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Egypt

Egyptians Look To Emigrate To Liberland, The World's First Facebook-Driven Micronation

In Liberland's capital Liberpolis
In Liberland's capital Liberpolis
Mada Masr

CAIRO — There are two smiling European-looking 30-somethings waiting to welcome you to the new website, Liberland.org, while a hopeful-sounding logo proclaims, “Live and let live.”

Formerly referred to as Gornja Siga, the seven square-kilometer state (slightly larger than the Vatican and Monaco) came into existence following a border dispute between Croatia and Serbia. The forgotten territory was left unclaimed by both Croatia and Serbia, which is why it is considered to have been founded according to international law.

Obtaining citizenship is just a click away: candidates fill out an application online. The self-appointed president, Vít JedliÄ�ka, claims on his Facebook page that the website has already received 160,000 citizenship requests, which begs the question: How many people can a country the size of a Cairo city district actually host?

"The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments," the fledgling tax-free country announced upon its inauguration. Neither Croatia nor Serbia have issued diplomatic statements in response.

The Liberland phenomenon has caught the attention of Egypt's Foreign Ministry, which recently warned citizens against “falling victim” to the wiles of human traffickers who aim to steal their money under the false pretenses of sending them abroad. But the warning has fallen short — dozens of citizens from Arab states have already filed applications for asylum in the new country.

JedliÄ�ka claimed that some of the applicants have already made plans to relocate to the new “promised land,” adding that the Free Republic of Liberland would welcome around 5,000 people by the end of the week. However, according to its website, the newborn country does not accept people with a "communist, Nazi or other extremist past.”

In 1719, Liechtenstein, was declared a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire — the 160 square-kilometer state bordering Switzerland and Austria would later survive both world wars. Currently it is one of the richest worldwide. The prince of Liechtenstein is the world's sixth wealthiest monarch with an estimated fortune of $5 billion.

Liberland’s recently appointed president, speaking in an interview with Time magazine last week, hopes the new state will follow in Liechtenstein's footsteps.

Paying taxes is optional in Liberland, and no military service is expected of young citizens. But for now, the country has no airport, post office or military base. What it does have is a Facebook account— with nearly 110,000 likes.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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