Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, responded on Thursday evening to harsh and false attacks voiced earlier against Israel by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas during his speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.
Abbas urged the world to take action against “Israeli atrocities” and repeating debunked rumors that Israeli rabbis had “called to poison Palestinian water supplies.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the speech, saying that Abbas had “showed his true face” in Brussels. “Someone who refuses to meet the president and myself for direct negotiations and who spreads blood libels before the European Parliament, is lying when he claims that his hand is extended in peace,” said Netanyahu.
The prime minister was referring to the potential meeting between Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Rivlin proposed by EU Council President Donald Tusk that Abbas bluntly refused to attend.
“Israel is waiting for the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and engaging in incitement,” Netanyahu added, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “Until then Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement that motivates acts of terrorism.”
Abbas harshly attacked Israel during his speech, calling its policies towards Arabs from the Palestinian Authority “racist” and “fascist.” He also said the PA is prepared to make peace with Israel — even as he rejected a single meeting with Rivlin while the two were in the same building at the same time, for the very same purpose.
“Our hands are extended with a desire to peace,” he claimed, directing his remarks to Israel. “We have the political will to achieve peace and we ask, do you have the same will to achieve peace and to acknowledge the historic injustice that your state has exacted on our country?”
President Rivlin also responded to Abbas’ speech on Thursday, expressing disappointment that Abbas has refused to meet with him.
“It is strange that Abbas repeatedly refuses to meet with Israeli leaders and then repeatedly turns to the international community for support,” said Rivlin in a statement. “We cannot build on the trust we have built if we do not start talking directly without intermediaries. Direct talks are the only way to build confidence and restore the conditions for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”
Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet domestic intelligence chief Avi Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee also responded to what he called the “falsehoods” propounded by Abbas during his Brussels speech.
“With a series of historical distortions and crocodile tears, Abu Mazen today described the 1948 Palestinian ‘Nakba‘ [Arabic for ‘disaster’], without mentioning the fact that the Arab leaders in 1947 were the ones who determined their fate,” said Dichter.
“The Jewish leaders accepted the partition plan, while the ‘Abu Mazens’ of that time rejected the United Nations proposal and the Arab armies invaded Israel in order to wipe out the Jews and take 100 percent of Israel.”
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the speech as well, referring to Abbas’ claim that Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister, recently called Israel was a “fascist” state. While Barak did make a similar accusation, Ya’alon did not.
“Abu Mazen is not only lying as usual, continuing his malicious blood libels against the State of Israel,” wrote Ya’alon on his Facebook page, “he is also exploiting the healthy democratic discourse in Israeli society, which does not exist in his society and is putting words in my mouth I did not say.
“Abu Mazen’s conduct, speeches and evasions of direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions are further proof that he never intended to go for an agreement, including recognition of our right to exist as the only nation state of the Jewish people,” Ya’alon added.TPS / Tazpit News Agency
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is big on talking all about his desire for peace and a final status agreement with Israel. But acting on those words is quite another story.
Abbas bluntly rejected a proposal by the European Union that he meet with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in Brussels. The two men were in the European Union’s main governmental headquarters for meetings with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and to address the EU Parliament about the peace process.
Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Parliament tried to broker the meeting between Abbas and Rivlin, but the Palestinian Authority leader refused.
At a joint news conference with Mogherini, Rivlin expressed disappointment in the rejection.
“On a personal level, I find it strange that my friend Abu Mazen refuses again and again to meet with Israeli leaders… Instead, he turns again and again to the support of the internal community,” he said. “We can talk directly,” he pointed out. “We can find a way to build confidence.”
Israel has repeatedly emphasized the importance of direct talks and after decades of failed multilateral talks has rejected that option as a way to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.Hana Levi Julian
Only 22 countries around the globe have reached an average life expectancy at birth greater than 80 years, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, which would suggest that if one is planning to retire abroad, one should consider those countries most seriously.
Life expectancy at birth reflects the overall mortality level of a population. It summarizes the mortality pattern that prevails across all age groups in a given year – children and adolescents, adults and the elderly. Global life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), ranging from 60.0 years in the WHO African Region to 76.8 years in the WHO European Region, giving a ratio of 1.3 between the two regions. Women live longer than men all around the world. The gap in life expectancy between the sexes was 4.5 years in 1990 and had remained almost the same by 2015 (4.6).
Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 2000-2015 increase was greatest in the WHO African Region, where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.
As to the friendly global race of whose citizens get to live longer, the top countries are, in descending order: Japan – 83.7, Switzerland – 83.4, Singapore – 83.1, Italy – 82.7, and Israel – 82.5. The US did not make the 80+ club in 2015, with only 79.3 years’ life expectancy. Neither did the Russian Federation – 70.5.
Israel’s neighbors are definitely not ideal locations for retirement: Egypt – 70.9, Jordan – 74.1, Lebanon – 74.9, and Syria – 64.5 (if you’re lucky). Nigeria stands out with 54.5 life expectancy, along with Angola – 52.4, Burkina Faso – 59.9, Burundi – 59.6, Cameroon – 57.3, Central African Republic – 52.5, Chad – 53.1, Guinea – 59, and Guinea-Bissau – 58.9.
So, here is the list of world countries where you’ll get to grow older than 80, barring unexpected circumstances:
Japan – 83.7
Switzerland – 83.4
Singapore – 83.1
Italy – 82.7
Israel – 82.5
France – 82.4
Sweden – 82.4
Canada – 82.2
Luxembourg – 82
Netherlands – 81.9
Norway – 81.8
Malta – 81.7
New Zealand – 81.6
Austria – 81.5
Belgium – 81.1
Finland – 81.1
Germany – 81
Denmark – 80.6
Chile – 80.5
Cyprus – 80.5
Members of Belgium’s parliament on Wednesday nominated Marwan Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize, referring to the security prisoner serving five life sentences as the “Palestinian Mandela” and a symbol of peace. The recommendation cited a group of Nelson Mandela’s fellow prisoners on Robben Island, who in 2013 called for the release of “Palestinian political prisoners” held by Israel.
Before we explore the decision and its possible outcome for Israel, it is essential to establish the differences between Mandela and Barghouti, lest a lie be allowed to be perpetuated unchallenged.
In July 1963, Mandela and about a dozen other members of the African National Congress, including three Jews, were arrested in their farm hideout, in the Rivonia suburb of Johannesburg. Ten of them were tried for recruiting individuals and training them to carry out attacks against the Apartheid government; carrying out such attacks themselves; serving world Communism; and raising funds abroad for their illegal enterprise. Mandela spent the next 18 years in prison.
Barghouti, on the other hand, was convicted of 5 counts of murder of innocent civilians, including authorizing and organizing the March 2002 seafood market attack in Tel Aviv in which 3 civilians, including a Druze policeman, were murdered. He was given five life sentences for five murders altogether, and 40 years imprisonment for an attempted murder.
Now that we’re clear on the differences between the South African and the Arab terrorist, we should note that it is hard to imagine the Norwegian parliament not giving the Nobel peace prize to Marwan Barghouti. In fact, if the Netanyahu government had not been rattled this week by right-shifting coalition changes, it could be expected to support the award, at least tacitly.
Marwan Barghouti, with his record as the leader of the First and Second Intifadas, may be the only viable alternative to rule the Palestinian Authority after Mahmoud Abbas (81) leaves office–most likely on a stretcher. Barghouti has the political skills and experience to run the PA effectively. In fact, at one time he said he supported the peace process, but when he realized that Israel was not ready to capitulate on key issues such as the right of return for Arabs, or the unhindered formation of a terrorist haven on its borders, he launched the 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada.
At this point, outside the Gaza Strip, only Marwan Barghouti has the street cred and the political wherewithal to rule the PA, which should be a source of concern to Israel. Indeed, this is the final outcome of the Oslo fiasco, the fact that the only legitimate leadership alternatives in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria are murderous criminals with Jewish blood on their hands.
This is the entire rationale of the Belgian nomination, which tells the Norwegian prize committee: “By granting the Nobel Peace Prize to someone who embodies the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, but also their aspiration to achieve peace, a leader who can unite Palestinians around a political project that clearly includes a two-state solution on 1967 borders, more threatened than ever by colonization and the absence of a political horizon, the Committee for the Nobel Prize would be helping to resurrect the indispensable hope of creating a way out of the current [political] impasse.”
And they emphasize: “Peace requires the freedom of Marwan Barghouti and all of the political prisoners, and more generally the freedom of the Palestinian people living for decades under occupation.”
It’s a well crafted proposal and, as we mentioned, it is very likely going to yield the authors’ desired outcome. It follows two earlier endorsements of Barghouti, one by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the other by a unanimous vote of the Arab League’s Arab Parliament. Once Barghouti gets the nomination, Israel would be urged by all its many friends and well-wishers around the world to respond in kind with its own magnanimous gesture, release the glorious leader from his jail cell and put him on a (roundtrip) flight to Stockholm. The word “opportunity” would be thrown around a lot, and although Barghouti would not offer even one measly concession more than Abbas has done—in fact, he’d likely cut down on all that Abbas “good will”—Israel would still be perceived as the oppressor and illegal occupier, while the new peace prize winner would be crowned king of peace. In fact, whether it lets Barghouti out or doesn’t, Israel would still be condemned.JNi.Media
Brussels Airport Company announced the reopening Sunday of Levantem International Airport, about six weeks after Da’esh (ISIS) suicide bombers blew up its departure hall, killing 16 people and wounding many others.
“The reopening is an important moment for the entire airport community and Belgium,” said Brussels Airport Company CEO Arnaud Feist.
A symbolic reopening took place on April 3.
But starting Monday, the airport’s departure capacity will reach at least 80 percent of its former takeoffs prior to the attacks, with 111 check-in counters operating in the departure hall and 36 more open in temporary buildings.
The two bombers detonated explosives in suitcases on March 22. A third suicide bomber blew himself up on a metro train in the city subway system a short while later. Altogether the trio murdered a total of 32 people and wounded hundreds of others.Hana Levi Julian
Belgian investigators have finally identified the mysterious “man in the hat” — the third man in video footage that showed the two suicide bombers who blew up Zaventem International Airport in Brussels last month.
Authorities said that Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini, who is in custody, admitted to being the man in the photo with the two terrorists.
“After being confronted with the results of the different expert examinations, he confessed his presence at the crime scene,” Belgian federal prosecutors told reporters Saturday.
Abrini, 31, was also the last identified suspect at large from the Nov. 13 massacre in Paris. He was one of four suspects charged Saturday with “participating in terrorist acts” in connection with the March 22 suicide bombings in Brussels. The attacks on the city’s international airport and metro system killed 32 people and wounded 270 others.
According to Belgian federal prosecutors, Abrini was detained Friday in a raid carried out in Brussels. He told police that he threw away his white vest in a garbage bin, and sold the hat that was seen in the footage. His fingerprints were found in France in a car used by the Paris attackers, and in Brussels, in an apartment used by the airport bombers.
A Belgian-Moroccan petty criminal known to police, Abrini was a childhood friend of Paris terror suspect brothers Salah and Brahim Abdeslam. He also had ties to the group’s ringleader, Abdelhamid Abbaoud, who died in a shootout with French police shortly after the massacre.
While Brahim Abdeslam died in Paris as a suicide bomber on Nov. 13, his brother Salah had second thoughts and fled instead; he returned to Brussels and hid in his old neighborhood for the next four months. He was arrested on March 18, four days before the attack on the airport and metro system.
The fact that the two bombers were together with a terror suspect intimately connected with the Nov. 13 Paris massacre only reinforces the reality that Da’esh (ISIS) has succeeded in establishing a tightly woven network of terrorists in major cities across the European continent.
Further reinforcing that point is the arrest of Osama Krayem, who left Malmo, Sweden, to fight with Da’esh in Syria. He is accused of being the No. 2 terrorist in the March 22 bombing of the Brussels metro station, killing 16 people. He is also accused of being at a shopping mall where the luggage used in the bombing of the airport was purchased.
A Rwandan nation, Herve B.M. was arrested at the same time as Osama Krayem and allegedly offered assistance to him and Abrini, prosecutors said.
Belgium is still maintaining a second-highest terror alert, because “there are perhaps other cells that are still active on our territory,” Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told RTL television on Saturday.
A total of 162 people have been murdered in Europe by Da’esh (ISIS) in less than half a year. Most of the operatives responsible for the murders have had connections in Belgium and/or France, as well as Syria.Hana Levi Julian
The Zaventem International Airport in Brussels is set to reopen Sunday (April 3) — sort of — two weeks after two suicide bombers blew up the departure hall.
Three symbolic flights to Faro, Athens and Turin will depart as the airport partially restores service.
Fifteen people died and 81 others were wounded in the deadly terror attack at the airport, not counting the bombers or those who later died of their wounds.
A third suicide bomber blew up a metro station in the Belgian capital close to the headquarters of the European Union, within an hour after the attack on the airport. Fourteen people died in that attack, and 220 others were wounded.
The two attacks were linked and the Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization claimed responsibility for both.
“I am very pleased and proud to be able to announce that tomorrow, Sunday 3 April, Brussels Airport will be able to welcome its first passengers after the devastating bomb attacks,” said Brussels airport CEO Arnaud Feist in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
“I am extremely grateful to all airport staff, federal police and the federal government for their efforts and commitment. These flights are the first hopeful sign from an airport that is standing up straight after a cowardly attack.
“That we are able to make this start only 12 days after the devastating attacks is a sign of our collective strength at Brussels Airport,” he added.
But there is no public transportation in the area and the airport can only be reached by car or taxi. The first three flights are symbolic only.
“In the coming days, we will examine the possibility of restarting other means of transport, such as bus and train”, Brussels airport officials said.Hana Levi Julian