Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and the secretary of the Guinean president signed an official agreement establishing diplomatic ties on Wednesday evening in Paris.
The Republic of Guinea is a Muslim country in sub-Saharan West Africa, which used to be a territory within French West Africa. The state was established in 1958 after it gained independence from France. Although Israel previously had diplomatic relations with the Territory of Guinea and French West Africa, those connections were severed after the Republic of Guinea became independent.
“We are closing an important circle with the renewal of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” stated Gold after the signing of the agreement. “Israel calls on all countries that have yet to renew their ties with Israel to follow Guinea’s example. This way, we can all act together for the benefit of the region’s nations.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a diplomatic delegation to several sub-Saharan countries—Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia—with the aim of reestablishing and strengthening existing diplomatic and commercial ties.
During that visit, Netanyahu hinted to the press that he intends to “meet with a leader of a Muslim African country with which Israel previously never had diplomatic relations.”
Later today, Netanyahu commented that “yet another African country will announce renewal of diplomatic relations with Israel in the next few days.”
Israel is watching closely as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to reassert control over the government and his nation after an attempted coup this past weekend. Officials are particularly concerned, given the long months of talks both nations invested in re-establishing the recent diplomatic ties between Ankara and Jerusalem.
The death toll in the weekend violence has risen to 290, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, including more than 100 who participated in the coup. At least 6,000 people have been arrested after the failed coup — half of which are judges and prosecutors; half are military officers and soldiers. Shots were heard Sunday at Istanbul’s second largest airport and at a military base in the central Konya province, according to local sources.
Among those in custody is Colonel Ali Yazici, the top military aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey — used by U.S.-led coalition aircraft for raids against Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in Syria and Iraq — and former Chief of Air Staff Akin Ozturk, who served as military attache to Israel from 1996 to 1998.
Erdogan suggested the possibility that perhaps the United States had had a role in formulating the coup attempt — a suggestion firmly and swiftly rejected on Saturday by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Israel, meanwhile, is closely monitoring the situation since having completed a reconciliation agreement to restore diplomatic ties with Turkey after a six-year freeze barely three weeks ago.
Speaking at Sunday’s weekly government cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that “Israel and Turkey recently agreed on a reconciliation process between them.
“We assume that this process will continue without any connection to the dramatic events in Turkey over the weekend,” he said.
Netanyahu went on to note, “we also experienced the shocking terrorist attack in Nice and it underscores the need for a unified and aggressive approach in the face of the murderous terrorism that is attacking the entire world.”
Last Thursday night, a Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist drove a massive truck down the main boulevard in the southern French Riviera city running down the thousands who were celebrating the nation’s Bastille Day, the equivalent of the U.S. Fourth of July holiday while opening fire at other hapless victims along the way. At the end of the nightmare, 84 people were dead, including 10 children, and 202 more were injured, many with critical injuries.
The prime minister said he sent condolences on behalf of the government and people of Israel and his wishes for a recovery to the wounded, via French President Francois Hollande.
“The Palestinian Authority also sent condemnations and condolences, but with one difference: Here, not only do they not condemn vehicular terrorism, they encourage it. They glorify the terrorists responsible and finance them and their families if the terrorists are dead,” Netanyahu said.
“Terrorism is terrorism, whether it is in France or Israel, and there must be a unified approach of condemnation and war on this terrorism – here and everywhere else.”
France has been the target of the most devastating recent terrorist attacks because, apparently, almost half of young French Muslims support suicide bombing, probably the most extreme act of terrorism (compare with the Japanese Kamikaze pilots, who represented the Japanese Empire’s final, most desperate lashing at an overpowering enemy).
But a November, 2015 Pew Poll found that while a large percentage of Muslim youths in the West support suicide bombing, and out of those the largest percentage live in France, the numbers in the US are only somewhat better.
“The higher levels of support for suicide bombing seen among young American Muslims resembles patterns found among Muslims in Europe, where Muslims also constitute a minority population,” the Pew poll concluded. “In Great Britain, France and Germany, Muslims under the age of 30 are consistently the least likely to say that suicide bombing is never justified.
“In other words, the share who think suicide bombing against civilians can ever be justified, even if rarely, is higher among those younger than 30 compared with those who are older. About a quarter (26%) of younger US Muslims say suicide bombing can at least rarely be justified, 17 percentage points higher than the proportion of Muslims ages 30 and older (9%) who share that view. The age gap is about as wide in Great Britain (18 percentage points) but somewhat narrower in Germany (12 points), France (11 points) and Spain (7 points).”
According to Rabbi Yossef Yitschok Pinson, director of Habad Loubavitch of Nice Côte d’Azur and head Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in the region, at least one of the wounded, whose Hebrew name is Moshe ben Yaakov, is a member of the local Jewish community, Chabad.org reported Friday morning.
Counselors at Chabad’s Gan Israel day camp were at the scene of the attack, and crossed the street just moments before the attack, narrowly missing the truck’s path of destruction, Rabbi Pinson said, adding, “They had to run from the truck, it was just a few feet away from them.”
The camp staff was quickly hauled to a local restaurant for shelter, from which they later were taken to the rabbi’s home. “Obviously, they are very upset, having seen everything—people falling and bodies,” Pinson said.
“We are praying for everyone who has been injured in this terrible attack,” said Pinson, and requested that people pray for Moshe ben Yaakov’s recovery.
Chabad Gan Israel plans to provide the staff with professional help to deal with the trauma.
A pall hangs over the city of Nice after a terrorist drove a truck for nearly a mile into and through a large crowd of people Thursday night as they celebrated the country’s Bastille Day along the Riviera. The driver opened fire at those gathered along the sidewalks, many in bathing suits in the area next to the waterfront.
French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency in response to the attack. Bastille Day is analagous to America’s Fourth of July holiday. The investigation into the attack has been turned over to the French Bureau of Counter Terror Intelligence. In addition, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office has opened a terrorism investigation into the attack.
The White House issued a statement condemning “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack.”
Terribly graphic videos flooded social media websites on the internet; all were deemed too graphic to post within the text of this article.
At least 80 people are known to be dead and more than 50 were injured in the attack, Le Figaro reported late Thursday night. At least 40 were critically injured by the unidentified terrorist as he drove the 2.5-ton (5,000 lb) white truck along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront, officials said. It is not yet known whether Israelis were among them.
Shots were reportedly fired from the truck as it drove straight into the crowd. The driver was shot dead by police, according to a local official. Grenades and other arms were later found inside the truck.
A second suspect may still be at large, according to French television news.
Twitter accounts known to be associated with the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization were posting tweets celebrating the attack, but none claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sunday at 10 PM Israel time, most males (and many females) will be seated before their TV screens to watch the final game in the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, between the national teams of France and Portugal, two of the best teams on the planet. The family of Oron Shaul HY”D, an IDF soldier who is missing in action since the 2014 Gaza War, and whose body is being held by the Hamas government as a bargaining chip for future prisoner release negotiations, wants to make sure Hamas security prisoners will not be allowed this pleasure which they argue should be preserved to the non-murderous-terrorist portion of the public.
And argue they did, in Israel’s Supreme Court. On Sunday morning the family petitioned the court saying the decision to make all the TV channels carrying the game tonight available to security prisoners, most of whom are members of Hamas, is repugnant.
The family wrote that “we must deliver a message to the Hamas organization that our values are not your values, but in war let it be an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Last week Zehava and Herzl Shaul, Oron’s parents, appealed to the Israel Prison Service Commissioner, Lieutenant General Ofra Klinger, and are yet to be answered, saying, “We were astonished to discover that you decided to approve benefits to 3,500 Hamas prisoners.”