Ex-Shin Bet head: Territorial expansion ‘will be the end of Israel’

Palestinian demonstrators react during a recent anti-Israel protest in the southern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)
Updated 29 October 2019

Ex-Shin Bet head: Territorial expansion ‘will be the end of Israel’

  • Ami Ayalon: American Jews have a responsibility to advocate for two-state solution

CHICAGO: A former head of Israel’s Shin Bet secret service warned a gathering of American Jews on Saturday that his country’s efforts to expand its borders and block the creation of a Palestinian state “will be the end of Israel.”

Ami Ayalon, who headed Shin Bet from 1995 until 2000 and served as commander in chief of Israel’s navy, opened the annual J Street convention in Washington on Saturday.

Saying Israel is in crisis, Ayalon warned: “The continuation of the occupation is the single greatest threat to Israel’s safety and our existence as a democracy.”

Ayalon, who is part of the opposition Blue and White political party, said expanding his country’s borders “will isolate Israel even more and increase anti-Semitism around the world.” 

It “will be the end of Israel as the founding fathers of Zionism envisioned it,” he added.

The continuation of the occupation is the single greatest threat to Israel’s safety and our existence as a democracy.

Ami Ayalon, former head of Shin Bet secret service

Ayalon said Israel has succeeded in terms of Arab acceptance of it based on the 1967 borders. 

He cited the 1979 peace deal with Egypt, Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist, the 1994 peace deal with Jordan, and the Arab League’s decision in 2002 to recognize Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal from occupied Arab territories.

“We in Israel … continue to fight … a war in order to expand our border to the east, to build more settlements, and to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state next door,” he said.

“That … is not a just war. It denies the Palestinian right to self-determination, which was recognized by the international community,” Ayalon added.

“Unless we choose a totally different approach, this war will continue for generations to come. It will lead to more violence and terror.”

Ayalon said Israel is being torn apart by the debate over expansion, adding that American Jews have a responsibility to advocate for the two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.

“We in Israel … are in too much pain to see clearly … We need you by our side on this long and hard road. We need you to tell us the truth as you see it.”

The J Street conference featured leading activists, policymakers and political leaders discussing the future of the US-Israeli relationship, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American policy in the Middle East. 

Speakers included Democratic presidential candidates such as Michael Bennet, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders.

Also scheduled to speak is Arab-Israeli Knesset member Ayman Odeh of the Joint List, which could play a critical role in blocking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power.


Egypt footballer gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

Updated 18 min 35 sec ago

Egypt footballer gets harassed for sharing photo with his 3-year-old girl

CAIRO: An Egyptian footballer has threatened to sue Instagram users who sent abusive messages this week over photos of himself and his three-year-old daughter.
The incident involving Amre Soulia, a player at Al-Ahly football club, has caused a storm on social media in Egypt after comments on his photos triggered widespread anger over harassment.  
The player publicly called out a number of people who had harassed him and his daughter by sharing screenshots of their comments that mainly targeted what the young girl was wearing - a black T-shirt and jeans.
The player is seen holding his daughter’s hand while she smiles back at him.  

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my everything

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“May God save her for you … but I hope you make your daughter wear respectable clothes because you’re a respectful player,” one user wrote to Soulia.
Another user said: “Cover up your daughter, son, so that she grows to become one (who’s covered).”
Several other sexually-loaded remarks targeted the little girl, prompting the player to take legal action against them. 
“All legal measures were taken and a lawsuit was filed against anyone who insulted me or any member of my family,” Soulia wrote on his social media account. 
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The incident is the latest in Egypt, where sexual assault and harassment are deep-seated problems. 
Egyptian actor Sherif Mounir recently hit out at people who insulted his teenage daughters in a picture he shared of them on Instagram.