This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Where Does Erdogan Leave Off and ISIL Start?

"We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out."
"They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gate just opposite Big Ben. A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman."
"I have never seen anything like that. I just can't believe what I just saw."
Rick Longley, London, England

"As part of long established and well-rehearsed plans, Parliament was locked down and the Met responded in line with our plans for a marauding terrorist attack."
"That response included uniformed and specialist trained firearms officers."
Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism, Metropolitan Police Service, London
Police hold a gun to a man on the ground
Nearby, police could be seen holding a gun to a man on the cobbles inside the grounds of the palace. BBC
"Turkey is not a country that can be pushed and shoved, whose honour can be toyed with, whose ministers can be ousted, whose citizens can be dragged on the ground."
"These developments are being watched in all corners of the world. If you continue this way, tomorrow no European, no Westerner anywhere in the world will be able to step onto the streets safely, with peace of mind."
"The European Union is provoking] a struggle between the cross and crescent."
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramps up his anti-European rhetoric on Wednesday, warning that the safety of Western citizens could be in peril if European nations persist in what he described as arrogant conduct.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramps up his anti-European rhetoric on Wednesday, warning that the safety of Western citizens could be in peril if European nations persist in what he described as arrogant conduct.   (Yasin Bulbul / The Associated Press

If anyone ever doubted the malevolent mind of Turkey's president -- complacently viewing Turkey as the portal from Europe to the Middle East, a former Islamist hegemonic power known as the Ottoman Empire, ruling over the Islamic world that transitioned at the turn of the last century into an Islamic-style democracy bridging the gap between East and West, Islam and Christianity, Sharia and western justice, secularism and sectarianism -- his threats against a European civil-political-trade coalition that his nation aspires to join, should make it abundantly clear his nation represents an ill fit for NATO.

Turkey, under the Islamist governance of the Justice and Development party led by Erdogan is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, an admirer of the Brotherhood's terrorist offshoot Hamas, a partner of Iran, and a more discreet supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It has not been beyond Erdogan and his minions to threaten Europe and blackmail it into submission for fear he will unleash the release of additional tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to breach the shores of a Europe already inundated with earlier floods of migrants and refugees.

This is a leader whose irascibility and volatile temperament is set aflame time and again when he sees his plans foiled. He views Turks who have lived for generations in Germany, Holland, France, United Kingdom and elsewhere as loyalists not to the countries in which they are now citizens but to Turkey. He intervenes in the affairs of other countries, insisting that expatriates have rights consonant with Turkish values. And in his rage with Europe, he has advised Turks living abroad to practise jihad through increasing the numbers of children they bear, to overwhelm their host countries.

He incites Turks to protests and to violence against the governments to whom their loyalty, as citizens of Europe and elsewhere should take priority, based on his apoplectic rage over foiled plans to convince expatriate Turks to vote in a referendum that would hugely expand the powers he holds as president or Turkey, further enfeebling its fading democratic values. His conflict with his own Kurdish population infamously pits Turks against that significantly-sized minority whose aspiration is to achieve a sovereign land mass on their own authentic heritage geographic region.

While other democratic nations express their solidarity with the United Kingdom after the terrorist attack that killed three innocent people and injured up to 40 others, many of them foreign visitors to London, some critically wounded, Erdogan crows that Europe has brought this type of terrorism on itself by failing to acknowledge Turkey's greatness and Erdogan's superior position as a leader of a great nation entitled to expectations of appeasement and agreement with all of his demands.

Al Jazeera viewers react with joy over London Terror Attack

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tracing the Presence and Instructions of Christ

"He was one of more than a million people living here then, an ordinary Jew who had original ideas and attracted some followers."
"His fame only really started after his death."
Gideon Avni, head of archaeology, Israeli Antiquity Authority

"We have not found any evidence of the person of Jesus, but we have found lots of things about what happened at the time he lived, such as the population and the material culture that grew because of him."
Eugenio Alliata, professor of Christian archaeology, Franciscan biblical school, Jerusalem

"These coins give us a rare look into this Christian ancient world."
"The hoard was found amongst large stones that had collapsed alongside the building. It seems that during a time of danger the owner placed the coins in a cloth purse that he concealed inside a hidden niche in the wall."
Annette Landes-Nagar, archaeologist, Beit Shemesh, Israel
Photo by Lehava Center – Beit Shemesh Pikiwiki Israel under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

There are ancient artifacts awaiting discovery everywhere in the Holy Land of ancient Judea. More than anywhere else on Earth when construction projects are under way, archaeologists are on the lookout for the presence of antiquities to give additional clues to those who lived there thousands of years earlier, how they lived, what their lives were like. And when a highway was being rebuilt fairly recently, it was revealed that there was evidence of an ancient Christian village having sat there that welcomed pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, a millennium and a half earlier.

A cache of rare Byzantium-era coins was discovered, hidden by their owner for the previous 1,400 years within the walls of a stone building in the village so recently unearthed. The village, archaeologists believe, was named Einbikumakube. Within Israel, approximately 40,000 objects of antiquity are discovered annually, and many represent the existence of Christianity in the region, proof if any was needed, of the important place of Christianity in the Middle East.

Enquiring and curious journalist were invited to take part in an informative tour of the Israel Antiquities Authority's central warehouse in Beit Shemesh, 40 minutes west of Jerusalem. There, they had a glimpse of the tens of thousands of relics of the distant past that have been discovered across Israel since 1948, maintained at the warehouse from where they are placed on display in museums, for the public to view as objects testifying to the region's heritage.

Although the latest objects that were discovered cannot be interpreted as evidence of the existence of Jesus, they do give some clues about the time that he lived and the manner in which residents of the area at the time lived. Archaeologists feel fairly confident that, with the assistance of hundreds of finds from archaeological digs, they can reconstruct Jesus's life with a fair degree of accuracy from the Church of the Nativity, revered as  his birthplace, forward to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre..

As far as Professor Alliata of the Franciscan biblical school in Jerusalem is concerned, the most recent artifacts corroborate biblical narratives of Jesus's life, placing his existence and its times into a context of reality. The artifacts also are useful to the trained scientist of ancient history for the insight they provide respecting Christians following Jesus's teachings after his Crucifixion; evidence of the Christian movement from the end of the first century.

On March 19, archaeologist Annette Landes-Nagar of the Israel Antiquities Authority displays ancient coins from the Byzantine era, which were found last summer during excavations near the Arab Israeli village of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Christian pilgrims travelled to Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, throughout the Byzantine period and during the period of the Crusades. The vulgar, day-to-day items being unearthed from those times of antiquity enable archaeologists to study the life of Jesus and his instructions. The coins are estimated to have been placed within the building wall around the year 614, matching the period when Persian armies invaded the Holy Land and in their passage, destroyed churches and Christian communities.

Behind them, but not associated with them until much later in its history, came the rise of Islam.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Closure for Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin

"I'm happy. With this apology, I can have peace. My family and I, we're grateful to finally have closure. This is a victory for us, a victory for Canada, and for every Canadian who holds dear the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, due process,the rule of law, equality, dignity."
"I never lost hope. [I am grateful my father is alive to witness the apology and] can again call himself a proud Canadian."
"Being a Muslim, the understanding I have from my faith, is that I should condemn the bad actions of people, but I should never hate the person. That distinction between the person and the action, it was not easy for me, and I struggled for so many years."
"But I'm very thankful to God that I was able to reach the point where I was able to forgive the people who did this to me, be they the people in Canada or in Syria. I don't have hatred. I don't have feelings of revenge. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be held accountable for what happened."
"I'm a living example of what could happen under C-51 [Anti-Terrorism Act]."
"They were very difficult feelings to reconcile: The country that I loved betrayed me and set me up for torture and did nothing to help me, then continued to smear me."
"Throughout the last fifteen years, I have seen a very ugly side of humanity, but I also have seen a very bright, hopeful, loving side of it."
Abdullah Almalki, Syrian-Canadian, political activist, wrongly accused torture survivor
Abdullah Almalki
(Natalie Holdway/CBC)

In 2001 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police characterized Mr. Almalki to Syrian intelligence agencies as an "imminent threat". Soon afterward in an RCMP memorandum, the Canadian investigators wrote they were "finding it difficult to establish anything on him other than the fact he is an Arab running around". A fairly astonishing admission of the failure of their lengthy investigation of this man, tinged with an aura of racial bigotry, coming from an official source.

Mr. Almalki, who had graduated from Carleton University with a degree in engineering, spend 22 months in custody in Syria, when he was arrested there in May of 2002 on suspicion of links to terrorists. There he was tortured, based on information with no actual basis in factual discovery that Canadian intelligence had conveyed to Syrian authorities. While he was being held and undergoing torture, he had no Canadian consular assistance; he was abandoned to his fate.

Mr. Almalki had been the target of a national security task force named Project A - O Canada, under surveillance for six years by the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the FBI. Those who knew him were interviewed, his computers were confiscated for analysis when his home was raided, and all the while he maintained himself to be innocent of any wrong-doing. His pleas of innocence failed to convince investigating authorities.

In the end, however, it was the Syrian justice system that found him innocent of the alleged crimes he was said to have committed, and released him. Soon after he returned to Canada after his ordeal, he and his family launched a $100-million civil lawsuit, ten years ago. They sought an  official apology and financial compensation to acknowledge his pain and suffering. Over an eight-year period the government spent millions in contesting the lawsuit, until several years ago arbitration set in.

And finally, Abdullah Almalki and the government reached a settlement and the apology was produced and received. The financial end of the settlement remains sealed to the public, and Mr. Almalki has agreed there would be no disclosure. He was not alone in being incorrectly charged with terrorism; there were other Muslim Canadians who faced similar situations of being arrested abroad, incarcerated and tortured, and they too have seen their cases finally settled.
canada torture settlement

Abdullah Almalki (right to left), Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El-Maati arrive at a news conference in Ottawa on Oct. 21, 2008. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Mr. Almalki intends now to get on with his life, dedicating himself to the continuation of his role as a  human rights and national security activist. His goal is to have the Anti-Terrorism Act repealed so that the Canadian spy agency will no longer have the right to disrupt threats they perceive to national security. This is obviously a non-starter. There is no denying that Canada has been and continues to be under threat by foreign and home-grown jihadis interested in destabilizing the country and harming its citizens.

In a sense, post-9/11 it is hardly surprising that Mr. Almalki came to the notice of Canadian intelligence. By any metric what he was engaged in appeared to link him to terrorism. He operated a business out of Ottawa selling communications equipment to a large company in Pakistan with ties to Pakistan's military. It is well enough known that Pakistan is a source of violent fundamentalist jihadis. Some of the equipment Mr. Almalki's firm had sold to Pakistan was found to be possessed by the Taliban. And, of course, Pakistan's military and its intelligence agency had close ties to Afghanistan's Taliban.

Since Canada was part of the coalition fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, any equipment in the hands of the Taliban that aided them in their conflict with the NATO-led military coalition meant that items that would advantage them originating in Canada were being used in deadly assaults against Canadian members of the military.

Mr. Almalki's interpretation of his faith bears little resemblance to the Islam based on the Koran which authorizes the faithful to commit to jihad. But there are others among the faithful who practise what the Koran and Friday sermons in mosques demand of the faithful. The predations of Islamist jihadis against other Muslims in sectarian conflicts and in jihad's wider outreach to the non-Muslim world has given the West ample reason to commit itself to intelligence gathering and terror-prevention.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Desperately Seeking Haven

"There is a saying in Somalia: 'Choose between one of two hard things'. In Yemen, there is war. Here in Somalia, there is no good employment but at least there is peace."
"I saw bodies in the street [in Yemen]."
"We were all afraid the boat would sink. It was not safe [his family's passage across the Gulf of Aden, fleeing Yemen for Somalia]."
"Sometimes it [his meagre earnings] is enough, sometimes it is not enough [to feed his family]. Sometimes we are hungry. Life is very tough here."
Hassan Cabdoo, Yemeni refugee, Burao, Somaliland

"Due to the political situation in Yemen, more and more are coming. They face big challenges when they arrive."
"We need to be sure proper information is delivered. We can't allow people to come to Somalia with no knowledge about the situation, which includes dramatic issues with the drought."
Julien Navier, spokesman, UNHCR agency
THE United Nations compound in Mogadishu now bears the scars of the world body’s troubled return to Somalia’s battered capital. Suicide-bombers blew off its front gates on June 19th, letting gunmen of the Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked movement that used to dominate the country, shoot their way in

Somalia is a ruined country. In the aftermath of its civil war it has been struggling to re-establish law and order and rebuild ruined infrastructure. It is also suffering from drought conditions, and like many other parts of Africa, the prospect of famine raises its ugly head. Hardly a place where anyone might want to migrate to, to find haven, to begin a new life, to aspire to prosper, to give their children another chance to gain opportunities for the future.

Somalia is neither safe, nor is its economy regenerated. Unemployment is high, and Mogadishu, like much of the country lies in a ruined state. Warlords, drug dealing, Islamist insurgents, kidnappers and pirates all make their home in this violent, dysfunctional country. This is no secret, that Somalia is a dangerous country to live in. Somalians have made their desperate way out of the country to seek haven in Europe, joining the vast throngs of other nationals fleeing conflict and danger.

But this is where tens of thousands of Yemeni refugees have sought to establish themselves, where they hope to find safety from the newer war ravaging their country. In Yemen the war is actively raging, with a Saudi Arabian-led military assault group fighting the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels who have challenged the official government. This is a proxy war between the Islamic Republic of Iran, seeking to enlarge its influence in the region, encompassing Shiite links with Iran in Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq, and Yemen.

The sectarian conflicts that have roiled the Middle East led to the situation where millions of Syrian Sunnis have fled their country to find refuge in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere, spilling over when the opportunity presents itself, overland and by sea into Europe. Yemenites, desperate to escape the bombings and killings, have opted to find haven elsewhere. Their choices are not great, and some have risked their very lives to leave Yemen for Somalia.

Their choice is to remain where they are, and hope to survive the brutal onslaught where Sunni and Shiite challenge one another, where al-Qaeda and Islamic State have their own fanatical presence in the country, awaiting their opportunities, or to choose to leave their country of origin. Now struggling to remain alive in Somalia, a country where aid agencies warn that hundreds of thousands face the possibility of starvation, their dilemma has improved but marginally.

When Hassan Cabdoo fled Yemen for Mogadishu his family was among hundreds of other Yemenites loaded into an unseaworthy boat for the two-day crossing across the Gulf of Aden, facing a rough sea, insufficient food and night-time plunging temperatures. Now established in Burao among mostly nomads whose own fortunes have plummeted as their livestock succumbed to the drought, malnourished children crowd the local hospital.

A tailor who earned an average $15 daily in Yemen before the outbreak of civil war, if he can earn $5 a day he considers himself fortunate. And while there is no war in Somalia, there is crime and there is everpresent danger. And there is also the fact of high unemployment. In a relatively stable and wealthy country like South Africa, which has seen an increase in refugees from nearby warring states, unemployment is also high, and so is resentment, with South Africans blaming refugees for taking jobs from them.

How long before violence breaks out between the indigenous Somalians unable to find work, much less feed their hungry families, blaming the presence of Yemenite refugees for the worsening situation? And bearing in mind that the influx of Yemeni families is nowhere near finished, as greater numbers strive to leave the violence and the fear of death behind, to stake their claims in another impoverished nation like their own, broken by war and savagely beset by crime and starvation.

People walk on the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sana'a, Yemen, Feb. 2, 2017.
People walk on the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sana'a, Yemen, Feb. 2, 2017.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

When Diplomacy Wears Thin

"Chancellor Merkel is the most steadfast custodian of the concept of the liberal West going back 70 years. And that makes her Putin's number one target."
Strobe Talbott, former Clinton presidency Russian adviser

"Merkel was at the center of this negotiation about words, clearly enjoying it [the discussion whether Ukraine and Georgia be fast-tracked into NATO]."
"That is what she feels she does well [awkward diplomatic negotiations at the highest level]."
"For him [Vladimir Putin], it was like a slap in the face, the sentence that said Ukraine and Georgie will be members of NATO [at an undisclosed future date]."
"At the same time, he felt emboldened [that Chancellor Merkel had rebuffed G.W. Bush's insistence that they be invited directly into the NATO alliance]."
Stefano Stefanini, NATO envoy of Italy

"Putin did not understand why Germany did not just accept Crimea being absorbed into Russia."
Vladislav Belov, head, German Studies Center, Institute of Europe, Moscow
Image result for putin and merkel in disagreement
Putin and Merkel at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China. [Reuters]
There is certainly much history between Germany and Russia, far predating the diplomatic relationship as heads of state between the two countries challenge each others' authority. Russia was devastated when the Soviet Union was brought to its knees, forcing it to withdraw from East Germany and the wall that had been constructed between East and West was torn down by triumphant Germans who obviously failed to appreciate their great good fortune in being overseen by a benevolent Moscow.

Moscow, on the other hand, had an earlier history to deplore, when fascist Germany sent its Nazi troops into Russia when the pact between Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin was shunted aside and a besieged Russia sacrificed millions of its loyal citizens in their determination to defend against the German invaders, finally turning to the Allies to help defeat the former Axis powers it had been aligned with.

When Mrs. Merkel was a child of seven in the town of Templin, East Germany, her father was the Lutheran pastor there and when the news arrived that the Soviets were constructing a dividing wall in Berlin between East and West it was viewed as a tragedy, parishioners weeping in the church. This was the young girl's introduction to politics. By the time the wall came down in 1989, her political future had been shaped. She brought her science-trained mind of rationality and calculation to her destiny.

For his part,Vladimir Putin, a law student in Leningrad, joined the K.G.B. at an early age, became an officer, and was stationed in Dresden, where he formed a close alliance with the East German secret police, working alongside them, and ultimately becoming very comfortable in German. It was a language he used in 2001, post the 9/11 attacks when he spoke in Berlin at the Reichstag to pledge Russian solidarity with America, the first Russian leader to address the German Parliament. That was when Angela Merkel led the opposition.

The present time sees another division in Europe, with West Europe clearly dominated by the strength of character and purpose characterized by the German Chancellor, and East Europe dominated by the President of Russia, increasingly authoritarian, disinterested in finding common cause with the United States, and resenting Western Europe for its distancing from Russia's hegemonic view of itself as entitled to once again ensnare its neighbours in a reluctant alliance reminiscent of the good old Union of Soviet Socialist Republic days.
Image result for putin and merkel in disagreement
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (fed up with) Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: Daniel Dal Zennaro/Newscom)

The European Union's distaste for the Kremlin's style of governance and belligerence is reciprocated in kind by Moscow's disdain for the EU and resentment against NATO. Russian unease with the proximity of the United States establishing military bases on its near-abroad and NATO's posturing in response to Russian manoeuvring in Georgia and Ukraine, committing itself to spurning international norms in the recognition of state sovereignty gripped them both in an exchange of accusations.

With the West at clear odds with Russia over its imperialistic aims to revisit the grasp of Soviet times over its neighbours' independence, the emerging Cold War of failing diplomacy paved the way for new approaches in espionage and interference in the politics of Europe and North America by Russian cyberwar techniques augmenting Moscow's irritating habit of not-too-subtly sending chilling warning of how it can, with impunity, breach the airspace and seaspace and land areas of other nations.

Through it all, Chancellor Merkel has taken on the thankless but required job of intermediary between the interests of the West and the provocations of Vladimir Putin. Mr. Putin has viewed the European crisis of having to cope with a massive influx of refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, affording him doubtless much amusement. That an additional fallout from Russia's alignment with Syria in creating greater numbers of Syrian refugees  has occurred is likely a matter of some satisfaction to Mr. Putin in the thought of further burdens on Europe.

Payback, as he would see it, well deserved, for their interference in Russia's affairs through sanctions and diplomatic assaults on Russia's entitlements. Mrs. Merkel enjoys responding to challenges, and Mr. Putin thrives on intrigue, plotting and issuing of those challenges. The question is which of the two can manage to prevail; one through the authority of her position and the honour and respect she earns, the other by the weight of his presumptive internal popularity and the volatile brashness of his personality.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts to U.S. election results at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Alone, Abandoned, Enslaved and Degraded : Where is the Conscience of the World?

"We are grateful and honoured to receive the Sakharov Prize, but the EU can and must do more. The European Union must call this what it is: a genocide of our people."
"The EU must call for its prosecution and international accountability for ISIS, for example before the International Criminal Court, Tribunal, or a special court."
"We ask that the EU and all those concerned with the fate of Syria and Iraq establish a safe zone to protect the Yazidis, Christians and other vulnerable minorities in Sinjar and the Nineveh Plain."
"If the world can’t protect the Yazidis in our homeland, we ask Europe to give us a safe new home."
Yazidi women, Nadia Murad and Lamiya Ali Bashar
Nadia Murad (left) and Lamiya Aji Bashar were awarded the EU's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
These are two Yazidi women who managed to escape their captors, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists who had taken them as slaves, subjected them to constant rape, and whom the two women had witnessed enacting atrocities against their people, their family members, themselves. They had endured captivity, slavery, punishment, violations of their humanity. And having managing to escape, live with the inexhaustible trauma of their suffering. Yet determined to speak as witness to horror, to alert the world community and to demand a response, to launch rescues for the thousands still held as captive slaves and to bring their tormentors to justice.

It has been years since the world was alerted that the Salafist Islamist terrorist group was targeting in particular the Yazidi population of northern Iraq when the town of Sinjar and villages and towns around it were attacked, sacked, thousands of Yazidi men and boys slaughtered while women and girls were taken captive to be sold at slave markets. Those who could, managed to escape and made their way up nearby Mount Sinjar where the West averted its eyes and the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds launched a rescue, leading many of the Yazidis to safety.

But many more Yazidis were left to languish on the mountain, families attempting to sustain themselves and to remain out of the clutches of ISIL. They remain there yet. Islamic State took pride in its slavery of an estimated seven thousand Yazidi women, to be apportioned among its fighters and sold on the slave market to raise funds for their exploits and purchase of guns, bombs and drones. The Islamic State has a Department of War Spoils, where it takes authority from the Koran and contracts are notarized by Islamic courts.

The Yazidis are distant relatives of the far more numerous Kurds, who have been offering them haven. They speak a version of the same language. It is their religion that earns them the contempt of ISIL, a combination of early Christianity, Islam and Judaism, worshipping a Peacock Angel and considered to be pagan. They harm no one. They take pride in their heritage and traditions. Theirs is not a proselytizing religion, nor do they intermarry outside the Yazidi tribe.

They campaign now in the free world for justice and relief. Hoping to move the consciences of those they believe can help them rescue their enslaved and tormented people, to release their homeland from the clutches of the Islamist jihadis, and to bring to justice those who have decreed they must be killed as  heretics, or as the Islamic State has it, their continued existence "is a matter that Muslims should question as they will be asked about it on Judgement Day".

Nadia Murad, born in a village in Iraq, was captured at age 21, enslaved and continually raped. She had been witness to six of her brothers and stepbrothers being murdered, along with her mother. Lamiya Ali Bashar, 18, was abducted by ISIL and passed from one to another once her village was captured in 2014. When she managed her escape with a handful of other young women in 2016, a landmine exploded where two of the girls died and her face was scarred and she was left blind in one eye.

When Boko Haram abducted hundreds of girls from their school in Nigeria in Chibok, the world was horrified and outrage was expressed everywhere. The First Lady of the United States declared herself one with the Chibok girls, demanding they be released, placing pressure on the government of Nigeria to launch a rescue. No similar rise of righteous indignation emanated from Michelle Obama at the fate of the Yazidi girls and women, nor have groups who agitate for women's rights taken up the plight of the Yazidi women.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Acts of Desperation : Defence, Not Terrorism

"The decision to declare the fund a terrorist organization stems from its continuing and ongoing activity in providing massive support for elements responsible for committing severe acts of terrorism against Israel."
"As of today, all necessary actions will be taken in Israel and overseas in order to seize and confiscate property and assets designated for, or belonging to, the fund."
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman

"[This is] an Israeli attempt to obstruct and sabotage U.S. efforts [to relaunch peace talks. It is a] fundamental violation [of interim agreements signed between the PLO and Israel two decades ago]."
"All countries of the world [should] reject this declaration to preserve the agreement."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
PFLP flag

What other country of the world is expected to negotiate for peace with an entity claiming to represent the best interests of a large group of people whom the international community has supported as refugees for generations, in the full knowledge that funding given to that authority is used to reward the families of terrorists intent on wreaking havoc and killing as many people in that country as they can manage, the greater good being to sacrifice themselves to oppose the presence of a nation alien to the 'refugees'. 

The 'agreement' that PA President Abbas alludes to certainly never had the intention of glorifying the martyrdom exploits of Palestinians incited to attack a legitimate government and its population. The double game that the Palestinian Authority plays by teaching young Palestinians through television programs, plays, storytelling, summer camps and school curricula that the land Israel sits upon has been taken from Palestinians, the 'legitimate' owners/residents of the land, certainly slants toward grooming children in the fullness of time to become 'martyrs' themselves.

'Resisting' the 'occupation' is an all-too-familiar byword for violence to be launched against Israeli Jews by Palestinians. Palestinians who have been taught to honour the exploits of those who have responded to their leaders' incitement by revering their names and their acts of terrorism, are guaranteed to fall into the pattern of emerging as new-generation terrorists. With the comfortable knowledge that they will gain respect in so doing, and if their terrorism rates high on the atrocity index they will be venerated.

Pride in 'resistance' is characterized by naming streets, civic centres, camps for children and other public institutions after the terrorists who have made their mark in a never-ending circuit of violence. Efforts to have the two sides engage in serious and honest negotiations to reach an understanding and a potential solving of the issues that divide them are a sham when the Palestinians make demands in the full knowledge that to agree to them would result in the dissolution of the Jewish state.

The International community is committed to the theory of two states living in peace side by side because of its idealistic connotations; resolving an issue of symbolic as well as practical importance to an historical region, that must be achieved. By posing as an underdog whom a much stronger adversary abuses, Palestinians have succeeded in establishing the fiction that they are interested in peace, while Israel plots to gain advantage by further victimizing innocent Palestinians, depriving them of the land needed for their future state.

The settlements in areas the Palestinians and the international community refer to as the West Bank and Jewish tradition of heritage lands names Judea and Samaria, began their establishment and growth long after countless opportunities for the Palestinians to agree to peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state, were refused by their leaders. The hidden issue was always the Palestinians' desire to see Israel disappear and the entire land mass 'returned' to the Palestinians.

None of the countries that support the 'rights' of the Palestinians and provide them with the funds to operate their functioning infrastructure on the basis that 'refugee' populations are unable to fend for themselves, would tolerate the reality that foreign nations give funding that is used to financially support a terrorist agenda of strikes against the presence of a country like their own. For some strange reason, however, they find it easy to avert their attention from the inconvenience of recognizing that they are funding terrorism, preferring to view themselves as honest brokers.

It was finally left to Israel to declare the Palestinian National Fund whose main offices are maintained in Jordan, and which is responsible for measuring out generous funding to families of terrorists as rewards for their sacrifice, will now have the status within Israel, as a terrorist group. The "martyrs fund" that the Palestinian National Fund administers was established by the Palestine Liberation Organization  in 1967, to encourage and give awards to those complicit in terrorist acts against Israel.

PLO institutions such as this one receive transfer funds through the Palestinian Authority. Several thousand Palestinian families are compensated handsomely through the budget of $125-million, a fund whose existence the PA's Finance Ministry's website accounts for. The fund is purposed, among other issues, to be a conduit to transfer on a monthly basis tens of millions of shekels to Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails for the crimes of terrorism.  The longer the prison sentence, the greater the funding/reward the prisoner and his family are entitled to.
A young Palestinian loyal to Hamas stands under the stage
A young Palestinian loyal to Hamas stands under the stage in front of a poster depicting late Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin during a rally in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Families of terrorist who were killed or wounded in action are also assured a monthly payout in honour of the deeds performed by their relative. In a sense, the countries that fund the Palestinian Authority and its 'martyrs fund' are complicit in the terrorist acts committed by these Palestinians sworn to relieve Israel of its land base and whose actions committing atrocities against Jews are excused by the fiction of Israeli 'occupation', a self-defence necessity by a nation perpetually under attack by its neighbours.

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