World View: Another Catastrophe: Hundreds of Migrants Drown in the Mediterranean Sea

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Israel’s Netanyahu vows revenge for terrorist bombing in Jerusalem
  • Mahmoud Abbas lobbies to revive international interest in Palestinians
  • In a new catastrophe, hundreds of migrants drown in the Mediterranean Sea
  • China’s bond market starts to unravel

Israel’s Netanyahu vows revenge for terrorist bombing in Jerusalem

Two burnt out buses following terrorist explosion in Jerusalem on Monday
Two burnt out buses following terrorist explosion in Jerusalem on Monday

The first Jerusalem terrorist bus bombing in year injured at least 21 people, two seriously, on Monday during rush hour. Police confirmed that a bomb exploded in one bus carrying passengers. It set a car and a second empty bus on fire, injuring more people.

The police did not disclose whether the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber or by a planted device. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed revenge:

We will find out who placed the bomb, we will reach those who dispatched them and we will also get to those who stand behind them, and settle the account with these terrorists…

Attacks on Israeli buses by suicide bombers, many of them claimed by Hamas, occurred frequently during the Palestinian intifada between 2000-2005, but have been rare since. The last one was carried out in 2012 in Tel Aviv. Times of Israel and Vice News

Mahmoud Abbas lobbies to revive international interest in Palestinians

For years, the major international news stories were about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, whether it was a war in Gaza, endless rounds of peace talks, or new Israeli settlements in the West Bank. These stories eclipsed almost everything else.

Then the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) came on the scene, beheading people, destroying ancient art, or perpetrating terrorist acts in Europe, and since then, the Palestinian-Israeli issues have all but disappeared from the international news pages, frustrating Palestinian leaders.

In an interview conducted prior to Monday’s bombing in Jerusalem, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinian issue must be solved, because terrorists use the issue as a cover for their terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere. With regard to Palestinian attacks on Israelis, he blames them on “violence” by the Israelis:

Of course we notice that the instability of the whole region is having an effect on interest in the Palestinian issue. But the world must not forget us. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved first. Many terrorists use the conflict as a cover. They claim that they are supporting our struggle. But this is not true. We condemn their deeds. But if we don’t find a solution to the conflict soon, I fear the violence of these terrorists groups will spread and affect us in our territories and in Israel. …

This is not an intifada. We have to understand why these young people are committing such attacks. This generation experiences the violence and humiliation of the occupation on a daily basis. And they experience how more and more settlers are coming to occupy their land. If Israel stops this, no child will take a knife to attack Israelis.

It is not clear to me what the “this” is that Israel can stop, yielding the result that “no child will take a knife to attack Israelis,” but that is completely untrue. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what we are seeing is that young Palestinians see Mahmoud Abbas and others in his generation as being full of crap, in the same way that young people in America think that everyone in my generation is full of crap. There is nothing that Israel can do to stop the knife attacks, and the only reason that they have not yet grown into a larger conflict is that 81-year-old Abbas has been able to use his influence to control the situation. Once he retires, and someone from a younger generation takes power, things should become much worse.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, I wrote in May 2003 in “Mideast Roadmap – Will it bring peace?” that Generational Dynamics predicts that Arabs and Jews would be refighting the 1948 war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. Der Spiegel

In a new catastrophe, hundreds of migrants drown in the Mediterranean Sea

It is believed that up to 500 migrants died during the night early Monday morning, when their boat capsized in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. There have been various stories about how the human traffickers transferred 200 migrants from one sinking boat into another boat that already contained 350 migrants. The second boat capsized in the middle of the sea, leaving only 41 survivors. The survivors are from Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Egypt. They were taken on a cargo ship to Greece, but according to some reports, they did not want to leave the cargo ship in Greece, because they wanted to go to Italy.

A year ago, I published “20-Apr-15 World View — Europe considers military action in Libya as migrant drownings accelerate”, in which I wrote:

It seems that every three or four days there’s a new catastrophe in the Mediterranean Sea, involving migrants traveling by boat from Libya to Italy. On Tuesday, 400 migrants drowned when their boat capsized. On Thursday, 41 more drowned after a shipwreck. And late on Saturday, 700 people may have drowned when a small fishing boat capsized 60 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Those drownings were earth-shattering for European Union policy, as they prompted EU government to take action to stop the drownings, and to stop the uncontrolled flows of refugees across the Mediterranean.

Now that a year has passed, the problem has not been solved– it has gotten worse. In March 2015, 2,283 migrants made the sea crossing from Libya to Italy. In March 2016, the number of 9,600, more than four times as many.

A year ago, there was talk of EU military action in Libya. Such military action did not take place because it would have required either a Security Council resolution or an invitation from Libya’s non-existent government, neither of which was available.

The rise of ISIS in Libya has made EU military action more urgent. David Cameron’s government in Britain has announced that it will send 1,000 troops to Libya as part of an EU force, even if it is opposed by Parliament. Italy, Libya’s former colonial power, has said publicly it is willing to send some 5,000 personnel to Libya. Any EU military action would require US intelligence and logistics. BBC and Reuters and Telegraph (London)

China’s bond market starts to unravel

I have always liked to point out that as bad as America’s economy is, China’s is far worse, thanks to huge debt-funded bubbles that could implode at any time, creating a chain reaction of bankruptcies.

During the past ten days, there has been a massive selloff in China of corporate bonds denoted in China’s yuan currency. Local issuers have canceled 60.6 billion yuan ($9.4 billion) of bond sales in April alone, while Standard & Poor’s is cutting its assessment of Chinese firms at a pace unseen since 2003.

China’s government always responds to every financial problem in the same way: “Print” massive amounts of new money by purchasing debt from companies. But that solution is running out, as seven Chinese companies reneged on bond obligations this year. Three of those were part-owned by China’s government, seen not long ago as a provider of implicit guarantees for bondholders.

Bond yields (interest rates) have been increasing rapidly in the last few days, though still below historical levels. However, increased bond yields mean that new debt is more expensive, making it harder and harder for a Chinese CEO to use his MasterCard to pay his Visa bill. Bloomberg

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Libya, Britain, Italy, France, China
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