in this mailing:
· Bassam Tawil: How to Send the Wrong Message to Palestinians
· Ruthie Blum: Bangladesh: Tipping Farther Toward Fundamentalist Islam?
How to Send the Wrong Message to Palestinians
by Bassam Tawil • June 13, 2017 at 5:00 am
§ In the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims, Trump is no longer the strong leader they feared a few months ago. Rather, he has proven to them that he too is susceptible to blackmail and intimidation. And when Trump caves, US credibility suffers. Had Trump gone ahead and fulfilled his promise to move the embassy, he would have earned the respect of many Arabs and Muslims, who would have looked to him as a proper leader.
§ A further point ought to be of extreme interest to the US: When the Palestinians and Arabs talk about the possibility that such a move would "harm" US interests in the region and "trigger violence and bloodshed," they are actually threatening to launch terror attacks against American nationals and interests. That is why Trump's recent decision not to move the embassy to Jerusalem is being understood in the Arab world as surrender to terrorism.
§ Consider what happened when Trump recently ordered a missile attack on Syria. Many Arabs and Muslims took to social media to heap praise on Trump for displaying courage. If and when Trump honors his promises, he will earn even more respect in the Arab and Islamic countries.
President Donald Trump's decision to delay the relocation of the US embassy in Israel (pictured) from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem came after repeated threats by the Palestinian Authority that such a move would "plunge the entire region into violence and bloodshed." (Image source: Krokodyl/Wikimedia Commons)
US President Donald J. Trump's waiver delaying the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem accomplishes two things.
First, it disappoints many Israelis for failing to fulfill his pre-election promise. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it has sent precisely the wrong message to the Palestinians. What the Palestinians and other Arabs heard in this message is that the US president folds under pressure and threats.
This message of weakness and retreat harms not only Trump's credibility, but also that of the US by making it appear a country that caves under threats of violence.
In general, it is Trump's presentation of power that garners respect among many Palestinians and Arabs. The Arabs admire and respect such figures because they have been ruled for decades by ruthless tyrants and dictators such as Saddam Hussein. But the Arabs also respect leaders who keep their promises, even if they disagree with and oppose those promises.
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Bangladesh: Tipping Farther Toward Fundamentalist Islam?
by Ruthie Blum • June 13, 2017 at 4:30 am
§ As soon as the statue of "Lady Justice," blindfolded and holding a scale, was erected in the Bangladeshi capital, fundamentalist groups began to protest, on the grounds that the piece of art was "un-Islamic" and constituted idol-worship.
§ Since 2013, dozens of people have been slaughtered, many with machetes. Although ISIS claimed responsibility for many of the brutal killings, no formal investigation into the murders was ever launched.
§ Instead, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the opportunity to arrest more than 11,000 people, only 145 of whom were Islamist terrorists. The rest were charged with crimes such as theft and drug-dealing, indicating that it might have been part of Hasina's crackdown on critics since her election in 2008.
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, in Dhaka. (Image source: F2416/Wikimedia Commons)
The arrest on May 26 of 140 secular activists in Bangladesh is the latest in a string of incidents indicating a disturbing shift towards Islamic fundamentalism in the East Asian parliamentary democracy.
The activists were rounded up by police during a demonstration against the government's removal of a statue outside the Supreme Court building in the capital city, Dhaka. They were charged not only with holding an illegal gathering and obstructing justice, but with the attempted murder of the law enforcement agents dispatched to quell the protest.
The statue was a depiction of "Lady Justice" -- the Greek goddess Themis (and Roman Justitia), blindfolded and holding a scale -- this one wearing a sari. As soon as the iconic, universal symbol of jurisprudence was erected last December in the Bangladeshi capital, fundamentalist groups began to protest, on the grounds that the piece of art was "un-Islamic" and constituted idol-worship.
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Why Won't Abbas Accept "Two States for Two Peoples"?
by Alan M. Dershowitz • June 12, 2017 at 12:30 pm
§ Over the years, and to the current day, they continue to want no state for the Jewish people more than they want a state for Palestinian Arabs.
§ The general idea of a two-state solution – which Abbas has nominally supported – does not specify that one state would be for the Jewish people and the other one for the Arabs.
§ When the Palestinian leadership and people want their own state more than they want there not to be a state for the Jewish people, the goal of the 1947 U.N. Resolution – two states for two peoples – will be achieved. A good beginning would be for Abbas finally to agree with the U.N. Resolution and say the following words: "I accept the 1947 U.N. Resolution that calls for two states for two peoples." It's not too much to ask from a leader seeking to establish a Palestinian Muslim state.
The Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA] in Lebanon, Ann Dismorr, poses with a map devoid of any trace of the State of Israel, instead presenting it as a map of "Palestine," May 2013. (Image source: Palestinian Media Watch)
There is a widespread but false belief that Mahmoud Abbas is finally prepared to accept the two-state solution proposed by the U.N. in November 1947 when it divided mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for the Jewish People; the other for the Arab People. The Jews of Palestine accepted the compromise division and declared a nation state for the Jewish people to be called by its historic name: Israel. The Arabs of Palestine, on the other hand, rejected the division and declared that they would never accept a state for the Jewish people and statehood for the Palestinian people. They wanted for there not to be a state for the Jewish people more than for there to be a state for their own people. Accordingly, they joined the surrounding Arab armies in trying to destroy Israel and drive its Jewish residents into the sea. They failed back then, but over the years, and to the current day, they continue to want no state for the Jewish people more than they want a state for Palestinian Arabs. That is why Abbas refuses to say that he would ever accept the U.N. principle of two states for two peoples. I know, because I have personally asked him on several occasions.
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In this mailing:
· Soeren Kern: Germany: Migrant Sex Crimes Double in One Year
· A. Z. Mohamed: Saudi Arabia's Connection to Radicalizing British Jihadis
Germany: Migrant Sex Crimes Double in One Year
by Soeren Kern • June 12, 2017 at 5:00 am
§ The case of Eric X. and his 23-year-old rape victim has exposed, once again, the systemic failure by German authorities to enforce the law and to ensure public safety: a failure to secure borders; a failure to vet incoming migrants; a failure to prosecute and imprison criminals; a failure to deport failed asylum seekers; and a failure by police to take seriously the migrant rape crisis engulfing Germany.
§ Germany's migrant sex-crime problem is being exacerbated by its lenient legal system, in which offenders receive relatively light sentences, even for serious crimes. In many instances, individuals who are arrested for sex crimes are released after questioning from police. This practice allows criminal suspects to continue committing crimes with virtual impunity.
§ In Berlin, a court acquitted a 23-year-old Turkish man of rape because his victim could not prove that she did not give her consent. The court heard how the man shoved the woman's head between the steel bars of the headboard of a bed and repeatedly violated her over a period of more than four hours. The woman cried "stop" and resisted by scratching the accused on the back, but at some point she stopped resisting. The court asked: "Could it be that the defendant thought you were in agreement?"
Some of the approximately two million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East allowed into Germany by Chancellor Angela Merkel are shown arriving in the country, via Austria, on October 28, 2015 near Wegscheid.
Two German police officers have been removed from their posts after they failed properly to provide emergency assistance to a woman who was raped by a migrant in Bonn.
The lack of attention by the police has added to the perception that German authorities are not taking seriously a rape crisis in which thousands of German women and children have been sexually assaulted since Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed in around two million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
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Saudi Arabia's Connection to Radicalizing British Jihadis
by A. Z. Mohamed • June 12, 2017 at 4:00 am
§ The probe was to be conducted by the newly established "extremism analysis unit" of the Home Office, then headed by Theresa May, and its findings were due to be published in the spring of 2016. However, more than a year later, the investigation has yet to be completed.
§ Moreover, its contents might not be released to the public, due their "sensitive" nature, rumored to center on Saudi Arabia, Britain's key ally in the Gulf. Since the U.K. recently approved £3.5 billion-worth of arms export licenses to Riyadh, it is possible -- even likely -- that any revelations about Saudi promotion of terrorism in the country could be problematic.
§ Mounting evidence suggests that British jihadis are not only groomed in Wahhabi mosques in the U.K., but many visit Saudi Arabia, where they work or study.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in London (pictured) claimed that the reason Westminster Bridge terrorist Khalid Masood passed its visa vetting was that he did not have a criminal record in Saudi Arabia. This is, of course, a complete lie, which raises the question of whether Masood fell through the cracks through incompetence or collusion.
In the wake of the London Bridge attack on June 3, which came on the heels of the Manchester Arena bombing, Britain's approach to combating terrorism has come under scrutiny at home and abroad. Judging by man-in-the-street interviews, it played a significant role in the June 8 general election, the outcome of which -- a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, yet a hung parliament -- reflected a split in voter perception over whom was to blame for the country's precarious security situation and which party is better suited to rectify it.
Although Corbyn has called terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, his "friends," May not only has been holding the reins since the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron in September 2016 -- after the Brexit referendum -- but she had also served as Home Secretary for six years before that.