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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Assad regime’

Turkey and Israel Should Launch Non-Violent Intervention in Syria

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

More than 1.5 million have fled Syria, 4 million more are displaced within other nations, meaning 30% of the Syrian people have left their homes. Just to give an example, Reyhanli, one of the Turkish border towns in the southern province of Hatay, where 51 people were killed by twin car bombs on May 11, has a population of 90,000—50,000 of which are Syrian refugees. Some 400,000 Syrians are now living in Turkey, nearly half of them sheltered in camps with poor conditions.

Of course they are more than welcome to Turkey; our doors are wide open to anyone seeking shelter in our land, but this is obviously not a solution to the suffering of 8.3 million people who are in need – not to mention the rest of the Syrians who are also living in fear – nor does it stop the ongoing bloodbath of the Assad regime.

Since March, 2011, the death toll has risen to nearly 100,000, and the real figure is, most probably, far higher.

Most of the victims are civilians.

UN top Middle East envoy Robert Serry is saying there are mounting reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria, and Israel has taken a few solitary, bold actions to eliminate these weapons while the world was still pondering what to do. Provided that there is zero human loss, I advocate that the production and storage facilities of chemical weapons and artillery ammunition be eliminated. As long as it spares human lives meticulously and guarantees that no living beings are affected, Israel’s action to stop lethal weapons from being used is a reasonable move.

On the other side, fighters from Hezbollah—which has been a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—have joined the battle on Qusayr, a settlement near the border with Lebanon. Because of the town’s strategic importance – since this residential area connects the capital Damascus to the coast – the Hezbollah-backed Assad regime does not want to give up this rebel stronghold in the central province of Homs and continue to kill more people to recapture the city.

While the spirit of protecting human lives is pressuring the conscience of every human being to interfere with the intention of stopping the bloodshed, some writers overseas either secretly support this situation in one sense, or embrace indifference, as long as they are not personally affected. I find this very unbecoming.

One of the Middle East experts that has disappointed me was Daniel Pipes, who has suggested overlooking the bloodbath in Syria and allowing both sides to destroy each other. In a TV interview, he restated his policy, suggesting that the West should back Assad, and keep Syrians killing each other. While he admits that his is not a humanitarian perspective, and offers this as a strategic view, we should remember that these are human beings we are discussing. I am against militant fundamentalism just like Daniel Pipes, and I am also against the communist Ba’ath regime; however, while innocent people are being killed on a daily basis, saying “Let us leave them to fight one another” is wholly unacceptable, standing in violation of both conscience and common sense.

Considering this bloodshed, it is obvious that there needs to be an intervention in Syria. However, what matters is to ensure that there will be no loss of life. Syria has a very complex and intricate structure; thus, any intervention needs to be well planned. First of all, an embargo—starting with air and trade sanctions—can be imposed. Second, world public opinion needs to be stirred up. They will be unable to withstand the pressure if the entire international public is fixed on them. We therefore need to establish a major shift in public opinion.

In addition, since the most dangerous aspect of Syria is its airforce, runways must be made unserviceable. Once it has been guaranteed there will be no loss of life, air bases should be bombarded, so that the air force is immobilized. But I would like to reemphasize: it is essential that nobody be caught up in these interventions; it must be established that the area under attack is empty.

Additionally, a game-changing force would develop from an alliance between Turkey and Israel, and that alliance will make the current Syrian regime tremble in their boots.

However, Assad must not be made to panic. It might prove dangerous if he is under the false impression that he is about to be killed. He must be treated kindly and made to feel that the aim is to save his life and his family. Since Assad is, in a way, seeking shelter behind Russia, Putin thinks he needs to protect him at any cost. An agreement can be reached between Russia, the USA, Turkey and the opposition parties: they can promise that Assad’s safety will be guaranteed, and that nothing will befall his wife and children. Since the opposition forces killed Qaddafi in a horribly humiliating way, guarantees need to be given that his honor will not be compromised, no matter what.

And as soon as we stop the shedding of blood in Syria, there must be peaceful elections accompanied by international observers. Bashar Assad should be a candidate if he wishes, and if he wins the elections, he can stay on. If the opposition is elected to govern, then they should be the ones ruling, or there can be some kind of coalition between Assad and the opposition parties. But the Syrian regime as it now stands is a dictatorship, and there must be legitimate and certified elections that will reflect the will of the Syrian people. Only in that way can a lasting and just peace come to Syria.

About Wolves and Boys who Cry too Much

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

The late Israeli humorist Ephraim Kishon once wrote a short piece about a boy who cried wolf, but when the people of the village came over, they realized the wolves were way too big for them to do anything about, so the beat up the little boy and the wolves proceeded to eat all their sheep.

That’s what’s taking place today at the Dept. of State, as reported with much flair by our own Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu (Kerry Refuses Israeli Intel on Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons).

But a failed foreign policy as magnificent as the United States’ shows up not only through learned reporting. It expresses itself in many different artistic forms, most notably as those Monty Python-style sketches otherwise referred to as State Dept. press briefings.

Subscribers the world over, I’m sure, are reading those emailed briefings not so much for content – we know they’re lying, all the time, to everyone, including each other and each man to himself – but for comedic technique, for that artistic touch that turns a heaping pile of putrid ox droppings into a message of hope.

Last night I received the most recent installment of that artistic series, created by the sure hands of Patrick Ventrell, Acting Deputy Spokesperson, in Washington, DC, April 23, 2013. The curtain is already up, the audience is listening, riveted, there’s a tense hush over the hall…

Reporter: The Israelis seem to be claiming that the Assad regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons – 100 percent. So, do you consider that they have crossed a redline right now?

Mr. Ventrell: Again, the Secretary answered this in a press availability already earlier today, and we’ll get the transcript to you shortly. But the bottom line is that we continue to support an investigation of all credible allegations of chemical weapons used to establish the facts of exactly what did or didn’t happen. But in terms of new information today, I don’t have anything for you one way or another other than to say that we coordinate closely with our partners, including the French, British, and the Israelis.

Reporter: You’re saying that we are supporting these investigations, but we all know the Syrian regime has been refusing the UN team. How are you going to able to investigate it if the regime is not allowing you to do that? Or how long you are going to use this rhetoric even though nothing is happening on the ground?

Mr. Ventrell: We are encouraging the Syrians to allow the team in, but we’ll be looking at all sources of evidence in terms of chemical weapons use. And we are strongly urging the regime not to use chemical weapons.

Reporter: Do you have any kind of a timetable? I mean, if the regime keeps refusing that for two more months, are you going to just use same arguments that it should be happening but it’s not happening?

Mr. Ventrell: I’m not going to preview any potential next steps, but we’re closely coordinating with our allies and watching the situation very carefully.

Reporter: Do you think that the Israelis are making it up with respect to the chemicals, since you didn’t concur with the report?

Mr. Ventrell: I mean, I’d really refer you to the Israelis for more information. I think the Secretary also talked about a phone call he had with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning. So, again, I refer you to the Israelis for more details about who it was in the government that spoke at what level, but I refer you to them for clarification.

Reporter: But they said they conveyed it to Washington and Washington didn’t agree with the information. So, again, do you have any suspicion that the Israelis are making it up?

Mr. Ventrell: I don’t think we’d characterize it that way. I think you need to look at the Secretary’s transcript where he talks about his discussion with the Prime Minister of Israel, which we’ll be releasing shortly. That was in a press availability just a few minutes ago.

Reporter: Is the U.S. determination on whether chemical weapons are used or not a political determination or a technical determination?

Mr. Ventrell: I mean, I think I would describe it as a technical determination in terms of the various materials that may or may not have been used. And so we’ll continue to look at that very closely.

‘Land Day’ Riots Pit Israeli Arabs against their Country

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

March 30, “Land Day,” is an annual commemoration of the events of that date in 1976, when strikes and violent riots of Israeli Arabs erupted throughout the country, over government plans to appropriate a large area of land inside the “green line” to be used for security and housing purposes. Six Arabs were killed at the time.

The majority of Land Day demonstrators have always been Israeli Arabs, who carry Israeli ID cards and enjoy all the privileges of life in a Western democracy. This Saturday afternoon, ten thousand Israeli Arabs attended the central rally in the thriving Israeli-Arab town of Sakhnin. The Procession included activists from human rights organizations and supporters of Bedouin rights.

The participants, all Israeli citizens, raised Palestinian flags, and some activists were waving Syrian flags, in support of the Assad regime. Hadash party chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh said that “the commemoration of the 37th Land Day was marked by an escalation on the part of the establishment of taking what is left of the land of Arab citizens in the Negev, in addition to the Arab land shortages in the Galilee and the Arab Triangle.”

Two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded during a riot on Saturday outside the town of Qalqiliya in Judea and Samaria. The riot began at a large demonstration on the occasion of “Land Day.” A medical team evacuated the two soldiers to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba for further treatment. A 5-year-old child injured by a stone thrown by Arabs at his vehicle outside the settlement of Efrat was taken to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem.

Immediately after the child had been injured, clashes erupted between some 20 Arabs with IDF soldiers, who responded with crowd dispersal means. Disturbances were also reported in Qalandiya, where a hundred Arabs clashed with IDF soldiers, who were forced to use riot dispersal means. No injuries were reported.

One person was arrested Saturday in a Land Day procession of a few dozen Arab residents of East Jerusalem, after police ordered demonstrators to disperse. There were no casualties in that incident.

During the Land Day rally in the town of Sakhnin, a crowd of pro-Syrian Arabs beat up an al-Jazeera crew member, to protest the network’s coverage of events in Syria. The Muslim network refused to file a complaint with the Israeli police.

A jeep with three Arabs was spotted outside the town of Ofarim in Judea and Samaria, as three rifles started to emerge from inside the vehicle. A police force gave chase, during which the Arabs threw their weapons out the windows. When finally stopped, the Arabs claimed to be hunters. Two hunting rifles and ammunition were found in the car. Al,three were taken in for questioning.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/land-day-riots-pit-israeli-arabs-against-their-country/2013/03/30/

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