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Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Palestinians Impose Severe Restrictions on Foreign Media

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

It’s official: the Palestinian Authority does not want foreign journalists to work in territories under its control unless they receive permission in advance from the Palestinian Ministry of Information.

The decision was taken earlier this week by the Palestinian Ministry of Information and the Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate — a body controlled by Fatah-affiliated journalists.

Foreign journalists who ignore the latest restriction face arrest by Palestinian Authority security forces, said Jihad Qawassmeh, member of the Palestinian Journalist’s’ Syndicate.

Qawassmeh warned that any Palestinian journalist who helps international media representatives enter the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories without permission would face punitive measures.

“The Palestinian security forces are entitled to arrest any person who enters the State of Palestine without permission,” Qawassmeh added.

The new decision is directed primarily against Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs. Recently, many Palestinian journalists complained that it was unacceptable that their Israeli colleagues were being allowed to operate freely in Palestinian territories while they did not have permission to enter Israel. They also complained that the Israeli Government Press Office was refusing to issue them press credentials.

The Palestinian journalists demanded that the Palestinian Authority impose restrictions on the work of both Israeli and international reporters.

The Palestinian journalists’ claim that they are not free to work in Israel and are being deprived of Israeli press cards stands in contrast to their calls for boycotting Israel.

The Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate has long been opposed to “normalization” with Israel, and bans its members from holding meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who defied the ban were recently expelled from the syndicate.

So while the Palestinian journalists are promoting a boycott of Israel, they are also demanding that the Israeli government issue them with press cards so they can enter Israel.

Besides reflecting hypocrisy on the part of these Palestinian journalists, the latest restriction serves as a reminder that the Palestinian Authority is not much different from most Arab dictatorships.

Under these dictatorships, foreign journalists need to obtain permission from the relevant authorities to enter the country to cover a story. In many cases, the authorities assign a “minder” to guide or escort the journalists to make sure that they see and hear only what the dictators want.

The Palestinian Authority, which has often displayed a large degree of intolerance toward journalists who refuse to serve as a mouthpiece for its leaders, wants to work only with sympathetic reporters.

The timing of the ban is no coincidence. It came in the aftermath of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Ramallah and Bethlehem, where Palestinian protesters set fire to and trampled on his pictures. The protests seriously embarrassed the Palestinian Authority, especially because they underscored the large gap between its leaders and the street.

While the Palestinian Authority continues to talk about making peace with Israel, many Palestinians are opposed to the idea; they argue that the leadership in Ramallah does not have a mandate to make any concessions to Israel.

These objections appeared in addition to some protests also directed against Mahmoud Abbas and his policies, especially against his declared opposition to an armed struggle against Israel and an alliance with the U.S. and the West.

Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leaders went out of their way to show Obama that they are in full control and that they enjoy the backing of the overwhelming majority of Palestinians. But television footage and news reports of the anti-Obama demonstrations threatened to spoil their effort to persuade Obama.

Particularly disturbing is that representatives of the international media have not protested against the Palestinian Authority’s threat to restrict the journalists’ work and even arrest them. One can only imagine the response of the international media had the Israeli authorities issued a similar ban or threat.

It also remains to be seen whether human rights organizations and groups that claim to defend freedom of press will react.

Once the ban goes into effect, officials of the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information will find themselves serving as censors and editors of all news items concerning the Palestinians. Unless, of course, foreign journalists raise their voices and insist on their right to write their own stories from Ramallah.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Obama’s Call for Protest in Israel

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

President Obama’s visit to Israel, and particularly his speech to 500 university students, was a winner at many levels including one he probably had not even considered. In how many countries can the President of the United States call forth the passions of the local people and have confidence that he is calling forth the “better angels”? He did it in Israel.

The President touched on deeply felt emotions for Israelis, worked hard at erasing the faux pas of relating Israel’s national origins to the Holocaust, twice declined to call Israeli settlements “illegal” while standing next to P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, and he praised Israeli technology, ingenuity, democracy and culture. Remarking on the upheaval in the Arab world he said, “So much of what people in the region are seeking is happening here [Israel].”

Yes, that is something he should have said in Cairo or Ramallah. And yes, he called for a “two state solution” that has little chance of success. And yes, yes, he made false analogies between Palestinians and Israelis. And yes, yes, yes, he called Abbas, whose single elected term expired in 2009 and who has been increasingly repressive and willing to incite against Israel and the U.S., a “partner.” And no, Israel cannot “reverse an undertow of isolation,” that is generated by other people in other lands who do not accept that, at the end of any “peace process,” Israel will still exist.

But okay. Those are things that should have been and were expected from President Obama. It was also expected that he would encourage his youthful, carefully selected, leftish college student audience to push the rightish government of Israel to do what he could not convince Prime Minister Netanyahu to do. He directly asked the audience to pressure its government.

In full campaign mode, Mr. Obama told them:

Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see. (People can) overcome a legacy of mistrust that they inherited from their parents… Your voices must be louder than the extremists who would drown them out. Your hopes must light the way forward.

That is a call to protest, to political insurrection. The interesting part is that he assumed igniting a political firestorm in Israel would have a positive effect.

Unspoken — maybe because the President had not expressly thought it — was that if young Israelis “do it,” if they “create the change they want to see,” what they create will be a force for good. He assumed without saying it that the voices they would raise would be voices for peace. He assumed without saying it that Israeli hopes are hopes for peace. And he is right, although it should be said that hopes for peace reside all along the Israeli political spectrum. Those of the right want peace no less than those of the left; they just have different levels of skepticism.

But what if it is not peace in the hearts of the people, but something malign?

Mr. Obama referenced his Cairo speech to the Israelis:

Four years ago, I stood in Cairo in front of an audience of young people. Politically, religiously, they must seem a world away. But the things they want — they’re not so different from you. The ability to make their own decisions; to get an education and a good job; to worship God in their own way; to get married and have a family. The same is true of the young Palestinians that I met in Ramallah this morning, and of young Palestinians who yearn for a better life in Gaza. That is where peace begins — not just in the plans of leaders, but in the hearts of people.

Certainly the beginning of the Arab uprising in Tunis and in Tahrir Square was focused on jobs and justice (although not on “peace” with Israel or anyone else). But the result was not the flowering of education, work and peaceful relations. It was the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, violence and the collapse of the Egyptian economy. And clearly many of the Brotherhood’s supporters are young Egyptians. Intolerance for Egypt’s Coptic citizens and the increasing violence in several cities attest to the dangers of calling for changes in or of government. Without wanting a return to the repression of the old government, it is safe to say that the revolution did not bring forth a better one.

The German Women Who Stood Up to the Nazis

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of a remarkable public protest by ordinary German women against the Nazi regime.

From February 27 to March 6, 1943, a group of unorganized German women went into the streets of downtown Berlin, within a few city blocks of the most feared centers of Nazi power, to protest for the release of their Jewish husbands, who had just been arrested by the Gestapo. Daily giving voice to their collective demand – “give us our husbands back” – first softly, then with increasing urgency, they succeeded in achieving their goal.

For these German women, the brutal Nazi state had lost all legitimacy. Like very few others, they were willing to express this publicly, on the streets, for all to see. For decades, their story was largely absent from histories of Nazi Germany. Their story challenges the comforting, generally accepted narrative that opposition was honorable but always futile. This year’s anniversary is an opportunity to focus deserved attention on these women’s brave action – and its implications for resistance more broadly.

On February 27, 1943, as part of the Nazi plan to remove the last remaining Jews from German soil, the Gestapo arrested some 2,000 Berlin Jews who had not yet been deported because they were married to non-Jews. In response, hundreds of women – wives of those arrested – pushed their way onto the street in front of Rosenstrasse 2-4, an office of the Jewish community where these arrested Jews were being held, and began to protest.

SS men as well as policemen guarded the single entrance. Over the course of the following week the Gestapo repeatedly threatened to shoot the protesters in the street, causing them to scatter briefly before resuming their collective cry of “give us our husbands back.”

Decades later, I interviewed one of these women, Elsa Holzer, who remembered arriving on the street in search of her husband. “I thought,” she said, “I would be alone there the first time I went to the Rosenstrasse…. I didn’t necessarily think it would do any good, but I had to go see what was going on…. If you had to calculate whether you would do any good by protesting, you wouldn’t have gone. But we wanted to show that we weren’t willing to let them [our husbands] go. I went to Rosenstrasse every day, before work. And there was always a flood of people there. It wasn’t organized, or instigated. Everyone was simply there. Exactly like me. That’s what is so wonderful about it.”

During the same week of this protest, some 7,000 of the last Jews in Berlin were sent to Auschwitz. On Rosenstrasse, however, the regime hesitated; almost all of those held there were released on March 6. Even intermarried Jews who had also been sent to Auschwitz and put in work camps were returned to Germany.

Surprising as it might seem, these events on closer examination fit with the treacherous strategies of the Nazi regime for domestic control. The Rosenstrasse protest occurred as many Germans were tempted to doubt Hitler’s leadership following Germany’s debacle in the Battle of Stalingrad. As he elaborated in Mein Kampf, Hitler believed that popular support comprised the primary pillar of his authority among the German “racial” people, and his dictatorship throughout strove to maintain this basis of his power. To end this protest, the regime released the intermarried Jews, furthering, for that moment, Hitler’s goal of quelling any appearance of dissention.

The murderous Nazi regime also appeased other public protests. On October 11, 1943, on Adolf Hitler Square in the city of Witten, some three hundred women protested against the official decision to withhold their food ration cards until they evacuated their homes as part of Nazi policy to protect civilians from bombing raids. The following day Germans in Lünen, Hamm and Bochum also protested on the streets for the same reason.

In response, Hitler ordered all regional authorities not to withhold ration cards as a method of forcing civilians to evacuate their homes. This was followed by further orders by Nazi officials to refrain from “coercive measures” against evacuees who had returned. In his cold calculations, Hitler chose not to draw further attention to public protest, judging it the best way to protect his authority – and the appearance, promoted by his propaganda machine, that all Germans stood united behind him.

Arabs Block Entrance to Jewish Town

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

On Friday afternoon, Arabs blocked the entrance to the town of Elazar in Gush Etzion.

On Friday evening, a terrorist was caught infiltrating into the nearby town of Efrat.

H/T Natan Epstein

Police Gear Up for Arab Riots in Musmus

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Police are preparing for Arab riots, as Otzma L’Yisrael political leader Michael Ben-Ari and his party’s supporters are planning a march inside the Arab town of Musmus in the Wadi Ara region on Tuesday.

They will be marching under the slogan of, “Without duties, there are no rights.”

Ben-Ari claims that many Israeli Arabs, and even entire villages are not not paying taxes, building illegally, and generally ignoring the laws of the state.

Police are expecting a large, and potentially violent counter-protest in the village. Residents of the village have called for a general strike today, and hundreds have been reported as protesting at the junction at the entrance to the village.

Musmus is located just north of Um El Fahm, and 13 miles east of Zichron Yaacov.

Following Brutal Rape, Protest Rally Against Illegal Aliens in Tel Aviv

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

MK Michael Ben-Ari of the Otzma l’Yisrael party led a protest on Monday against the illegal Sudanese and Eritrean aliens living in southern Tel Aviv. Hundred of people participated in the rally.

Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad have made the expulsion of the illegal aliens a centerpiece of their political campaign.

The protest called, “Blowing up the Silence” was initiated after an Eritrean alien was caught brutally raping an 83 year old woman. The suspect, who was tied to the assault by his DNA, has reportedly has been arrested a number of time for other sexual assaults.

Morsi Back After Massive Protests Threaten Palace

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

After a night of protests threatening the presidential palace, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has returned home, despite national outrage over his attempts at constitutional reform.

Police held back tens of thousands of protests around the perimeter of the residence, citizens who came out to protest reforms which will strongly increase the powers of the president and severely restrict any judicial oversight.

A referendum on the new measures is expected to be supported by the MuslimBrotherhood in the parliament.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/morsi-back-after-massive-protests-threaten-palace/2012/12/05/

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