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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

Jordan’s King Asking UN Help on Syrian Refugees, Offering Lip Service on PA

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The two main concerns Jordan’s King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein brought up in his speech before the UN assembly this week were the need to halt the spread of terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere, and his country’s dire need for help in caring for millions of Syrian refugees that have crossed over from the civil war next door. The king ended his eloquent speech with a scant reference to the Israeli-PA conflict, cautioning that “no injustice has spread more bitter fruit than the denial of a Palestinian State,” and stressing that “Israel has to embrace peace or eventually be engulfed in a sea of hatred.”

Meanwhile, it’s been Jordan being engulfed, as the ISIS hordes have been hammering at its borders from several directions, leaving only one safe border, the one with those bitter fruits of the Israeli-PA conflict. Or, as His Majesty described it, the outlaws of Islam — the “khawarej” — have murdered, plundered, exploited children and rejected the equality of women before God. But he insisted that it was crucial to recognize the difference between that image of Islam and what the religion really teaches.

“False perceptions of Islam and of Muslims will fuel the terrorists’ agenda of a global struggle by polarizing and factionalizing societies, East and West,” the king warned. Islam teaches that all humanity is equal in dignity and that there is no distinction between different nations, regions or races, he said, but the khawarej deliberately hide such truths in order to drive Muslims and non-Muslims apart. “We cannot allow this to happen,” he warned. He explained that those radical outlaws do not exist on the fringes of Islam, but outside it altogether. A new mind-set, new partnerships and reformed methodologies would be needed to confront such a non-traditional enemy. For Muslims it is, first and foremost, a fight for their future.

Admirably truthful and useful ideas, which is why one must wonder how come the king is recommending that, while the rest of the world should be combating these radicals, Israel, his only safe neighbor, should embrace peace with them. It may have to do with the fact that Jordan’s population is 80% “Palestinian,” meaning it is made up of the indefinable hordes who flooded the area from all over the Middle East starting in the 1920s, seeking jobs and safety alongside the Zionist enterprise and under the rule of the British Mandate. Jordan has become a home to many of them who fled Israel during the 1948-49 war, just as it became a home to an estimated 400,000 of them who were deported by Kuwait after the Gulf War of 1991. Indeed, the close to two million refugees who have been invading Jordan in the past five years are no more “Syrian” than the others are “Palestinian.” Those national definitions are synthetic, Western inventions imposed on a region that lives by tribalism.

That was the real message the Jordanian king was sharing with the world in NY City this week, as he put it bluntly in his speech before the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, co-hosted by the US, Jordan, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Ethiopia.

“For many years, our country’s security and stability and our citizens’ generous compassion have led desperate refugees to our doors,” King Abdullah II told the summit. “In the past five years the Syrian crisis has sent Jordan’s burden skyrocketing. Some 2.5 million Syrians have crossed into Jordan since 2011. Today we are hosting 1.5 million Syrians, one for every five of our own citizens. Across my country, Jordanians are suffering. No one is justified in questioning our commitment and sacrifices. The economic and social impact has shocked every sector, every community; and it has set back the strides of our economy and has created tremendous problems in our development, job growth and debt reduction. We are spending a quarter of our national budget on refugee-related costs.”

Noting that “all countries agree that the Syrian refugee crisis will be with us all for years to come,” the king warned that “if regional refugee hosts are abandoned and left to fail, the need won’t disappear. The crisis will simply spread further, prolonging the time it takes to end this ordeal. The cost in human suffering will be unspeakable.”

Which is why the takeaway from King Abdullah II’s speech is not about his faint call on Israel to be more peaceful with its terrorist neighbors, but a cry for help in managing the Arab hordes on either side of his gates.

JNi.Media

Lebanese Insist Syrian Refugees Go Home, Now

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Monday warned that his country was in “serious danger” to the point of facing collapse under the ongoing rush of Syrian refugees, the Daily Star reported Tuesday. Salam said the burden is straining Lebanon’s already struggling economy and infrastructure, to the point where it is threatening their very stability.

Speaking in NY on the occasion of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the global refugee crisis, Salam said: “My country is in serious danger. What the Lebanese have done by harboring one million and a half Syrians for a population of four million is unprecedented. What the Lebanese have done by spending close to 15 billion dollars they do not have in three years to serve the displaced Syrian population is unprecedented.”

Salam insisted that the UN “draft within three months a detailed logistical mapping of the return in safety and dignity of the Syrians now in Lebanon to Syria, specifying transportation needs, departure locations, and all associated costs.” Salam suggested that “raising the financing required for this plan should be started immediately. This will allow, when circumstances permit, a swift implementation.”

As of March 31, 2016, Lebanon is hosting 1,048,275 registered refugees from Syria, 53% of whom are children, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  The Lebanese government chose not to establish camps for Syrian citizens fleeing the civil war into Lebanon, and they have settled instead throughout country. Most of the newcomers rent lodging in about 1,700 towns and villages, but an estimated 18% live in squatter communities near the border.

According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, the Lebanese government is making it difficult for Syrian refugees to renew their residency permits, and as a result, according to Shelter Working Group-Lebanon, the number of households in which all members are legally in the country has dropped from 58% in 2014 to 29% in 2015. The same NGO has reported that refugee households living below the poverty line increased from 49% in 2014 to 70% in 2015. The percentage of refugee households with debt jumped from 70% in 2013 to 89% in 2015.

JNi.Media

Another US-Russian Ceasefire Deal for Syria, Again

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov shook hands Friday on a deal to impose a new cease-fire in Syria after marathon talks in Geneva. More than half a million Syrians have died since the start of the savage civil war that has raged in the country since March 2011.

The truce is scheduled to begin Monday together with the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

But few have faith the deal will hold up for more than a few minutes.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), itself little more than a name on paper for a collection of secular opposition groups backed by the West, quickly dismissed the possibility that this time the deal would bring peace.

Fares al-Bayoush, head of the FSA’s Northern Division group, pointed out that Russia and Syrian government troops had not complied with the previous cease-fire. Likewise, Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, military spokesperson for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Brigades opposition group said the agreement would only give government troops the opportunity to gather forces and reinforce troops in Aleppo with more Iranian-backed military forces.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also welcomed the agreement but reminded that “broken promises” had been heard before, The Guardian reported. “I call on all parties to the Syria conflict and all countries with influence upon them to do what is needed to end violence and lift sieges,” he said. “In particular, it’s vital that the regime in Damascus now delivers on its obligations, and I call on Russia to use all its influence to ensure this happens.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Kerry by phone on Saturday that Ankara welcomes the cease-fire. Two and a half weeks ago, Turkey launched its own invasion of Syria after dealing with an endless flood of Syrian refugees through its southeastern border, and numerous “overflow” attacks from the war. Now Ankara has said it will provide humanitarian aid to Aleppo, in northern Syria, in cooperation with the United Nations, following the cease-fire.

It’s not the first time such a cease-fire has been proposed the same two parties; just six months ago, a similar truce was made, and violated repeatedly by both sides almost immediately. Before that, the two sides worked out a cease-fire deal in 2013. That one didn’t happen, either.

Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with Lavrov, “The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe Russia and my colleague have the capability to press the Assad regime to stop this conflict and come to the table and make peace.

“Out of complexity in Syria, there is emerging a simple choice between war and peace,” he said.

The plan is for the U.S. and Russia to establish a joint operation center to coordinate military efforts against the Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations.

Russia informed President Bashar al-Assad about the agreement and, according to Lavrov, the regime agreed to comply. Although the terms were documented and agreed to by both sides, they would not be made public, he told reporters, according to the UK-based newspaper, The Telegraph.

The deal rides on Russia’s ability and willingness to stop attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and the same cooperation by the United States to halt attacks by “moderate” opposition forces who unite with Al Nusra and other radical Islamists when it suits their needs.

Other forces that have become involved in the Syrian conflict include Iran and Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the Kurds.

It’s a coin toss whether anyone will actually pay more than five minutes’ attention to the terms of the deal in Damascus this time — and some bookie is probably making good money on the estimates of how long the quiet will last, or if it will even be quiet at all by Monday night.

Hana Levi Julian

Senior German Lawmaker Says Law of Integration is Solution to Jewish Community Fears

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

A senior German politician suggested to a Jewish gathering last week that the Jewish community’s fears over growing extremism in the country can be solved by passing a proposed Law of Integration.

Johannes Kahrs, one of the leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the second-largest political party in Germany, visited the Berlin Jewish Community Center last week to address community issues and answer questions from the public. The conference was hosted by Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, spiritual leader of the Jewish community in Berlin and arranged by Mr. Stefan Hensel, Chairman of the German-Israeli Association in Hamburg in cooperation with Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky, Rabbi of the Jewish community in Hamburg, which Kahrs represents in the Budenstag. The conference took place in the main reception hall of the Jewish Community Center Synagogue and was attended by some fifty guests, including members of the Jewish community and a delegation of youth leaders and activists from Hamburg.

Kahrs referenced the proposed Law of Integration in response to a questions about ways the German government might resolve the Jewish community’s fears of the growing wave of extremism in the country from the surge of foreign immigrants and war in ISIS. “Instead of requiring potential immigrants to approach German Embassies in their native countries to fill out forms and undergo a preliminary interview—they simply haven’t done it. Presently, everyone just comes straight to Germany, and we can’t know who’s coming. Practically, this will take time, but we need to instill democratic foundations in these people until we succeed.”

Kahrs attacked the extreme right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which will contend in two weeks’ time in municipal elections in Berlin and, according to recent surveys taken, is slated to enter the city’s government. “Integration can only succeed if there are people working actively to promote it, and there is sufficient funding,” Kahrs said. “The fundamental problem here is that there are between eight and ten percent of people who aren’t interested in integration.

“Most people want to live together in harmony, but there are others who fear change and are busy negating others. But, slowly, we can make a change. Practically, there is no immediate response or magic solution, but each and every person can work on this. AfD exploits people’s fears to advance their political agendas.”

Kahrs added that surveys indicate 20 percent to 25 percent of the public in certain areas will vote AfD “because the latter appeals to them and convinces them that all our country’s problems are rooted in the immigrants. It doesn’t reflect the truth at all, but it’s easy and convenient to believe.”

The lawmaker has previously served as one of the leading spokesmen for the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group advocating the admission of Turkey into the European Union. At the conference, he was asked about his current stance following motions to cease negotiations in response to Erdogan’s harsh retaliation against the revolution attempt.

“I know that I’m in the minority, but I believe that we must communicate openly with Turkey, because that’s the only way we can influence them to honor various religions, minorities, and to act against capital punishment,” Kahrs replied. “Only if we talk to them, and continue doing so for a long time, will we perhaps succeed in fifteen years to change them and influence society there.”

Rabbi Teichtal thanked Kahrs for the visit, noting that “The Jewish community in Berlin opposes extremism – both religious and right-wing political. In this tense period, the paramount goal for us as community leaders is to promote tolerance, patience, and to give a personal example of this in all our activities.”

Hana Levi Julian

UK-Based World Jewish Relief Marks 1 Year Aiding More Than 17,500 Refugees

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

The Britain-based World Jewish Relief humanitarian organization has just marked its one-year anniversary aiding more than 17,500 refugees in Greece and Turkey, including thousands of children.

The organization’s emergency appeal was launched in September 2015, according to a report released by WJR this week.

It has provided 3,169 children with winter kits, including coats and blankets for children based in bitterly cold camps on the Turkish-Syrian border, and supplied 2,050 back-to-school kits helping refugee children and their families in Turkey achieve a basic lifestyle after having been uprooted from home and school.

World Jewish Relief also provided 4,837 people with vital medical care in Greece and 7,474 refugees with humanitarian essentials such as water, food and warm clothes in Greece, organization representatives say.

However, beyond the numbers, the report provides information about the organization’s work with individuals, telling for example the powerful story of Adnan*, a talented sixteen-year-old artist who, due to WJR is able to cultivate his talents. Adnan arrived in Lesbos together with his younger brother following a very difficult journey which included the loss of many family members. After being held in cramped conditions with other children, a new facility was set up to look after minors with medical and psychological support provided. After noticing Adnan’s artistic skills, staff encouraged him to use his talent, culminating in an art gallery in Lesbos exhibiting his drawings.

In total, the organization’s appeal has raised nearly £944,000, making it the second largest WJR appeal ever to be held, after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Donations are still welcome and will be spent on continuing refugee projects in Greece and Turkey. The projects come in the wake of an announcement by former Prime Minister David Cameron that the UK will resettle and house 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees by 2020.

World Jewish Relief created a program to help these refugees integrate, drawing on the agency’s past experience helping vulnerable Jews in the former Soviet Union, and relying on funds provided exclusively by private donors. World Jewish Relief is helping 1,000 of the 20,000 Syrian refugees find employment and integrate into life in the UK, beginning with a pilot program in Bradford aiming to help 50 Syrian refugees to find work.

The pilot program currently supports 27 refugees. “One year ago, a photo of a three-year-old Syrian boy named Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach, shocked the world into action. Thanks to the British Jewish community’s outstanding generosity, over the past year, we’ve made a difference to 17,557 lives,” said Paul Anticoni, WJR CEO. The organization is a coalition partner of OLAM, an organization of 46 Israeli and Jewish NGOs raising awareness of the importance of supporting the world’s most vulnerable communities.

*name changed to protect his identity

Jewish Press Staff

Erdogan to EU: No Visa Waiver for Turks, No Turkish Haven for Refugees

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is irate at the European Union for not delivering on their promised quid pro quo, which was, essentially, Turkey would keep millions of Syrian refugees from flooding Europe, and in return Europe would let millions of Turkish tourists and employment seekers come in without a visa.

Speaking to Le Monde on Monday, Erdogan threatened that the Turkish migrant deal with the EU “will not be possible” if visa-waiver promises are not kept.

“The European Union does not behave sincerely with Turkey,” Erdogan said. “We currently host three million refugees, whereas the only EU concern is that they do not arrive on its territory.”

He said the EU had offered the visa exemption for Turkish nationals in return for Turkey’s humane treatment of the Syrian hordes, and the measure was supposed to take effect on June 1.

“We are now in August and there is still no visa-waiver. If our demands are not met, re-admissions will no longer be possible,” said the Turkish leader.

Turkey and the EU signed the deal on March 18, aiming to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey, Anadolu reported.

Erdogan did not mention that Turkey had received the aid package portion of the deal, to the tune of $6.8 billion, ostensibly to help Turkey care for the millions of refugees it hosts.

David Israel

Merkel Uses the I Word in Pointing Finger at Terrorist Refugees

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday has agreed publicly that Germany is “at war” with Islamist terrorists, but insisted that they would nevertheless not erode German values or cause her to change her refugee policy.

“A rejection of the humanitarian stance we took could have led to even worse consequences,” Merkel said at a press conference in Berlin, adding that the terrorists “wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need. We firmly reject this.”

She defended her open door policy for refugees, said she feels no guilt for the violent attacks those refugees have carried out in Germany, and insisted she had been right to permit those hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees to enter a year ago.

Still, Merkel did call a spade a spade, berating Islamist extremists for biting the German hands that feed them. “Taboos of civilization are being broken,” Merkel said. “These acts happened in places where any of us could have been.”

She was referring to a string of attacks Germans have endured in the space of one week: an axe attack on a train, a mass shooting in Munich that left nine dead, a machete attack that killed a pregnant woman, and a suicide bomb in Ansbach. Three of the attacks were carried out by refugees.

“The fact that [the] men who came to us as refugees are responsible mocked the country that took them in, mocks the volunteers who have taken so much care of refugees. And it mocks the many other refugees who truly seek protection from war and violence with us, who want to live peacefully,” Merkel said.

“I didn’t say eleven months ago that it would be easy,” she said. “I am still convinced today that ‘We can do it’. It is our historic duty and historic task in these times of globalization. We have already achieved so much in the last 11 months.”

Merkel is counting on the EU migrant deal with Turkey, which she negotiated, and the closure of the Balkan Route, will slow down the rush of asylum seekers into Germany. “An influx like last year’s will not happen again, but I cannot say that we will not take in any more refugees,” she said.

Merkel introduced a nine-point plan to defeat domestic terror, including improved monitoring of suspects and improved intelligence co-operation with the US and the Europeans. She is also determined to speed up deportations of rejected asylum seekers. The Ansbach suicide bomber had been rejected but was able to stay in Germany.

“I believe we are in a fight, or for that matter at war with ISIS,” Merkel said. “We are not in any way in a fight or war with Islam.”

The next German federal elections will take place in late summer or early fall, 2017, unless the Merkel government loses a no confidence motion.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/merkel-uses-the-i-word-in-pointing-finger-at-terrorist-refugees/2016/07/28/

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