aim at tourism in Turkey in general.
The bureau, which operates within the Prime Minister's Office, recently issued a travel advisory for Turkey, warning Israeli citizens to leave as soon as possible and avoid traveling there. The travel advisory remains in place despite the new security assessment.
The bureau said Sunday that Israeli security agencies carried out a monthlong investigation into the blast, which took place next to an Israeli culinary tour group, killing three Israelis and one Iranian tourist.
Turkey identified the bomber as having links to the Islamic State group.
MK Zoabi calls on Palestinians to revolt against Palestinian Authority
Controversial Arab-Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi urged Palestinians to revolt against the Palestinian Authority and protest against its security cooperation with Israel, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported Monday.
Speaking on Sunday at a Nazareth forum on the treaty of Palestinian national unity, a document written by central Palestinian figures, Zoabi praised what she defined as "the Palestinian espousal of a sober attitude towards Israel, after they understand that Israel is not a partner for peace."
Nevertheless, she poignantly criticized the Palestinian leadership for "aggressively foiling the creation of any alternative to the status quo, even on Facebook," claiming that it does so because it benefits from the current reality.
By sticking with the status quo, Zoabi said, the Palestinian Authority facilitates the oppression of the Palestinian people. "The question is how would we revolt against this authority? How would we change it?" she asked.
Islamic State Makes Major Gains at Damascus Palestinian Refugee Camp
The Islamic State group has almost evicted rival Al-Qaeda jihadists from a Palestinian camp in southern Damascus after two weeks of clashes, a Palestinian official said on Friday.
“Daesh has chased Al-Nusra, its former ally in the Yarmuk camp, from 90 percent of the territory it controlled,” the Palestine Liberation Organisation chief in Damascus, Anwar Abdel Hadi, said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
Fighting between IS and Al-Nusra over the past two weeks in the camp has also killed five civilians and wounded 20. Abdel Hadi said he did not have a toll for casualties among the fighters.
Once a thriving district that was home to some 160,000 Syrians and Palestinians, Yarmuk has been devastated since late 2012.
The Syrian army imposed a tight siege on the camp that reportedly led to deaths because of shortages of food and medicines.
Report: Iran looks to deploy Hamas in the battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards plan to deploy Hamas forces in the battle for Iraq's second biggest city, Mosul, which has been controlled by ISIS since June 2014, the London-based Arab daily a-Sharq al-Awsat reported Sunday.
According to the report, Hamas forces would fight for Mosul's liberation alongside Hezbollah fighters and the Shi'ite Houthi militias which are currently struggling in Yemen against the Sunni coalition of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia.
Located in northern Iraq, Mosul is a cultural heritage asset for Iran, due to the slew of holy Shi'ite sites located in the city, such as al-Qubba al-Husseniya mosque, which was demolished by ISIS in June 2014.
According to the report, Iran also intends to use Hamas in order to liberate the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which has been under Kurdish control since June, and destabilize the Kurdistan region. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are planning to deploy forces affiliated with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Kirkuk, from which they would gradually advance toward Kurdistan.
U.S. Will Send 250 More Troops to Syria in Fight Against ISIS
The United States will send additional ground troops to Syria to expand its campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group, President Obama announced Monday.
Obama said he will deploy 250 Special Operations Forces to train and fight alongside local militia to further drive ISIS out of the region. This development increases U.S. presence in Syria six-fold to roughly 300 troops, Reuters reported.
“These terrorists are doing everything in their power to strike our cities and kill our citizens so we need to do everything in our power to stop them,” Obama said in Hanover, Germany Monday.
Obama has been adamant that he would not place “boots on the ground” in the U.S.’s effort against ISIS. He has instead opted to carry out limited airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but their success in degrading the jihadist group has been limited.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes emphasized before Obama’s announcement that the additional troops will be in “harm’s way,” but they would not be involved in a combat mission, ABC News reported.
“Obviously, any special forces troops that we deploy into Iraq or Syria are going to be combat-equipped troops,” Rhodes said. “They’re not being sent there on a combat mission. They’re being sent there on a mission to be advising and assisting and supporting the forces that are fighting against ISIL on the ground.”
ISIS Disbands After Obama Finally Says ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ (satire)
The Islamic State terrorist group was sent fleeing Sunday when, after seven years of refusing to do so, President Barack Obama used the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Speaking from the East Room in the White House, President Obama gave the shortest address of his time in office – after finally uttering the three-word phrase, Obama left the podium. His address was enough, however, to send ISIS fighters scattering. As of press time, ISIS posts from Raqqa, Syria to Fallujah, Iraq had been abandoned, with the jihadis realizing their fight was now futile.
“I’ve been telling Obama for years that you cannot defeat ISIS without saying ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’” Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz told The Mideast Beast. “I’m glad he finally came around, but frankly, I’m not sure what took him so long.” The highly experienced politician and ever-eloquent Donald Trump also questioned Obama: “Why can’t he say ‘radical Islamic terrorism’? Because unless you’re gonna talk about it, you’re not gonna solve the damn problem folks.” It appears Trump was right. All one had to do was say those three magic words and terrorism committed by radical Islamists is now a thing of the past.
Report: Rouhani requests removal of 'Death to Israel' from Iranian missiles
Iranian media reported Monday that President Hassan Rouhani requested to remove the words "Death to Israel" from the ballistic missiles belonging to his country.
According to the report, Rouhani sent a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei requesting to remove the print from the rockets.
Rouhani's demand came after Khamenei himself used the line "Death to Israel," a slogan that was written on the missiles used in the last drills run by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Rouhani condemned the slogan at the time and has now requested from the Supreme Leader that the slogan be removed from all remaining missiles.
Iran threatens US with legal action over frozen funds ruling
Iran threatened Monday to take legal action in the International Court of Justice against the United States if $2 billion in frozen funds are “diverted” to compensate victims of attacks.
On Thursday, Tehran said the US Supreme Court’s decision to deduct $2 billion from its frozen assets to compensate American victims of “terror” attacks amounted to theft.
“We hold the US administration responsible for preservation of Iranian funds and if they are plundered, we will lodge a complaint with the ICJ for reparation,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Macedonian counterpart Nicolas Poposki.
The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Iran must hand over nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks blamed on the Islamic republic.
These included the 1983 bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
The decision affects more than 1,000 Americans.
Shakespeare fan Khamenei singles out ‘Merchant of Venice’
As the world marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Monday tweeted that he too, is a fan of The Bard, and highlighted “The Merchant of Venice” — famous for its derogatory depiction of Jewish moneylender Shylock — as being in “accordance with Western values.”
“I have read most of works by Shakespeare and enjoyed them,” Khamenei posted. “Shakespeare plays, such as the Merchant of Venice or Othello are all in accordance with values, but western values,” the supreme leader said.
In “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is portrayed as scheming, vindictive and greedy.
The literal pound of flesh Shylock insists upon collecting from his borrower Antonio has become the quintessential expression of ruthlessness in the English language.
Turkey detains 6 alleged IS terrorists planning attacks
Turkish authorities have detained six suspected Islamic State terrorists who were allegedly planning to carry out attacks in the central Turkish city of Konya.
Gov. Muammer Erol said Saturday that the six — all foreign nationals — were detained in Konya late Friday. He said the group was “in pursuit of attacks” against Turkish government officials visiting Konya or at “strategic” locations in the city. He did not give their nationalities.
Turkey has been rocked by six deadly suicide bomb attacks since July — four of them blamed on Islamic State terrorists.
Most recently, a suicide attack in a busy pedestrian street in Istanbul killed four tourists on March 19, three of them Israelis.
Israel and the US recently warned their citizens of immediate and credible threats in the country, with Jerusalem urging any Israelis to leave.
Turkish embassy sends out directive: Report any insult to Erdogan
Ankara’s consulate in Rotterdam has requested that Turkish organizations in the Netherlands report on any derogatory statements made about the Turkish president, according to reports by The Washington Post.
“We ask urgently for the names and written comments of people who have given derogatory, disparaging, hateful and defamatory statements against the Turkish president, Turkey and Turkish society in general,” read the email according to a BBC translation.
According to the Washington Post, the email sparked an uproar in the Netherlands and the Dutch prime minister demanded an explanation.
The Turkish embassy defended the email, claiming its message had been misunderstood.
The consulate claimed the government was requesting reports on hate speech incidents and racism.
Dutch journalist arrested in Turkey after criticizing Erdogan
A Dutch journalist was arrested early Sunday at her home in Turkey for tweets deemed critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to her Twitter account.
“Police at the door. No joke,” wrote Ebru Umar, a well-known atheist and feminist journalist of Turkish origin.
Umar recently wrote a piece critical of Erdogan for the Dutch daily Metro, extracts of which she then tweeted, leading to her arrest.
“I’m not free, we’re going to the hospital” for a medical examination before being taken to face prosecutors, she said in a second tweet as she left her home in Kusadasi, a resort town in western Turkey.
Douglas Murray: Nice try President Erdogan, but you can’t prosecute all Europeans who insult you
Well the entries have been flooding in for the ‘Insult Erdogan Poetry Contest’. Thousands and thousands of them in fact, with entries from all over the world. The volume is quite extraordinary, particularly the number that are being submitted in Arabic.
Next week there is going to be a major development as I unveil the international prize jury who are going to help judge the event. I am proud to say that we already have an extraordinary array of international literary stars who are going to help adjudicate what is now the world’s highest paying poetry prize.
But there is one negative development to report too. It appears that President Erdogan’s famously untrustworthy hands are trying to extend as far into Europe as the Netherlands. Indeed the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam has now been caught red-handed, not this time with a goat, but in an attempt to persuade Turkish people in Holland (part of that very well-integrated Turkish-Dutch community) to report anybody in Holland who insults the thin-skinned Turkish President.
For the time-being Holland has a similar idiotic law to that of Germany, criminalising any derogatory remarks about a foreign head of state, even an unpleasant little despot like Erdogan. Fortunately Dutch MPs are already acting to scrap the law.
But there already appears to be a push to prosecute people in Holland for insulting Erdogan. Indeed there appears to be a special push against Holland’s greatest comedian, Hans Teeuwen. Earlier this week I saw the interview which now appears to be a source of some contention. You can find it above and I heartily recommend it.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mideast Residents Basking In Paradise That Obama’s 2009 Cairo Speech Ushered In (satire)
Residents of the Middle East expressed abundant gratitude to US President Barack Obama this week, saying that they owe the current Heaven on Earth that the region has become to the courageous, visionary address he gave to students in the Egyptian capital soon after assuming office in 2009.
The Cairo address, which ushered in a new era in US-Mideast relations, proved so transformative over the following seven years that few would recognize the place. The Iraq and Syria of yesteryear have all but disappeared; Libya and Yemen have seen unprecedented change; and Iran has embarked on a long-term effort to reshape the Middle East in ways that many experts are tracing directly back to the speech the president gave in June of that year.
Since the address, demographic shifts have altered the population distribution in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and beyond, with movements affecting places as far as northern Europe. The resulting economic, political, and cultural paradise has many thinkers proposing another Nobel Peace Prize for Obama, whose leadership and consistency played such a key role in the process, beginning with his historic speech.
“Of course ti’s not the Cairo address aloe that got the ball rolling, but it served an important symbolic purpose,” explained Abu Bakr A-Baghdadi, whose meteoric rise to prominence was made possible by the president’s policies as envisioned in the address. “The concrete achievements of many important figures and movements in this region are the direct consequence of Obama’s attitude toward the area, so succinctly expressed in that speech.’

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