Jason Greenblatt: Israelis and Palestinians must unite against shared threat
With the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, it is hard to imagine that deadly fires brought the two groups together — not once, but twice — in a display of shared humanity. Yet, in 2010 and again in 2016, Palestinians fought fires in northern Israel alongside their Israeli neighbors, saving lives and property.
During Hanukah 2010, a fire raged for 77 hours in northern Israel, consuming thousands of acres, endangering hundreds of lives and ultimately killing 44 people. Local Israeli firefighters in the region struggled to slow the spread of this historic fire. Israel’s Palestinian neighbors — from Bethlehem, Jenin and Ramallah — saw the emergency in northern Israel and offered their help.
Four fully equipped firetrucks with 19 trained Palestinian firefighters joined to face the deadly fire. These Palestinians, alongside their Israeli neighbors, held the line against the raging flames. Together (and with the help of 17 countries) they brought the fire under control and prevented further devastation.
Six years later, in November 2016, the Palestinians again came to their neighbor’s aid, when fires threatened central Israel.
These two examples offer a glimpse of what could one day be — and, frankly, what should be. And, today, Israelis and Palestinians have a chance to work together once more to address another deadly threat: Hamas.
Most Americans have never had the experience of being wakened in the middle of the night by a Code Red siren, rushing to the closest bomb shelter, and hiding in the shelter while listening for the explosion of a Palestinian missile. I recently had this experience and am writing to share it.
Together with nine other Sar-el volunteers, for three weeks this summer I was stationed on an IDF base in fairly close proximity to Gaza. On our second day on the base, the soldier (Danielle) in charge of our team of volunteers showed us the closest bomb shelter. That evening the sirens jolted us awake. Danielle ran down our corridor, banging on our doors: “Code Red Alert! Missile attack! Get to the bomb shelter fast!” We could tell by the urgency of her tone that this was not a drill. And so we all jumped out of our beds and ran to the bomb shelter.
What did I think about in the bomb shelter while we waited to hear whether a missile would explode nearby? My first thought was a feeling of anger, directed at the Palestinians who were firing missiles at us. I knew that, if we were in a bomb shelter, so were tens of thousands of Israeli civilians who lived between our base and Gaza. I was angry that mothers and fathers had to scoop up their terrified children and hide in bomb shelters because the Palestinians seek to terrorize the Israeli population.
As I stood in the shelter feeling helpless, my anger morphed into a second thought. None of this proportionate response stuff! For every missile fired into Israel, I wanted Israel to retaliate with 100 missiles. I knew that Israel’s response, unlike the Palestinians who target Israeli civilians, would be directed towards military targets and would strive to minimize civilian casualties. Certainly, if North Korea fired missiles at the U.S., the U.S. response would be massive, not proportionate. And no one would expect less. There are no pacifists in a bomb shelter. The urge to strike back at your attacker is instinctive.
No one should have to live like that. And so peace can only be possible once the Palestinians cease their violence towards Israel. No one should expect more of a people forced to live in bomb shelters.
After two days that saw the worst exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war, a fragile truce prevailed Friday in Gaza, with no rocket attacks or airstrikes since an apparent ceasefire went into effect at midnight.
The Hamas terror group said a ceasefire had been reached “on the basis of mutual calm.” It said the deal was mediated by Egypt and other regional players.
Israel denied there was a truce, but a senior Israeli official told Israel Radio that “quiet would be met with quiet.” There were no instances of violence reported along the border overnight.
On Friday morning, the IDF Home Front Command announced that all security restrictions in the town of Netivot and communities in the central Negev region had been lifted. The military also said that the train service between Ashkelon and the Gaza border town of Sderot would resume.
A senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal had formally gone into effect at midnight.
He said the agreement merely ended the latest two-day bout of violence between Israel and Hamas, adding that Egypt would continue efforts to broker a long-term truce.
The State Department reacted Thursday to the latest round of rocket launches by terrorist group Hamas in Gaza and retaliatory airstrikes from Israel, reiterating America’s support for Israel’s right to self-defense.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked for reaction to the launch of a long-range missile by Hamas into Israel, which then led to Israeli airstrikes against what Israel said was a Hamas headquarters. Nauert first said the State Department was fully monitoring the situation in Israel before reaffirming the United States’ support of Israel’s self-defense.
“It’s a very concerning situation that is taking place in Gaza. Overall, we condemn the launching of missile attacks into Israel and call for an end to the destructive violence,” Nauert said. “We’ve seen reports that 180 or so rocket attacks have taken place, shot from Gaza into Israel and we fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and to take actions to prevent provocations of that nature.”
The reporter at the briefing who was questioning Nauert blamed Israel for initiating the strikes, but she responded by saying ultimate responsibility for violence in Gaza falls on the shoulders of Hamas.
“Let’s not forget that Hamas bears ultimate responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza,” Nauert said. “It’s a tremendous concern of ours.”
Israel should assassinate Hamas leaders, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said Thursday, in response to a day of recurrent rocket launches from Gaza.
“The equation should be very simple: If our children live in fear, then the leadership of Hamas should live in fear,” Regev said. “We must go back to the policy of targeted assassinations of leaders of this murderous terrorist group.”
Regev spoke with mayors of towns in the South, and commended them for their strength.
“They told me about the inconceivable reality of children who cannot enjoy camp and social activities like the rest of the children in Israel,” she said. “This is not what their summer vacation should look like.”
Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay said on his visit to Sderot that Israel has “a strong army and weak politicians,” and accused Netanyahu and Liberman of “allowing Hamas to decide when the violence begins and ends.”
“There is no Jewish community in the world that suffers from continuous terrorism like the residents of the [Gaza] envelope,” Gabbay said. “Nowhere in the world do children run scared from playgrounds. We can’t allow this to continue.”
Egypt has warned Hamas that Israel will seek to assassinate the terror group’s leaders if rocket fire from the Gaza Strip does not cease, according to an Israeli television report on Thursday.
Egyptian intelligence cautioned Hamas that Israel could renew targeted killings if the terror group further exacerbates tensions on the Gaza Strip border, Hadashot television news said.
Previous media reports in recent months have indicated that Israel conveyed similar threats to Gaza rulers Hamas through Egyptian channels during periods of increased violence on the border.
Separately, Israel Radio on Thursday night quoted Hamas officials as saying political and military leaders from the terrorist group have turned off their cellphones over the last day and went into hiding for fear of being assassinated.
Hamas leaders were also signaling they were not responsible for a rocket attack targeting the southern city of Beersheba earlier on Thursday, Hadashot reported, in an apparent attempt to defuse the tensions.
The reported Egyptian warning to Hamas came amid a major flare-up in tensions on the Gaza border, with over 180 rockets and mortar shells fired at southern Israel since Wednesday night.
The family of a slain Israeli soldier whose remains are held by Hamas in Gaza called Friday to reject any ceasefire agreement with the terror group that does not include the return of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed during the 2014 Gaza war.
“The prime minister must set the boys’ return as a precondition before anything else — any other deal would be a capitulation deal to Hamas,” Hadar’s father Simcha said.
The family was holding a protest rally outside IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.
An apparent truce with Hamas went into effect Thursday night after two days of spiraling violence that saw the heaviest exchanges of fire between Israel and the Gaza terrorist organization since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
The Israeli Air Force on Thursday evening flattened a five-story building in the northern Gaza Strip that served as a headquarters for the Hamas terrorist group’s internal security service, the army said.
The Israel Defense Forces said the strike on the building in the northern Gaza Strip, which also served as a cultural center in the coastal enclave, was in response to “rocket fire by the Hamas terror group against the city of Beersheba earlier in the day.”
Hamas denied that it was behind the attack on Beersheba, saying it was the work of a more radical salafist group, according to Hadashot news.
The military threatened that its attack on the building was “an expression of the IDF’s intelligence and operational capabilities, which will expand and intensify as necessary.”
Eighteen Palestinians were wounded in the Israeli strike, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. The degree of their injuries was not immediately known.
Earlier today, IDF fighter jets targeted a 5-story building in Rimal, northern Gaza. Hamas‘ interior security forces used the building for military purposes pic.twitter.com/bGbdzDczDy
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 9, 2018
Hamas control center gets blowed up.
It’s almost like they knew when and where to point the camera. pic.twitter.com/ExOlx1Drza
— The Mossad (@TheMossadIL) August 10, 2018
Dr. Basem Naim is head of the Council on International Relations in Gaza , and the former minister of Health in Gaza.
He’s among the top tier of Hamas. He knows better. When he lies, he does so deliberately.
Today, Basem Naim tweeted out a photo of the instagram famous daughter of an American basketball player, claiming she was Bayan Abu Khammash, a toddler allegedly killed in an Israeli airstrike. While the truth was struggling to get its pants on, the image went viral.
The “Ace” family, who are active on social media have not yet issued a statement over the shameless misappropriation and exploitation of their child’s image
This is not the first time Dr. Basem Naim has used his Twitter account to spread misinformation.
— (((Kay Wilson))) (@kishkushkay) August 9, 2018
Look at this girl! How could we do such a… wait… it’s a random picture of a girl they took from Instagram. pic.twitter.com/ba0REIw23O
— The Mossad (@TheMossadIL) August 9, 2018
Hapoel Beersheeba played to a 2:2 tie with visiting Apoel Nicosia on Thursday after the IDF Home Front Command gave the clearance for the game to go ahead just hours after the southern city was targeted with a rocket from Gaza.
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip struck a field north of Beersheba on Thursday afternoon, setting off sirens in the southern city for the first time since the 2014 Gaza war.
There were no reports of injuries or damage.
Some 9,500 people attended the Europa League game after the military authorized the match. The UEFA soccer authority gave its approval for the match to go ahead.
Beersheba was down 2 goals at half time, but came back to leave the game tied at 2:2.
The second leg of the tie will be played next week in Cyprus.
— Noy Moshe (@Noymoshe7) August 10, 2018
Israel has exhibited maximum restraint in recent weeks in the face of incessant rocket fire from Gaza. This restraint is a testament to the country’s self-confidence and might, not to mention capable leadership and sound judgment on the part of the political and military echelons.
This restraint affords Israel many advantages, as it prevents an unwanted escalation while allowing for substantial diplomatic and military achievements.
Sometimes, however, such restraint can backfire and have the opposite of the desired effect. On the eve of the 1967 Six-Day War, for example, the Israeli government’s restraint emboldened the enemy to the point of sparking a regional conflagration.
There is no doubt that Hamas are listening to the experts and commentators in Israel, who are constantly saying that for Israel, there is no better alternative than Hamas in Gaza, and that Israel needs to avoid toppling Hamas and retaking the Strip. Hence the unbearable lightness of Hamas’ trigger finger.
So Hamas is projecting a willingness to reach an agreement with Israel, which will ensure relative calm along the Israel-Gaza border. But at the same time, they mistakenly assume that they have enough wiggle room to continue walking on the ledge and firing projectiles at Israel. They believe this will improve their bargaining position, enhance their image as a force capable of twisting Israel’s arm and, most importantly, establish new ground rules, similar to the ones in Lebanon – which would restrict Israel’s freedom of action in Gaza.
Gaza activist Ahmad Abu Rutema, spokesman for the Return March, said that “we have lost the battle for public opinion in the Return March,” and that “there is nothing wrong with a tactical withdrawal” when the path becomes too costly. Speaking at a symposium titled “The Palestinian Cause – Proposals on the Table,” organized by Hamas, Abu Rutema said: “The images of torn limbs, wounded people, blood, and martyrs are very painful, and must drive us to reexamine all our tactics and to invent new ones.” His address was broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network on August 1.
“We Have Lost The Battle For Public Opinion In The Return March”
Ahmad Abu Rutema: “[The ‘Return March’] has been an attempt to create a certain model. Unfortunately, we have lost the battle for public opinion in the Return March, when it became associated in people’s minds with blood and the loss of limbs. This is very scary. Through the initiative of the Return March, launched by the youth, we tried to associate this form of struggle with images of life and beauty. This is the philosophy of peaceful struggle. We are fighting by developing the sense of beauty among the Palestinians, because our battle with the occupation is a battle over images and public opinion. [Israel] is trying to present us in an image of death and terrorism. So these were modest efforts, and we all complemented one another.”
“Our Current Mode Of Operation Every Friday, With The Many Martyrs And Wounded, Is Very Costly”
“This is not an attempt to water down the Return March, but it is okay, from time to time, to engage in a tactical withdrawal, if you sense that your path has become too costly. Our current mode of operation every Friday, with the many martyrs and wounded, is very costly. So there is nothing wrong with a tactical withdrawal, which will preserve the original idea. We want to save the idea itself from death. To the man who asked about the painful scene created by the Return March – I am completely with you. The images of torn limbs, wounded people, blood, and martyrs are very painful, and must drive us to reexamine all our tactics and to invent new ones.”
Several thousand Palestinians were participating in weekly border protests along the Gaza fence Friday evening.
Some protesters were rioting near the fence, throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers and burning tires to create a smokescreen. Some flew incendiary kites into Israel. Israeli officials said at least six fires had broken out in Israeli territory since the morning due to airborne arson attacks.
The army said around 5,000 people had amassed at the border, and that it was responding to rioters in accordance with open-fire guidelines.
The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported that a Palestinian medic was killed by Israeli fire. It said 84 people were hurt, of which 25 were shot by Israeli troops.
Hamas had earlier said the so-called “March of Return” border demonstrations would continue unimpeded, despite a cessation of hostilities with Israel clinched the night before.
The announcement came after a 12-hour lull in fighting, following two days that saw the heaviest exchange of Palestinian rocket fire and reprisal Israeli airstrikes since the 2014 Gaza war.
An Israeli cyber security firm warned Thursday that the Hamas terror group was trying to hack Israelis through a fake version of the Code Red rocket warning app.
The warning came amid the worst bout of violence between Israel and Hamas since 2014, with the terror group firing some 180 projectiles into Israel.
Hamas was trying to take advantage of this and had put out a counterfeit app that mimicked the real software that warns Israelis of incoming rockets and mortars, said ClearSky Cyber Security.
“When you download the (fake) app it takes control of the mobile phone and allows the operator to track the device, take pictures, record sound and make calls and send messages,” said ClearSky CEO Boaz Dolev.
Hamas MP and Cleric Yunis Al-Astal: The Abominations of the Jews Merited Their Transformation into Apes and Pigs pic.twitter.com/m5ghz4fhUe
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) August 10, 2018
As we see, the BBC once again promotes Hamas-sourced casualty figures while failing to clarify that the terror group is one of the factions involved in the organisation, financing and facilitation of what are yet again blandly described as “weekly protests”.
Readers are not told that those ‘Great Return March’ events have been characterised by violent rioting which has included hundreds of petrol bomb attacks, IED attacks, grenade attacks and shooting attacks as well as infiltration attempts. The BBC likewise refrains from clarifying that the “upsurge in violence” has also included hundreds of rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian terror factions against Israeli civilians.
While amplifying the “declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel”, the BBC did not bother to inform its audiences that the intention of the Palestinian demand for ‘right of return’ is to bring about the end of the Jewish state.
For over four months the BBC has been presenting its audiences with a tightly framed portrayal of the ‘Great Return March’ publicity stunt which whitewashes its violence and downplays the role of terror factions in its organisation and execution.
Notably, while she did use Hamas’ own terminology to describe its threats of retaliation, Yolande Knell did not clarify to BBC audiences that the terror group was attacking exclusively civilian targets.
Eight hours later, Radio 4 listeners were again given an inaccurate picture of the number of missile attacks against Israeli civilians in the station’s 8 a.m. news bulletin read by Chris Aldridge during the August 9th edition of the ‘Today’ programme.
Aldridge: “The Palestinian authorities say three people, including an 18 month-old girl, have been killed in a series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip by Israeli warplanes. The Israeli army said it was targeting what it called ‘terror sites’ in the Palestinian territory in response to three dozen rockets fired into Israel.”
Four hours before Aldridge read that news bulletin the number of missile attacks launched against Israeli civilians since the previous evening was already over 150. In other words, the BBC concealed over 75% of the attacks that actually took place – and 100% of the Israeli civilians injured by them – from audience view. As we see, the ministry of health run by the terror group launching those missiles was inaccurately portrayed as “the Palestinian authorities”: terminology which listeners used to hearing about ‘the Palestinian Authority’ no doubt found very confusing.
Remarkably, although that news bulletin was aired after the BBC News website had amended a problematic context-free headline, Radio 4 also chose to present the story to its audiences in reverse chronology.
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday thanked the BBC for changing an incendiary anti-Israel headline that reported the death of a pregnant Gaza woman and her toddler in an Israeli airstrike without any mention of the hundreds of rockets Hamas has fired at Israeli civilian communities since Wednesday night, wounding over 20.
The British Broadcasting Corporation tweeted a picture of plumes of smoke from an airstrike in Gaza, captioned “Israeli air strikes ‘kill pregnant woman and baby,'” linked to a BBC story on the escalating violence.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon responded to the BBC tweet and called the title “a deliberate misrepresentation of reality (that’s the polite equivalent of a LIE).”
“Israelis were targeted by Hamas and [the] IDF acts to protect them,” Nahshon wrote, demanding that the BBC change its headline “immediately.”
Later Thursday Nahshon thanked BBC World for deleting the “misleading” tweet and “reporting on the facts.”
Following a well-worn pattern, The New York Times is again downplaying Palestinian belligerence, this time obscuring the fact that intensive Palestinian rocket attacks against southern Israel prompted a wave of Israeli airstrikes on Hamas site in the Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours.
Today’s article by Isabel Kershner (“Renewed Clashes Between Israel and Gaza Interrupt Talk of Cease-Fire“) fails to report the chronology of events, and erased cause and effect, by telling readers in its opening paragraph that Israel and Hamas spent the night “trading” attacks, as if discussing a simultaneous transaction: “Talk of a long-term cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza was abruptly interrupted by cross-border fire late Wednesday and early Thursday as the Israeli military traded blows with Palestinian militants, the latest in a series of recent sharp clashes.”
The second paragraph continues with the obfuscation, reducing the long night of Palestinian attacks that sent Israeli civilians to bomb shelters throughout the night, and Israel’s eventual response, as an “exchange.” The headline also is flawed by a murky portrayal of events: “Clashes Between Israel and Gaza.”
Agence France Presse photo captions today misidentify what Israel said is a training facility for Hamas’ naval commando unit as a “tourist resort.” The captions maintain that a “damaged swimming pool at a tourist resort” in the Gaza Strip’s Khan Yunis was hit in an Israeli airstrike.
Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus confirmed to CAMERA that the pictured pool, targeted in an Israeli airstrike, is a training facility for Hamas’ commando unit. CAMERA called on AFP to either substantiate that Conricus is wrong and that the pool is indeed a tourist resort — for instance, what is it called, and what does it offer tourists besides a swimming pool with no landscaping — or to correct its captions. Stay tuned for an update.
Last December, a 17-year-old Palestinian woman named Ahed Tamimi assaulted an IDF soldier and was arrested and sentenced to eight months in prison. She became an inspiration to many critics of Israel, and helped inspire several Democrats to write a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ask that he take up the cause. “We encourage the State Department to stress the importance of ensuring proper treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention,” read the letter, “and address this matter in the Department’s next report on global human rights.”
How, then, are young Palestinians detained by Israel treated? Tamimi herself addressed this issue with an interview on Al-Jazeera celebrating her release.
Each day, she recalled, began with all the prisoners in her wing congregating in the yard to enjoy a potluck picnic alfresco. Then, mornings were spent studying for her high school diploma, a scholastic pursuit that Tamimi chose to complement with remotely pursuing a degree in law. All that academic work can get lonely, so lunches were again a communal affair, followed, Tamimi said, by “having parties, sitting around together, singing, dancing, just passing the time, watching TV, jumping around from room to room, going wild.”
If you speak Arabic or read Hebrew, you can watch the smiling Tamimi describe the clearly very tough time she had herself:
A senior Hamas official on Thursday pledged the terror group’s support for employees of the UN agency for Palestinians, who have seized partial control of the agency’s Gaza headquarters in order to protest sweeping pay cuts and dismissals blamed on US funding cuts.
The director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza accused the workers union of staging a “mutiny” over the job cuts, and admitted UNRWA does not have full control over its offices in Gaza City.
“I am the captain of the ship which has 13,000 sailors on it and they have basically thrown me off the bridge and consigned me to my captain’s quarters,” Matthias Schmale told AFP, referring to the number of employees in Gaza.
“They have taken over the compound where my office and other offices are,” he said, explaining that he has not been able to work from his office for over two weeks.
Last month, UNRWA announced that more than 250 staff in Gaza and the West Bank would lose their jobs, after a $300 million cut in annual funding from the United States.
UNRWA provides support for more than three million Palestinians across the Middle East, including the majority of Gaza’s two million residents.
As the European Union decries America’s restoration of Iran sanctions, the Islamic regime is rewarding Europe’s support by ramping up its terror operation on the continent — allegedly plotting attacks against Iranian dissidents there and politicians who back them.
The Trump administration restored sanctions on the rogue regime this week, a consequence of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). That move provoked a strong response from European leaders, who said they “deeply regret” the U.S. decision.
“The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the deal,” E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini, along with French, German and British foreign ministers, said in a joint statement, vowing to “protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran.”
But the regime, while facing significant unrest at home over corruption and mismanagement that has led to water shortages and food price hikes, allegedly has been exporting terror to Europe.
Last month, an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna was one of four arrested for an alleged plot to bomb an annual gathering of Iranian dissident groups in Paris, which Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani attended.
German prosecutors allege that Assadollah Assadi was a member of the “Ministry of Intelligence and Security,” (MOIS) tasked with combating observation groups inside and outside of Iran. He is charged with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder. Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has called the allegations a ploy.
Iran and North Korea are growing their stockpile of ballistic missiles, including long-range missiles capable of striking U.S. assets, American allies, and even the continental United States, according to new congressional reports that shine a light on efforts by these rogue nations to advance their military capabilities.
North Korea continues to aid Iran with its advanced ballistic missiles program in defiance of international regulations barring such activity, according to the reports, issued by the Congressional Research Service. This includes an extensive proliferation network and multiple facilities dedicated to constructing short-range, medium-range, and long-range ballistic missiles.
Iran’s missiles, many of which are modeled off North Korean technology, are advanced enough to strike targets throughout the Middle East, including Israel, stoking fears that the next regional war—which many say is imminent—could present Iran an opportunity to show off its newest missile technology.
Against the backdrop of the Canada-Saudi Arabia tension following the arrest in Saudi Arabia of human rights activists, on August 8, 2018, Muhammad Al-Sa’ed, who writes in the Saudi daily ‘Okaz, published an article harshly critical of Canada. He wrote that, following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election, leftist circles across the world have found in Canada a substitute for the U.S., and that Canada has thus become part of an “alliance of evil” that includes the left, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). He added that Canada is acting to destroy the Middle East and especially the Saudi kingdom as part of a colonialist offensive that, instead of using troops, tanks and warplanes, disseminates the “insane” values of the left in the guide of defending human rights. But Saudi Arabia, he said, is standing fast in the face of this new “crusader war,” preventing any infringement on its sovereignty.
“Canada’s crude stance on social issues in the [Saudi] kingdom is not new – rather, it has been ongoing for years, despite Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic attempts to act flexibly towards [this stance]. Canada’s actions are nothing but systematic and planned aggression that goes far beyond support for human rights or freedoms and constitutes an attempt to take over and to impose the values of the Canadian left.
“As the racist Canadian government sheds leftist crocodile tears over freedoms, it disregards the true suppression that it [itself] implements against Canada’s original inhabitants. [Furthermore,] Turkey, for example, has arrested thousands of its residents in the wake of an ideological dispute with [oppositionist Fethullah] Gülen’s men. The restriction [there] of freedoms, and media attacks, are an everyday occurrence that harms thousands. [Additionally,] Iran is the greatest source of violence, terrorism, and murder of its own people and of the peoples of the region; nor do human rights exist in Qatar, which does not recognize them and has never experienced them. Yet the Canadians don’t bat an eyelid [at all this].
According to a 2015 news report, there were only 1,244 Greeks left in Istanbul at that time. In addition, even those tiny minorities are reportedly leaving Turkey in increasing numbers, to escape the instability and aggression they suffer in the country.
Many Muslim Turks who are on the receiving end of Erdogan’s human-rights abuses, seem shocked by the current undemocratic events in Turkey. They should not be; such abuses have been going on in the country for decades. The Turks are likely to continue living under the oppression that they themselves have created.
Erdogan needs to be reminded that it is not Israel — a vibrant and flourishing democracy with equal rights for all its citizens — whose behavior is reminiscent of dark chapters in history. It is Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Turks Friday to support the struggling lira by exchanging any foreign money, saying Turkey faced “an economic war.”
“If you have dollars, euros or gold under your pillow, go to banks to exchange them for Turkish lira. It is a national fight,” Erdogan said in comments broadcast on national television.
“This will be the response to those who have declared an economic war,” he said, blaming Turkey’s woes on what he described as an “interest rate lobby” seeking to push the country to higher rates.
Investors hoping Erdogan’s comments would give some indication that the government was prepared to support the lira were disappointed with the currency crashing further in value.
The currency extended its losses to trade at 6.2 to the dollar, a loss of 11.5 percent on the day.
Turkey will boycott the 2019 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel because of what it calls a “confusion in mentality” that allows “an Austrian with a beard and skirt” to participate.
Gay and transgender performers such as bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst have been part of the Eurovision lineup for many years. In 1998, Israeli entrant Dana International became the first transgender performer to win the contest.
Now Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) head Ibrahim Eren reveals Turkey is unlikely to join next year because the spectacle features LGBT singers.
The country has not participated in the longest-running international annual TV music competition since 2012.
“We are not thinking about taking part at the moment,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“As a public broadcaster we cannot broadcast live at 9:00 pm, when children are watching, an Austrian with a beard and a skirt, who claims not to have a gender and says ‘I am a man and a woman at the same time’,” he said.
This was an apparent reference to Conchita Wurst’s win in 2014.
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