Egyptians flee Libya

Egyptians in Libya – to flee or to stay?

By Tom Westcott, February 27, 2015

Reprinted from IRIN News service

Photo: Mohamed Ben Khalifa/IRIN

Egyptian workers held in a detention centre for illegal immigrants near Misrata on board a bus to Tunisia, from where they will be flown home.

TRIPOLI, 27 February 2015 (IRIN) – The roundabouts in the Libyan capital of Tripoli have long been a place for Egyptians to find work. Every day, carpenters, builders, plumbers and decorators sit and wait, each man carrying the tools of his trade to make it easier for prospective employers.

Nowadays there are no Egyptians. Last week the Islamic State (IS) in Libya released a video showing the beheading of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Ghanaian. Since then, over 25,000 Egyptians have returned, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while hundreds of detained irregular migrants have been released from jail. Egyptians have reported an uptick in attacks – at one roundabout, a Libyan man was shot dead for trying to prevent a group of men harassing Egyptian workers.

But for some, the prospect of returning to a life in poverty in their home country makes staying on in Libya’s warzone a risk they are willing to take.

Revenge and revenge again

Libya is split between two rival parliaments and governments – the internationally-recognised ones in the eastern towns of Tobruk and Beida, and rival breakaway institutions, led by the Libya Dawn movement in the capital Tripoli. 

The situation for Egyptians is worse in the west. The prime minister for the Tripoli-based government Omar Al-Hassi has urged all Egyptians to leave Libya, according to the state news agency LANA, admitting his government’s security authorities are unable to guarantee Egyptians’ safety. There are no firm figures for how many Egyptians are in Libya, with estimates ranging from 40,000 to over 100,000.

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Jihadists don’t stem from poverty

Empowering Jihad: The Deadly Myth of a ‘Root Cause’

Blaming Islamist horrors on poverty only obscures the true problem: Jihadists are driven by an ideology — one that yearns to “restore” a mythical caliphate, one governed by the most austere version of Sharia law.

by Phyllis Chesler
The New York Post
February 26, 2015


Reports that “Jihadi John,” the British-accented narrator of ISIS snuff videos, is Mohammed Emwazi — an educated young man from a middle-class background — ought to put the final stake in the pretense that poverty and a lack of education and opportunity fuel Islamist hate.

This mistaken idea seems to be Obama administration policy.

Marie Harf, the US Department of State deputy spokesperson, recently said:

We cannot win this war by killing [jihadists]. We need to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs. . . We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.

Of course, the news about “Jihadi John” is only the latest evidence to the contrary. These terrorists are often well educated and even wealthy. Osama bin Laden certainly was.

Many Islamist terrorists are physicians: Maj. Nidal Hasan (the Fort Hood shooter) and al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

“Lady Al Qaeda” Aafia Siddiqui (the terrorist whom ISIS wanted to trade for James Foley, then for Steven Sotloff) was a scientist.

Terrorists are often well educated and well-to-do.

Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 crew, was an engineer and the son of a solidly middle class family. Another engineer: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber, who is the son of a wealthy Nigerian businessman.

William A. Wulf, former president of the National Academy of Engineering, has noted, “In the ranks of the captured and confessed terrorists, engineers and engineering students are significantly overrepresented.”

Dr. Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer with a PhD from NYU as well as his MD, is the author of the landmark 2003 study “Understanding Terror Networks.”

This found that “two-thirds of al Qaeda’s members had a university education” and that “the vast majority of terrorists came from solid, middle-class backgrounds; their leadership hailed from the upper middle class. They came from caring, intact families.”

Blaming Islamist horrors on poverty only obscures the true problem: Jihadists are driven by an ideology — one that yearns to “restore” a mythical caliphate, one governed by the most austere version of Sharia law.

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Netanyahu deserves support

In Israel’s hour of need

Netanyahu has been clear since his first tenure in office in the 1990s, that Iran’s nuclear program – as well as its ballistic missile program – constitutes a threat to Israel’s very existence. He has never wavered from his position that Israel cannot accept an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

By Caroline Glick

Friday, February 27th, 2015


iranian bomb

It is hard to get your arms around the stubborn determination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. For most of the nine years he has served as Israel’s leader, first from 1996 to 1999 and now since 2009, Netanyahu shied away from confrontations or buckled under pressure. He signed deals with the Palestinians he knew the Palestinians would never uphold in the hopes of winning the support of hostile US administrations and a fair shake from the pathologically hateful Israeli media.

In recent years he released terrorist murderers from prison. He abrogated Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. He agreed to support the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. He agreed to keep giving the Palestinians of Gaza free electricity while they waged war against Israel. He did all of these things in a bid to accommodate US President Barack Obama and win over the media, while keeping the leftist parties in his coalitions happy.

For his part, for the past six years Obama has undermined Israel’s national security. He has publicly humiliated Netanyahu repeatedly.

He has delegitimized Israel’s very existence, embracing the jihadist lie that Israel’s existence is the product of post-Holocaust European guilt rather than 4,000 years of Jewish history.

He and his representatives have given a backwind to the forces that seek to wage economic warfare against Israel, repeatedly indicating that the application of economic sanctions against Israel – illegal under the World Trade Organization treaties – are a natural response to Israel’s unwillingness to bow to every Palestinian demand. The same goes for the movement to deny the legitimacy of Israel’s very existence. Senior administration officials have threatened that Israel will become illegitimate if it refuses to surrender to Palestinian demands.
Last summer, Obama openly colluded with Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel. He tried to coerce Israel into accepting ceasefire terms that would have amounted to an unconditional surrender to Hamas’s demands for open borders and the free flow of funds to the terrorist group. He enacted a partial arms embargo on Israel in the midst of war. He cut off air traffic to Ben-Gurion International Airport under specious and grossly prejudicial terms in an open act of economic warfare against Israel.
And yet, despite Obama’s scandalous treatment of Israel, Netanyahu has continued to paper over differences in public and thank Obama for the little his has done on Israel’s behalf. He always makes a point of thanking Obama for agreeing to Congress’s demand to continue funding the Iron Dome missile defense system (although Obama has sought repeatedly to slash funding for the project).
Obama’s policies that are hostile to Israel are not limited to his unconditional support for the Palestinians in their campaign against Israel. Obama shocked the entire Israeli defense community when he supported the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, despite Mubarak’s dependability as a US ally in the war on Islamist terrorism, and as the guardian of both Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and the safety and freedom of maritime traffic in the Suez Canal.
Obama supported Mubarak’s overthrow despite the fact that the only political force in Egypt capable of replacing him was the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks the destruction of Israel and is the ideological home and spawning ground of jihadist terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Hamas. Obama then supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime even as then-president Mohamed Morsi took concrete steps to transform Egypt into an Islamist, jihadist state and end Egypt’s peace with Israel.
Israelis were united in our opposition to Obama’s behavior. But Netanyahu said nothing publicly in criticism of Obama’s destructive, dangerous policy.

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Islamists kill another

Bangladeshi-American Blogger Hacked To Death In Dhaka

February 27, 2015,

By Krishnadev Calamur


People gather on the spot where Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy was killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Thursday. i

People gather on the spot where Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy was killed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Thursday. Abir Abdullah/EPA /Landov

A Bangladeshi-American blogger, whose writings denounced fundamentalist thought and earned him death threats from Islamist groups, was hacked to death by two attackers in Dhaka. Avijit Roy’s wife, Rafida Ahmed, who was with him during the attack late Thursday, was severely wounded.

Roy and Ahmed, Bangladesh-born U.S. citizens, were returning from a book fair when they were attacked on a crowded sidewalk in the Bangladeshi capital. The Dhaka Tribune newspaper reports that Roy died in hospital from excessive bleeding and an internal brain injury. His wife is reportedly critical but stable. The couple was due to return to the U.S. next month.

The Associated Press reports that Ansar Bangla 7, a previously unknown group, claimed responsibility for the attack, citing Roy’s “crime against Islam.” Police are investigating the attack, but no arrests have as yet been made.

NPR’s Julie McCarthy, who is in New Delhi, tells our Newscast unit that Roy had received threats on social media from hard-liners angered by his writing. She says:

“Roy founded the website ‘Free Mind,’ a congregation of free thinkers, atheists and humanists of mainly Bengali descent. The clash between secularists and Muslim fundamentalists risks destabilizing Bangladesh where hard-line Islamist groups demand public executions of writers like Roy, the second blogger to be murdered in Bangladesh in two years.”

In 2013, blogger Rajib Hyder was killed in nearly the same way, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

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Congress should listen to Bibi

Why is Bibi’s speech to Congress key for Israel’s security?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has headed the battle against nuclear Iran for many years, and his upcoming speech to Congress fits in with his concerns for Israel’s existence.

Author Arye Mekel, Posted February 20, 2015, Al-Monitor 

On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will appear before a joint session of Congress in Washington and will try to explain to the 435 representatives and 100 senators — or at least those who won’t be absent for the speech — about the danger of the agreement with Iran now being worked out by the United States and the other powers conducting negotiations with it.

In ordinary times, Israeli citizens would be proud of the invitation for their prime minister to speak before a joint session of Congress, and this is the third time it’s happened. But this time sharp criticism has been leveled at Netanyahu in both Israel and the United States, and he is accused of cooking up electoral mischief with the speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. According to this argument, Netanyahu wants to speak before the joint session, two weeks prior to the general election in Israel on March 17, to win votes from those who would be impressed by the event, while Boehner will use this opportunity to virtually stick a finger in President Barack Obama’s eye, and at the same time to get some additional Jewish votes in anticipation of the 2016 presidential and congressional elections.

The agreement now being worked out with Iran is terrible and dangerous, and it will enable the Iranians to continue and advance in their efforts to become a nuclear nation, or at least a nearly nuclear nation. This is the assessment of many experts in the United States, Israel and elsewhere. Moreover, Iran doesn’t hide its hostility to Israel and its desire to destroy the Jewish state. It acts against Israel from southern Lebanon, the Golan Heights and even in distant countries such as Argentina.

In this situation, what should an Israeli prime minister, whatever his name, do? Sit with his hands folded, or warn by every means possible about the danger, which in Netanyahu’s view, is the most serious threat to the Jewish people since the Holocaust?

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No solution just situation

Israelis, Palestinians and the ‘Two-State Situation’

Instead of demanding what each side cannot do, we must ask what each side can do—and then make the most of it.

A Palestinian youth holds a flag as he sits above the ruins of his home and others in Gaza City that were destroyed during the most recent war with Israel in September 2014. 

A Palestinian youth holds a flag as he sits above the ruins of his home and others in Gaza City that were destroyed during the most recent war with Israel in September 2014. Photo: Pacific Press/

By Michael Oren

Feb. 24, 2015, Wall Street Journal Opinion


Israeli and Palestinian leaders sit at a table and sign a treaty that ends a century of conflict. Israel pledges to withdraw from most of the West Bank, to uproot dozens of settlements and to redivide Jerusalem. The Palestinians forfeit their demands for regaining Haifa and Jaffa and relocating millions of Palestinians to Israel. The right of the Jewish people to sovereignty in its homeland is recognized. Thereafter, Israel and Palestine will live side-by-side in prosperity, stability and peace.

That is what policy makers have sought for more than 20 years, without success. The reasons are simple. A final-status agreement would require Israelis to cede land that is vital to their security and which many regard as sacred; to evict 100,000 citizens from their homes; and to give up half of the country’s capital. A final-status agreement would also mean creating a Palestinian state ruled by a corrupt, unelected regime that, in the current regional chaos, is likely to fall to radicals.

Such sacrifices and risks could be justified only if the Palestinians were genuinely willing to end the conflict. They would have to renounce all further claims to Israeli territory and a “right of return,” and to recognize a legitimate Jewish state on their border. But no Palestinian leader has ever agreed to those terms.

By insisting on concessions that neither side can reasonably make, the peace process has not only failed but brought us further from peace.

The time has come for a new approach. Instead of Western-style talks and treaties, we must adopt a Middle Eastern approach of informal understandings. Instead of demanding what each side cannot do, we must ask what each side can. The two-state solution may remain the ultimate goal, but in the interim we can strengthen what already exists: the two-state situation.

Though the world speaks loosely of Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank, in fact, more than 90% of the Palestinian population enjoys de facto sovereignty. Israeli soldiers don’t patrol the major Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Jericho and Bethlehem, and are largely absent from other towns. Moreover, these areas cooperate extensively with Israel in such crucial fields as water supply, energy and security. Virtually all Palestinian agricultural exports are shipped abroad from Haifa, an Israeli port city. There is a brisk foreign-tourist trade that transcends the undeclared borders between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Israel must address anti-Semitism

Candidly Speaking: Israel’s deficient response to the global anti-Semitic tsunami

Overall, Diaspora Jews are under enormous stress, confused and frequently divided as how to respond to the upsurge of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic onslaughts.

Print Edition

Photo by: REUTERS


02/23/2015, Jerusalem Post

We are currently being overwhelmed in the war of ideas and it is incumbent upon us to identify the anti-Semitic elements in the campaigns that seek to demonize us.

Successive Israeli governments have failed miserably to meet the challenge of global anti-Semitism, not providing the leadership demanded of a Jewish state in these turbulent times and leaving Diaspora Jews to their own devices.
The global anti-Semitic tsunami, an unprecedented surge of feral hostility compounded by the Internet, emanates from a combination of factors: rabid Muslim anti-Semitism and violence, demonical anti-Israelism of the Left, and the traditional cultural and radical Jew-hatred of the Right. It has impacted on Jewish communities everywhere but ironically is most acute in Europe, the continent drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust. It gathered enormous momentum during the recent military confrontation with Hamas, climaxing in France.
The responses by European Jewish leaders differ in various countries. Overall, the French have responded courageously. In contrast, others have behaved like “trembling Israelites,” some remaining in denial and continuing to understate the problem. By and large, Jews in Europe are under great stress and many are despondent about their future.

The situation in South America and South Africa has increasingly deteriorated. Even Canada and Australia, whose governments are strongly supportive of Israel, have witnessed an upsurge in anti-Semitism.
In the United States, the “Goldene Medina,” despite the strong public and congressional support for Israel, many Jews are stunned by the anti-Israeli hysteria generated by the Left and some liberal media and shocked by the toxic levels of anti-Semitism displayed on many college campuses.
It is estimated that well over $100 million is invested in various overlapping agencies purporting to combat anti-Semitism. Some play a constructive role but others are useless and sometimes even counterproductive.
Yet, despite this, American Jewry’s graying establishment leadership is on the defensive and has become less strident.
The caustic and frequently hostile anti-Israeli remarks expressed by President Barack Obama were met with deafening silence – uncharacteristic of the traditionally feisty leaders. The reluctance, despite grass-roots outrage, of leading Jewish organizations – including the Anti-Defamation League – to publicly protest the New York Metropolitan Opera’s performance of the anti-Semitic opera The Death of Klinghoffer also exemplifies this trend.

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Justice for Terror Victims

The 11 families at the heart of the landmark PA terror trial

Plaintiffs include kin of 4 victims of Hebrew University cafeteria attack, widow and 7 kids of a Canadian social worker, a 9/11 survivor

By Marissa Newman February 24, 2015, Times of Israel


A woman is evacuated for medical treatment after a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the center of Jerusalem on January 27, 2002 (photo credit: Flash90)

A woman is evacuated for medical treatment after a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the center of Jerusalem on January 27, 2002 (photo credit: Flash90)


Marissa Newman

Marissa Newman Marissa Newman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.


The 11 families that brought the case against the Palestinian Authority and PLO to a New York court, which on Monday ruled that the Palestinian leadership was responsible for six terror attacks during the Second Intifada, included the four parents of US citizens murdered in the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing, the family of a man killed in a Jerusalem suicide attack on his way to work, and several others whose lives were irreparably damaged by injuries sustained during terror attacks over a decade ago.

The families on Monday were awarded $218.5 million in damages, which may be tripled under the US Anti-Terrorism Act. The PA and PLO have vowed to appeal the verdict, which incriminated them in the terror attacks in and around Jerusalem between 2001-2004.

While none of the families of the victims or survivors were present in the courtroom on Monday as the decision was announced, their attorneys were hailed the “historic” verdict.

The Israel Law Center’s Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who was involved in the case, said that while the verdict would not bring the defendants’ relatives back, it “is an important measure of justice and closure for them after their long years of tragic suffering and pain.”

Here are the stories of the 11 families behind the landmark trial:

Hebrew University Cafeteria bombing, July 31, 2002

Dina Carter, who was killed in the Hebrew University bombing on July 31, 2002 (photo credit: Courtesy)

Dina Carter, who was killed in the Hebrew University bombing on July 31, 2002 (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Carter family testified on behalf of their daughter, Dina, 37, who was killed in the attack. A North Carolina native, Carter had moved to Israel, converted to Judaism, and worked as a librarian at the university’s Givat Ram campus. That day, she had arrived on Mount Scopus to take a Hebrew language exam. She was survived by her parents and sister, with whom she had severed ties shortly after she moved to Israel. “Once she did immigrate and did convert, it was like she started her separate life,” her father, Larry Carter, said in 2002.

Janis Ruth Coulter, who was killed in the Hebrew University bombing in July 31, 2002 (photo credit: Courtesy)

Janis Ruth Coulter, who was killed in the Hebrew University bombing in July 31, 2002 (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Coulter family testified on behalf of their 36-year-old daughter Janis Ruth Coulter of New York, who was also killed in the attack. Janis Ruth Coulter, a Hebrew University alumna, had arrived in Israel a day before the deadly bombing, and was accompanying a group of US students on a trip.

Coulter, like Carter, converted to Judaism in 1996.

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