More than 3.7m people marched in the streets of Paris and across France on Sunday in a defiant display of unity against terrorism and racism, after the deadliest attacks on French soil in more than half a century struck the nation at its core.
The dense and determined crowd flooded Paris’s Place de la République to pay tribute to the 17 victims murdered in attacks over three days last week by Islamist extremists targeting French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police forces and a Jewish supermarket. More than 50 foreign leaders from Europe, the Middle East and Africa linked arms around President François Hollande at the start of the march.
“Paris is today the capital of the world,” Mr Hollande said. “France is going to rise to its best.”
Unprecedented numbers of marchers, many with very young children, braved the increased terror threats by chanting La Marseillaise, waving “Je Suis Charlie” signs and applauding police squads over Friday’s denouement, which resulted in the three suspects being killed in dramatic assaults by special forces.
There was a festival mood despite the rain and the squashed crowds that had been brought to a standstill near Place de la République started singing All You Need is Love by The Beatles, after hearing the music playing from an apartment above.
The demonstration — of 1.2m to 1.6m in Paris, according to the interior ministry — has put the spotlight on Mr Hollande, who had recently been deemed in opinion polls to be the most unpopular president in recent French history before the attacks. He and his government are widely credited with having reacted solidly after Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo and Friday’s Jewish hostage crisis.
Struggling to improve his international stature before the events, the French president has received overwhelming support from the international community, with German chancellor Angela Merkel, British prime minister David Cameron, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, among others, at the march.
But the country remains in shock after the terror attacks that left cartoonists, security guards, police officers and Jewish hostages dead at the hands of armed religious extremists known to the French authorities.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who convened a G10 security meeting on Sunday morning, said...
In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris last week, many people in France and elsewhere have declared, Je suis Charlie (“I am Charlie”) after heavily armed gunmen broke into the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French magazine, and killed eight staff members, two police officers, a building maintenance worker and wounded several others.
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people including a number of world leaders such as Angela Merkel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and David Cameron gathered in Paris for a unity rally, to stand in mourning, in defiance. There were cries of Je suis Charlie, Je suis Ahmed (I am Ahmed, the Muslim police officer who lost his life in the attack), Je suis juif (I am a Jew).
These declarations were a display of solidarity with those who lost their lives and those who survived. They allowed people to try and place themselves in the lives of others by using the power of language. We have seen this kind of remembrance before in the face of tragedy: I am Troy Davis; I am Mike Brown; I am Eric Garner; I am Renisha McBride.
But we are none of these people. We can and do empathize with the plights of the dead, the survivors and their loved ones. We can and do empathize with how fragile we all are, and with how we cannot be ruled by terror, but why the rhetorical urge to take the place of the fallen? What does it bring them? I, too, have ached since hearing the news of what happened in Paris but je ne suis pas Charlie et je ne suis pas Ahmed et je ne suis pas juif.
There are times when silence equals consent, but is the loss of someone else’s life really such an instance? Is it reasonable to assume that if je ne suis pas Charlie, I tacitly endorse terrorism?
I believe in the freedom of expression, unequivocally – though, as I have written before, I wish more people would understand that freedom of expression is not freedom from consequence. I find some of the work of Charlie Hebdo distasteful, because there is a preponderance of bigotry of all kinds in many of their cartoons’ sentiments. Still, my distaste should not dictate the work the magazine produces or anything else. The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo – and writers and artists everywhere – should be able to express themselves and challenge authority without being murdered. Murder is not an acceptable consequence for anything.
Yet it is also an exercise of freedom...
Israeli and Palestinian medical officials seemed to agree on the results of the autopsy of the Palestinian minister who died after being shoved and grabbed by the neck by an Israeli policeman at a West Bank protest, but issued conflicting interpretations Thursday.
Abu Ein, a Palestinian Authority cabinet minister, collapsed and died in the afternoon hours of Wednesday. Now a Palestinian-led autopsy claims his cause of death was a stress-induced heart attack.
The report, being led by Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli pathologists, said the death was caused by blockage in the coronary artery, and said there were signs of light internal bleeding and localized pressure on the neck, at least according to the Israeli version of the report published by the Health Minixtry
The deceased suffered from heart disease, and there was evidence that plaque buildup were clogging more than 80% of his blood vessels, as well as signs that he had suffered heart attacks in the past.
The Palestinian government issued a statement after its meeting, blaming Israel for the "murder" of Abu Ein. "After publication of the results, we can say that Israel is responsible for the murder of Abu Ein," the government said.
Initially, Hussein al-Sheikh, a top Palestinian official, told Reuters that Jordanian and Palestinian doctors involved in the late night examination of the body said Ziad Abu Ein, 55, had died from being struck, inhaling tear gas and not receiving prompt medical attention.
However, Dr. Hen Kugel, the Israeli doctor who took part in the autopsy, told Ynet that the report was not final and that they were awaiting on the return of some tests, however "we know what happended there – he died from a heart attack. He had significant blockage of the arteries and his heart was in bad shape. When they grabbed his neck it caused massive stress which led to bleeding and then full blockage which is what killed him."
"There is no disagreement with the Palestinians about this, the only thing we still need to find out about is wounding to his front teeth, tongue and windpipe. These could be a result of resuscitation attempts or an attack as the Palestinians claim, but it doesn’t matter, he died because of his heart and stress," Dr. Kugel said.
Over 50 Palestinians rioted in Turmus Iya in the West Bank, where Abu's Ein altercation with IDF took place, as hundreds attended his funeral in Ramallah. Palestinian President Mahmoud...
MOSCOW, December 11 (Sputnik) — The tragic death of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, who was attacked by Israeli police while taking part in a peaceful protest, shows the real face of racism in Israel, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia, Fayed Mustafa told Sputnik Arabic Thursday.
"The tragedy once again unveils the true face of Israeli racism, unscrupulous in their means of suppressing protests, mercilessly punishing the young, the defenseless elderly, the women and children," Fayed Mustafa said.
The head of the Palestinian Authority committee against the separation wall and Israeli settlements, Ziad Abu Ein died in a clash with Israeli police during West Bank protests. Demonstrators were trying to plant olive trees on a patch of land near the Jewish settlement of Shiloh, which they feared would soon be annexed. During the course of the protests they were confronted by some 15 Israeli soldiers.
Fatah Denies Receiving Israeli Offer to Set Up Joint Investigation Team on Minister Death
Fayed Mustafa said that the autopsy showed clear signs of the "excessive use of force" against the deceased official. Ziad Abu Ein had been badly beaten and exposed to tear gas. He died in an ambulance.
According to Fayed Mustafa, the situation surrounding the death of the Palestinian official shows that "the political establishment of Israel will stop at nothing to preserve and perpetuate the occupation of the Palestinian lands."
The ambassador added that Palestinians called for the international condemnation of the actions of Israeli police and that they would be calling on international organizations to introduce sanctions against Israel.
Russia is open to the rest of the world and ready for developing equal partnership with other countries, said Vladimir Putin He dismissed treatment Russia through strength and sanctions as ineffective and warned against scheming.
“Talking to Russia from a position of strength is meaningless,” said Putin in his annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly, stressing that the ‘deterrence policy’ towards Russia is nothing new.
“The deterrence policy was not invented yesterday, it has been always conducted towards our country, for decades, if not centuries,” Putin noted.
“Every time somebody considers Russia is becoming too powerful and independent, such instruments are turned on immediately,” said Putin.
US manipulating foreign relations of Russia’s neighbors
The US has always been, either directly or behind the scenes, affecting relations between Russia and its neighbors, the president said.
“I’ve mentioned our American friends for a good reason,” Putin said. “Because sometimes you don’t even know to whom it is better to talk to: the governments of certain countries or directly with their American patrons.”
Further deployment of America’s global anti-ballistic missile defense poses a threat to the US and those European countries that agreed to host it, because it builds up a dangerous illusion of invincibility, Putin said.
“This [ABM] constitutes a threat not only to the security of Russia, but to the whole world, in view of the possible destabilization of the strategic balance of powers. I believe this is dangerous for the US itself, as it creates a dangerous illusion of invulnerability and reinforces the tendency of unilateral, often ill-considered decisions and additional risks,” Putin said.
The European Phased Adaptive Approach, a centerpiece of the US missile defense shield in Europe, implies deployment of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, all of which are fitted with the Aegis weapon and radar system, interceptor batteries in Poland and Romania, radar in Turkey, and a command center at Ramstein, Germany, a US Air Force base.
Russia considers the system to be a major threat to its own security and has threatened to increase its own arsenals and missile shield piercing capabilities in response.
Russia will not get involved in an expensive arms race, the president said,...
BASEL: US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Russia Thursday not to isolate itself "through its own actions" as top diplomats grappled with elusive peace efforts in Ukraine but Moscow lashed out at biting sanctions.
President Vladimir Putin accused the West of using the Ukraine conflict as a pretext to restrain a muscular Russia with sanctions and defiantly declared that Moscow would overcome the blow to an economy on the brink of recession.
However, Putin said in a state of nation address he would not sever ties with the West over the conflict as the 57 members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) met in Switzerland to discuss a shattered truce agreement between warring parties in eastern Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that the eight-month conflict had raised the spectre of "a new division of Europe" as East-West relations plunged to frosty lows not seen since the Cold War.
"We have not advanced as much as we would like in defusing this crisis. The danger of a new escalation cannot be ruled out," he told journalists in the Swiss city of Basel.
Diplomats at the meeting called for a renewed effort to implement a truce brokered by Russia on September 5 in the Belarussian capital Minsk that has been frequently broken, sending the death toll from the conflict soaring to 4,300.
"It is not a Ukrainian crisis, it is not an OSCE crisis, it is about Russian aggression," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
Kerry, who met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the OSCE conference, accused Moscow of torpedoing the accord it brokered by continuing to support the rebels.
"Russia continues to supply new weapons and increase support for armed separatists" in Ukraine, and thus is failing "to live up to an agreement that it actually negotiated and signed".
He insisted however that "the United States and countries that support Ukraine's sovereignty and rights do not seek confrontation".
"It is not our design or desire that we see a Russia isolated through its own actions."
"Moscow could rebuild trust and relationships if it simply helps to calm turbulent waters," Kerry said.
Clashes have continued around the flashpoint Donetsk airport and a fresh local ceasefire there appeared to crumble Wednesday just hours after it was signed.
A separate truce planned for the Lugansk area Friday was...
A Border Police officer has been arrested and is being arraigned in a Jerusalem court Wednesday morning on charges of killing a Palestinian Authority rioter near Ramallah on “Naqba” Day five months ago.
Two Arabs were killed in the riot, and media videos at the time did not show the source of the shooting that killed the 20-year-old man at the village of Betunia. The identity of the Border Police soldier has not been released.
The IDF at the time said that soldiers used rubber bullets, but a police investigation indicates that the arrested Border Police officer violated army orders and shot live bullets, one of which allegedly killed the rioter.
It is not clear if the video of the riot shows the Border Police officer shooting at the victim. A building appears to obscure the line of fire.
The arrest raises several issues. On one hand, it shows that Israel, perhaps more than any other country in the world, is secure and moral enough to investigate and prosecute soldiers and policemen who violate orders, even during a life-threatening riot.
On the other hand, it places the IDF Spokesman’s office in a bad light for having stated information that turned out to be incorrect.
In its defense, it can be said that army orders were that live fire not be used, but the arrest of the Border Police officer shows that it cannot always be assumed that everyone follows orders.
Another problem rests with policemen and soldiers, who often have to deal with rioters under strict limits when their lives are threatened.
An Israeli policeman was arrested Wednesday on suspicions that he shot and killed Palestinian youth Nadim Nuwara six months ago, Israeli media has reported.
The suspect was detained by the Israeli police and taken to an arraignment hearing, according to Israeli Army radio.
Nuwara, 17, was killed by Israeli security forces – along with Mohamed Abu Thahr, 16 – in the West Bank town of Beitunia during clashes marking Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the loss of their homeland during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
In May, Defense for Children International, a human rights group, released a two-minute video on YouTube that purports to show the incident.
The video was edited down from six hours of surveillance footage taken from a camera affixed to a nearby Palestinian-owned business, according to the rights group.
In the footage, the men who are shot do not appear to be involved in the clashes.
Footage from security cameras on Palestinian properties near the demonstration showed each of the youths, about an hour apart according to the time stamp, walking at some distance from the protest and then falling to the ground, apparently shot.
"Hopefully God willing there will be justice in the case of my son," said Siam Nuwara, the boy's father. "I believe there is law in Israel, but the question is whether they will apply it for a Palestinian the same way they would for an Israeli."
In June, the Palestinian attorney-general said an autopsy, requested by Nuwara's family, showed the youth was killed by live fire. U.S., Danish and Israeli pathologists were also present at the autopsy.
The U.S. had subsequently called on the Israeli government to investigate the fatal shooting of the two Palestinian youths in the West Bank.
The Israeli authorities, for their part, said they were investigating the video, which has circulated widely on the internet.