Latest Analysis and Commentary

The West Needs to Wake Up to China's Duplicity

by Giulio Meotti  •  March 28, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • In an article in Xinhua, one of the Chinese Communist Party's mouthpieces, Beijing threatened to halt pharmaceutical exports, after which America would be "plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus... — Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health, Council on Foreign Relations, Twitter, March 4, 2020.

  • China's leaders are probably hoping that you cannot challenge a powerhouse that is selling you most of your vital medications.

  • "Hidden behind declarations of solidarity, China plans to buy out our troubled companies and infrastructure" — Bild, March 19, 2020.

  • Italy, a country hit hard by China's coronavirus pandemic, is now at the center of a strategic Chinese propaganda campaign. Beijing has sent doctors and supplies to Italy and is doing the same all over Europe. In Italy you can see posters saying, "Go, China!" China is trying to buy our silence and complicity. Sadly, that is already taking place.

  • China is not helping at this point out of "solidarity". The Chinese regime is now seeking to portray itself as the world's savior. Beijing, at the beginning of the pandemic, did not care about the lives of even its own people: it was busy censoring the news.

  • "The West is so tolerant, passive, accommodating and naive towards Beijing. Westerners... are seduced like an old man in front of a young girl.... Europe shows all its weakness. It does not realize that the Chinese offensive threatens its freedom and values". — Liao Yiwu, Chinese writer exiled in Berlin, Le Point International, April 6, 2019.

China is waging a double information war: one abroad and one for its own public, both led by the Chinese authorities with President Xi Jinping at its head. They apparently see the West as weak and submissive. We have been. (Photo by Naohiko Hatta - Pool/Getty Images)

The Chinese Communist Party is the "central threat of our times", US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo astutely said in January. Back then, coronavirus was already spreading throughout China and over the world; the Communist Party's attempt to hide the epidemic proved that Pompeo was more than right. "My concern is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again", Pompeo added this week.

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Coronavirus: The European Union Unravels

by Soeren Kern  •  March 27, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Faced with an existential threat, EU member states, far from joining together to confront the pandemic as a unified bloc, instinctively are returning to pursuing the national interest. After years of criticizing U.S. President Donald J. Trump for pushing an "America First" policy, European leaders are reverting to the very nationalism they have publicly claimed to despise.

  • Ever since the threat posed by coronavirus came into focus, Europeans have displayed precious little of the high-minded multilateral solidarity that for decades has been sold to the rest of the world as a bedrock of European unity. The EU's unique brand of soft power, said to be a model for a post-national world order, has been shown to be an empty fiction.

  • In recent weeks, EU member states have closed their borders, banned exports of critical supplies and withheld humanitarian aid. The European Central Bank, the guarantor of the European single currency, has treated with unparalleled disdain the eurozone's third-largest economy, Italy, in its singular hour of need. The member states worst affected by the pandemic — Italy and Spain — have been left by the other member states to fend for themselves.

  • The European Union, seven decades in the making, is now unravelling in real time — in weeks.

In recent weeks, EU member states have closed their borders, banned exports of critical supplies and withheld humanitarian aid. Pictured: Trucks are backed up on the road leading to the Austrian-Hungarian border crossing near Nickelsdorf, Austria on March 18, 2020. (Photo by Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)

As the coronavirus pandemic rages through Europe — where more than 250,000 people have now been diagnosed with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 15,000 have died — the foundational pillars of the European Union are crumbling one by one.

Faced with an existential threat, EU member states, far from joining together to confront the pandemic as a unified bloc, instinctively are returning to pursuing the national interest. After years of criticizing U.S. President Donald J. Trump for pushing an "America First" policy, European leaders are reverting to the very nationalism they have publicly claimed to despise.

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Britain Needs to Rethink Its Huawei Decision after China's Conduct over Coronavirus

by Con Coughlin  •  March 26, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • "China is trying to turn its health crisis into a geopolitical opportunity. It is launching a soft power campaign aimed at filling the vacuum left by the United States." — Yu Jie, a senior research fellow at London's Chatham House

  • China's cynical attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to its own advantage are not just deeply unethical: they should be taken as a warning that Beijing is not to be trusted, a lesson the West should take on board as it contemplates its future relationship with the Chinese, on trade and other issues such a 5G.

  • In Britain, for example, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision earlier this year to allow Huawei access to the country's new 5G network was taken despite the fact that the country's security services have long-regarded Huawei as a "high-risk vendor".

  • Mr Johnson's decision in favour of Huawei continuing its involvement in constructing the 5G network is said to have been influenced by threats from Beijing that Britain's vital trading relationship with China would be adversely affected if Huawei was excluded.

China's cynical attempts to use the coronavirus pandemic to its own advantage should be taken as a warning that Beijing is not to be trusted, a lesson the West should take on board as it contemplates its future relationship with the Chinese, on trade and other issues such a 5G. (Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

China's shameful attempt to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to further its own global ambitions should be seen as yet further evidence of the mounting threat Beijing poses to the West.

The blatant hypocrisy of China's attempts to use the pandemic for its own ends should persuade countries such as Britain to undertake a fundamental reappraisal of their relationship with Beijing, especially when it comes to sensitive technological issues, such as allowing the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei access to the 5G network.

Far from being embarrassed that the rank incompetence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in dealing with the initial outbreak has resulted in the world suffering its worst public health crisis in a century, Beijing has instead embarked on a charm offensive aimed at providing support for affected countries.

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Germany: "Hate-Postings Day"

by Judith Bergman  •  March 26, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • The Federal Police asked the German public to become informants and notify them about online hate speech....

  • In view of what Germany faces on the terrorism front, it seems an odd priority for the Federal Police to be hunting down online thought crimes in two nationwide "Action Days against Hate Postings" in one year alone....

  • In between online thought crimes and terrorists, the German police would seem to have their work cut out.

(Image source: iStock)

In Germany, police recently completed their fifth nationwide "Action Day against Hate Postings".

German authorities initiated the action day more than three years ago; since then, it has been held once a year. According to the Federal Police, the number of recorded cases of hate crime linked to the internet has actually fallen -- from 2,458 cases in 2017 to 1,962 in 2018.

Despite the decrease in cases, German authorities nevertheless decided to have not just one, but two action days this year. The first took place on June 6, when German authorities launched coordinated police raids in 13 federal states against suspects who had allegedly posted hate speech online. In a total of 38 cases, homes were searched and suspects interrogated, the Federal Criminal Police Office reported.

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Muslim Extremists Exploit Coronavirus to Promote Terrorism, Hate; and Other Muslims that Need the World's Help

by Bassam Tawil  •  March 25, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • According to the report, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS have, through a number of fatwas, called on Muslims to produce "human biological weapons" to attack the enemies of Islam.

  • In addition, 35% of the fatwas judged that the outbreak of the virus underscored the need for women to wear the niqab.

  • The report noted that Islamist cleric Osama Hijazi recently claimed that wearing the niqab is an "effective treatment" for the coronavirus.

  • The bad news is that extremist Muslims and their allies are again exposing their contempt for human life, including the life of Muslims who oppose their ideology, terrorism and jihad. These are the Muslims that urgently need the world's help.

According to Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, "The Muslim Brotherhood has never condemned theologically or ideologically the use of terrorism. And if they have it's been a cover, since they've reverted to that repeatedly." Pictured: Jasser testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee on March 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

As countries across the world are turning themselves inside out to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Muslim extremists and terrorists have been expending their energy on promoting terror attacks against other Muslims as well as "infidels."

These terrorists and extremists are probably praying for the "infidels" to discover a vaccine for the virus -- thus enabling them to return to their mosques and resume their calls for killing the "infidels." Many Arab and Islamic countries have banned prayers in mosques to help prevent contagion during the war on the coronavirus.

As scientists and other "infidels" around the world, including Israel, are working around the clock to find a vaccine for the virus, the Muslim Brotherhood organization and some of its allies are issuing fatwas (Islamic religious opinions) that expose dangerous goals, a dangerous ideology, and a disregard for human life.

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Coronavirus: Should the U.S. Lift Sanctions on Iran?

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  March 24, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • In a recent video, a masked man holding a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle warns that the attacks on Taji and Basmaya military camps were only the beginning of a much larger offensive. — Usbat al-Thayireen, or League of Revolutionaries, a new Shiite militia group, Newsweek, March 19, 2020.

  • "The Islamic resistance of Usbat al-Thayireen vows to strike the occupation forces' bases and [US] embassy in the coming days and will continue striking the occupation until it exits the country, and the matter will be taken further if the occupier does not leave. We say to the hypocrites who are collaborators at the evil embassy: Your days are numbered and you will face your fate very soon." — Usbat al-Thayireen, or League of Revolutionaries, a new Shiite militia group, Newsweek, March 19, 2020.

  • The idea that the ruling mullahs of Iran and the top state sponsor of terrorism will use the extra revenues from the lifting of sanctions for humanitarian purposes is totally irrational. Easing sanctions will enable, embolden and empower the Iranian regime to damage the US and its allies' national security interests still further and kill more Americans. The US President's Iran policy of maximum pressure, which should probably be even more maximum, is headed in the right direction.

Iran-backed militias recently launched approximately eighteen Katyusha rockets into Camp Taji, Iraq, killing two American soldiers and one British soldier. Pictured: US soldiers supervise a training session at the Camp Taji, Iraq on March 6, 2017. (Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP via Getty Images)

While the US administration is expanding its maximum pressure policy on Iran, some people, such as US Senator Bernie Sanders, are calling for immediate relief for the Iranian regime. "As a caring nation," Sanders recently posted on Twitter, "we must lift any sanctions hurting Iran's ability to address this crisis, including financial sanctions."

Lifting sanctions on the aggressive regime of Iran would be an extremely wrong move.

What politicians such Sanders seem not to recognize is that the Islamic Republic prioritizes its military adventurism over its nation's health crisis. In other words, Iran's regime will almost certainly use the extra revenues to arm its militias across the region that attack the US and its allies' forces, as it has a pattern of doing in the past.

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Turkey: Violence against Women Continues to Escalate

by Burak Bekdil  •  March 24, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Violence against women has become Turkey's new normal.

  • In 2010 Turkey was shaken by the surfacing of alleged serial rapes.... including cases of adults raping minors and minors raping toddlers, killing one.

  • In 2014 Erdoğan said that "women should know their place," and that "gender equality is against human nature"....

  • No doubt Turkey's gender equality deficit bitterly shows that Islamist culture is much stickier than any Western-inspired legislation. Patriarchal cultural codes are deeply engraved throughout the society; unfortunately, it will take more than legislation to make them disappear.

Violence against women has become Turkey's new normal. (Image source: iStock)

It has become customary. As in previous years, on March 8, Turkish riot police brutally attacked demonstrators walking in central Istanbul to mark the International Women's Day. A feminist march at midnight was dispersed by rubber bullets and scores of tear gas canisters shot by the police. All that Turkish women were asking for was equal treatment and protesting the growing "tradition" of women being murdered.

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Palestinians: Fighting against Coronavirus, for Freedom of Speech

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  March 23, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • Hamas is claiming that it is worried about the safety of the Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, often for multiple murders, while its own prisons in the Gaza Strip are full of Palestinians whose only crime is that they dared to criticize the Hamas leadership or its policies.

  • Did Hamas forget that just last month another Palestinian, Ahmed al-Sa'afeen, 39, died shortly after he was detained for his alleged affiliation with Fatah?

  • Instead of directing millions of dollars to building hospitals or improving healthcare, Hamas has for the past few years invested approximately $150 million in rebuilding its tunnel infrastructure, and has diverted dual-use construction materials such as concrete, steel, and wood, which could have gone to rebuilding Gaza's civilian infrastructure.

  • According to Palestinian sources, 50 Palestinians are being held in Palestinian Authority prisons in the West Bank because of their affiliation with Hamas and other opposition groups.

  • Both the PA and Hamas, even during the difficult time of a pandemic, as they have made abundantly clear, do not hesitate to pursue their repressive measures against anyone who dares to speak out against financial and administrative corruption, or expresses views that annoy any Palestinian leaders.

Both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, even during the difficult time of a pandemic, do not hesitate to pursue their repressive measures against anyone who dares to speak out against financial and administrative corruption, or expresses views that annoy any Palestinian leaders. Pictured: A PA policeman mans a checkpoint at the entrance to Hebron ahead of a "mandatory quarantine," on March 22. (Photo by Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images)

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, says it has taken drastic steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among the two million Palestinians living under its rule.

On March 22, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health announced the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Gaza Strip: two Palestinians who returned from a visit to Pakistan. The ministry said the two patients were placed in quarantine in a field hospital near Gaza's border with Egypt.

The ministry also announced the suspension of Friday prayers in all mosques throughout the Gaza Strip and the closure of wedding halls, restaurants and coffee shops.

The Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers, however, still seem to have time to continue their repressive measures against Palestinians, despite increased fears that more cases of coronavirus might be detected there.

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Lessons from History: The Reagan Legacy

by Peter Huessy  •  March 23, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • Even if Reagan believed the Soviets would never fire a long-range missile at the US -- which he certainly did not believe -- what about the long-range missile threats against the United States from China? Certainly, given such threats, the United States had the right to build strategic missile defenses, making any deal to forgo missile defenses with the Soviets an absurd proposition.

  • Even worse, what was described as "arms control" in the SALT 1 and 2 treaties was just an agreement between the Soviets and the United States largely to build-up US nuclear arsenals as it was already planning to do even without the arms treaties.

  • Reagan left an open window of consensus to 1) modernize the US nuclear deterrent, 2) seek future arms control that includes limiting all nuclear weapons, including China's, and 3) deploy more robust missile defenses especially in the near term and refuse to negotiate away America's current and future missile defense capability.

  • If these three "Reagan" factors can be preserved, the US may indeed remain safe from nuclear conflict. As these policies keep the US safe, hopefully its leaders will realize how well Reagan's policy of "peace through strength" worked.

If the United States faced limited strikes -- a few dozen nuclear-armed missiles -- America's missile defenses would have a much greater chance of deterring or blunting such threats, as opposed to the complaint that missile defense would just start an "arms race". Pictured: The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald launches a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) as a part of a joint ballistic missile defense exercise, on October 25, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

President Ronald Reagan envisioned a future with a highly survivable and modernized nuclear arsenal, markedly lower warhead numbers reduced through verifiable arms control, and the eventual deployment of robust missile defenses. The goal? To vitiate a nuclear-armed adversary's ability to disarm the USA through a massive nuclear strike and to defeat any small or limited attacks from rogue states or terror groups.

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Coronavirus: China's Propaganda Campaign in Europe

by Soeren Kern  •  March 22, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • What remains unclear is if European publics, which are bearing the brunt of the suffering caused by the epidemic, will be as easily willing to overlook the malfeasance of Chinese officials.

  • "This is a propaganda operation that hides various truths. The first and most important is that the culprit for this pandemic is the Chinese regime. It does not take any conspiracy theory to point it out." — Emilio Campmany, Libertad Digital, March 3, 2020.

  • "China wants to take advantage of this calamity to wrest global leadership from the United States. It will be the communist country that makes us the most energetic medicines to fight the virus. It will discover the vaccine before anyone else and distribute it worldwide in record time. It will buy our assets and invest in our countries to rescue our economies. Ultimately, it will claim to be our savior." — Emilio Campmany, Libertad Digital, March 3, 2020.

On March 12, China sent to Italy a team of nine Chinese medical staff along with some 30 tons of equipment on a flight organized by the Chinese Red Cross. Pictured: Francesco Vaglia, medical director for infectious diseases of Spallanzani Hospital (right) speaks next to members of a delegation of Chinese doctors in Rome on March 14, 2020. (Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese government has been fast-tracking shipments of medical aid to Europe, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The largesse appears to be part of a public relations effort by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party to deflect criticism over their responsibility for the deadly outbreak.

Beijing's campaign as a global benefactor may deliver results in Europe, where pandering political leaders have long been notoriously fearful of antagonizing the European Union's second-largest trading partner. What remains unclear is if European publics, which are bearing the brunt of the suffering caused by the epidemic, will be as easily willing to overlook the malfeasance of Chinese officials.

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The Vatican Surrenders to China

by Giulio Meotti  •  March 22, 2020 at 4:30 am

  • "A totalitarian regime doesn't compromise. They want complete surrender." — Cardinal Joseph Zen, retired Bishop of Hong Kong,, February 19, 2020.

  • "They're giving the flock into the mouths of the wolves. It's an incredible betrayal". — Cardinal Joseph Zen, Reuters, September 20, 2018.

  • "The pope doesn't know much about China. And he may have some sympathy for the Communists, because in South America, the Communists are good guys, they suffer for social justice. But not the [Chinese] Communists. They are persecutors. So the situation is, humanly speaking, hopeless for the Catholic Church: Because we can always expect the Communists to persecute the Church, but now [faithful Catholics] don't get any help from the Vatican. The Vatican is helping the government, surrendering, giving everything into their hands". — Cardinal Joseph Zen,, February 16, 2020.

  • The Soviet Union collapsed partly because the Vatican challenged it. Pope Benedict XVI saw the danger of China. "I believe that the fundamental ideological tendencies of Marxism have survived the fall of the political form they have had to date.... First of all, we must not forget that important countries are governed by Marxist parties: China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba". — Pope Benedict XVI,, May 5, 2005.

  • The Vatican can still support dissidents such as Cardinal Zen and reject a dangerous appeasement with Beijing. If not, the Chinese regime will be able to obliterate and further enslave Christianity to consolidate the country's cruel dictatorship.

The Catholic Church in China is being "murdered" while the Roman Catholic Church stands idly by, wrote Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired Bishop of Hong Kong, in an appeal he sent to the world's 223 cardinals. "A totalitarian regime doesn't compromise," he said. "They want complete surrender." (Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

"Before anyone had heard of COVID-19, however, there was mounting concern about the intentions and brutality of the Chinese communist regime," wrote George Weigel, the distinguished US Catholic commentator.

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The Coronavirus: Death of Globalization or a Rebirth?

by Amir Taheri  •  March 22, 2020 at 4:00 am

  • China has contributed to almost two decades of low inflation and economic growth that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in all continents. At the same time China has started to develop an appetite for playing big power.

  • The European colonial powers of the Berlin Conference combined their quest for security abroad with democratization at home. In China today, we witness a different configuration. Regarding almost all its neighbors, with the possible exception of Pakistan, as unreliable if not hostile, China is, in fact, fomenting insecurity through its aggressive power projection. This aggressive option is highlighted with ambitious plans for developing a 19th century style blue-water naval power capable of challenging the United States in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

  • China's feeling of insecurity abroad is combined with President Xi Jinping's increasingly authoritarian style at home. Chinese friends who had welcomed Xi's rise to power as a promise of liberalization now regret what they call "our childish illusions".

  • [T]he optimism that we noted in our latest trip to the People's Republic in 2014 now seems a distant dream.

(Image source: iStock)

Is this the end of globalization? That is the question we were supposed to debate at a colloquium in Paris this week before we were all ordered by the government to "confine" ourselves to our dwellings at least for the next 15 days. The concept of globalization attained wide circulation when cheap goods made by cheap labor in China started to flood world markets from Tokyo to Timbuktu. Thus, if globalization is to end, it is only fair that it should also come to a close with a Chinese fanfare in the form of the coronavirus.

Before globalization whatever happened in China reached the rest of the world as a distant echo. The Opium Wars, the black series of famines, the atrocities committed by various foreign occupiers, the civil war, the Korean War, the annexation of Tibet and East Turkestan, the deaths of millions of people under Mao Zedong were all perceived as exotic events in a remote fantasyland that affected the rest of the world only incidentally.

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European Union: The End?

by Judith Bergman  •  March 21, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • When an entire continent is in the midst of a highly contagious virus epidemic, solidarity becomes a more complex issue. Every state inevitably considers whether it can afford to send facemasks and protective equipment that might be needed for its own citizens. In other words, every state considers its own national interest first. In the case of Italy's appeal for help, EU member states made their own interests their highest priority. This is classic state behavior and would not have caused any outrage prior to the establishment of the European Union.

  • While such revelations may not spell the immediate end of the European Union, they certainly raise questions about the point of an organization that pledges solidarity as a founding principle, but abandons that principle the moment it is most called for.

  • The current crisis on the Greek-Turkish border has shown the EU not only as unhelpful, but an actual liability: The EU has left an already overwhelmed Greece to deal with the migrant crisis -- manufactured by Turkish President Erdogan for political gain -- on its own... On top of Europe's attempts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, ordered that Greece must allow the migrants that Erdogan transported to the border to apply for asylum.

  • If the EU were to approve visa-free travel for Turks – or anyone who had the means to buy a Turkish passport – millions of Turks would be able to enter the EU legally and potentially "disappear" there. Already at breaking point, the EU would arguably become a very different kind of "European" Union with Turkey, a country of 80 million people, literally invited to enter Europe.

  • All Erdogan needs to do now it sit back and wait for the EU, with Merkel at the helm, to meet his demands.

When Italy appealed to the EU for supplies of medical equipment at the beginning of its coronavirus crisis, it received exactly nothing. In addition, Germany and France even imposed bans or limitations on the export of facemasks and protective equipment. Pictured: Cleaning personnel in protective gear work in a tent of a new field hospital in Cremona, Italy on March 20, 2020. The field hospital is financed by the American evangelical Christian NGO Samaritan's Purse. (Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy, Italians have learned that other European Union member states do not always practice the beautiful words that they like to preach -- especially solidarity.

Solidarity is supposedly a fundamental principle of the European Union. It is enshrined in the EU treaties and the EU refers to it as one of its goals. According to article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, one of the two principal treaties of the European Union:

"The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is... the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilise all the instruments at its disposal... to assist a Member State in its territory, at the request of its political authorities, in the event of a natural or man-made disaster".

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Palestinian Leaders Use Coronavirus to Attack Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  March 20, 2020 at 5:00 am

  • On March 18, Israel delivered hundreds of kits for detecting the coronavirus into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, together with equipment for medical protection. This is the same Gaza Strip from which Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have been firing thousands of rockets at Israel for the past few years, and launching party-balloons carrying hidden bombs as recently as last week. In February alone, more than 40 rockets were launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

  • The Palestinian leaders, who are pursuing their efforts to prosecute Israelis for "war crimes," have been concealing from their own people and the international community the fact that Israel is assisting them in the war on the coronavirus.

  • For Palestinian leaders, it seems that the war on Israel is more important than the battle against a pandemic and saving the lives of their own people. Yet, these leaders and their families, if they are diagnosed with the disease, will undoubtedly be the first to rush to Israel to seek medical treatment there.

Palestinian officials continue, on a daily basis, to spread lies about Israel and Jews, even as Israel is helping them combat the coronavirus. For Palestinian leaders, it seems that the war on Israel is more important than the battle against a pandemic and saving the lives of their own people. Pictured: A Palestinian Authority policeman stands outside a hospital in Ramallah on March 12, 2020. (Photo by Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images)

What is the connection between US President Donald Trump's recently unveiled plan for Middle East peace and the coronavirus?

Palestinian leaders seem to believe that there is a connection between the peace plan, also known as the Deal of the Century, and the coronavirus pandemic. According to these leaders, Israel is taking advantage of the health crisis to implement the Trump plan and build new housing units for Jews in the West Bank. They are referring to Israel's intention to build a new road between the E1 area and Jerusalem, and 3,500 apartments in Ma'aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem.

First, the building program in the area has been on the agenda for more than 20 years. All Israeli governments since Yitzhak Rabin's second tenure as prime minister in the 1990s have supported it.

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Smoking: Time to Break Up?

by Lawrence Kadish  •  March 19, 2020 at 2:10 pm

  • In an online essay he [Dr. Stanton A. Glantz] asserts that "among Chinese patients diagnosed with COVID-19 associated pneumonia, the odds of disease progression (including to death) were 14 times higher among people with a history of smoking compared to those who did not smoke. This was the strongest risk factor among those examined."

  • Whether you agree with his data and methodology or not, the stark truth is, unlike the stealth-like assassin, cancer, COVID-19 is a career criminal that will strike quickly at any vulnerability to take its victim down.

  • So if there is one unintended benefit from the dangerous COVID-19 story, it is the urgent, unmistakable ultimatum that smokers find the nearest ashtray, use it, and then walk away from the habit.

(Image source: iStock)

I have been very good friends with cigars for most of my adult life.

It's time we broke up.

Prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 public health crisis, I was always aware that smoking was not in my best interest or that of my family and friends. But the unique taste and aroma of a good cigar was my definition of well-earned success after a long, hard day of playing the cards of high stakes business.

The constant drone of public service health warnings were meant for the other guys -- those who smoked cigarettes. Ironically, their habit began to fall out of public favor until a new generation took up with gusto the inadvisable habit of vaping. Cigars, on the other hand, were meant to accompany fine brandy and good company. It turned out to be a dangerous fiction.

No more.

Cigars, and their cousins, it turns out, are pathways for COVID-19. They serve as a potential accelerant for an ambulance trip to a hospital's I.C.U.

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