Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Palestinians: The Message Remains No and No

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Palestinians: The Message Remains No and No

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  November 16, 2016 at 5:00 am
  • The position of the two Palestinian leaders, Arafat and Abbas, is deeply rooted in the Palestinian tradition and culture, in which any compromise with Israel is considered an act of high treason. Abbas knows that concessions on his part would result in being spat upon by his people -- or killed.
  • Hence the PA president has in recent years avoided even the pretense of negotiations with Israel, and instead has poured his energies into strong-arming the international community to impose a solution on Israel.
  • The French would do well to abandon their plan for convening an international conference on peace in the Middle East.
  • Declaring a Palestinian state in the Security Council only makes them look as if their actual goal is to destroy Israel -- and they know it. They would be fooling no one.
  • Many in Europe, particularly France, seem be aching to do just that -- as a "present" to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to show how submissive they can be; to encourage more "business" with Muslim states, and, they might hope, to deter more terrorist attacks. Actually, if the members of the UN Security Council declare a Palestinian state unilaterally, they are encouraging more terrorist attacks: the terrorists will see that attacks "work" and embark on more of them to help the jihadi takeover of Europe go even faster.
Like his predecessor Yasser Arafat (left), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) would rather die intransigent than achieve a peaceful settlement with Israel.
Last week, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas tipped his hand concerning his ultimatum on any revival of the peace process with Israel.
"I'm 81 years old and I'm not going to end my life drooping, making concessions or selling out."
Thus declared a defiant Abbas at a rally in Ramallah, marking the 12th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
Abbas in this way relayed to the hundreds of Palestinians who gathered in Ramallah to commemorate Arafat: "I have no intention of going down in history as a leader who compromised with Israel."
Like Arafat, Abbas would rather die intransigent than achieve a peaceful settlement with Israel.
Yet the position of the two Palestinian leaders is deeply rooted in the Palestinian tradition and culture, in which any concession to or compromise with Israel is considered an act of high treason.

Turkey Targets Oldest Syriac Orthodox Monastery

by Robert Jones  •  November 16, 2016 at 4:00 am
  • "The Turkish state attacks this sacred site to abuse Assyrians and indirectly convey this message: 'You will either live as I want you to live or you will leave these lands." — Tuma Celik, the Turkey representative of the European Syriac Union (ESU) and the editor-in-chief of the Assyrian monthly newspaper, Sabro.
  • "Latin Catholic churches still have neither a legal personality nor foundation status, making it impossible for them to register property or seek restitution." — European Commission 2016 Turkey Progress Report.
  • Muslim extremists often try to blame the violent or repressive acts against non-Muslims on "Muslim grievances." They claim that because of the "pain" or alleged "injustices," they are exposed to, they kill or attack other people.
  • Why do many Muslim extremists often demand more privileges in the West -- such as Islamic sharia law courts -- but never give indigenous non-Muslims equal rights in their own countries?
  • If their violence is only for "self-defense," why are they attacking, enslaving and persecuting the communities that are on the verge of extinction?
  • And why is the Turkish government attempting to build mosques across five continents while it relentlessly persecutes Christians who have been there for centuries -- long before Turks even arrived in the region from the Central Asia?
The Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery in Mardin, Turkey. (Image source: Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons)
The European Commission has recently issued its 2016 Turkey Progress Report, which contains serious criticism of the country's increasingly grave human rights record.
One of the issues that the report has brought to light is the problem that Assyrians (or Syriacs) in Turkey face as a religious minority, such as property rights for the oldest surviving Syriac Orthodox monastery in the world: Mor Gabriel (the monastery of St. Gabriel), located in Mardin province, in southeastern Turkey.
One would expect Turkey, a NATO member and a candidate for EU membership, to preserve both the monastery and the tiny Assyrian community in the country. Nonetheless, the Turkish government has been involved in a dispute with the historic monastery and has threatened its existence.

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