Daily TIP

Abbas meets with war criminal president of Sudan, seeks to “restrain Israeli movements” in Africa

Posted by Tip Staff - July 21, 2016


 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Sudan on Tuesday for a three-day visit with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide since 2010. PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki announced Wednesday that the PA and the government of Sudan are working together to combat Israel’s diplomatic outreach to Africa. “President Mahmoud Abbas and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir discussed developing a strategy for the African continent and coordinating to restrain Israeli attempts to make a breakthrough in Africa,” al-Maliki said.
Abbas spoke before the African Union on Sunday in Kigali, Rwanda and urged the body to back France’s plan to host an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dore Gold, the director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview Thursday with The Times of Israel, “The French initiative unfortunately is an alternative to direct negotiations. I’ve seen French statements on that, and it’s undermining the whole peace process that was begun in Madrid.” The Israeli government insists upon bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians as the only way to achieve peace.
Abbas’ visit to the African continent comes two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to four African countries, and just as the Republic of Guinea, a Muslim-majority African nation, restored diplomatic ties with Israel after a 49-year break.  Netanyahu has made it a priority to strengthen Israel’s commercial, diplomatic, and security relations with African countries. Faced with rising security threats from Islamic extremists, African nations like Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia have been seeking Israeli knowledge and assistance in combating radical Islamic terrorism. Netanyahu stated that Israel is the “best partner that the countries of Africa could have” due to its experience in fighting terrorism, conserving water, and irrigating dry lands. Israel has a long history of sharing its expertise with African countries. Jerusalem hopes that increased ties with African nations will lead to a shift in their voting trends at the UN and other global fora, thus improving Israel’s diplomatic standing and reversing what Netanyahu called “the automatic majority against Israel.”

 

Over 25,000 people participated in Jerusalem’s 15th annual LGBT pride parade on Thursday, the largest such event to ever take place in the Israeli capital.
Participants first gathered in Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park at 5:45 PM, then chanted and marched with banners calling for equality along the city’s downtown area, much of which was closed off to vehicles.
Knesset members from various political parties — including Likud, Zionist Union, Meretz, and Yesh Atid — were also in attendance.
“This is a day of love and happiness,” said Yair Lapid, chairmain of Yesh Atid. “I think that the ability to accept others is the basis of human society. Anyone who is unable to accept that—they’ve got a problem.”
Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan of Likud echoed these sentiments, saying before the march: “We live in a Jewish and democratic state, I grew up in a religious household, and I graduated from a yeshiva high school. The most important principle that we were taught was ‘Love your neighbor as yourself—this is the whole Torah,’ and this is the thing that has kept the Jewish people throughout the generations.”
“My expectation of rabbis and leaders of this community is that they be a unifying voice, a voice that consolidates, of tolerance, of accepting the other and the different. A voice of unity and not of division and hatred,” he added.
Some 2,000 police officers were deployed to safeguard the event, which was marred by the deadly stabbing of 16-year-old Shira Banki by an ultra-Orthodox extremist last year. Parade participants had to undergo two security checks, and police said they arrested some 30 people on suspicion of attempting to harm the marchers.
Parade organizers requested that participants bring flowers to the site where Banki was murdered last year. Banki’s mother and father, who attended this year’s parade, metearlier this week with President Reuven Rivlin and stood beside him as he spoke out against incitement targeting the LGBT community.
Over 200,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to participate in the region’s largest gay pride parade last month. “The sun is out and everybody is partying and having fun, the atmosphere is great,” Christian Tummann, a German tourist, told the Associated Press at the time. “I feel so happy, so happy, that I can go to the Middle East and still be proud, it’s very nice,” added Dona Ulzen, who was visiting from Sweden.
A survey carried out by the advocacy group Hiddush ahead of Tel Aviv Pride found that 76% of Israelis believe that civil marriage should be available for same-sex couples. Days before the poll was published, Ta’alin Abu Hanna, a 21-year-old Catholic Israeli-Arab, was crowned the first winner of the Miss Trans Israel pageant.
“If I had not been in Israel and had been elsewhere—in Palestine or in any other Arab country—I might have been oppressed or I might have been in prison or murdered,” Abu Hanna said at the time. “Our country allowed me, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, to end the war between my soul and my body.”
For more on Israel’s strides in granting rights to its LGBT citizens and residents, readThe Persistent Progress of Israel’s LGBT Community, in which Corinne Berzon discusses the advances LGBT individuals in Israel have made in gaining mainstream societal acceptance, and the challenges their community continues to face.
Jerusalem’s mayor, who controversially decided not to attend the parade due to objections from ultra-Orthodox residents of the city, visited the area where Banki was killed to pay his respects. “I pray with all my heart that on this day, we will all of us unite against any display of incitement,” he said. (via TheTower.org)

 
Rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin will hold Israel’s blue-and-white flag aloft at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, to be held August 5 to 21. The Olympic delegation that will be led into the stadium by Rivkin is Israel’s largest one since the country’s first Olympic Games in 1952. The 50 qualifiers will compete in 17 sport categories, including Israel’s first Olympic competitors in golf, triathlon and mountain biking. Rivkin, who finished seventh in her category at the 2012 London Games, is one of 11 repeat Olympic athletes from Israel who are hoping for a spot on the medalists’ podium. She says that she will focus on doing her personal best at Rio. “Now I’m in the Baku World Cup,” she texted from Azerbaijan on July 20. Another Israeli hopeful is windsurfer Shahar Zubari, who won Israel’s most recent Olympic medal when he took a bronze home from Beijing in 2008. “I think I have pretty high chances. I feel in good shape,” Zubari says from Brazil, where he is training four or five hours a day. “But on the other hand, my competitors are all very strong, so any one of us can win a medal.” Zubari, who will turn 30 on September 1, lives in Tel Aviv and trains all around the world. The 2016 delegation also includes 34 coaches and about 25 support staff. (via Israel21c)

 


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