The measure was proposed by Tunisia and Lebanon on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, neither of whom are members of the World Heritage Committee. That did not stop either of the two from threatening the voting members with an ultimatum, however, if they were to decide to vote against the resolution.
Entitled ‘Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,’ the measure refers to the holy sites in the ancient city – including the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples – exclusively by their Arabic names and solely in terms of their Islamic status.
But of the 21 member states who were eligible to vote on the measure, just 10 voted in favor of the resolution. Eight abstained, and two opposed it. Jamaica was simply absent from the room. Eight others turned in entirely blank voting forms.
“UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee deserves to be condemned, not Israel,” Netanyahu said.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites has also spoken out against the UNESCO Jerusalem resolutions, which are part of a campaign by the Palestinian Authority to reclassify all holy sites in the Israeli capital as solely Islamic in order to strengthen Muslim claims to Jerusalem. Last year’s texts, in addition to the previous resolution, referred to Israel as the “occupying power” and condemned the Jewish State for its alleged “activities” at holy sites in the city.
“There should be a clear distinction between political controversies and scientific facts and that political disputes … and political views cannot justify statements which erase basic and well known and proven historical facts,” said Council Vice President Gideon Koren, an Israeli attorney. The Council, an independent advisory body on manmade World Heritage Sites, decided to speak out after a board meeting in Istanbul.
Four French police officers were wounded Saturday in a firebombing (Molotov cocktail) attack in Grande Borne, a working class housing area in a southern Paris suburb, France 24 reported.
At least two of the officers were listed in serious condition, with “major burns,” according to a police source. They were rushed to a medical center in Paris. A van and a police vehicle in which the officers were riding were badly burned in the attack.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described the attack as “extremely serious,” adding that “Everything is being done to find and arrest those behind these intolerable attacks and bring them to justice.”
A source told France 24 the officers “were in a police vehicle monitoring a surveillance camera near a traffic light. About 10 people attacked them with volleys of Molotov cocktails” shortly before 3 pm [local time].”
Local Mayor Jean-Marie Vilain told AFP the next step will be to step up the response to “chronic criminality in the area… to put an end to all the drug dealing, because that is really what the cameras interfere with.”
Built in the 1960s with winding coloured buildings, the housing project — which today has 11,000 residents — was intended to become an ideal dormitory town. Since that time, however, Grande Bourne has become known in France for its poverty, drug dealing, arms trafficking, youth criminality and attacks on police, as well as arson attacks on public buildings.
Grande Bourne was home to Amedy Coulibaly, the radical Islamist terrorist who in January 2015 murdered a police officer, murdered four people and held 15 others hostage at the Hyper Cacher Kosher Grocery in the 20th district of Paris, while demanding that two other terrorists not be harmed.
The two others — Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi — were Al Qaeda terrorists he met while in prison in 2005, and with whom he had coordinated his attacks.
Coulibaly himself had pledged his allegiance to Da’esh (ISIS). His wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, is currently wanted by French police on suspicion of having been his accomplice in helping to plan the attacks, and was seen arriving in Turkey five days before he launched the first one. She was last traced to Syria, where she fled while her husband was carrying out his attacks. She has been described by French newspapers as the “Most Wanted Woman in France.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer slammed the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement this week as a “modern form of anti-Semitism.”
Schumer said in an address to the Israeli American Council’s 2016 National Israeli American Conference that ultimately, BDS organizers don’t “believe there should be a Jewish State in the Middle East, and are guilty of the same anti-Semitism. We need to make that argument loudly and strongly and go against the BBDS movement and call it for what it is,” he said,” an anti-Semitic and not just anti-Israel movement.”
The senator added that he applauds the governors of New York and California for passing anti-BDS legislation.
But although anti-Semitism is clearly rising on the campuses of American colleges and universities, Schumer noted that the problem is even worse in Europe.
“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism seems to be in far too many European homes,” he said, pointing to the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party as one example.
“Europe has shown how anti-Israel and anti-Semitic the BDS movement really is. Far-right parties are experiencing a rebirth, and far-left parties … like the Labour Party under Corbyn, are increasingly anti-Israel.”
Corbyn has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the anti-Semitism of veteran members of the party, prompting the recent resignation of a prominent Jewish Labourite, Lord Parry Mitchell. Corbyn in the past also has expressed his “friendship” for the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations.
“Terrorism and violence against Jews is on the rise, from vandalizing synagogues to the horrible attack on a Jewish grocery in Paris,” Schumer pointed out.
“It is no wonder that last year France, home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, set a record for the migration of Jews to Israel,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande is calling for more resources for his country to prevent, let alone to fight the terrorism in its midst. He made the declaration while speaking at a special commemoration ceremony Monday dedicated to the victims of terror over the past two years in France.
Hollande noted that more than 230 people have been killed in terror attacks since the start of 2015. Hundreds more have been wounded and otherwise affected by the slaughter.
“We must ensure that the action taken is sustained, and here I am talking about all the measures taken to foresee attacks, deter them and stop them. It’s a constant battle and will need still more resources than those I have called for,” Hollande told those gathered.
Radical Islamic terrorists murdered 17 people in January 2015, including a number of Jews who were targeted at a kosher grocery store a few hours before the start of the Sabbath.
But 130 were slaughtered in a multi-site coordinated attack on Paris on November 13, 2015 that prompted the government to declare the country under emergency law.
This year, a lone wolf killer drove a truck into a crowd in the southern city of Nice during the country’s Bastille Day celebrations, leaving 86 dead and numerous others wounded. Other attacks included the murders of a police chief and his female partner, and the ritual murder of a priest on the altar of his own church by an Islamic State terrorist.
A senior official at the Palestinian Authority told Israel Radio Sunday that Israel has refused an offer for a preparatory meeting with the PA side ahead of a possible summit meeting in Cairo between Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the official, the Cairo meeting is intended to prepare for the international peace conference which is being planned in Paris by the end of the year, possibly with representatives from both France and the US. Apparently, various sources have advised Netanyahu to send an envoy to meet with a PA representative to prepare the Cairo meeting, but Netanyahu refused.
“Netanyahu does not want negotiations for a permanent settlement, and as long as he is at the helm there will not be a Palestinian State,” the PA senior said.
The same official also told Israel Radio that the PA does not demand that Israel freeze settlement construction as a prerequisite to the Paris conference, but rather the freeze should coincide with the start of negotiations. He threatened that “should Netanyahu not arrive at the Paris conference, we expect France and the other participating states to recognize the Palestinian State, open Palestinian embassies in their own capitals and boycott the settlements.”
Regarding Defense Minister Liberman’s plan to bypass Abbas in developing communication channels with key people in the PA society, the senior official said Liberman has yet to learn the lesson of the Village Associations that were set up by the late Ariel Sharon as a bulwark against the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which eventually became the Hamas movement.
“[Liberman] is treating the Palestinians as if they were animals: if they follow the rules they’ll get food, if not — a kick in the behind. The Village Associations failed then and will fail today. No one will work with Liberman, people here are not traitors,” the official said, adding, “Israel can’t run the same experiment, change nothing and expect different results.”
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday gave a foreign policy speech in Youngstown, Ohio, outlining his plan to fight terrorism. Addressing the large crowd (as usual), Trump opened, “Today we begin a conversation about how to Make America Safe Again. In the 20th Century, the United States defeated Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Now, a different threat challenges our world: Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
The candidate cited a very long list of terrorist attacks against individual Western targets (Paris, Brussels, Orlando), as well as a more generalized but no less forceful depiction of attacks on Muslims: “Overseas, ISIS has carried out one unthinkable atrocity after another. … We cannot let this evil continue.”
Trump promised, “We will defeat Radical Islamic Terrorism, just as we have defeated every threat we have faced in every age before.” He then threw a jab at both president Obama and Democratic presidential Candidate Clinton, saying, “Anyone who cannot name our enemy, is not fit to lead this country.”
This led to a Trump analysis of how President Obama and his Secretary of State Clinton are to blame for the current alarming state of events. He blamed them for policies that led to the creation of ISIS, saying, “It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’”
Remarkably, Trump omitted eight whole years in which the US was attacked by a different group of Islamic radicals, and the fact that then President GW Bush retaliated by invading a country that had nothing to do with that attack, inflicting chaos on Iraq and taking out the one fierce regional enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein. According to Trump, none of those eight bloody years of a Bush war had anything to do with the creation of ISIS (which took place in 2004) — it all began with “a series of speeches,” in which “President Obama described America as ‘arrogant,’ ‘dismissive,’ ‘derisive,’ and a ‘colonial power.'”
“Perhaps no speech was more misguided than President Obama’s speech to the Muslim World delivered in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009,” Trump said Monday night. Of course, the Obama Al Azhar University speech did launch a bizarre foreign policy that punished America’s friends and rewarded its enemies. Even if one were not pro-Israel, one would have to wonder what drove that disastrous foreign policy. But the Obama speech did not instigate the catastrophic failure of US policy in the Middle East, it only picked up Obama’s predecessor’s very bad situation and made it worse.
Trump believes that “the failure to establish a new Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq, and the election-driven timetable for withdrawal, surrendered our gains in that country and led directly to the rise of ISIS.” But in eight miserable years, having spent trillions of borrowed dollars our grandchildren and their grandchildren after them will continue to pay for, there were no US gains in Iraq — which is why when Obama honored the Bush agreement with the Iraqi government and withdrew some of the US forces, the whole thing came tumbling down.
Trump blames Hillary Clinton for destabilizing Libya, a claim supported by many, including President Obama and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. He also added a jab at the Clintons, saying, “Yet, as she threw the Middle East into violent turmoil, things turned out well for her. The Clintons made almost $60 million in gross income while she was Secretary of State.” It’s factually true, but the implied moral outrage is hard to accept with a straight face, seeing as it came from a man who prided himself on turning homeowners’ misery into a hefty profit for himself during the housing crisis of 2008.
After much more of the candidate’s unique view on US foreign policy and the causes for rise of terrorism, Trump finally cut to the chase.
“If I become President, the era of nation-building will be ended,” he said. “Our new approach, which must be shared by both parties in America, by our allies overseas, and by our friends in the Middle East, must be to halt the spread of Radical Islam. … As President, I will call for an international conference focused on this goal. We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President [Al] Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”
Trump added to the list of his envisioned coalition partners the NATO countries, explaining that although he “had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats.”
He also wants Russia to participate, clearly despite its dubious new alliance with both Iran and Turkey that threatens the very presence of US troops in that part of the region.
On this point, the Trump vision looks an awful lot like the current Administration’s policy on fighting ISIS: “My Administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expanded intelligence sharing, and cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting. We cannot allow the Internet to be used as a recruiting tool, and for other purposes, by our enemy – we must shut down their access to this form of communication, and we must do so immediately.”
So far so good, but then Trump suggested “we must use ideological warfare as well. Just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets, so too must we take on the ideology of Radical Islam.”
Trump then depicted his opponent as contributing to the repression of Muslim gays and women, promising his “Administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith. Our Administration will be a friend to all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East, and will amplify their voices.”
At which point one must ask if the candidate is relying on expert advise on the Middle East. Because while he is absolutely right in condemning the cruelty and repression that have been the reality in Muslim countries from Pakistan to Morocco, his idea of promoting an American foreign policy of “speaking out against the horrible practice of honor killings” and against the myriad other acts of unimaginable violence against women, his ideas that to defeat Islamic terrorism, the US must “speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow” is shockingly sophomoric. Surely Trump knows that these attempts are a recipe for a far worse disaster than the one brought on by the Obama Al Azhar speech.
At this point, Trump turned to an area with which he is more familiar, the need for a new immigration policy. “A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” the candidate declared, adding that “the time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.”
“In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law,” Trump said, explaining that “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country – and to embrace a tolerant American society – should be issued visas.”
Easier said than done, of course, because it’s naturally difficult to discern what lurks inside the mind of any person, immigrants included. Trump’s solution is, to “temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”
“As soon as I take office, I will ask the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security to identify a list of regions where adequate screening cannot take place. We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.” It should be interesting to gauge the response of, say, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to the news that no more cash-laden Arab oil sheiks would be allowed to visit Vegas under a Trump Administration.
“Finally, we will need to restore common sense to our security procedures,” Trump declared, listing several notorious murders committed by Muslims on US soil, noting that in each case there had been warning signs that were overlooked by the authorities.
“These warning signs were ignored because political correctness has replaced common sense in our society,” Trump stated flatly, adding, “That is why one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam. … The goal of the commission will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of Radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”
“This commission will be used to develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners,” Trump said, essentially suggesting legitimizing the police profiling that has been so vilified in the media and by many politicians. He also promised to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open (although Obama has just released fifteen of its inmates). He wants additional staff to Intelligence agencies and will keep drone strikes against terrorist leaders as part of his options. He also wants military trials for foreign enemy combatants.
In conclusion, there was absolutely no new policy idea in the Trump speech on foreign policy Monday night, but there was an implied, if mostly unspoken promise, to encourage all levels of law enforcement to be less restrained in pursuing their targets. In fact, across the board, what Trump was offering Monday night were not so much new ideas as the promise of taking existing ideas to a new level of dedication in their execution. It could mean a wider loss of individual civil rights, and serious economic hardship for US industries that cater to any aspect of immigration, and it could also end up with the alienation of both European and Mid-Eastern countries who would not take kindly to Trump’s promised level of fierceness, and would retaliate.
It should be noted in that context, that after having spoken bluntly about extreme security measures that could harm specific ethnic and religious groups, Trump attempted to soften his own tone with a final paragraph that promised: “As your President … I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people. — Only this way, will we make America Great Again and Safe Again – For Everyone.”
Like him or hate him, Donald Trump remains the champion of cognitive dissonance.
A French court on Monday remanded to custody a 16-year-old girl charged with plotting a jihadist attack, The Local reported. The judge charged the girl with participating in a “criminal terrorist association” and “inciting to commit terrorist acts through an online communication medium.”
The “highly radicalized” teen was group administrator on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.
“She relayed numerous Islamic State group propaganda messages calling for attacks, and she also expressed her own intention of taking action,” a source close to the investigation told The Local. Intelligence services picked up on one of her “very worrying” messages on Telegram.
The girl, who doesn’t have a criminal record, was picked up in a police anti-terror sweep in the suburb of Melun outside Paris.
The security forces then raided her family home, but did not find explosives or firearms.
“At this stage in the probe, investigators have not identified a planned target,” deputy prosecutor Laure Vermeersch said, adding that the girl’s phone and computer have been seized.
Investigators are looking for the other participants in the chat group, and are trying to figure out if the girl had accomplices in her attack plot.
Back in March, two girls ages 15 and 17 were charged with criminal terrorist association and possibly plotting to attack a Paris concert hall, but investigators realized the plot was more fantasy than a significant operation.
A state of emergency has been in effect in France since the November 13, 2015 ISIS attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.