Archive for November 26th, 2014

Tensions rise between Israel and Jordan over Jerusalem situation

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Washington Post recently highlighted the growing tensions between Israel and Jordan and commented on King Abdullah II and the Jordanian people’s anger over Israel’s actions in occupied Jerusalem. The current situation in the Holy City poses a threat to the peace agreement currently in effect between the two countries.

The American newspaper also noted in on its website on Monday, that a feud between Jordan and Israel could undermine the efforts of the US-led fight against Islamic extremists and it also threatens the natural gas deal worth billions of dollars for both countries.

It was also noted that Jordan had made an unusual decision by choosing to recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv as a form of protest to Israel’s actions in the Holy City and the escalation of conflict due to Israel’s mistreatment of Muslim worshipers at the Aqsa Mosque. The Jordanian ambassador has yet to return to his post.

Jordanian officials emphasized that King Abdullah’s inability to protect the Aqsa mosque is something that could undermine his credibility in his own country as his legitimacy or claim to the throne stems from the idea that he is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad and a member of the Hashemite tribes. Jordan’s inability to act in defense of al Aqsa would also undermine its image within the Muslim community as well as hinder any progress in the fight against Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/15464-tensions-rise-between-israel-and-jordan-over-jerusalem-situation.

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Syrians on hunger strike outside Greek parliament

November 24, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — More than 200 Syrian civil war refugees started a hunger strike Monday in front of Greece’s Parliament, urging the government to grant them temporary working and residence rights.

The protesters began gathering last week at Athens’ main square, complaining that refugees are being forced to pay exorbitant black-market rates to live in squalid apartments in Athens. “People are living in bad conditions. We get (temporary) travel documents, but we can’t go anywhere. We can’t work, or go to hospital, or rent a place to live,” said Khaldoon Fadel, a 31-year-old former resident of Damascus, who joined the hunger strike.

The hunger strikers said they were only eating sugar. Several dozen of them sat on the marble-paved sidewalk with strips of box tape covering their mouths, and packages of flatbread placed in front of them.

“For an (apartment) that would cost 250 euros ($310) to rent per month, we have to pay 1,000 euros ($1,245),” Fadel said. Fadel, who had worked as a chain store manager and fashion designer for women’s clothing before fleeing Syria, made the hazardous journey across Turkey and by boat illegally to the Greek island of Kos.

Greece is a busy entry point for immigrants and refugees seeking entry to the European Union. The financial crisis-hit country has seen a spike in the number of Syrians crossing by boat illegally from nearby Turkey.

Authorities expect a three-fold increase in illegal immigration this year, compared with 2013, with nearly two-thirds of the illegal traffic now coming from Syria. On Sunday, the regional governor of greater Athens, Rena Dourou, visited the protesters and said she had contacted the Greek Orthodox Church and the government to try and make arrangements to provide temporary shelter for Syrian refugees.

Israel leader vows to pass nationality law

November 24, 2014

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister vowed Monday to pass a contentious nationality law that has threatened the stability of his fragile coalition government, but he left the door open for negotiations to soften it.

The bill formally would identify Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. But language favored by hard-liners has drawn racism accusations, been questioned by Israel’s attorney general and prompted the justice minister to warn that the coalition could fall apart.

Addressing his Likud Party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was determined to pass it. The bill is “expressing the fact that Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and only theirs, alongside preserving the rights of every single citizen of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 defined the country as both Jewish and democratic. The new legislation seeks to enshrine these principles as a Basic Law, Israel’s de facto constitution. But elements of the proposal have raised concerns. Among the proposals are making Jewish law a source of legislative inspiration and delisting Arabic as an official language.

“That will endanger really the very sensitive relationship between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority inside Israel,” said Ibrahim Sarsour, an Arab lawmaker. A parliamentary vote scheduled for Wednesday was postponed for a week to allow time for a compromise proposal.

The centrist members of Netanyahu’s coalition, Hatnuah and Yesh Atid, have vowed to oppose the measure in its current form. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, leader of Hatnuah, warned that the bill’s passage could topple Netanyahu’s coalition and force early elections.

Debate over the nationality law comes amid soaring tensions between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population of 8 million. Over the past month, Palestinian attacks have killed 11 Israelis. The latest attack took place Monday, as an Arab assailant stabbed a Jewish man outside the old city of Jerusalem, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Rosenfeld described the assault as a terror attack and said the victim was taken to a hospital.

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