News from the West Bank, Germany and France

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on September 13, 2011

WEST BANK – Palestinians launch statehood campaign

RAMALLAH — The Palestinians on Thursday officially launched their campaign to join the United Nations as a full member state, saying they would stage a series of peaceful events in the run-up to the annual gathering of the General Assembly later this month.

Some 100 Palestinian officials and activists gathered at U.N. offices in Ramallah for a short ceremony, where they announced their plans in a letter addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

GERMANY – Police detain two suspects, search Islamic center

BERLIN — Berlin police on Thursday detained two men suspected of obtaining ingredients for a bomb after foreign intelligence agencies tipped off German authorities to a potential threat, officials said.

The men were detained three days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and followed a weekend statement by the interior minister that threats to Germany remained “real and intensive.”

Officers searched an Islamic center in Berlin where the pair had spent time and the apartments of the two suspects, a 24-year-old German of Lebanese descent and a 28-year-old from Gaza, a police spokesman said.

The men, who were not otherwise identified, are suspected of working together to plan “a violent criminal act,” and police had watched them for several months, the spokesman said.

A high-ranking security official told the Associated Press that foreign intelligence agencies informed German authorities in late June that the pair posed a potential threat.

FRANCE – Court convicts Galliano in anti-Semitism case

PARIS — A Paris court convicted former Christian Dior designer John Galliano on Thursday for making anti-Semitic insults in a bar but gave him only a suspended sentence, taking into account his apology to the victims.

Mr. Galliano, who didn’t attend the announcement of the verdict, was given no prison time. He was given a suspended $8,400 fine, which means it goes on his criminal record but he does not have to pay it.

from washingtontimes.com on September 8th.

Questions

1. For each of the 3 countries, give the following information:
a) location/the countries that share its borders
b) the religious breakdown of the population
c) the type of government
d) the chief of state (and head of government if different) [If monarch or dictator, since what date has he/she ruled? – include name of heir apparent for monarch] e) the population

[Find the answers at the CIA World FactBook website. For each country, answers can be found under the “Geography” “People” and “Government” headings.  Go to worldatlas.com for a list of continents.]

2. For the Palestinian sections of Israel: the West Bank and Gaza:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) The Palestinians say they will stage a series of peaceful events in their effort to circumvent peace talks with Israel and instead get the U.N. to recognize them as an independent state.  Read “Israel’s Predicament” at wsj.com.  What do you think of the announcement that the Palestinians will stage peaceful events?

3. For Germany:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) What religion do you think the two men practice?
c)  Do you think a news report should include the religion of arrested terror suspects?  Explain your answer.

4. For France:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Do you support hate speech laws?  Explain your answer.


Free Answers — Sign-up here to receive a weekly email with answers.

Background

WEST BANK:

  • The Palestinians launched a campaign [last week] to rally support for U.N. recognition as an independent state, planning demonstrations in the Palestinian territories and worldwide before asking the world body to accept them as a full member state later this month.
  • The public relations blitz helps set up a diplomatic showdown at the U.N., where Israel and the U.S. are leading opposition to the bid, and adds to concerns in Israel that mass demonstrations could turn violent.
  • The U.S. administration said for the first time Thursday that it would veto any Security Council resolution to recognize Palestinian statehood.
  • With peace talks deadlocked for nearly three years, the Palestinians plan to ask the United Nations to recognize their independence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.
  • Although the vote will not change the situation on the ground, the Palestinians believe a strong international endorsement will isolate Israel and boost their position in future negotiations. Israel opposes a full withdrawal to its 1967 lines that mark the West Bank’s boundaries.
  • At Thursday’s ceremony, some 100 Palestinian officials and activists gathered at the U.N. offices in Ramallah for a short ceremony, where they spelled out their plans in an informal letter addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (from boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2011/09/09/palestinians_rally_ahead_of_statehood_bid_at_un.)

 

FRANCE’S hate speech law:

The hate speech laws in France are matters of both civil law and criminal law. Those laws protect individuals and groups from being defamed or insulted because they belong or do not belong, in fact or in fancy, to an ethnicity, a nation, a race, a religion, a sex, or a sexual orientation, or because they have a handicap. The laws forbid any communication which is intended to incite discrimination against, hatred of, or harm to, anyone because of his belonging or not belonging, in fact or in fancy, to an ethnicity, a nation, a race, a religion, a sex, or a sexual orientation, or because he has a handicap. (from wikipedia)

Resources

WEST BANK:  Click here for a map of Israel (including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.)

————————

FRANCE:  Read a detailed article about John Galliano’s hate speech conviction at: wcpo.com/dpp/news/world/designer-galliano-convicted-in-anti-semitism-case.