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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘demonstrations’

Police Arrest Pregnant Yitzhar Woman for Inciting Against IDF Soldiers

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

In the hours before dawn on Wednesday, Israel Police awakened and arrested an eight-month pregnant woman in Yitzhar on suspicion of incitement to violence against security forces.

The woman, age 22, had allegedly advocated throwing rocks at Jews “even if the rock causes the death of a soldier” during discussions in an online Yitzhar residents’ email forum called “Yitzharniks.”

A second, 17-year-old resident also commented there is “no halachic problem in killing a soldier during a nighttime eviction” since according to halacha (Jewish law) one may kill anyone breaking and entering, thus posing a possible threat to life.

The conversation containing the incriminating comments was apparently forwarded to police and IDF Central Command by one of the participants, according to a report published by the Hebrew daily Yediot Acharanot.

The newspaper also interviewed the young woman’s mother, who commented, “The young generation is tired of walking around crouched and afraid. My daughter told me in conversation that just like Arab women walk around freely in Israel, there’s no reason that a Jewish women shouldn’t be able to as well… My daughter isn’t stupid. She’ll take responsibility for what she wrote even if she’s wrong.”

The opinion is not unanimous, however, despite a violent incident last month in which residents expressed anger at the demolition of buildings near the outskirts of the Jewish community, located in Samaria (Shomron).

“We have denounced this kind of talk in the past and will do so in future as well,” Yitzhar community spokesperson Ezri Tuvi told media in a statement. “This involves a minor and a woman whose emotions caused their tongues to slip and who already retracted their words.

“On the other hand, we demand the media fully denounce all talk of violence and incitement to hatred and physical harm against the settler public.”

Leftist Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid responded that “Words easily turn into deeds. Some of Yitzhar’s residents have already proven that they have no limits or red lines. A threat to harm IDF soldiers is an action against the state’s sovereignty and against a hallowed basic value of the State of Israel.”

Turkey: A House Divided

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute

There is no doubt that the Gezi Park demonstrations in May and June, which spread to most of Turkey, represent a seismic change in Turkish society and have opened up fault lines which earlier may not have been apparent. What began as a demonstration against the “development” of a small park in the center of Istanbul ended as a widespread protest against the AKP government — and particularly Prime Minister Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule.

The European Commission in its latest progress report on Turkey has recognized this change when it writes of “the emergence of vibrant, active citizenry;” and according to Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül, who in the report is praised for his conciliatory role, this development is “a new manifestation of our democratic maturity.” The Turkish government, however, has chosen to see these demonstrations as a challenge to its authority and has reacted accordingly.

The report mentions various repressive measures taken by the government, including the excessive use of force by the police, columnists and journalists being fired or forced to resign after criticizing the government, television stations being fined for transmitting live coverage of the protests and the round-up by the police of those suspected of taking part in the demonstrations.

However, there is, in the EU report, no mention of the campaign of vilification led by the Prime Minister against the protesters, or reprisals against public employees who supported or took part in the protests; also, measures taken to prevent the recurrence of mass protests, such as tightened security on university campuses, no education loans for students who take part in demonstrations and a ban on chanting political slogans at football matches.

Not only the demonstrators themselves have been targeted but also the international media, which Prime Minister Erdoğan has accused of being part of an international conspiracy to destabilize Turkey. The “interest rate lobby” and “the Jewish diaspora” have also been blamed. As the Commission notes, the Turkish Capital Markets Board has launched an investigation into foreign transactions to account for the 20% drop on the Istanbul Stock Exchange between May 20 and June 19, which had more to do with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering than the Gezi Park protests.

In August, however, a report on the Gezi Park protests by the Eurasia Global Research Center (AGAM), and chaired by an AKP deputy, called the government’s handling of the situation “a strategic mistake” and pointed out that democracy-valuing societies require polls and dialogue between people and the local authorities.

Polarization

The Commission is correct, therefore, when it concludes that a divisive political climate prevails, including a polarizing tone towards citizens, civil society organizations and businesses. This conclusion is reinforced by the observation that work on political reform is hampered by a persistent lack of dialogue and spirit of compromise among political parties. Furthermore, the report emphasizes the need for systematic consultation in law-making with civil society and other stakeholders.

This division was underlined by Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek in June, when, at a conference, he deplored the lack of a spirit of compromise in intellectual or political circles. This lack is not only illustrated by the occasional fistfight between parliamentary deputies, but also when the AKP government in July voted against its own proposal in the mistaken belief that it had been submitted by the opposition. Or when the opposition two days later passed its own bill while the government majority had gone off to prayers.

President Gül, in a message of unity to mark the start of Eid al-Fitr (in August, at the end of Ramadan), had called on Turkey to leave polarization behind and unite for the European Union membership bid. But to create a united Turkey will be difficult, given the attitude of the present government. Even the democratization package presented by Prime Minister Erdoğan at the end of September does not indicate any substantive change in the government’s majoritarian approach to democracy.

Irrespective of the Prime Minister’s reference to international human rights and the EU acquis [legislation], both lifting the headscarf ban for most public employees and a number of concessions to the Kurdish minority can be seen as a move to boost Erdoğan’s popularity ahead of the local elections in March.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/turkey-a-house-divided/2013/10/21/

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