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May 2, 2016 / 24 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘France’

Prime Paris Attack Mastermind Abdeslam Salah is Caught

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Prime ISIS Paris terror mastermind Salah Abdeslam, arrested in Brussels last Friday, was charged on Saturday with terrorism offenses in connection with the attacks on November 13.

Abdelslam has been connected with the attack as a key member of the ISIS terror organization that attacked the French capital in a multi-site operation whose ripple effect still reaches out.

Abdeslam told police during questioning he was supposed to blow himself up – as did others – at the Stade de France.

But at the last minute, he told interrogators he had second thoughts and backed out.

The French national, born to Moroccan parents in Belgium, once ran a bar with his brother Brahim in Molenbeek, who also helped in the attacks. But it was Abdeslam who rented the cars involved in the attacks and booked the hotel rooms used by the operatives.

French prosecutor Francois Molins said at a news conference in Paris on Saturday the would-be bomber’s claims raise further questions about the scope of the operation.

Suicide bombers blew themselves near the national stadium, operatives opened fire on bars and restaurants, and terrorists were firing Kalashnikov assault rifles into a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall that night.

He was shot and injured in a raid by anti-terrorism police in the Molenbeek area of Brussels last year, where he grew up. But Abdeslam still managed to stay hidden, according to the British Guardian newspaper.

Three suspects were arrested altogether, but Abdeslam would be extradited to France. The probe is wide and ongoing because the network is “very large in Belgium, France and other European countries,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters on Friday.

“We know there are links which always lead us to Syria, where the Da’esh (ISIS) extremists planned these attacks.”

Hana Levi Julian

U.S. Condemns Istanbul Attack, Cites 2 American Victims

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The White House issued a statement Saturday night condemning the Istanbul terror attack that killed two dual American-Israeli citizens earlier in the day.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey. Two American citizens were among those killed in this heinous attack,” National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured.”

A third Israeli and an Iranian citizen were both killed in the attack, along with the suicide bomber, Savaz Yildiz, 33, a resident of the Turkish city of Adana who was reportedly known to the authorities.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the explosion occurred outside a local government office on Istiklal Street, where numerous foreign consulates are located. The area is also dotted with many cafes and restaurants.

The U.S. State Department also condemned the attack in a statement released by spokesperson John Kirby.

“The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack today on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded,” the statement read.

“We will remain in close touch with Turkish authorities during the investigation. The United States stands in solidarity with our NATO Ally Turkey in combating the common threat of terrorism. This vicious attack is the latest in a series of indefensible violence targeting innocent people throughout Turkey – Turkish citizens and international visitors alike. These acts of terrorism only reinforce our determination to support all those across the region working to promote peace and reconciliation,” the statement said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the attack in a written statement saying there can be no justification for terrorism. He said, “NATO allies stand united with Turkey, determined to fight against terrorism.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault also condemned the attack. “I strongly condemn this despicable and cowardly act that has caused the death of several people,” Ayrault said in a statement, adding Paris stands in solidarity with Turkey.

This past Wednesday Germany had closed its consulate and school in Istanbul due to credible security threats.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Valls: ‘Jews of France Are Too Often Afraid’

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Nearly 1000 Jews were surprised to find themselves listening to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls Monday night at the top Jewish event of the season in France.

Valls replaced President Francois Hollande as keynote speaker at the 31st annual political dinner of the CRIF, the Council of Jewish Institutions of France. The switch came after Hollande realized he could not leave Brussels during the European Union-Turkey summit on the migration crisis.

Perhaps it was for the best. Valls was blunt in his remarks about the rising anti-Semitism in France, and the government’s outrage over the attacks.

“Yes, the Jews of France are too often afraid. To wear a kippah, to go to the synagogue, to go shopping in the kosher shops, send their children to public school. We don’t accept this reality,’’ Valls said.

The prime minister acknowledged the fact that anti-Semitism is coming from both sides of the political spectrum in the country, denouncing it from “the extreme right as well as from far left”.

He vigorously defended the right of Jews in France to live and dress as they please, to be Jews in France.

Valls also acknowledged that anti-Zionism is simply a thin veil for the new style of hatred of Jews. “There is anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism which is simply synonymous with anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel,” he said.

“The Jews of France have built France and they must continue to build it –but at the same time I know the solidarity that binds you to Israel,”Valls added.

“Israel is a democracy, a nation that speaks to the world, and France will always be by its side.”

Former French foreign minister Laurent Fabius was the architect of a proposed French peace summit designed to re-launch final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority this year.

But France announced it would recognize the PA as an independent sovereign Arab nation regardless of the outcome of the venture, thereby obviating its purpose and destroying any hope for its success.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Boy, 13, Attacked by Anti-Semitic Gang in Paris

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

A 13-year-old Jewish boy wearing a kippah was ambushed and beaten up last Friday night by a gang of three teens in the 12th district of Paris.

The French Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l”Antisemitisme (BNVCA) condemned the attack on Monday, urging police to “make every effort” to identify and capture the perpetrators of “this new anti-Jewish aggression.”

The boy said he was returning to a synagogue on Rue Voynet de Paris to meet his father at around 6 pm when he was attacked.

He described the gang as three teens “of African origin.” He said they called him a “dirty Jew” and then punched him in the side. One grabbed his kippah while another yanked him by the hair and slammed his head against a nearby pole.

The attackers fled when other pedestrians arrived on the scene, including one who called out – in vain – for help.

The boy proceeded to join his father at synagogue, with a badly bruised face and suffering from shock. He reported the attack to police and provided them with a description of his attackers.

“Those who wish to observe this religious requirement should not give in to intimidation or threats and should be able to keep their head covered freely,” the BNVCA said in its statement.

“On the contrary, it is those who spread anti-Jewish hatred and discrimination who should be disturbed, condemned and neutralized,” the group said, urging Jews “not to give in to intimidation or threat…

“It is the camp of anti-Jewish hatred and discrimination which must be worried, condemned and neutralized,” said the BNVCA.

Hana Levi Julian

Nearly 1,000 French Jews Await Hollande Address on Anti-Semitism

Monday, March 7th, 2016

A crowd of nearly 1,000 is slated to attend the largest “Republican” Jewish event in France Monday night, where President Francois Hollande is to deliver remarks on anti-Semitism and French Jewry.

The country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls and top government officials will also attend the 31st annual dinner of CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France).

At least 800 people have reserved seats for the dinner, which takes place every year and is considered the event of the season.

Leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) will also attend the event, which they shunned last year. “With the new head of CFCM Anwar Kbibech, we really feel things have changed,” CRIF President Roger Cukierman,79, told the European Jewish Press.

He noted that the gathering is a forum “where we can express our feelings and concerns.” As in the past, the rising level of anti-Semitism in France will be a main topic of discussion.

“Anti-Semitic acts continue, the 2015 figures are virtually at the same level as in 2014,” said Cukierman, who ends his third mandate in May.

This will be the 79-year-old leader’s last dinner as head of the CRIF.

“Once again, Jews, who represent less than 1% of the total population, are targets of40% of racist acts committed in France and 49% of racist violence to people,” the CRIF said in its annual report. Figures show there were 808 incidents in 2015, as compared with 851 incidents in 2014, according to the Security Department of the Jewish Community (SPCJ).

France is home to the world’s third largest Jewish community, with a population between 500,000 to 600,000 Jews.

In 2015, a record 7,900 French Jews emigrated to Israel following vicious anti-Semitic terrorist attacks in the country despite the Paris government’s 100-million euro plan to strengthen protection around 700 synagogues, schools and community centers.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Woman is New Culture Minister in France

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

The Jewish daughter of an adviser to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and writer Katia Brami has herself become an adviser to the president of France.

Audrey Azoulay was named Culture Minister last week during a cabinet shuffle that followed the long-expected resignation of Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Azoulay, 43, a native-born Moroccan, was named as Culture and Communications Adviser to President Francois Hollande.

She has previously served in leadership positions in the National Center of Cinema in France, and in other civil service posts as well.

Hana Levi Julian

No More Israel-PA Talks, Ever. (Well, Maybe….)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

As Israel continues to express its willingness to participate in direct talks with the Palestinian Authority – its erstwhile one-time so-called “peace partner” is playing hard-to-get.

The latest coy little “catch me if you can” play by the PA came this week in response to an initiative by France.

During a visit to Japan on Monday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki declared his government would “never” re-engage in direct talks with Israel.

In response, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement pointing out that Israel supports the “direct negotiating process with the Palestinians and opposes any predisposed attempt to determine the outcome of the talks.”

Of course, “never” is a very long time in the Middle East; it’s a word that means little here, and “never” has been heard countless times from Abu Mazen – and Hamas – before.

On Tuesday, French Ambassador to Israel Patric Maisonnave met with Alon Ushpiz, head of the diplomatic office for Israel’s Foreign Ministry. Maisonnave presented the details of his government’s plan to convene a peace conference in Paris this summer. The French government hopes to jumpstart the diplomatic process that crashed in April 2014.

Jerusalem allegedly responded favorably to the initiative.

“This principle [of talks] which has accompanied the process from its beginning has won the support of the international community over the years, and also has stood as the basis for peace negotiations with Jordan and Egypt,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement following their meeting.

What’s interesting, however, is the response of the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas – known to the Middle East as Abu Mazen.

Israeli media reported that Ben-Shitrit arranged a meeting between high-level Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials this week.

The Prime Minister’s Office has declined to comment on the report.

As for Abu Mazen, on the one hand he personally has refused utterly to resume talks with Israel.

On the other hand he was quoted in a letter allegedly written by Sam Ben-Shitrit, a Jewish Moroccan emissary, as saying “At the beginning of next month I will write a personal letter to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu proposing a meeting with him.”

That declaration followed a meeting between Abu Mazen and Ben-Shitrit, who was tasked by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI with trying to get the Israel-PA dialogue back on track.

Abbas told Ben-Shitrit at that meeting that he would be willing to meet with Netanyahu without agreed-upon preconditions for re-starting negotiations, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 2 TV.

The veteran Jewish negotiator is the founder and chairman of the World Federation of Moroccan Jews; he has when necessary acted as liaison between Israel and Morocco, since no diplomatic relations exist between the two nations.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was in Israel on Saturday also to discuss the possibility of relaunching talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Likewise, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made a special effort in a conversation with Israel’s prime minister to “get the relationship back on track” between the EU and the Jewish State. She emphasized that the EU’s product labeling policy implemented last November is non-binding and said the European body strongly opposes a boycott of Israel. Mogherini also said the EU supports direct talks as the sole means of reaching a final status agreement between Israel and the PA.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/no-more-israel-pa-talks-ever-well-maybe/2016/02/16/

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