Lebanon’s Hatred of Israel: A Symptom of Dysfunction

Lebanon has many problems, including sectarian divisions, Iranian influence, spillover from the Syrian civil war, the weakness of its army, the ineffectiveness of its politicians, and the very existence of Hizballah, but Israel’s existence next door is not one of them.

The animosity of Lebanon towards Israel continues today only because it provides a convenient excuse for Hizballah to maintain a formidable arsenal that it uses to control Lebanon and to help its allies in Syria.

Lebanon has a law forbidding its citizens from interacting with Israeli citizens. As Michael J. Totten wrote:

“Lebanese citizens aren’t allowed to have any communication of any kind with Israelis anywhere in the world. If citizens of the two countries meet, say, on a beach in Cyprus or in a bar in New York, the Lebanese risks prison just for saying hello.”

The Lebanese online news source NOW explains that law in detail. Even a dual citizen (of Lebanon and Canada for example) could be jailed for interacting in the most innocuous way with an Israeli.

The Lebanese delegation, for example, recently refused to share a bus with the Israeli delegation at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, prompting the Israeli minister of culture and sports to describe the incident as, “anti-Semitism, pure and simple, and the worst kind of racism.” The incident was, however, hardly surprising, considering the history of Lebanese animosity towards Israel.

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Satellite images show gulags still operational in North Korea

Media reports in South Korea had suggested that the camp, officially known as Penal Labour Colony 22, had been abandoned and the inmates dispersed to other prisons.

Imagery collected by the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea as recently as October 11 indicates the camp continues to function, it said in a report.

“Harvesting of crops continues, as does coal production, making it not yet clear that the camp has closed and that North Korean authorities have been slowly transferring small sections of prisoners out of Camp 22 and replacing them with a regular workforce from other locations,” the group said in a statement.

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The foreign criminals we don’t try to deport

In each case, the Home Office accepted their argument that deporting them would breach their human rights rather than asking a judge to decide. The number has increased fivefold in four years, throwing into doubt the commitment of Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to deporting foreign criminals.

They were allowed to stay despite Damian Green, the immigration minister, telling the Commons last December that the Government was “doing everything in our power to increase the number and speed of removals”.

The figures, disclosed to The Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act, show that there were 56 such cases in 2008, rising to 80 in 2009, 217 in 2010 and 250 in 2011 and that:

• In 2011, at least one terrorist – and possibly up to four – was allowed to stay, as well as up to eight killers and rapists. Also among the total were 20 robbers and up to eight paedophiles, plus as many as four people convicted of firearms offences.

• In 2010, the Home Office conceded in the cases of up to four murderers and up to four people convicted of manslaughter, as well as up to four rapists, up to eight paedophiles and 43 people convicted of violent crime or robbery.

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Syria: 17 killed in Deraa attacks

The bombardment began before dawn. Government tanks pounded a civilian neighbourhood with artillery in an attack that struck dozens of homes. By early morning nine women and three children were among the dead, the pro-opposition watchdog the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

YouTube footage showed a mosque strewn with casualties. The wounded lay groaning the carpeted floor, surrounded by family members as doctors sought to treat them with limited medical supplies.

The disturbing scenes came only a day after UN observers gained access to the site of a bloody massacre where dozens of civilians were stabbed or shot to death.

The traces of the atrocity were obvious; as the monitors entered al-Qubeir village they found an entire neighbourhood razed to the ground, the flesh of the victims stick stuck to some of the burnt walls.

“Armoured vehicle tracks were in the vicinity. Some homes were damaged by rockets from armoured vehicles, grenades and a range of calibre weapons,” said Mark Nesirky, UN Spokesperson.

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Law banning insulting language ‘is strangling free speech’

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act was having a ”terrible, chilling effect on democracy”.

Polling suggests almost two-thirds of MPs back Mr Davis, according to a campaign which has brought together religious and secular groups along with human rights and minority organisations.

Under the legislation, the use of ”insulting words or behaviour” is outlawed, but opponents say there is too little clarity of what that includes, leading to spurious arrests.

One teenage boy was arrested for holding a ”Scientology is a dangerous cult” placard and a student was held for telling a police officer his horse was ”gay”, they said.

While it was right to protect people against unjust discrimination and the incitement of violence against them, the campaign said, insulting behaviour was open to too much interpretation.

The campaign is using the slogan ”Feel free to insult me”.

Mr Davis said repeal was ”vital to protecting freedom of expression in Britain today”.

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Judges signal distaste for Theresa May’s human rights reform

The Home Secretary disclosed last week that immigration rules will be changed by the summer to ensure the “right to private and family life” can only be used to avoid deportation in “rare and exceptional cases”.

But the country’s most senior immigration judge has delivered a ruling in a landmark case which, experts say, reinforces the rights of immigrants who commit serious crimes to avoid deportation.

Mr Justice Blake, the president of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, said a “settled migrant” could not be removed from the country unless there were “very serious reasons” to do so.

Having lived in the UK from a young age, or having a child or partner here, can strengthen a criminal’s claim to stay.

The judge has flagged up his ruling as a “reported determination”, which means that it will used by other judges to decide similar cases.

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