UN Security Council refrains from condemning Turkey

The UN Security Council discussed Turkey’s intensifying offensive against Kurdish militias and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria but did not condemn or demand an end to the sensitive Turkish operation. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2018
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UN Security Council refrains from condemning Turkey

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council discussed Turkey’s intensifying offensive against Kurdish militias and the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria on Monday but did not condemn or demand an end to the sensitive Turkish operation.
Already scheduled to hear a report from UN aid chief Mark Lowcock on his recent visit to Syria, at France’s request the Security Council also touched on the latest Turkish offensive as well as the Syrian campaign in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed no stepping back to the air and ground offensive seeking to flush out the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia from its enclave of Afrin, despite concern from Ankara’s allies and neighbors.
“It was of course part of the conversation,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said of Afrin after the closed-door talks at UN headquarters in New York.
“The call for restraint, I believe, was widely shared during the discussion,” he added, saying that France was “attentive to the security of Turkey, its territories and its borders.”
US Ambassador Nikki Haley did not attend the meeting in person, a diplomatic source said.
Turkey’s operation “Olive Branch” is sensitive as Washington relied on the YPG to oust militants from Daesh from their Syrian strongholds and the Kurdish militia now holds much of Syria’s north.
Western capitals fear the campaign against the YPG could shift the focus away from eliminating Daesh after a string of successes in recent months.
“It’s vital to keep the unity of the allies in what remains the number one priority, which is the fight against terrorism and against Daesh in particular,” Delattre stressed, using another term for the Daesh militant group.
“The number one party responsible for the humanitarian tragedy in Syria is the Syrian regime,” he added. “The number one tragedy happening before our eyes happens in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib.”
“If things continue this way, Eastern Ghouta might be the new Aleppo in terms of humanitarian disaster,” Delattre added.
Turkey considers the YPG a terror group and the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.
Russia and the United States have expressed concern about the operation, which Erdogan said Turkey had discussed in advance with Russia and Moscow was in “agreement.”


Arab Israeli poet jailed for online incitement freed from prison

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting, including Palestinian knife attacks. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Arab Israeli poet jailed for online incitement freed from prison

  • Tatour posted a video of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” in 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to authorities.
  • The 36-year-old Israeli citizen was sentenced in July

An Arab Israeli woman jailed for five months for incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization in online poems and other social media posts was released from prison on Thursday.

Dareen Tatour posted a video clip of herself reading her poem “Resist, my people, resist them,” in October 2015, accompanied by pictures of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, according to authorities.

The posts on YouTube and Facebook came as a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence was erupting, including Palestinian knife attacks.

The 36-year-old Israeli citizen was sentenced in July.

She was released on Thursday due to time served before her conviction, she and a prison spokesman said.

“Freedom is something so sweet that I can’t even describe it,” Tatour said after her release.

She added that she planned to publish a collection of poems and a novel on her experience in prison.

International writers’ group PEN defended Tatour’s actions.

She was “convicted for doing what writers do every day — we use our words to peacefully challenge injustice,” the group said.

The offending verses were quoted in Hebrew in the charge sheet, but according to an English translation on the Arabic literature site ArabLit, they contained the following:

“For an Arab Palestine, I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution,’ Never lower my flags, Until I evict them from my land, Resist the settler’s robbery, And follow the caravan of martyrs.”

Prosecutors said that on Oct. 4, 2015 she also quoted a statement by Islamic Jihad calling for “continuation of the intifada in every part of the West Bank,” alleging it showed her support for the outlawed militant group.

Tatour, from the Arab village of Reineh near Nazareth, was arrested a week later.

Arab Israelis are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

They account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population and largely support the Palestinian cause.