Netherlands recognizes Gaza, West Bank as official Palestinian birthplaces

This undated photo shows Palestinian protesters demonstrating in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands. (Photo by Reuters)

This undated photo shows Palestinian protesters demonstrating in front of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands. (Photo by Reuters)

Authorities in the Netherlands have allowed Palestinians living in the country to register the besieged Gaza Strip and the West Bank as their official places of birth, instead of registering under such designations as ‘the Israeli-occupied territories’ or ‘unknown’.

Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops, in a letter addressed to the House of Representatives in The Hague on Sunday, stated that he intends to add Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, to a list of official states used by the Dutch civil registry.

Knops added that the new category is in accordance with “the Dutch viewpoint that Israel has no sovereignty over these areas.”

The Dutch minister further highlighted that the new category was named based on the Oslo Accords and the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Dutch news outlets reported that the new category will be available to Palestinians born after May 15, 1948, when Israeli forces displaced some 700,000 Palestinians, forcing them to flee to different neighboring countries. Israeli soldiers also wiped nearly 500 Palestinian villages and towns off the map, leaving an estimated total of 4.7 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants dreaming of an eventual return to their ancestral homeland more than six decades later.

The Israeli-occupied land was the only birthplace available to Palestinians registering in the Netherlands up until 2014. The category “unknown,” also known as code “0000,” was made available to Palestinians living in the country after opposition to listing Israel as their birthplace.

While the UN General Assembly and at least 136 countries have recognized Palestine as a sovereign state, the Netherlands has refused to do so.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.


Netherlands Ends Funding for Syria White Helmets, Citing Suspicious Actions

Dutch End Funding for Syria White Helmets, Citing Suspicious Actions

Officials concerned with where money goes, how it is spent

The Netherlands’ Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced they are shutting down all support for multiple factions within Syria, including the White Helmets organization. The White Helmets were recipients of 12.5 million Euros from the Netherlands.

Styling themselves as a “civil defense” force with no ties to foreign governments, the White Helmets actually receive substantially funding from several Western nations, including the US, Britain, and until now, the Netherlands.

Netherlands officials warned that there is inadequate supervision of the White Helmets, and the lack of transparency on the flow of cash to the group, as well as how it is spent, raises substantial risk that the aid money may fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

The report calling for defunding the group added that they operate in areas ruled by armed groups considered “unaccepted” by the Dutch government, and that it is inevitable they will be in growing contact with such groups.

This presumably means al-Qaeda, as the White Helmets relocated in recent months into Idlib Province, and have set up shop in areas under the control of the al-Qaeda affiliate there.

Also defunded in the same announcement were the Free Syrian Police, primarily for being under the influence of al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as the Levant Front militant group. Though the Levant Front isn’t legally listed as “terrorists,” officials cited concerns about their growing extremism, and the fact that the Netherlands had secretly provided them with weapons under a “non-lethal assistance” program.

This article includes information from a Moon of Alabama article on the same subject.

Netherlands ends support for Syrian militant groups, including one labeled ‘terrorist’ by Dutch govt


Netherlands ends support for Syrian militant groups, including one labeled ‘terrorist’ by Dutch govt

Dutch comedy show makes fun of American Gun Culture



Erdogan’s War of Words Inciting Terror in Europe

Erdogan’s War of Words Inciting Terror in Europe


Erdogan’s War of Words Inciting Terror in Europe

Only hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a bloodcurdling warning about terror attacks against European citizens, four people lay dead on the streets of London. That death toll may rise further because several of those injured in the attack this week in the British capital are in critical condition, fighting for their lives.

Erdogan was speaking Wednesday in what was yet another diatribe in his ongoing war of words with the European Union. The Turkish leader has been enraged by European governments refusing ministers from Ankara holding political rallies in Germany, Netherlands and Austria among other countries. As a result of the injunctions, he has accused the EU of displaying Islamophobia and hostility towards Turkey.

In his latest barrage earlier this week, Erdogan warned that there would be dire repercussions for EU citizens owing to the perceived stance of their governments.

«If you continue to behave like this, tomorrow in no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully», Erdogan said.

Tragically, within hours of announcing these very words, a British-born man plowed his speeding car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing several of them and seriously wounding dozens more. The assailant then got out of his crashed vehicle and ran into the grounds of the British parliament where he stabbed a police officer to death, before being fatally shot by another officer.

The attacker was named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood, a British citizen. It is not clear yet what his precise motives were, but the deadly attack was subsequently claimed by the Islamic State terror group.

Turkey’s Erdogan was reportedly one of many world leaders who quickly phoned British premier Theresa May to offer his condolences. Later on Wednesday night, Erdogan released a statement on social media, saying: «We stand in solidarity with the UK, our friend and ally, against terrorism, the greatest threat to global peace and security».

There is a sense here that the Turkish leader was reeling from his own earlier warnings of would-be terror consequences for European citizens, and how his tirades against the EU might be implicated in inciting violence.

Certainly, the EU, in short-order, seemed to find Erdogan’s forecasting of acts of terrorism against European citizens and how «they would not be safe on streets around the world» to be lamentable.

Turkey’s envoy in Brussels was promptly summoned to «explain» the president’s doom-laden words. The day after the London killings, the EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic reportedly said: «We have asked the Turkish permanent delegate to the EU to come… as we would like to receive an explanation with regard to the comments by President Erdogan concerning the safety of Europeans on the streets of the world».

At best, Erdogan’s chilling warnings against European citizens are grossly insensitive. Apart from the carnage in London, on the very day that he issued his grim forecast of violence, the date was also the first anniversary of the terror attacks in Brussels when more than 30 people were killed by suicide bombers in the Belgian capital on March 22 last year.

Over the past year, there have been several other terror attacks on the streets of European cities, including the carnage in Nice when a would-be jihadist drove an articulated lorry into a pedestrians last July, killing over 80.

There was also an horrific attack in Berlin when an assailant drove a lorry into a crowded Christmas market.

In all these incidents, there appears to be an Islamist connection. The perpetrators may be acting in some sort of «lone wolf» capacity, without the organizational support of the al Qaeda terror network. But that’s beside the point. The attacks appear to be motivated by some level of Islamist grievance. Perhaps acts of revenge against European governments and citizens who are perceived as being complicit in illegal wars on, or persecution of, Muslim majority countries in the Middle East.

This is where Turkish President Erdogan bears more responsibility than merely just «bad timing» or being «insensitive» remarks.

In recent weeks, Erdogan and senior government ministers in Ankara have been engaging in a reckless war of words with the EU, which can be viewed as bordering on incitement.

Erdogan has repeatedly accused Germany and The Netherlands of acting like «Nazis and fascists». He has condemned the whole of the EU as being «racist» and «anti-Islam».

Just last week, Erdogan claimed that Dutch UN peacekeeping troops were responsible for the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, when up to 8,000 Muslim men were killed by Serb forces. Erdogan said the Dutch had the blood of Muslims «on their hands».

Ankara’s fit of rage stems from European governments blocking political rallies being held in their cities by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Those rallies are aimed at mobilizing Turkish expatriates to vote in Turkey’s referendum next month, which is being held to endorse increasing constitutional powers for Erdogan’s presidency.

Erdogan’s grip on power has already become increasingly autocratic since the attempted coup against his rule failed last July.

In order to push Turkish voters to back his sought-after constitutional changes, Erdogan is evidently whipping up patriotic fervor and in particular Islamist fervor by indulging in a war of words with the EU.

Denouncing European states as «anti-Islamic» and «racist» may gain Erdogan votes. But such incitement has consequences. This war of words is not an abstract phenomenon. It risks inflicting real human casualties, as Europe has all-too often witnessed over the past year.

If EU governments had any spine, they would hold Erdogan legally to account over his potentially seditious behavior.

But the supine EU is too busy trying to keep the Turkish sultan sweet so that he doesn’t open the refugee floodgates from the wars that European governments have been stoking across the Middle East and North Africa.

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

PETER KORZUN | 24.03.2017 | WORLD

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952, and US aircraft have used Incirlik Air Base in the south during the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The base is home to a stockpile of US tactical nuclear weapons. A perusal of media reports leads to the conclusion that Turkey and NATO are heading for a major rift or even a breakup – a problem the North Atlantic alliance hasn’t experienced in its nearly seven decades of existence.

Germany and the Netherlands have blocked Turkish ministers from staging rallies to court the vote of expatriate Turks in the April 16 referendum on giving President Erdogan greater powers. Denmark is siding with its north European neighbors. Turkey faces deep differences with the USA, accusing it of being behind the failed plot in 2016. Both countries have opposing views on the role of Kurds in Syria. Former State Secretary John Kerry came close to threatening Turkey with the loss of its NATO membership.

Add to this the perennial tension between Turkey and Greece and the problem of Cyprus to get the whole picture. According to Bloomberg, «All in all, Turkey appears to have more disputes than friendships with its NATO allies. And its engagement with the alliance itself, which it joined in 1952, isn’t particularly strong».

The NATO annual report for 2016 says Turkey only took part in four of the 18 key NATO exercises held last year. Despite having the fourth-strongest military in the bloc (after the US, France and the UK but ahead of Germany) and the second-highest number of military personnel (after the US), its involvement in NATO’s deployments is small, amounting to just 4 percent of the personnel in the mission to train the Afghan security forces, and 7 percent of the Kosovo force.

Ankara has recently blocked some rolling programs with NATO, including political events, civilian projects and military training, in an escalation of a diplomatic dispute with a number of European states.

Turkey is unable to block cooperation with full-fledged NATO members. The move to block the activities is apparently aimed at Austria, which is not a member of NATO but is a partner country. It has banned Turkish referendum rallies on its territory. Austria has called for the EU to end accession talks with Turkey over alleged human rights violations after the aborted coup.

As a result, a very important NATO project to threaten Russia is in jeopardy. This month, Brigadier General Vladimir Chachibaia, new Chief of General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces, proposed to turn the port of Poti into a NATO military base. This, he argued, would help the alliance get around the provisions of Montreux Convention, which limit non-Black Sea powers access to the Black Sea.

Increasing the number of port calls is a way to boost the bloc’s naval presence, but the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states is restricted by the Convention. Strengthening the naval forces of Georgia and Ukraine and building a bloc’s «coast guard» base in Georgia would boost NATO’s sea power in the region. Poti could become a home port for the ships of Black Sea NATO members. Georgian military expert Irakli Aladashvili told Russian Kommersant daily that the facility would be protected by ground based weapons systems and land forces.

Ukraine’s plans to buy old ships from NATO members could also be suspended.

Turkey’s action encompasses many more areas of NATO’s activities. The programs cover most of Europe, plus many countries in the Middle East and Asia. Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine and Afghanistan are affected. Austria is one of the biggest providers of troops in Kosovo. «It is a very unfortunate situation and it means some cooperation programs can’t be launched», said NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to Copenhagen.

Last November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The idea had been discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Established in 1996, the SCO is a political, military and economic organization comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan are granted observer status. India and Pakistan are set to join this year to make the SCO a powerful group with global influence. Turkey’s accession would be a milestone bringing together the Shanghai Pact and the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) – an international organization of Turkic countries, comprising Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. The General Secretariat is in İstanbul, Turkey. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are possible future members of the council.

Turkey is developing military cooperation with Russia. This January, Russian and Turkish air forces launched a joint operation against Islamic State (IS) militants holding the town of al-Bab northeast of Aleppo. The parties have agreed to form a joint military and intelligence mechanism to coordinate their activities in the Middle East. If peace efforts to stop hostilities in Syria succeed, Russia and Turley lead the crisis management process. It could be a start on the way to forming a broader alliance against global terrorism.

Russia and Turkey have been getting increasingly close recently, especially after the two countries brokered a Syria truce in late December to join together in the Astana process. Turkey is in talks with Russia on purchasing the advanced long-range S-400 air defense systems to protect its skies. This issue was on the agenda during the President Erdogan’s visit to Moscow on March 9-10, 2017. Ankara also seeks procurement deals in electronic systems, ammunitions and missile technology.

Both nations are parties to the ambitious Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project. It should be noted that Russia, not the US or any other NATO member, was the first country to be visited by the Turkish president after the failed coup last year.

Ankara is also getting closer to Beijing. The two countries are closely cooperating to implement China’s the One Belt One Road project. Turkey is again taking the position as a key investment and cooperation partner that will help bridge the East and the West.

Turkey is distancing itself from the West while getting closer with the partners outside NATO and the EU. The abovementioned events conform to the trend. NATO stands to lose its second largest military power as well as one of its key airbases, while Russia, China and other countries are developing the relationship of alliance with the country, which enjoys a unique geographic location between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It gives it easy access to strategically important areas and major energy resources. Turkey is a founding member of the OECD (1961) and the G-20 major economies (1999), it has the world’s 15th largest GDP-PPP and 15th largest Nominal GDP. The development is a major loss for the West and a major win for those who strive for a multipolar world.

The Turkish madness is electoral one الجنون التركي انتخابي

The Turkish madness is electoral one

مارس 16, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

In the worst moments experienced by the administration of the Turkish President Recep Erdogan with Washington, and in the light of the developments of the events in the northern of Syria and the sticking of the US officials with the priority of their relation with the Kurds and the inability of Erdogan to understand that, for the second time the dilemma of the sense of greatness has been revealed as a barrier without realistic thinking in the Turkish ruling mentality. The issue according to the Americans neither related to the magnitude of the military capacity of the parties nor to the attitude toward the Turkish country and the keenness to ally with it.

Simply, Washington needs for a non-governmental Syrian party that grants it the legitimacy of deploying troops and experts and forming airports in Syria under the title of privacy that has magnitude of the realistic legitimacy and the ethnic or the national legitimacy, it needs for a party that responds to the US demands that is not loyal to any other country than America. In these two issues Turkey is like America it behaves like it toward the armed groups which affiliated to it, it wants from Washington to deal with it in order to get its legitimacy for the Turkish occupation that resembles the US occupation, even if the Turkish occupation was covered by a title of confronting the danger that threatens the security of Turkey, once under the pretext of the Kurds or the support of the armed factions that are loyal to Turkey. The pretext of the Americans remains the stronger in the war on ISIS and their coverage is more important through the relation with the Kurds.

The Turkish crisis occurs with Netherlands and Germany for the same reasons, the Turkish President and his government are waging a confrontation under what they consider a democratic right by communicating with the voters before the referendum, forgetting that he is talking about immigrants in another country, so what is presented by him is not to sign an agreement that allows the hosting country to organize electoral festivals and to receive the speakers from the two teams to identify the attitudes and to practice the choice, in favor of the resident communities, but it is an exclusive right of the representatives of the rule to mobilize their immigrants to vote for its favor. It is surprised to find the coming governments which want to hold elections and in respect of the privacy of the Turkish position toward the organizations of ISIS and Al Nusra and the issue of the refugees pave the way for Turkish governmental festivals that do not evoke campaigns of the extremist right, because Turkey does not see any law or logic but the one which helps it to be surprised for not dealing with its priorities, as the priorities of the others.

Politically, it is not possible to describe the Turkish anger along with the expressions and threats but only with the political madness for a frustrated country that lives the defeat and the isolation, and instead of absorbing what is surrounding its policies as complexities or making a review that allows drawing policies that commensurate with the variables it turns into a source of crises, that spreads anger and tension. This is the beginning of the tragic end of the countries which think that their size is protecting them. Previously, Turkey has experienced that with Russia, but the result was disastrous, and it has been forced to apologize, but the problem of the rule of Erdogan is that he wants to win in the referendum by provoking the Turkish feelings of the voters who live as their president the illusion of the sultanate and the arrogance of greatness, and whose their egos please the anger of the president and provoke them to vote for him according to the powers of the Sultan, but after the referendum he will leave the arrogance after he will send secretly to the Dutch government that “ I think that the crisis and the tension benefit both of us in the elections so we have to win together, in order to reconcile after the elections”.

Erdogan is a kind of the politicians who is aware how to deal with the game of the folk in the relation of the leader and the street’s people, its key is tickling the tribalism of the privacy and the greatness, then it is possible to fluctuate between the matter and its opposite without consideration or questioning. And thus the leader will be in an image that simulates the divinity over the change and its laws.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الجنون التركي انتخابي

مارس 13, 2017

ناصر قنديل

في لحظات سيئة تعيشها إدارة الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان مع واشنطن في ضوء مجريات أحداث شمال سورية وتمسّك المسؤولين الأميركيين بأولوية علاقتهم بالأكراد وعجز أردوغان عن استيعاب ذلك، تكشفت مرة أخرى معضلة الشعور بالعظمة كحاجز دون التفكير الواقعي في الذهنية التركية الحاكمة، فالمسألة عند الأميركيين ليست بحجم القدرة العسكرية للأطراف، ولا بالموقف من الدولة التركية والحرص على التحالف معها.

إنها ببساطة حاجة واشنطن لجهة غير حكومية سورية تمنحها شرعية نشر قوات وخبراء وإقامة مطارات في سورية، تحت عنوان خصوصية لها مقدار من الشرعية الواقعية والشرعية العرقية أو القومية، وجهة تأتمر بالأوامر الأميركية ولا تدين بالولاء لدولة غير أميركا. وفي هذين الشأنين تركيا كأميركا تفعل مثلها مع الجماعات المسلحة التابعة لها، وتريد من واشنطن أن تمرّ عبرها وأن تستمد شرعيتها من احتلال تركي يشبه الاحتلال الأميركي، ولو تغطّى الاحتلال التركي بعنوان مواجهة خطر على أمن تركيا مرة بذريعة الأكراد أو يدعم فصائل مسلّحة موالية لتركيا. تبقى ذريعة الأميركيين أقوى في الحرب على داعش، وغطاؤهم أهم بالعلاقة مع الأكراد.

تقع الأزمة التركية مع هولندا وألمانيا لأسباب مشابهة، فيخوض الرئيس التركي وحكومته مواجهة تحت ما يعتبره حقاً ديمقراطياً، بالتواصل مع الناخبين قبل الاستفتاء، ناسياً أنه يتحدّث عن مهاجرين في بلد آخر، وأن ما يعرضه ليس توقيع اتفاق تتيح بموجبه الدولة المضيفة للجاليات المقيمة تنظيم مهرجانات انتخابية واستقبال المتحدثين من الفريقين للتعرف على المواقف وممارسة الاختيار، بل حق حصري لممثلي الحكم بتعبئة مهاجريهم للتصويت لحساب خياراته. ويستغرب أن تجد الحكومات المقبلة على انتخابات في ذلك، ولخصوصية الموقف التركي من العلاقة بتنيظمَي داعش وجبهة النصرة، وقضية اللاجئين، في فتح الطريق لمهرجانات حكومية تركية ما يضرّ بها ويستثير عليها حملات من اليمين المتطرف، لأن الباب العالي لا يرى قانوناً ومنطقاً إلا الذي يساعده على الاستغراب لعدم التعامل مع أولوياته كأولويات للآخرين.

لا يمكن سياسياً توصيف الغضب التركي وما رافقه من تعابير وتهديدات إلا بالجنون السياسي لدولة محبطة، تعيش الهزيمة والعزلة وبدلاً من استيعاب ما يحيط بسياساتها من تعقيدات والانكباب على مراجعة تتيح رسم سياسات تتناسب مع المتغيرات تتحوّل مصدراً للأزمات، وتنشر حولها الغضب والتوتر. وهذه بداية نهاية مأساوية للدول التي تظن أن حجمها يحميها، فقد جرّبت تركيا سابقاً ذلك مع روسيا وكانت النتيجة كارثية واضطرت لكسر أنفها والعودة إلى الاعتذار، لكن مشكلة حكم أردوغان أنه يريد الفوز بالاستفتاء من موقع الاستثارة للمشاعر التركية لدى الناخبين الذين يعيشون مثل رئيسهم وهم السلطنة وعنجهية العظمة، ويرضي غرورهم غضب الرئيس ويستنهضهم للتصويت له بصلاحيات سلطان. وهو بعد الاستفتاء سيعود عن العنجهية بعد أن يرسل سراً للحكومة الهولندية، أظنّ أن الأزمة والتوتر يفيداننا معاً في الانتخابات وما علينا إلا الفوز معاً، لنتصالح بعد الانتخابات.

أردوغان نوع من السياسيين يدرك كيفية التعامل مع لعبة القطيع في علاقة الزعيم والشارع، ومفتاحها دغدغة عصبية الخصوصية والعظمة، وعندها يمكن التقلّب بين الشيء وضده من دون حساب ومساءلة، ويصير الزعيم في صورة تحاكي الألوهية فوق التغيير وقوانينه ويخلق الله من الشبه أربعين.

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