France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Turkey and Iran were both violating international law through their actions in Syria, France’s toughest comments yet on Turkish involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Speaking on BFM television, Jean-Yves Le Drian also said there were indications Syrian government forces were using toxic gas against civilians.
Asked whether he wanted Turkish armed forces to withdraw from Syria, Le Drian replied that he wanted “the withdrawal of all of those who ought not to be in Syria, including Iranian militia, including Hezbollah.”
A pro-Israel organization that found its nonprofit status subjected to undue scrutiny by the Obama administration’s IRS as a result of its advocacy on the Jewish state’s behalf reached a settlement Thursday with the Department of Justice that included a formal apology from the U.S. government for subjecting the group to unfair treatment, according to an announcement.
The Trump administration’s DOJ announced Tuesday that it had reached a settlement with Z Street, a conservative pro-Israel advocacy group that sued the government over allegations the Obama administration subjected the organization to unfair scrutiny as a result of its pro-Israel views. Z Street was just one of several conservative organizations to sue the U.S. government.
The mostly Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina
Jerusalem’s Malcha mall was bustling with activity as workers mixed with shoppers, setting up stands decked out with balloons and preparing cotton candy booths for an afternoon gala celebrating the shopping center’s 25th anniversary.
At one of the clothing stores, a 22-year-old sales clerk in jeans and a sweater named Ro’aa was unpacking new merchandise from a cardboard box. As she answered customer questions in fluent Hebrew, she slipped jeans, skirts, and blouses out of plastic bags, refolded them so the creases matched and organized them for shelving.
Then she explained to two visitors, in her native Arabic, why she works in a Jewish area of west Jerusalem, rather than in east Jerusalem, where she lives, as do most of the more than 300,000 Arabs of Jerusalem.
The leading European human rights assembly on Thursday endorsed a resolution that called on Ramallah to stop paying salaries to the families of Palestinian terrorists. It also condemned the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and calls for an increased European role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The resolution primarily deals with the consequences of Trump’s December 6 declaration that the US will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.
By Nir Boms and Shayan Arya: The recent demonstrations in Iran have caught many by surprise, especially those who have been attuned to voices sympathetic to the Iranian regime, like that of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC). Yet the current unrest in Iran has confirmed what those more attuned to domestic conditions in the Islamic Republic have long known: that an explosion was not a matter of if, but of when.
Today, the destructive influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran extends from Africa to South America, with major involvement in arenas like Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. This presence makes Iran appear more powerful than it really is – and makes many in the West hesitant to confront the regime and to advocate for change. This image of strength is a facade; internally, the Islamic Republic is unraveling rapidly.
Iran’s economy is in shambles. The days of high oil prices are long gone, and national resources are almost depleted. Despite the JCPOA – an agreement that was supposed to open the Iranian market to international investors – Iran’s economy remains in stagflation, with very little prospects for improvement in sight. Iran’s military escapades in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, meanwhile, have further strained the pool of available resources. Inefficient economic policies and endemic corruption have done the rest.
Senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami, who is a key link between Gaza and Tehran, was shot in the head Tuesday morning, with the group’s spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum saying he accidentally discharged his own weapon while inspecting it.
In a strikingly rare instance of a visit to Israel by representatives from an Arab country without diplomatic relations, a delegation of religious figures from the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain traveled to the Jewish state last month “to send a message of peace,” from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
“Our message is peaceful coexistence with no government involvement,” said Betsy Mathieson, president of the Bahrain-based nongovernmental organization “This is Bahrain,” who led the delegation.
French President Emmanuel Macron is deeply concerned. His government has expressed tempered support for the demonstrations in Iran, but for now he is more worried about the reaction of America, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
This week he warned that the full-throated endorsement for the unrest in Iran by these governments “is almost one that would lead us to war.” It reminds him of the “axis of evil.”
Macron, ever the keen student, believes the consensus of most regional experts, who say that the leaderless protests in Iran are likely to fail. What’s more, any full-throated expressions of solidarity will probably endanger the precious nuclear deal his government helped negotiate in 2015. Best to call on both sides to refrain from violence and continue the post-2015 policy of integrating Iran into the community of nations.
Macron is in sync with the European Union’s chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, who has issued a bland both-sides statement. The German government is singing from the same hymnal.
Now would be a good time for Macron and other European leaders to seek new counsel and listen to Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician. In an interview this week, Sharansky told me Macron’s response to the Iranian unrest reminded him of the appeasement crowd during the Cold War. It was the kind of thinking that led former president Gerald Ford to refuse a meeting with the Soviet author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Egyptian academic Saad Eddin Ibrahim caused controversy after giving a lecture in Israel.
The 79-year old sociologist was received on Tuesday as a rock star in the packed auditorium at Tel Aviv University. Around 600 people turned up to hear him, but soon it transpired – not everyone was happy.
Ibrahim was in Israel to participate in a two-day academic conference about Egyptian society, with his topic of discussion titled: “Lesson from 100 years of changes in Egypt”.
David Harris, Contributor: The recent focus on the Jerusalem issue is a telling reminder that Israel is treated according to a totally different standard than other countries in the international system.
Of course, Israel deserves attention and scrutiny as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment — nothing more, nothing less.
First, Israel is the only state whose capital city, Jerusalem, with which the Jewish people have been umbilically linked for more than 3,000 years, is not recognized by almost all other countries.