Israel summons EU envoy Giaufret in row over controversial bill

Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered that EU ambassador Emanuele Giaufret, above, be reprimanded. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated 13 July 2018
0

Israel summons EU envoy Giaufret in row over controversial bill

  • The summons is tied to the so-called nation-state law which Netanyahu wants to pass by the end of the month
  • European diplomats have told lawmakers in the country that the law is discriminatory and against democratic principles

JERUSALEM: Israel summoned the EU ambassador on Thursday over allegations of interference in the passage of a controversial law which could pave the way for Jewish-only communities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the foreign ministry to “reprimand” EU envoy Emanuele Giaufret, warning “additional steps” were planned.
The summons is tied to the so-called nation-state law, which Netanyahu wants to pass by the end of the month.
The proposed legislation would allow the state to “authorize a community composed of people having the same faith and nationality to maintain the exclusive character of that community.”
That was seen as allowing towns to exclude Arab citizens, who account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population, or even other Jewish communities.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, whose role is mainly symbolic, expressed concerns about the bill in a rare intervention in the country’s politics.
Attorney general Avichai Mandelblit has also raised opposition to the text, which if passed could become part of the country’s basic laws that serve as a de facto constitution.
According to Israel media, European diplomats have told lawmakers in the country that the law is discriminatory and against democratic principles.
Netanyahu’s office accused the European Union of “interfering with Israeli legislation.”
“Apparently they do not understand that Israel is a sovereign state,” his office said.


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
0

US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.