George Parker, Sebastian Payne and James Blitz
Boris Johnson fears a grisly political fate awaits him if he becomes Britain’s prime minister and breaks his promise to take the country out of the EU on October 31. Asked this week if Conservative activists would cut up their membership cards in protest, he joked: “They will cut me up, I expect.”
Mr Johnson wants a new exit deal with the EU. But if none is forthcoming he has vowed to sever Britain’s 46 years of ties with its biggest trading partner overnight — the “clean break” cherished by some Eurosceptics. “We will be ready by October 31,” Mr Johnson has said. “And it’s vital that our partners see that.”
The clear frontrunner in the race to be Conservative leader — and on this occasion the next UK prime minister — Mr Johnson claims the EU will at the last minute swerve to avoid a “no-deal” Brexit and offer him better withdrawal terms. The prospects of no deal are, he claims, “a million to one”. But such brinkmanship is adding to the already immense pressures on him, should he enter 10 Downing Street on July 24, to finally settle the Brexit question. (Read more)
When the German politician Walter Lübcke was found shot in the head outside of his home near Kassel on June 2, commentators were quick to assert that a right-wing extremist was the most likely culprit. Even the police seemed half-hearted in their calls for restraint in judging the motive of the crime, and the brief suspicion that the culprit had been someone close to the victim was quickly laid to rest. The unanimity of the official response, in one sense, was admirably forthright. But it was also its own national admission of negligence.
Lübcke, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, served as Kassel district president from 2009 until his death and had long been a figure of regional importance. Tributes from local papers emphasize that he was widely liked and had good relationships with his constituents. In 2015, however, he became a favorite target of right-wingers throughout Germany when, in the midst of the refugee crisis, he told an assembly gathered in the West German city of Lohfelden about the planned construction of a refugee camp, and he brushed away dissent by saying that Germany is a country based on Christian values, including charity, and “anyone who doesn’t share these values, anyone who doesn’t agree, is welcome to leave the country at any time. Every German has that freedom.” (Read more)
Middle East Monitor
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed never to dismantle Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Speaking yesterday at an event in the settlement of Revava – which forms part of the Ariel settlement bloc located off Route 60, south of Nablus – Netanyahu vowed that there would be no uprooting of Israel’s West Bank settlements as long as he remains prime minister.
“No communities will be uprooted,” Netanyahu stressed, “not those of Jews, and by the way, not those of Arabs either. We don’t uproot people. We’re through with that nonsense. Israel under my leadership hasn’t returned and won’t return to the mistakes of the past.”
Netanyahu’s promise not to uproot “Arabs” will likely be seen as ironic given his government’s routine demolition of Palestinian villages, both in the occupied West Bank and Israel itself. Al-Araqeeb – a Bedouin village located in the Negev desert in southern Israel – has been demolished 146 times, many of which took place during Netanyahu’s premiership. (Read more)
The Washington Post
Several minutes into President Trump’s social media summit at the White House on Thursday, the president grew nostalgic, reminiscing on some of his greatest Twitter hits.
“Remember when I said somebody was spying on me?” he asked.
That “somebody” was President Barack Obama. And Trump was referring to a series of his own tweets in March 2017 in which he falsely — and with no evidence offered — accused his predecessor of committing what would probably have been an illegal act. “This is Nixon/Watergate,” Trump wrote in one missive. “Bad (or sick) guy!”.
But to hear Trump tell it now, the entire controversy — which gripped the nation for weeks to come — was simply a lark, a convenient way for him to boost his social media following into the stratosphere while dominating the conversation here on Earth. (Read more)