Latest Israeli Provocation in Jerusalem

On Friday, three Palestinians and three Israelis died after the Netanyahu Administration infringed the status quo of the Temple Mount by installing metal detectors and banning Palestinian men under the age of fifty from entering the holy site.

Thousands of Palestinians were gathered in the area when Israeli security forces began to use force against the demonstrators, who responded by throwing stones at police.

In an ‘attempt to control the situation,’ numerous Israeli policemen used tear gas, water cannons, and fired real bullets randomly against the demonstrators, causing the death of three of them, and injuring hundreds more.

The demonstrations spread rapidly to Gaza and the West Bank, where a young Palestinian stabbed three Israelis to death in revenge for Netanyahu’s decision to violate a Muslim holy place.

Abbas announced, “the suspension of contacts with Israel on all levels and the suspension of coordination until all the measures currently being taken at al-Aqsa mosque are stopped.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued statements condemning both incidents. He called “on all to refrain from any actions or words that could further escalate an already volatile situation.”

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said, reporters, that “ultimately, what is important is for all of the people at the holy sites, including all the worshipers at the holy sites, to feel that their religious freedoms are being respected.”

On Saturday, Netanyahu said that the metal detectors will remain at the entrance of the Temple Mount, despite the fact that numerous advisors had recommended their removal. They also believe that Netanyahu’s unilateral action will worsen the Palestine-Israeli conflict, leading to unpredictable consequences.

Despite the different versions of the facts, many still believe that the second intifada began in September 2000 when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, seen by Palestinians as desecration and which has resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.

The Temple Mount is one of the holiest places in Islam and in Judaism. According to Judaism, this is the place where God’s divine presence is manifested more strongly than at any other holy site. For Muslims, the site is one of the first places where God was worshiped. They believe it was from here that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the “Divine Presence” on the back of a winged horse.

Over the last few years, the Palestinians have accused PM Netanyahu of planning to build a Third Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which is currently illegal under Israeli law. However, Netanyahu’s coalition with the far right-wing leader Avigdor Lieberman, who supports the construction of the new Jewish temple in the compound has many Palestinians concerned that Netanyahu will soon change the law in order to allow it.

Several international human rights organizations have said that the current situation in Jerusalem has deteriorated to the point that if it does not soon improve a new uprising may occur.

Some have suggested that Netanyahu and Lieberman are intentionally instigating the current increase in violence in Jerusalem with the intention of using it as a pretext to occupy the Temple Mount compound and expand what many consider to be their ethnic cleansing operations in Palestine.

The international community, however, has yet to condemn PM Netanyahu’s actions, which are currently illegal under Israeli law.

Over the next several weeks, several countries will likely be involved in the conflict. Until then, more incidents, which could occur in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as in Jerusalem, are expected.

 

One Year after Turkey’s Failed Coup Attempt, the Purge Continues

One year after the failed coup in Turkey, the situation in the country has worsened significantly and Erdogan has begun a transition from ”democracy” to dictatorship, backed by fanatical supporters willing to die for him.

Taking advantage of this situation, Erdogan has criminalized and jailed all critical voices by linking them to the coup and Fethullah Gülen’s movement, who is considered the coup’s mastermind by Erdogan.

To that end, Erdogan has detained 118,235 people, arrested 55,927, including 269 journalists, sacked 138,148 people, including some 4,424 judges and prosecutors, and around 9,000 teachers, and has also shut down 2,099 schools, dormitories, and universities, and 149 media outlets. The co-leaders of the second-largest opposition party in the Parliament are also in prison.

More recently, Erdogan has detained eight human rights defenders, Amnesty International’s Turkey Director Idil Eser and two international trainers on the absurd suspicion of being members of an ‘armed terrorist organization.’

In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, Erdogan believed he would be able to keep Turkish society united behind his authoritarian project while directing a purge against the opposition and critics.

However, his authoritarian actions, like the rigged constitutional referendum to grant super powers to him in April, and the increasing repression against anyone who criticizes him have divided Turkish society to levels never seen before.

Numerous voices have arisen across the country stating that Erdogan could have directed last year ‘s failed coup attempt against himself to have a pretext to install a dictatorship, extend his mandate, and get rid of the most prominent opposition leaders who could have disputed his leadership of the country.

Erdogan administration has not yet proven the link between Gulen and the failed coup. And Erdogan’s claims that the coup was organized without his knowledge by hundreds of thousands of people during more than a decade is absurd.

Keeping a secret in a small group for years is hard, and it is impossible to do among hundreds of thousands of people, especially while Erdogan was leading the country and had many of his supporters infiltrated in all governmental institutions.

World precedents show that, at first stages, coup d’États are always organized by a small number of people until things are up and running and people see that the coup can succeed. This is then when a large number of people join the project.

Despite the fact that Erdogan is installing a dictatorship and jailing teachers, judges, and journalists on a regular basis, the Western world is still endorsing him and indirectly his actions.

Numerous European leaders have suggested that Merkel keep a “friendly” position with Erdogan due to the fact that the EU and Turkey have an agreement on immigration, which prevents thousands of immigrants and refugees from entering the EU annually. And Erdogan has suggested that he could break this pact, causing a flood of immigration in Europe.

Trump has also venerated and congratulated Erdogan for overweening superpowers in the constitutional referendum in April. Trump, who has also shown to be an authoritarian, speaks the same language as Erdogan. And unless this affects the US, he appears to be willing to allow Erdogan to install a dictatorship in Turkey.

With the endorsement of the Western world, this coming year will be harder than the previous one in Turkey. Erdogan will continue deploying his superpowers, repressing the Turks, firing thousands of teachers, judges, and will continue his purge against the opposition, human rights activists and the independent media.

Unless the international community led by Trump and Merkel take action to stop Erdogan’s authoritarian drift, hundreds of thousands of innocents will soon suffer the devastating consequences of Erdogan’s actions.

Although initially the US and the EU will not help the Turks reinstating democracy in Turkey, the firm determination of the Turkish opposition to challenge Erdogan and bring back democracy to the country will cause tensions, and if as predicted, Erdogan reacts by using force against millions of peaceful people, the US and the EU will have to decide then between allowing this to happen or intervening to return the power back to the Turkish people.

As usual, the future of the Turks will be in Western world’s hands, and perhaps, this time, they will not make the same mistakes made previously in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, by choosing to defend democrats instead of villains.

G20 Summit 2017 Hamburg

As they do every year, the world’s 19 largest economies, plus the EU and various financial institutions, met at the annual G-20 Summit, this year held in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7th and 8th.

This year, all eyes were on Trump, who was seeking to normalize his relations with the EU and Putin. Prior to the meeting, Trump had accused Germany of corruption and undermining the US economy. For her part, Merkel had announced that the US was no longer a German ally. His relationship with Putin has also been deteriorating since the attack against the Syrian government back on April 6. 

Due to various discrepancies between leaders, the summit was not successful. As expected, Merkel and Trump did not reach any agreement. The latter suggested that he will soon implement protectionist measures in the US coal industry which will affect the EU economy. The EU rapidly said that it was ready to retaliate against the US within a few days if Trump ever implements protectionist measures. 

The G20 leaders were not able to convince Trump to rejoin the Paris Climate Change agreement.  The latter ignored their claims and abandoned the climate change meeting before it ended in order to meet Putin on July 7th.

Despite their previous disagreements, Trump and Putin agreed on a partial ceasefire in Southern Syria that began on Sunday. They also agreed on the need of deescalating tensions between them in order to normalize relations and reach future agreements. In the end, they both agreed on continuing their regular talks until their next personal meeting takes place in a close future.

I think this is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria,” Mr. Tillerson told reporters on Friday night in Hamburg, Germany, after the more than two-hour meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. “And as a result of that, we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas and violence once we defeat ISIS, and to work together toward a political process that will secure the future of the Syrian people.”

Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, later said the cease-fire would take effect from midnight to noon local time on Sunday in the areas of Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida in Syria along the Jordanian border. “At first, security around this de-escalation zone will be guaranteed by the forces and means of the Russian military police, in coordination with the Americans and Jordanians,” he said.

The G-20 did not reach any agreement on the current refugee crisis. Italy, which is receiving thousands of refugees weekly, demanded a global compromise to solve the problem. However, the rest of the world leaders ignored Italy’s claims and directed their attacks against NGO’s

According to numerous world leaders, NGO’s are promoting immigration instead of helping refugees. For that reason, they discussed tightening the conditions permitting NGO’s to operate in the Mediterranean Sea.

Representatives from several NGO’s said that they are just saving lives and reminded governments that refugees are not immigrants. They are fleeing from war zones in countries such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan which were caused by the Western world.

As usual, social organizations organized an alternative to the G-20 Summit on July 5th and 6th, the so-called Global Solidarity Summit. This year, thousands of people from all over the world attended the various activities, assemblies, and conferences seeking alternative ways to improve people’s lives worldwide. Most of the conferences were open and people could freely participate and give their point of view regardless of their social status.

As expected, thousands of demonstrators from all over the world gathered in Hamburg in order to disrupt the G-20 summit. However, they were not able to achieve their ultimate goal due to a heavy police presence. Despite the fact that most of them were peaceful, the German police attacked them without justification, leading to serious riots, arrests, and injuries.

As numerous videos show, moments before the so-called “Welcome to Hell” march on was set to begin on July 6, thousands of German police officers rushed the crowd, hitting everyone, including journalists. In the end, the Hamburg police admitted that the “Welcome to Hell” march was peaceful at the time of the attack and only some in the crowd were masked.

The “Welcome to Hell” march was not the only protest which ended in riots. There were many others before, during, and after the summit in various locations around Hamburg. On a few occasions, protesters were able to close off portions of the city for several hours before the German police evicted them.

In the end, the G20 Hamburg Summit will be remembered for the inability of world’s leaders to agree on solving real people’s problems. People will remember instead the decisions made by the wealthiest nations, which will result in thousands of deaths in poor countries.

 

 

New US Travel Ban

On Thursday night, the US partly restored the so-called Muslim travel ban against citizens from Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, which imposes a 90-day ban on citizens from these countries and 120 days for refugees.

Legally permanent residents, current visa holders, visa applicants who were in the US as of June 26, dual nationals, anyone that has been granted asylum, refugees who have already been admitted to the US and foreign nationals with “close” family, educational or business ties to the US will be exempt from the ban. However, refugees currently awaiting approval for admission to the country will be banned.

The new executive order considers “close” family to be a spouse, child, son or daughter of age, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and siblings. However, it excludes fiancées, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, which had until now been considered “close” family.

The Supreme Court garnered the green light to the Trump administration to reinstate part of the travel ban on Monday and said that it would make a final ruling on the executive order in October.

The first Muslim travel ban had been halted in the lower court for months after it caused massive protests and chaos at all international airports across the entire country, which resulted in the illegal retention of thousands of US legal residents who were born in any of the aforementioned banned countries.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University said the wording of the decision left the upholders of this law plenty of room for interpretation in terms of enforcement.

How individuals will prove such a [bona fide] relationship, and whether the burden of proof will be on the government or the individuals seeking entry, remains to be seen,” Yale-Loehr said. I predict chaos at the border and new lawsuits, as foreign nationals and refugees argue that they are entitled to enter the United States.”

The prediction of more discord at airports was mirrored by Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang.

Rather than keeping anyone safe,” Huang said, “this ban demonizes millions of innocent people and creates anxiety and instability for people who want to visit a relative, work, study, return to the country they call home, or just travel without fear.”

Several experts have suggested that the fact that those people who have been working with the US in its secret operations in the fight against ISIL will also be banned is very worrisome. And it also endangers their lives.

Furthermore, a travel ban which will not allow grandparents to meet their grandchildren in the US will be catastrophic for many families. However, the worst part of it will be for those refugees who are trying to flee from certain death in their countries to the US. They will now have to face threats, torture, abuse, and death.

Most of the population of the US opposes to what they think it is an unfair Muslim travel ban, which will cause suffering to thousands of families, and which could backfire in the form of terrorism.

Although it is still too soon to know the real impact of the new travel ban on people’s lives, numerous human rights organizations think that this one will be more chaotic than the previous one.

Awaiting the final decision of the Supreme Court in October, human rights organizations and NGO’s will keep fighting against every Muslim travel ban in order to guarantee people’s human rights.

Consequences of Hate-Filled Political Rhetoric and Illegal Military Interventions

In recent years, the number of terrorist attacks and hate crimes in western countries has risen to levels never seen before, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens. Recent studies suggest that there are clear connections between terrorism, illegal military interventions in the Middle East, and those politicians who regularly use hateful rhetoric against immigrants.

This has been more evident in the UK, which has suffered four terrorist attacks in just four months, the latest against the Muslim community only a week ago. In the aftermath of those attacks, the number of hate crimes increased fivefold in London and 530% in Manchester, according to the Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).

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Source: The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime, Home Office. 12 months to March in year shown

A Met police spokesperson said that the number of hate crimes against Muslims had increased sharply in the last four years. They recorded 343 incidents in 2013, 1009 in the year before March 2016, and 1260 in the year prior to March of 2017.

Last year, the UN the body Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination argued that the continuous anti-immigration rhetoric used by British politicians during, and after the Brexit campaign, resulted in a significant increase in the number of hate crimes and in the potential radicalization of several individuals.

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The committee reported that more than 3,000 allegations of hate crimes were made to UK police in the week before and the week after the Brexit vote, an increase of 42% over the two corresponding weeks in the year before. It also pointed out that numerous politicians and journalists regularly fail to condemn hate crimes against ethnic minority groups.

The UK military interventions in the Middle East have not seemed to help reduce the level of terrorism. Instead, they have served as a platform for ISIS to carry out its massive proselytizing, especially to those vulnerable people who often feel discriminated against by society.

The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn recently said, “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought against other countries and terrorism here at home.”

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people and will fight rather than fuel terrorism.”

 

It seems clear that explicit support for an illegal war overseas often backfires with unpredictable consequences. And then that action, far from reducing terrorism, boosts it.

Rhetoric that is hostile to an ethnic group, including locals, or any action that could be understood as hostile by them, will do nothing but feed their perception that they will always be targeted, resulting in the radicalization of numerous individuals.

Numerous right-wing politicians and journalists remind us how the constant discrimination against ethnic minorities fuels terrorism, resulting in the backlash which the enormous tragedies previously mentioned represent.

To believe that Islamist terrorism is going to be eradicated anytime soon would be very naive. However, western governments could easily reduce the number of terrorist incidents in their respective territories by ending their hate rhetoric against immigrants and by building bridges between communities.

Tolerance is the key to reducing tensions and solving the existing problem. Although there are many distinct communities in the world, and each one has its own peculiarities and customs, all of them have things in common, and most importantly they are all made up of human beings.

For that reason, it is important to emphasize those common points and downplay the differences that set those community apart.  Even though this may sound utopic, it is crucial to remember that people and people alone determine what is real and what is not. By persuading governments of the importance of leaving their hateful rhetoric aside while showing the importance of building bridges between communities, global society will move a step closer to achieving unity and getting away from division once and for all.

 

Jeremy Corbyn Is Back

Last Thursday, Jeremy Corbyn arose from the ashes after over 30 years of relentless smear campaigns seeking his political death. The establishment, the Tories, the tabloids, and several Labour MP’s had joined forces to deal a coup de grace against him in the snap election. However, Corbyn’s stunning results blew them all away and upturned the old political and economic orthodoxies.

The Labour Party won 262 seats, – 32 more than in 2015 – the largest increase in seats and votes since 1945. Even so, the Tories won the election, although without an absolute majority, getting 318 seats, or 13 fewer than in 2015, which has obliged Theresa May to form a chaotic pact with the DUP, an extreme unionist North Irish party with numerous former terrorists.

With this outcome, Corbyn will challenge the now failing Tory government from the first day and will try to force a new general election later on this year, which could eventually proclaim him Prime Minister.

Corbyn said, “Labour will invite parties to defeat the government and vote for Labour’s manifesto in a “substantial amendment” to the Queen’s speech, as well as suggesting the party would also kill off the “great repeal bill”.

“We are ready and able to put forward a serious program which has great support in this country,” he said, though the Labour leader conceded his party “didn’t win the election”.

“We are going to put down a substantial amendment to the Queen’s speech which will be the main points of our manifesto. So we will invite the House to consider all the issues we’ve put forward – jobs-first Brexit, policies for young people and on austerity,” he said.

 

After all that; the constant defamations, machinations of oligarchs, vitriolic attacks by war-mongers and ruthless propaganda by the corporate media against him were ignored by millions of Brits, and Corbyn has a real chance of winning a new possible general election with an absolute majority.

According to recent polls, most of those who did not support him, did not do so because they thought he was unelectable, and they would now vote for him in a new election. Also, Labour MPs who once disparaged him are now praising him. And part of the media has phased out their constant smear campaigns against him.

Corbyn’s resurgence would have been impossible without the mass support of young people, who voted for him in numbers never seen before in history. They have decided that he represents the future of the UK and not the past and that his manifesto is more than just a pipe dream. They believe that it is a realistic plan to transform UK society into a fairer one. Hundreds of thousands of old folks have united with them in thinking that with Corbyn as Prime Minister, anything is possible.

Before becoming Labour Party leader in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn had been toiling in obscurity on the back-benches in parliament for over 30 years. From there he affirmed his political convictions, leading him to become today’s leader. His honesty and his fierce defense of the working class have characterized his long political life.

All these difficult efforts have started to bear fruit. The support of young people and the mass mobilization of elderly has provided Corbyn with an undeniable mandate to begin a new modern social revolution, which should end with the creation of a real democracy.

The type of democracy where the citizens will control all political institutions and politicians will become their real representatives. A democracy where politicians will never again be seen as powerful actors in the world, but rather as the people’s servants.

Everyone thought that Corbyn was a moribund politician close to retirement, but the people and only the people, have made him arise from the ashes to finalize his work. From now on, the constant defamation, machinations of oligarchs and vitriolic attacks against him will no longer matter. Corbyn has come back and he will never leave again until he finishes his new popular mandate. And most importantly, the people — teenagers, elders, women, man, locals, immigrants, etc. — appear now to be willing to follow him until the bitter end.

Conservative Organizations, Theresa May, and Their Connections with ISIS

Tomorrow, the world will watch the lastest episode of a long-term soap-opera involving conservatives and Islamist terrorism. The UK will hold a controversial general election that will be definitive in the fight against Islamist terrorism.

Over the years, western society has assumed that conservative parties such as the Tories in the UK are more reliable than the lefties in the fight against terrorism. In recent times, however, there has been clear evidence that ISIS and conservative forces have been helping each other. 

ISIS has used terrorism to spread chaos worldwide and thereby influence elections in Western democracies. Conservative forces have used this chaos to bolster racism and use the ready-made fear campaigns for their own ends, to ensure their re-election.

Recently, Theresa May has used the latest terrorist attack in London to launch a manipulative fear campaign to improve her chances of winning the election. Additionally, she has announced measures that purport to improve security but will not, and will bolster racism in UK society, which is the ultimate goal of ISIS.

Theresa May is trying to adopt the ploys used by George W. Bush’s campaign during his re-election in 2004. Bush was one of the first conservative world leaders to use terrorism as a tool to win elections and cause destruction overseas.

Bush had the lowest presidential approval ratings ever recorded in 2004 as a consequence of the Iraq War. Though most pundits contended that he did not have any chance of being re-elected in the presidential election that same year, he launched a mass “fear campaign” based on two points:

1. Vote for me, and you will be safe.

2. Vote for someone else, and terrorist forces will invade your country.

Bush’s fear campaign proved successful when he was re-elected. Within a few weeks, Americans started thinking that “Muslims” represented a real threat to their lives. As a result, there was an increase in the number of racial attacks across the US. This was later used by ISIS to attract new combatants. It targeted those “Muslims” who were born in the US and had suffered from harassment, intolerance, and racial attacks. That created hundreds of potential new terrorists ready to commit terrorist attacks in the US and the UK.

Theresa May, who is now following in the footsteps of Bush, could cause a catastrophe if she became Prime Minister. ISIS is actively helping her to win this election through terrorism. ISIS knows that terrorism bolsters conservative forces, which tend to react by using an anti-immigration narrative, leading to an increase in racial attacks. This is the best scenario for ISIS to recruit new militants. Consequently, it is clear that conservative parties cannot lead the fight against terrorism any longer.

Furthermore, May is still endorsing Saudi Arabia -the main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East- and led a cut off of 20,000 police officers as home secretary, leading terrorists to circumvent British security surveillance. For that reason, anyone who is still thinking of voting for May should think twice before casting their votes.

Jeremy Corbyn has made numerous mistakes during his life, like everyone else. However, he has spent most of his life by trying to integrate immigrants and unite UK society. If he became Prime Minister, he would commit more resources to security forces, allow them to monitor potential terrorists, thus resulting in a substantial reduction of terrorist attacks in the UK. This election is all about two options:

1. Theresa May: An increase in the number of terrorist attacks.

2. Jeremy Corbyn: A reduction of terrorist attacks.

If you are by chance a British person reading this piece, you must know that this is your time to take action to build a better world. Think about the aforementioned two options and vote for the better one, and remember that Corbyn’s victory would make the UK safer. In a certain way, the destiny of Europe, western countries, and the world is in your hands!

Note: In this opinion, piece I refer to the political class that represents conservative organizations. So I assume that not all conservative supporters endorse any sort of collaboration with Islamist terrorism.