Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Can Tunisia Survive ISIS?

June 30, 2015 - Tunisia has long been the playground of Europe's holidaymakers both gentile and Jewish, due to its generous beaches, outstanding hospitality and warm, tolerant atmosphere. 

The Arab Spring put a stop to all that for several years, shriveling up the income that flowed into the country from international tourism, including an annual holiday pilgrimage of Sephardic Jews to an ancient synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba.

The current moderate government in Tunis, however, has worked hard to re-establish the country's credibility with tour operators, assuring them that local extremism was no longer an issue. Radical Islam, it was felt, would not interfere with the industry; the badly-needed income from tourists -- as with the social stability that had led to the rejuvenation of the economy -- would triumph over fundamentalism.

Sadly, tragically, the bloody massacre by Da'esh (ISIS) terrorists last Friday on the beach in Sousse proved them wrong. It left its mark also on local Tunisian tourists as well, according to a report Tuesday by the Tunis Tribune

The attack completely destroyed months of work by the Tunisian government spent in trying to rebuild the shattered tourism industry after the Jasmine Revolution.

Extensive measures were announced by the government to strengthen the safety of tourists visiting the nation’s renowned resorts -- but to no avail.

Since last Friday’s slaughter, European tour operators have recorded thousands of cancellations of stays originally planned in Tunisia for the month of July. 

Tour operators had already repatriated several thousands of clients from the at the time of the attacks. They were, for many, the harbinger of changes in travel plans to come.

In France, the union of travel agencies, has also recorded in these last few days a massive wave of withdrawals. Some 80 percent of of tourists have applied for cancellations or a change of destination for the next month on 8,000 out of 10,000 reservations. 

The Seto Union of Tour Operators which manages a total of 50,000 reservations, has seen 25 percent to 50 percent of applications for change of destination for the same period.

French tourists were not the only ones to have second thoughts and temporarily redirect their vacation getaways away from Tunisia, either. 

In Belgium, where the government recommended its citizens stay away from Tunisia, one large tour operator, Jetair, has suspended all of its reservations until the end of July. This decision represents, according to a company spokesperson cited by the AFP news agency, “thousands of cancellations.” 

The Neckermann tour operator, a subsidiary of Thomas Cook, also faces 15,000 cancellations by the end of August. 

In Germany, one of the top European sources of holiday goers, at least half of its tourists also did not depart this weekend for planned trips to Tunisia.

“Right now it’s more dangerous even than in France,” wrote one person in a Facebook post on the newspaper’s page. 

Nevertheless, a Turkish citizen wrote in response, “I intend to be a solidarity tourist; I will not reject Tunisia.”

“There is no question of canceling the Tunisia I love,” wrote another. “I come in August.”

But, “Tunisia is a country at risk,” wrote a fourth. 

And so on. The comments continued to be split more or less evenly, with readers arguing about “giving in to these terrorists” as opposed to waiting until things have “calmed down.”

Tunisia has survived the Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring. Despite the best efforts of radical Islam to tear it apart, Tunisian society managed to preserve the mutual respect between social sectors and honor the plurality that sets its apart from so many other Arab nations in the region.

The only question now is, can Tunisia survive ISIS?

British PM Threatens to 'Crush' ISIS Terror Group in Retaliation for Tunisia Beach Massacre

June 30, 2015 - Apparently it takes a slaughter UK nationals to catch the attention of British politicians before they are willing to act against terror.

Prime Minister David Cameron threatened RAF bombing raids against Da’esh (ISIS) terrorists in Syria on Monday, as a response to last Friday's Tunisian beach massacre.

At least two British humanitarian workers were beheaded by the terrorist organization in the past year, but neither atrocity raised this level of action by Downing Street.

The RAF (Royal Air Force) has thus far flown more than 300 missions against ISIS positions in Iraq since last September. But it is not authorized to bomb ISIS positions in Syria, where its headquarters is located and where strategic decisions are made.

Cameron told the House of Commons that “military solutions” must form part of the response to the terrorist organization following the attack on holiday beach goers in Sousse.

At least 38 people have been confirmed as dead following the terror attack on the beach that took place in the resort of Port El Kantaoui. Up to 30 British citizens were killed in the massacre; dozens more were wounded and are being treated in local hospitals.

“We do need to crush the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” Cameron told members of parliament. He called for a ‘minute of silence’ to honor the dead and asked ministers to draw up plans for a permanent memorial to those who had died. 

In addition, Cameron said that schools, prisons, hospitals and other public bodies would be placed under legal obligation to report concerns about radicalized youth and to tackle extremism.

He called on social media companies to do more to help deal with terrorism, but also insisted that official guidance would not tell tourists to 'never' travel to Tunisia.

Cameron indicated the government would crack down on radical groups who call for the overthrow of democracy and creation of a caliphate, according to the Daily Mail website.

More to the point, the prime minister told British lawmakers to be more ‘intolerant of intolerance,’ saying “We will stand in solidarity with all those outraged by this event, not least the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country and around the world.” 

On Tuesday, new rules were to go into effect requiring all public bodies to ‘take steps to identify and tackle radicalization.’ 

Cameron told the parliament, “We must confront this evil with everything we have, we must be stronger at standing up for our values and we must be intolerant of intolerance – taking on anyone whose views condone the extremist narrative.”

Perhaps the prime minister should grab a mirror and take a look.

His own government has approved a petition by fascist neo-Nazis planning to march through the London Jewish neighborhood of Golders Green this coming Sabbath, Saturday July 4. 

The march is to conclude with a rally in the neighborhood at which the group intends to burn an Israeli flag and a Jewish holy book – a Talmud – according to the organization’s leader, self-described fascist Joshua Bonehill.

If that is not radicalization, what is?  But maybe Jewish targets don't count in Britain...