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Israel -Palestine: A Peace Plan By The Peacekeeper

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The famous Israel and Palestine issue has reached a new milestone recently when President Donald Trump announced his Peace Plan 2020 known as Peace to Prosperity. The Israeli authorities and the citizenry embraced the manoeuvring of Trump’s Peace Plan. However, the plan was outcasted by the Palestinian, and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas immediately denounced the plan as a “conspiracy deal” unworthy of serious consideration, making the decades-long pursuit of a so-called two-state solution appear more distant than ever. In the following discussion, the plan will be analysed in the context of the prejudice of Trump, but before addressing the initiative, it is quintessential to address the critical historical issue between the countries.

For it seems that this rivalry has its roots attached to the crucifixion or the qibla of Islam, but rather the rivalry seeks its inception from a promise which led to where we are now – a promise by the former colonizers of Palestine – the British. They promised the land of Palestine to the Jewish residents in Europe as well as the authorities of Israel. While both, Jewish residents and Israel, were dreaming of conquering this realm, the British also pledged the land of Palestine to the native Palestinians while discharging suzerainty of the colony. This led to a dilemma, whether the Land of Palestine- is an asset of Israel or home of the natives?

War is never a solution to any problem; therefore, many have tried to solve this issue, including the United Nations and the United States of America. From President George W. Bush’s “Road Map for Peace” in 2003 to President Donald Trump’s Peace Plan 2020, America has always been keen to resolve this issue to prove its world dominance. The Trump Peace Plan claims to be a ground-breaking document which will ensure peace to both nations. This document lays out a draft from political infrastructure to economic independence, from deciding on capital to talking about border security. This draft back support from the United States of America to both Israel and Palestine.

The Peace Plan, drawn by the – global peacekeeper – Trump, tends to set a prosperous way ahead for both the nations. This article shall reveal how the plan has been tilting on the side of Israel and strategically disturbs the peace of Palestine.

The Peace Plan talks about the territorial distribution between Israel and Palestine. The plan ensures that while the countries will have distinctive borders, the residing citizens in those areas will not be asked to move irrespective of their countries. Israel will have an undisputed authority over the Jordan valley, which consists a vast expanse of the West Bank while Palestine will get the Gaza strip. President Trump exclaimed in his speech that according to this distribution, Palestine would be receiving more than half the amount of land than they are currently in possession of.

While the plan seems to be working in favour of both the countries, this clause tends to tilt towards Israel on so many levels. Reports show Jordan valley has a lot of economic potentials as Dead sea and Jordan river, which are geographically very close to the Jordan valley, contributes to its fertile soil due to which they have a booming agricultural and tourism sector. While on the other hand, economic conditions in the Gaza strip are constantly collapsing due to terrorist activities which in-turn are resulting in rising unemployment and poverty. Assigning of the Gaza strip to Palestine will adversely affect the overall financial health of Palestine, resulting in a low GDP while at the same time, the Jordan valley will continue to prove itself an asset for Israel.

Jordan valley, a prominent area of the west bank, has been a conflicted area for a while now as Israel annexed this area during the six-day war in 1967 with Jordan. Although the majority of people who live there identify themselves to be Palestinians, Israel has occupied most of the expense of the bank and prevent the Palestinians from living in those areas or buying lands there. They are not provided with water or any basic necessities. Moreover, Israelis are now forcing them out of the remaining area. The international authorities, including the United Nations, have repeatedly pointed out that such annexation is illegal and the settlements of Israel’s civilians in such occupied territories is considered to be a war crime. Hence, declaring Jordan valley an annexation to the territories of Israel will show the complete disregard of international laws and insensitivity towards human rights on the part of the United States and more specifically, President Trump.

The Peace Plan also suggests transportation facilities will be built to connect the West Bank and Gaza strip for the Palestinian settlers to move across comfortably without causing security breaching for Israel. This clause clearly points towards the utmost urgency given to the security of Israel’s borders while neglecting the possibility of security issues that borders of Palestine will be facing due to the demarcation provided under the plan which divides Palestine into two parts connected through a passage across the territory of Israel. Therefore, Palestine will never be able to have an untied forefront against Israel in the case of a security breach.

The Peace Plan also discusses the capital cities for both nations. They suggest that Jerusalem will remain the undisputed capital for the State of Israel while the eastern Jerusalem, located at the outer edges of Jerusalem, will be acknowledged as Palestine’s capital. Jerusalem has been a conflicted area as it is considered to be the holy city due to its significant influence in the religion of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So, the citizens of both countries aspire Jerusalem to be the capital city of their nation and proves their dominance by citing its religious sentiments imputed with the city of Jerusalem. Hence, the Peace Plan declaring Jerusalem as capital for Israel shows bias on the part of President Trump towards Israel and their lack of sincerity as a neutral party for negotiations due to the inconsiderateness towards religious emotions of Palestinian citizens.

Consequently, no measures will ever result in a fruitful truce until both the countries are relieved with the baggage of past atrocities. Even Palestinians at times claimed that there can be no future establishment of an enduring peace or the transformation of the existing hostile relationship between Israel and Palestinians unless Israel admits that its ethnic cleansing of 1948 was a great injustice and wrong.

This article proves that the Trump Peace Plan 2020: Peace to Prosperity is biased towards Israel. firstly, declaring the annexed of Jordan valley as legitimate territory of Israel is not only violation of human rights but it is also a more economically beneficial area as compared to the Gaza strip which is assigned to Palestine. Secondly, announcing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while it holds such religious values for both the countries is exceptionally wrong towards Palestinian sentiments.

The Tump “Peace” Plan is more of a political move than for establishing harmony to prove world dominance on the part of President Trump in the times where more demands arouse in the country for impeachment charges against President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces corruption charges. Hence, such political intent behind the Peace Plan justifies the dissent of the Palestinian authority and their citizens.

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Middle East

What is the public sphere today in Turkey?

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The concept of public sphere, which was started to be examined in Europe in the 1960s, has different meanings according to different perspectives, as a definite definition cannot be made today, and this situation creates important discussion topics about the use of such spaces.

Long debated the definition of public space in Europe, in Turkey also began to affect 1980”l year. After the 1980 coup, some communities, which were kept out of sight, fearing that the Republic project would be harmed, demanded the recognition of their ethnic and cultural identities. Thus the concept of the public sphere in Turkey, especially since the early 1990s to be addressed in various academic publications, use and began to discuss political issues.

Especially in the past years, the public sphere debates on the headscarf issue were discussed from various angles. The debate started with Prime Minister Erdogan’s criticism of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who did not invite his wife to a NATO dinner, saying “Dolmabahçe is not a public space”, and the President of the Council of Higher Education, Prof.Dr. Erdoğan Teziç; He responded by emphasizing that the public sphere is not a “ geographical definition ” but a functional concept.

Before defining the public sphere, the understanding that shows that the definition of space in the Ottoman Empire was shaped as less private, private, very private and very very private is still one of the biggest reasons for the definition of the public sphere. While expressing, it reminds that he entered the Ottoman literature in a different way in the 19th century. Thinkers who indicate the association of the public sphere with the state in general express it as the sphere that is related to the state, not the “public”. “When you say ‘public’, the state comes to mind immediately; We mean something like government administration, its organs, organizations, officials, or activities, an official domain that is owned or run under state control. However, as Habermas said, the public sphere is above all the sphere in which the public opinion is formed in our social life ”.

As citizens of the city, we observe that some projects have spread to the spaces defined as public space due to the fact that today’s public space and public space concepts have not been defined precisely and construction activities have increased due to the anxiety of rent.

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Middle East

Erdogan’s Calamitous Authoritarianism

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Turkey’s President Erdogan is becoming ever more dangerous as he continues to ravage his own country and destabilize scores of states in the Middle East, the Balkans, and North Africa, while cozying up to the West’s foremost advisories. Sadly, there seems to be no appetite for most EU member states to challenge Erdogan and put him on notice that he can no longer pursue his authoritarianism at home and his adventurous meddling abroad with impunity.

To understand the severity of Erdogan’s actions and ambitions and their dire implications, it suffices to quote Ahmet Davutoglu, formerly one of Erdogan’s closest associates who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and subsequently Prime Minister. Following his forced resignation in May 2016 he stated “I will sustain my faithful relationship with our president until my last breath. No one has ever heard — and will ever hear — a single word against our president come from my mouth.”

Yet on October 12, Davutoglu declared “Erdogan left his friends who struggled and fought with him in exchange for the symbols of ancient Turkey, and he is trying to hold us back now…. You yourself [Erdogan] are the calamity. The biggest calamity that befell this people is the regime that turned the country into a disastrous family business.”

The stunning departure of Davutoglu from his earlier statement shows how desperate conditions have become, and echoed how far and how dangerously Erdogan has gone. Erdogan has inflicted a great calamity on his own people, and his blind ambition outside Turkey is destabilizing many countries while dangerously undermining Turkey’s and its Western allies’ national security and strategic interests.

A brief synopsis of Erdogan’s criminal domestic practices and his foreign misadventures tell the whole story.

Domestically, he incarcerated tens of thousands of innocent citizens on bogus charges, including hundreds of journalists. Meanwhile he is pressuring the courts to send people to prison for insulting him, as no one can even express their thoughts about this ruthlessness. Internationally, Erdogan ordered Turkish intelligence operatives to kill or smuggle back to the country Turkish citizens affiliated with the Gülen movement.

He regularly cracks down on Turkey’s Kurdish minority, preventing them from living a normal life in accordance with their culture, language, and traditions, even though they have been and continue to be loyal Turkish citizens. There is no solution to the conflict except political, as former Foreign Minister Ali Babacan adamantly stated on October 20: “… a solution [to the Kurdish issue] will be political and we will defend democracy persistently.”

Erdogan refuses to accept the law of the sea convention that gives countries, including Cyprus, the right to an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for energy exploration, while threatening the use of force against Greece, another NATO member no less. He openly sent a research ship to the region for oil and gas deposits, which EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called “extremely worrying.”

He invaded Syria with Trump’s blessing to prevent the Syrian Kurds from establishing autonomous rule, under the pretext of fighting the PKK and the YPG (the Syrian Kurdish militia that fought side-by-side the US, and whom Erdogan falsely accuses of being a terrorist group).

He is sending weapons to the Sunni in northern Lebanon while setting up a branch of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in the country—a practice Erdogan has used often to gain a broader foothold in countries where it has an interest.

While the Turkish economy is in tatters, he is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the Balkans, flooding countries with Turkish imams to spread his Islamic gospel and to ensure their place in his neo-Ottoman orbit. Criticizing Erdogan’s economic leadership, Babacan put it succinctly when he said this month that “It is not possible in Turkey for the economic or financial system to continue, or political legitimacy hold up.”

Erdogan is corrupt to the bone. He conveniently appointed his son-in-law as Finance Minister, which allows him to hoard tens of millions of dollars, as Davutoglu slyly pointed out: “The only accusation against me…is the transfer of land to an educational institution over which I have no personal rights and which I cannot leave to my daughter, my son, my son-in-law or my daughter-in-law.”

Erdogan is backing Azerbaijan in its dispute with Armenia (backed by Iran) over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inhabited by ethnic Armenians and has been the subject of dispute for over 30 years.

He is exploiting Libya’s civil strife by providing the Government of National Accord (GNA) with drones and military equipment to help Tripoli gain the upper hand in its battle against Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Former Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said in February 2020 that “The unclear Turkish foreign policy by Erdogan may put Turkey in grave danger due to this expansion towards Libya.”

He is meddling in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an effort to prevent them from settling their dispute unless Israel meets Palestinian demands. He granted several Hamas officials Turkish citizenship to spite Israel, even though Hamas openly calls for Israel’s destruction.

He betrayed NATO by buying the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, which seriously compromises the alliance’s technology and intelligence.

He is destabilizing many countries, including Somalia, Qatar, Libya, and Syria, by dispatching military forces and hardware while violating the air space of other countries like Iraq, Cyprus, and Greece. Yakis said Turkey is engaging in a “highly daring bet where the risks of failure are enormous.”

Erdogan supports extremist Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and an assortment of jihadists, including ISIS, knowing full well that these groups are sworn enemies of the West—yet he uses them as a tool to promote his wicked Islamic agenda.

He regularly blackmails EU members, threatening to flood Europe with Syria refugees unless they support his foreign escapades such as his invasion of Syria, and provide him with billions in financial aid to cope with the Syrian refugees.

The question is how much more evidence does the EU need to act? A close look at Erdogan’s conduct clearly illuminates his ultimate ambition to restore much of the Ottoman Empire’s influence over the countries that were once under its control.

Erdogan is dangerous. He has cited Hitler as an example of an effective executive presidential system, and may seek to acquire nuclear weapons. It’s time for the EU to wake up and take Erdogan’s long-term agenda seriously, and take severe punitive measures to arrest his potentially calamitous behavior. Sadly, the EU has convinced itself that from a geostrategic perspective Turkey is critically important, which Erdogan is masterfully exploiting.

The EU must be prepared take a stand against Erdogan, with or without the US. Let’s hope, though, that Joe Biden will be the next president and together with the EU warn Erdogan that his days of authoritarianism and foreign adventurism are over.

The views expressed are those of the author.

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Middle East

Syrian Refugees Have Become A Tool Of Duplicitous Politics

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Syrian refugees in Rukban camp

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria the issue of Syrian refugees and internally displace has been the subject of countless articles and reports with international humanitarian organizations and countries involved in the Syrian conflict shifting responsibility for the plight of migrants.

The most notorious example of human suffering put against political games is the Rukban refugee camp located in eastern Syria inside the 55-km zone around Al-Tanf base controlled by the U.S. and its proxies.

According to official information, more than 50,000 people, mostly women and children, currently live in the camp. This is a huge number comparable to the population of a small town. The Syrian government, aware of the plight of people in Rukban, has repeatedly urged Washington to open a humanitarian corridor so that everyone can safely return home. However, all such proposals were ignored by the American side. U.S. also refuse to provide the camp with first aid items. Neighbouring Jordan is inactive, too, despite Rukban being the largest of dozens other temporary detention centres in Syria, where people eke out a meager existence.

At the same time, the problem is not only refugee camps. Syria has been at war for a decade. The country’s economy has suffered greatly over this period, and many cities have been practically grazed to the ground. Moreover, the global coronavirus epidemic didn’t spare Syria and drained the already weakened economy even more. However, Damascus’ attempts of post-war reconstruction and economic recovery were undermined by multiple packages of severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. At the same time, U.S.-based human rights monitors and humanitarian organizations continue to weep over the Syrian citizens’ misery.

The situation is the same for those refugees who stay in camps abroad, especially in countries bordering on Syria, particularly Jordan and Turkey. Ankara has been using Syrian citizens as a leverage against the European states in pursuit of political benefits for a long time. No one pays attention to the lives of people who are used as a change coin in big politics. This is equally true for Rukban where refugees are held in inhuman conditions and not allowed to return to their homeland. In those rare exceptions that they are able to leave, refugees have to pay large sums of money that most of those living in camp are not able to come by.

It’s hard to predict how long the Syrian conflict will go on and when – or if – the American military will leave the Al-Tanf base. One thing can be said for sure: the kind of criminal inaction and disregard for humanitarian catastrophe witnessed in refugee camps is a humiliating failure of modern diplomacy and an unforgivable mistake for the international community. People shouldn’t be a tool in the games of politicians.

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