From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY 2020"

    This file is attached to http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterEight/2014-2017.htm from "Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D." - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright @ 1995, all rights reserved.

THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY 2020

    At the end of 2019 I wrote the following about what was happening about Israel, as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel indicated a peace plan may be released in 2020 by encouraging investments in Palestinians as first part of peace plan where Jarod Kushner hopes that the Saudis and other Gulf delegates will like what they hear enough to urge Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to consider the plan.    The message Kushner wants them to take to Ramallah: "We'd like to see you go to the table and negotiate and try to make a deal to better the lives of the Palestinian people."
    THE QUESTION IS CAN YOU BUY MIDEAST PEACE BETWEEN PALESTINIANS AND ISRAEL WITH ALL THE HATERS IN THE BACKGROUND
    God has blessed Trump for his appraisal of Israel as his policies are working in this world so far but I think soon there will be an entity that will step out of the limelight to the world who has the influence to all parties to make this plan take place.    So the question is who will that be?
    More than half of the $50 billion would be spent in the economically troubled Palestinian territories over 10 years while the rest would be split between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.    Some of the projects would be in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave.
    Senior adviser Kushner to present peace proposal to Middle East and if Trump's version of a "peace plan" or deal-making and we do not know what it is yet.    Some think it is Israel to give up four communities in East Jerusalem in order to establish the Palestinian capital alongside the Israeli capital.    Israelis gave up their rights to their Holy Temple Mount immediately after it was given to them in the Six Day War in 1967, for the sake of "middle east peace."    "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" again, and they handed it back?    For whatever reason, it was returned on some level to Jordanian control.    After the Six Day War, Judea and Samaria - along with the Golan Heights - were looked at as significantly important to the security of Israel.    Obviously, giving those who hate you the high ground overlooking your most populated areas would not make any sense.    But many Jews began re-settling then Mountains of Israel because they heard the call to return and build the ancient ruins, as the prophets had dreamed in Isaiah 61:4, Jeremiah 31:4, and Ezekiel 28:25,26.    "I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," Amos:15.    As it says in Jeremiah 31:6, "For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God."    So I do not think Trump's plan is the one.    I like Trump but he does not seem to be one yet seen in Daniel 9:27.    Trump administration still backs a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.    Israel says it has completed hunt for Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon, and Israel is launching Gaza strikes after rockets fired at Tel Aviv.    Israel's Netanyahu says he plans to annex settlements in West Bank.    Israel is still launching series of retaliatory airstrikes at Iranian interests in Syria.    U.S. deployed THAAD missile defense system to Israel and USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased.    On 3/25/2019 Trump recognizes disputed Golan Heights as Israeli territory in boost for Netanyahu and Israel says Brazil is opening 'diplomatic office' in Jerusalem.    On 11/19/2019 U.S. backs Israel on settlements, angering Palestinians and clouding peace process.    Below image is the area that all is to occur.

    I created this file after seeing the series on the "End of the Age" with Rev. Irwin Baxter presented the following concept of what I discussed above.
    He referred it to Donald Trump's "Deal Of The Century"" between the Palestinians and Israel.
    Jerusalem will remain united under mostly Israeli control with the same responsibilities shared with a Palestinian state including the West Bank (Palestine or Judea) and Gaza (Hamas).
    A trilateral peace agreement between the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel in which a "new Palestinian state" would be established in the West Bank (New Palestinian), excluding the settlement blos, which would remain as a part of Israel.
Map with black area of Israeli settlements, white dots are cities, and white lines are roads and highways
    So is this the start of a 7 year period and at the 3 1/2 they attack these places as Jesus said in Matthew, Mark and Luke they would have to run for their lives.
    The Deal means Hamas and the Palestinan Authority in talks to hold elections for the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem as sen in Matthew 24:15-21 is what the agreement said, and Netanyahu said this plan matches Trump's deal of the century, or is this prophecy in Daniel 9:27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."    So is he the (Antichrist) who shall confirm the covenant (make a covenant) for one week (seven years); and in the middle of that week he will break the covenant?
    The Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount will be put under sauadi Arabian control instead of Jordanian control.    The Mosque is administered by the Waqf, Jordan Ministry of Sacred Properties, so would non-Muslim prayerstill be prohibited or changed under Saudi Arabian control, who has the money to take care of it, keep the peace.
    The Jerusalem municipality would become reponsible for the entire city of Jerusalem, but the Palestinian state would be responsible for education and would the Israeli municipality taxes and utilities.
    So it is still under Israeli control of Jerusalem.
    Jews would not be allowed to purchase Arab homes and Arabs would not be able to purchase Jewish homes.    Jews are now purchasing Arab homes to slowly take over all of Jerusalem, and it has been stopped now.
    Holy sites will staya as they are.
    In the Gaza Strip, Egypt would grant land to the new Palestinian state in order to build an airport and industrial facilities.    Part of Trump's plan.    Palestinians will not be able to live in Egyptian land but can go their for work and a highway and a pipeline for treated water that would be built between Gaza and the West Bank.    The United States, European Union and Gulf states would implement the agreement and sponsor it economically.
    So he whoever it is will confirm the covenant with many (all who are invloved) and $30 billion will be allocated over a 5 year period for projects related to the new Palestinian state.    This is for 5 years for the Palestinian area.
    The United States will provide 20% of the funds in the agreement, while the European Union does 10% and the Gulf nations 70%, and be split between them according ot their oil producing capabilities.
    An agreement will be signed between Israel and the new Palesitnian state, with Israel providing protetion to the state from "external aggression," while the Palestinians pay for it, and will be negotiated between Arab nations and Israel.
    At signing of the agreement, Hamas will hand over its weapons and armanent to Egypt and members of Hamas will receive monthly salaries from Arab nations.
    Will this be peace and international trade?
    The borders of Gaza Strip opens to international trade through crossing with Israel and Egyot and by sea.    Trade will open between Gaza and the West Bank.
    A year after the agreement is signed, democratic elections will be held for the Palestinian state, with citizens to run as candidates, and prisoners would be released over a 3 year period.
    Within 5 years, a seaport and airport will be established for the Palestinian state, and will be able to use Israeli ports.    Borders betwen them will be open, and new highways to connect Gaza to the West Bank.
    China gets involved in building highways.
    The JordanValley would remain under Israeli control, Highway 90 will be expanded and link Palistenian state with Jordan, and the highway would be supervised by Palestinians.
    If Hamas and the PLO reject the deal, the United States will end all financial support and prevent other countries from providing support to the Palestinians.
    If the PLO accepts the agreement and Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist groups de not accept, the two organizations would bear the responsibility of their decision.
    Any military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, the United States will support Israel in order to harm leaders of Hamas and the PIJ.
    If Israel rejects the deal, the United States will end economic support to the state, and the Palestinian Authority president Abbas says the United States are biased, but has not rejected Trump's plan outright.
    Is this the prophecy?



[THE FOLLOWING WILL BE NEWS ARTICLES THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABOVE INFORMATION.]
1/19/2020 Jordan parliament passes draft law to ban gas imports from Israel by Suleiman Al-Khalidi
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold Jordanian national flags and chant slogans during a protest against a government's agreement
to import natural gas from Israel, in Amman, Jordan January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo
    AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan's parliament on Sunday approved a draft law to ban imports of Israeli gas to the country just days after they started under a multibillion-dollar deal struck in 2016 which is opposed by much of the population.
    The motion was passed unanimously by Jordan's 130 lawmakers and will be referred to the cabinet to be made law, although legal hurdles may prevent it coming into force.
    The government has previously said it was a deal between companies rather than a political matter.
    The $10 billion supply deal was originally struck between Jordan's state-owned utility and a U.S. Israeli consortium led by Texas-based Noble Energy, to provide gas to the country's power plants for electricity generation.
    It was not referred to parliament for approval.
    A source in the Israeli energy industry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The gas agreement between Jordanian National Electric Power Company and American-based Noble Energy is being implemented from early January 2020, and no change is expected in that regard."
    Although U.S. ally Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel the deal, which supplies Jordan for 15 years, has faced much popular opposition, with lawmakers arguing it makes the kingdom dependent on its neighbour for energy.
    Many Jordanians are also the descendants of Palestinians who moved to the country after the creation of Israel in 1948, and view Israel as an erstwhile enemy that expelled their ancestors from their homes.
    The Jordanian government said after the agreement was signed in 2016 that securing stable energy prices for the next decade could achieve annual savings of at least $500 million and help reduce a chronic budget deficit.
    The import of Israeli gas has become a major focus in Jordan and sparked protests and calls for both the deal and the peace treaty to be scrapped.
"The gas of the enemy is an occupation.    Down with the gas deal," placards carried by protesters said.
    Jordan's ties with Israel have come under increasing strain since the gas deal was struck as Israel has moved to the right and since Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama as U.S. president.
    Jordan's King Abdullah fears Israel's rejection of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank could spark renewed violence and see a new generation of Palestinians relocating to Jordan.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

1/20/2020 Jordanian parliament votes down gas deal with Israel by OAN Newsroom
File - Demonstrators hold Jordanian national flags and chant slogans during a protest against a government's agreement
to import natural gas from Israel in Amman, Jordan, January 17, 2020. (REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo)
    Jordanian lawmakers are striking down an unpopular gas import deal made between the country's state owned utility and Israeli gas companies.    The Jordanian parliament reportedly proposed a law Sunday, banning gas imports from Israel.    The law was passed unanimously with all 130 members in agreement.
    Protests ensued after the deal was penned because the country's residents believed their government went over their parliament's head.    Jordan's state-owned utility company made the $10 billion supply deal in 2016 with a U.S.-Israel consortium led by Texas-based company Nobel Energy.
    Protester Nadia al-Awadi shared her view on the government's handling of the deal:
    "We are here protesting against the gas deal, which has been signed in 2016 without the knowledge of the parliament and we want to send a message to the prime minister that it is enough with the humiliation and shame.    How can we purchase our own (Palestinian) gas from them (Israelis) and pay with our own money?    We send this message to them and we say enough with the humiliation, enough shame, enough selling our homelands."
    Lawmakers and protesters argue the deal makes Jordan dependent on a neighboring country.    Legal hurdles may be problematic for opponents of the gas deal, but they believe it's a step forward in stopping the agreement.

1/22/2020 Macron, meeting Netanyahu, says Iran must not acquire nuclear weapons by John Irish
French President Emmanuel Macron makes his speech during the "500 champions of the territories" event for French medium-sized
companies (ETI) at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France January 21, 2020. Yoan Valat/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron said France was determined Iran would never gain a nuclear weapon but it wanted to avoid any military escalation in the Middle East, after he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
    Macron's two-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories is timed to coincide with the 75-year anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
    He is one of dozens of world leaders due to attend Thursday’s World Holocaust Forum at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem.
    Macron started his visit with a morning meeting with Netanyahu at his official residence in Jerusalem, where the two discussed Iran's nuclear program and regional security issues from Libya to Turkey, according to Netanyahu's office.
    "In the current context, France is determined that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, but also that we avoid all military escalations in the region," Macron said afterwards.
    Netanyahu's office said the Israeli leader urged Macron to put pressure on Iran over what he called its aggression in the region.
    France, along with Britain and Germany, declared Iran in violation of the 2015 nuclear pact last week and they launched a dispute mechanism that could see the matter referred back to the Security Council and the reimposition of U.N. sanctions.
    The nuclear dispute has been at the heart of an escalation between Washington and Tehran which blew up into military confrontation in recent weeks.
PALESTINIAN MEETING
    Macron is also due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday afternoon in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank at a time when peace prospects between Israelis and Palestinians look dim.
    The Palestinians are boycotting a peace initiative by U.S. President Donald Trump, and Netanyahu has repeated pledges to annex Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    France believes a two-state solution is the only viable option to end the conflict but Macron has ruled out recognizing an independent Palestinian state, saying it would not serve peace efforts.
    Macron last week played down any real prospect of renewing French efforts to push the peace process, stalled since 2014, saying it was not for him to dictate to either side.
    At a campaign rally for his right-wing Likud party on Tuesday, Netanyahu, who is seeking re-election, renewed a promise to "impose Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea" and annex all Israeli settlements.
    Macron also on Wednesday made a symbolic stop at one of France's territories in the Holy Land - the Church of St. Anne, where the French tricolor has flown since the Ottomans gave it to Emperor Napoleon III in 1856 as thanks for his support in the Crimean War.    It remains in French hands to this day through international treaties.
    Before heading to the church, he walked through the Old City, speaking to shopkeepers and stopping by the Church of the Holy Sepulcre.
    "Be it schools, hospitals, orphanages, or religious sites like this, we continue to defend French identity," a French diplomatic source said.
    "We are a step away here from Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall, the very heart of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, so symbolically we are."
    A squabble broke out between Israeli police and French security officers when Israeli officers tried to enter St. Anne ahead of Macron's visit.    They were rebuffed by French officials who told them it was French property and a shouting match ensued.
    An Israeli police spokesman said he was looking into the incident.
(Reporting by John Irish, additional reporting by Rami Ayyub; editing by Angus MacSwan)

1/22/2020 Israeli electric company ends power cuts to West Bank after Palestinians pay debt
An Israeli power distribution plant is seen in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH (Reuters) - Israel's state-owned electric company said on Wednesday it was ending power cuts to the occupied West Bank after the Palestinians' main power distributor paid off a chunk of debt.
    Israel Electric Corp (IEC) began sporadic, three-hour power cuts on Dec. 18 to press for payment of some $519 million owed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO).
    Palestinians in the West Bank rely on IEC for over 95 percent of their electricity supply.    The cuts led to power outages in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, affecting an estimated 130,000 people, according to JDECO.
    IEC Chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal said the company was stopping the cuts after "JDECO transferred 740 million shekels ($214.21 million) of debt accumulated by the Palestinian Authority (PA) since 2016."
    JDECO buys electricity from IEC and then sells it to customers in the West Bank, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and where the PA has limited self-rule under interim peace accords.
    JDECO signed a loan agreement with several Palestinian banks in order to pay off the debt it owed, said Mansour Nassar, the company's assistant general manager for technical affairs.
    The Palestinians have tried to reduce what they call their dependence on Israel for energy, in part through state- and private sector-funded solar energy projects and plans to build their own power plants.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Peter Graff)

1/23/2020 Netanyahu accepts President Trump's invite to White House to discuss peace plan by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during the dedication of a monument honoring the veterans
and victims of the siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.(Marc Israel Sellem/Pool Photo via AP)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accepted President Trump's invitation to visit the White House next week.    On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence invited Netanyahu, along with his chief election rival Benny Gantz, to discuss stalled Mideast peace plans.
    Pence said the visit will be an opportunity to "discuss regional issues as well as the prospect of peace in the Holy Land."
    Netanyahu said he "gladly" accepted the invitation and added it was his idea to invite Gantz to Washington.    He said he didn't want to lose this historic opportunity for a peace plan backed by the U.S.
    "I think the president is seeking to give Israel the peace and security that it deserves," stated the prime minister.    "I gladly accept his invitation to come to Washington and discuss with him his ideas of how to advance peace, and to work closely with him to advance that goal."
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greet each other at the
World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. January 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)
    President Trump tweeted about the visit, saying the U.S. is looking forward to welcoming to Netanyahu and Gantz to the White House next week.    The president also responded to reports he will release the full plan this spring.    He said the details and timing of their closely held peace plan are purely speculative.

1/24/2020 Trump to unveil long-stalled Middle East peace plan ahead of Israeli leaders' visit by Jeff Mason and Maayan Lubell
U.S Vice President Mike Pence stands next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the
Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    MIAMI/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will release details of his long-delayed peace plan for the Middle East before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his election rival Benny Gantz visit the White House next week.
    The political aspects of the peace initiative have been closely guarded.    Only the economic proposals have been unveiled.
    Trump discussed the timing of the plan's release with two architects of the plan, senior advisers Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz, on Air Force One while returning to Washington from Switzerland on Wednesday.
    Speaking to reporters on Air Force One en route to the Miami area for a political event, Trump said Palestinians might react negatively to his plan at first, but that "it's actually very positive for them."
    "It's a great plan," said Trump, who will meet with Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday.    "It's a plan that really would work."
    Vice President Mike Pence, on a visit to Jerusalem, extended an invitation to Netanyahu and Gantz to make the visit.    It was not immediately clear whether Trump would meet the two leaders separately or together.
    The Trump Middle East peace proposal is a document, dozens of pages long, that addresses in detail the thorny political issues between Israel and the Palestinians, such as the status of Jerusalem.
    U.S. officials made no mention of inviting the Palestinians, and Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: "We warn Israel and the U.S. administration not to cross any red lines."
    Trump indicated his administration had spoken "briefly" to the Palestinians and would speak to them again "in a period of time."

    Netanyahu said he had accepted the U.S. invitation.    His office said he would fly to the United States on Sunday.    A Gantz spokesman did not respond when asked whether Gantz had accepted Trump's invitation.
    Netanyahu, a veteran right-wing Israeli leader, faces political and legal troubles at home – he is heading for his third election in less than a year, and was indicted on criminal charges in November.    He denies any wrongdoing.
    Israeli political analysts viewed Trump's invitation as a boost to Netanyahu, his right-wing ally.
    Netanyahu's principal domestic political rival Gantz, a centrist former general, this week lifted his objection to having the peace plan be published before Israel's March election.    He had previously objected to it as interference in the vote.
LONG-DELAYED PLAN
    The launch of Trump's plan to end the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been delayed numerous times over the last two years.
    A source familiar with the peace team's thinking said bringing both Netanyahu and Gantz in on the details is aimed at defusing any suggestion that Trump might be favoring one Israeli candidate over another.
    Trump is facing his own political clock, preoccupied with his bid for re-election in November, and could ill afford to wait for months for Israel to decide who its next prime minister will be, the source said.
    "If we waited we could be in the same position four months from now and never put out the plan," the source said.
    The political proposal is the product of three years of work by Kushner, Berkowitz and former envoy Jason Greenblatt.    Kushner proposed a $50 billion economic plan for the Middle East last July at a conference in Bahrain.
    Kushner and Berkowitz had been scheduled to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia after attending the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, this week, but opted instead to discuss the issue with Trump on his flight home, the source said.
    Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Palestinians have called Trump's proposal dead in the water, even before its publication, citing what they see as his pro-Israel policies.
    The Trump administration has reversed decades of U.S. policy on the conflict, refraining from endorsing the two-state solution - the longtime international formula which envisages a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel.
    It has also recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved its embassy there.    More recently, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in November that the United States no longer viewed Israel's settlements on West Bank land as "inconsistent with international law."
    Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as illegal under international law.    Israel disputes this, citing historical, biblical and political ties to the land, as well as security needs.
    Netanyahu announced during an election campaign last September that he intends to annex the Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war and Palestinians, who signed interim peace deals with Israel in the 1990s, seek to make the area part of a future state.
    Abbas's Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, has publicly refused to engage politically with the Trump administration.
    They fear the plan will dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
    Trump, who will seek a second term in a Nov. 3 election, faces his own problems at home with Democrats seeking to oust the Republican president on impeachment charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason in Miami and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Additional reporting by Dan Williams, Ali Sawafta in Bethlehem, and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Howard Goller)

1/24/2020 Trump’s peace plan may polarize the Middle East it seeks to calm by Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Israelis enjoy themselves at a public pool in the Israeli settlement of
Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun / File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – As U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to host Israeli leaders in Washington to reveal details of his long-delayed Middle East peace plan, Palestinians warned on Friday that no deal could work without them on board.
    Trump invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival centrist former general Benny Gantz to the White House next week, saying he would unveil the plan before his Tuesday meeting with Netanyahu.
    But Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said there had been no communication with the Trump administration, and that no peace deal could be implemented without “the approval of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership.”
    “This is the only way if they are serious, if they are looking for stability in the whole region,” Rudeinah said.
    Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014 and Palestinians have called Trump’s proposal dead in the water, even before its publication, citing what they see as his pro-Israel policies.
    The Palestinians have boycotted political dealings with the Trump administration since it reversed decades of U.S. policy on the conflict, splintering the international consensus.
    It has refused to endorse the two-state solution – the longtime international peace formula that envisages a Palestinian state established in territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    The Trump administration also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy there, and announced that Washington no longer views Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land as “inconsistent with international law.”
    Palestinians and most of the international community see the settlements as illegal under the 1949 Geneva Conventions that bar populating land captured in war.    Israel disputes this, citing historical, biblical and political connections to the land, as well as security needs.
    Palestinians obtained limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank under mid-1990s interim peace accords.    They now seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state comprising the West Bank and Gaza Strip.    Israel withdrew from tiny Gaza in 2005.
    Trump, speaking to reporters on his flight home from the World Economic Forum in Davos, acknowledged Palestinians might react negatively to his plan at first but that “it’s actually very positive for them.”
    It’s a great plan.    It’s a plan that really would work.”
    By contrast Netanyahu immediately accepted Trump’s invite.
    “I think the president is seeking to give Israel the peace and security that it deserves,” Netanyahu said on Thursday, Gantz’s office did not immediately confirm whether he accepted Trump’s invitation.
CLASHING PERSPECTIVES
    The political aspects of Trump’s peace initiative have been kept under wraps.    Only the economic proposals have been unveiled, anchored by a $50 billion regional development plan – which Palestinians spurned as it did not address an end to Israeli occupation.
    Israeli headlines on Friday referred to the Trump Summit” and “Trump Deal.”    Nahum Barnea, a political analyst in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, expected an American green light” for Israel to annex West Bank settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley, which forms the border with Jordan to the east.
    Palestinian newspapers highlighted warnings that such moves would end peace chances and pitch the region into a “new phase.”
    In Tel Aviv, Israelis appeared generally supportive of their leaders going to Washington, even without Palestinians.
    “We don’t have to go back to the previous peace process that was signed over 25, 30 years ago,” said Yael Rozencwajg, 41, a tech executive from Tel Aviv.    “The situation has completely changed since then.    Trump has started recognizing that.”
    In explaining the U.S. change of stance on settlements this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new approach would actually advance peace with the Palestinians “by (speaking) the truth when the facts lead to it.”
    Palestinians challenged the U.S. and Israeli stances.
    In al-Auja, a Jordan Valley village flanked by Israeli settlements, Salim Abu Kharbesh, 59, said: “We are the inhabitants of the land, and they have come to us in spite of us, and in violence.    They own nothing in this land.”
    In Gaza, now ruled by Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which has fought several wars with Israel, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said no U.S. plan could alter realities on the ground.
    “Our people will not accept it, and will confront it with all their might,” he said.
(This story has been refiled to remove repetition in second paragraph)
(Additional reporting by Sinan Abu Mayzer and Nuha Sharaf in Jerusalem, Adel Abu Nimeh in the Jordan Valley, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/26/2020 Netanyahu touts visit with President Trump to discuss peace plans by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs his weekly cabinet meeting at his office
in Jerusalem on Sunday, January 26, 2020. (Dedi Hayun/Pool Photo via AP)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to “make history” during his upcoming White House visit.    He expressed enthusiasm for his meeting with President Trump shortly before leaving for Washington D.C. on Sunday.
    “I depart to Washington with a sense of a great mission, great responsibility and a great opportunity,” stated Netanyahu.    “I am hopeful that we will be able to make history.”
    The president extended invitations to both Netanyahu and the prime minister’s main rival, Benny Gantz, to discuss peace plans for the Middle East.
    The prime minister said his close relationship with President Trump is incredibly beneficial for Israel and a once in a lifetime opportunity.
    “Tens of talks, hundreds of hours,” said Netanyahu.    “In all of these conversations, I found an attentive ear in the White House for Israel’s essential needs.”
    For years, the Trump administration has been working to broker a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.

1/27/2020 Trump to unveil Middle East peace plan to Israeli leaders this week by Steve Holland and Dan Williams
Israel's centrist party leader Benny Gantz speaks to reporters as he arrives on a flight via Zurich ahead of his meeting with
U.S. President Donald Trump, at Dulles International Airport near Washington, U.S. January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Lott
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to disclose details of his long-delayed Middle East peace proposal to Israeli leaders on Monday, as he attempts to generate some momentum toward resolving one of the world’s most intractable problems.
    Trump will hold separate, back-to-back meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, the head of the centrist Blue and White Party, who is Netanyahu’s rival in March 2 elections.
    On Tuesday, Trump will deliver joint remarks with Netanyahu at the White House, where the president may reveal details of his peace proposal.
    The two days of foreign policy meetings will provide Trump with a contrast from the trial in the Republican-led Senate that is weighing articles of impeachment against him approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
    But whether it truly will jumpstart the long-stalled effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together is far from certain.
    Palestinians have refused to engage the Trump administration on the effort and roundly denounced a $50-billion economic revival plan it set forth last July to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.
    Palestinians fear the plan will dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
    The White House hope was that if Trump could get the support of both Netanyahu and Gantz for the plan, it would help provide some momentum.    A U.S. official said Trump wants to know both Netanyahu and Gantz are on board with the plan before announcing it.
    Trump’s message to both: “You have six weeks to get this (plan) going, if you want it,” the official said.     Having both leaders present helps take the politics out of the effort, said a U.S. source familiar with internal deliberations.
    “The rationale…is it depoliticizes this to the point that, no matter what happens on March 2, the two leaders of the two largest parties can potentially be supportive,” the source said.
    The Trump plan is the product of three years’ effort by senior advisers Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz, as well as Jason Greenblatt, who left the government last autumn.
    Trump last year had hoped to release his secret proposal aimed at triggering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but was forced to delay it as Netanyahu struggled to form a governing coalition.
    The proposal, more than 50 pages long, aims to take on some of the most difficult issues separating the two, such as the status of Jerusalem.    Palestinians want the city’s eastern part as their future capital.
    Trump, talking to reporters on Air Force One on Thursday, said he was eager to release his plan.
    “They say that’s the hardest of all deals.    I love doing deals,” he said.
    Netanyahu, a veteran right-wing leader, faces political and legal troubles at home as he heads for his third election in less than a year, and was indicted on criminal charges in November. He denies any wrongdoing.
    Netanyahu’s principal domestic political rival, Gantz, a centrist former general, last week lifted his objection to having the peace plan published before Israel’s March election.    He had previously seen it as interference in the vote.
    “I am looking forward to meeting the president – a president of utmost friendliness to the State of Israel – on a matter that is very important for the State of Israel – with national, strategic and security ramifications,” Gantz told reporters as he landed in Washington on Sunday.
    “We will hold a back-and-forth, get to know one another, and take it from there.”
    But Trump, preoccupied with November’s re-election bid, faces his own political clock, and can ill afford to wait months for Israel to decide its next prime minister, a U.S. official said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Dan Williams; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

1/27/2020 Saudi minister says Israeli passport holders cannot visit: CNN
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Faisal attends a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister
Nikos Dendias (not pictured) at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, Greece January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
    RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday.
    “Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom at the current time,” the U.S. broadcaster quoted Prince Faisal bin Farhan as saying.
    A statement from Israel’s interior minister on Sunday said Israelis – if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities – would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.
    Israelis, mostly Muslims going on pilgrimage, have for years been visiting the kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites in Islam, but usually with special permission or using foreign passports.
    When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table,” Prince Faisal said.
    U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to disclose details of his Middle East peace plan to Israeli leaders on Monday, as Palestinian officials decried it as a bid “to finish off” the Palestinian cause.

(Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Alex Richardson)

1/27/2020 President Trump to unveil Middle East peace plan Tuesday by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the
Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    While meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office Monday, President Trump announced his Middle East peace plan will be unveiled very soon. He confirmed he will be announcing the plan on Tuesday.
    President Trump said the plan is very important to the Middle East and pointed out many Arab nations have agreed to it.    He also said the plan is supported by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel’s political parties.    The also president added that the Palestinians should want the peace plan.
    “It’s very good for them, in fact, it’s overly good to them,” he stated.    “As you know, we cut off aid to Palestinians and it’s something I don’t like to do, but we did that and we think there’s a very good chance that they’re going to want this.”
    Netanyahu called President Trump the greatest friend Israel has had in the White House and said he looks forward to hearing his vision for peace.

1/28/2020 Trump proposes Palestinian state with capital in East Jerusalem by Steve Holland
FILE PHOTO: People walking near the Al-Aqsa mosque reflect in a puddle next to a gate to the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount
and to Muslims as The Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem's Old City December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed creation of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, dependent on Palestinians taking steps to become self-governing, in an attempt to achieve a peace breakthrough in their decades of conflict with Israel.
    Senior administration officials, briefing Reuters on the details of a plan the president was due to announce at the White House at mid-day, said that under Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan the United States will recognize Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.
    In exchange, Israel would agree to accept a four-year freeze on new settlement activity while Palestinian statehood is negotiated, the officials said.
    Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in 2014, and it was far from clear that the Trump plan will resuscitate them.
    U.S. officials said they were braced for initial Palestinian skepticism but hoped that over time they will agree to negotiate.    The plan places high hurdles for the Palestinians to overcome to reach their long-sought goal of a state.
    It remains to be seen also how Israel responds, given the pressures the right-wing Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces going into his third attempt at re-election in less than a year.
    The plan encompasses about 80 pages, 50 of them the political plan announced on Tuesday and 30 from an economic plan announced last July setting up a $50 billion economic revival plan for Palestinians, Jordan and Egypt.
    The U.S. plan represented the most dramatic and detailed attempt to break the historic deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in several years, the result of a three-year effort by Trump senior advisers Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz and former adviser Jason Greenblatt.
    Trump has endorsed a proposed map outlining the two states, the officials said.    The Palestinian state would be double the size of land that Palestinians currently control and would be connected by roads, bridges and tunnels, the official said.
    Trump briefed Netanyahu and his rival in Israel’s March 2 elections, Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz, in talks on Monday. Netanyahu was to appear alongside Trump for his announcement on Tuesday.
    Asked what Washington was prepared to do to advance negotiations, the officials said it was up to the Palestinians to come forward and to say they are prepared to negotiate.
    They said both Netanyahu and Gantz had said they were willing to support the effort.
    Israeli leaders have agreed to negotiate on the basis of the Trump plan and agreed to the map, the officials said.    Israel’s agreement on statehood for Palestinians is dependent on a security arrangement to protect Israelis, they said.
    Israel will also take steps to ensure Muslim access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and respect Jordan’s role regarding holy sites, the officials said.
    Palestinian statehood would be dependent on Palestinians taking steps for self-government, such as respect for human rights, freedom of the press and having transparent and credible institutions, the officials said.
    “In doing the map it’s incredibly difficult to try to create contiguity for a Palestinian state based on what’s happened over the past 25 years so if we don’t do this freeze now I think that their chance to ever have a state basically goes away,” said one official in reference to the growth of Jewish settlements.
    “So what we’ve done is basically we’ve bought four more years for them to get their act together and try to negotiate a deal for them to become a state, and I think this is a huge opportunity for them,” the official said.
    The official said the question for Palestinians is will they “come to the table and negotiate?
    If they agree to negotiate, there are some areas that can be compromised in the future, the official said without offering details.
    Trump’s plan calls for Palestinians to be able to return to a future state of Palestine and creates a “generous compensation fund,” the official said.
    About Israel retaining the settlements, a U.S. official said: “The plan is based on a principle that people should not have to move to accomplish peace … But it does stop future settlement expansion which we consider to be the most realistic approach."
    “The notion that hundreds of thousands of people, or tens of thousands of people, are going to be removed either forcibly or not from their homes is just not worth entertaining,” the official said.
    Before the Trump announcement, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City and Israeli troops reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.
    While Israeli leaders have welcomed Trump’s long-delayed plan, Palestinian leaders had rejected it even before its official release, saying his administration was biased towards Israel.
    A Netanyahu spokesman said the Israeli leader would fly to Moscow on Wednesday to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on the proposals.
    Palestinian leaders had said they were not invited to Washington, and that no plan could work without them.
    On Monday Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he would not agree to any deal that did not secure a two-state solution.    That formula, the basis for many years of frustrated international peace efforts, envisages Israel co-existing with a Palestinian state.
    Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at such pro-Israeli policies as its moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose eastern half the Palestinians seek for a future capital.
    The Trump administration in November reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington no longer regarded the settlements on West Bank land as a breach of international law.    Palestinians and most countries view the settlements as illegal, which Israel disputes.
    Both Trump and Netanyahu face political challenges at home.    Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives last month and is on trial in the Senate on abuse of power charges.
    On Tuesday Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges, after he withdrew his bid for parliamentary immunity from prosecution.
    Both men deny any wrongdoing.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Dan Williams and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)

SO WILL THE PALESTINIANS TAKE WHAT IS BEING OFFERED OR CONTINUE TO LIVE IN SQUANDER AND STRIFE AS YOU SEE IN THE BELOW IMAGE WITH ISRAEL DEFENDING THEMSELVES FROM THEIR ONSLAUGHTS FROM THEIR OPRESSORS FROM BACKED IRANIAN HAMAS, HEZBOLLAH, ISIS AND HOUTHI WHO HAVE PUT THEM THERE WITH NO RESULTS IN PEACE FOR DECADES OR WILL THEY CONSIDER TO TAKE THE PEACE DEAL AND GET ON WITH THEIR LIFE AND PROSPER AS A VALID STATE IN THE WORLD STANDING.

1/28/2020 Explainer: What we know about Trump’s Middle East peace plan by Stephen Farrell
FILE PHOTO: A view shows the Jewish settlement of Dolev as the Palestinian city of Ramallah is seen
in the background, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    (Reuters) – More than two years after he first proposed a plan to revive the long moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, U.S. President Donald Trump is finally set to release details.    But there is profound mistrust between the sides and no longer mutual acceptance that the United States is the natural broker of any solution.
WHAT ARE THE KEY ISSUES?
* The status of Jerusalem, including historical sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
* Establishing mutually agreed borders.
* Finding security arrangements to satisfy Israeli fears of attacks by Palestinians and hostile neighbors.
* The Palestinian demand for statehood in territory – the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.
* Finding a solution to the plight of millions of Palestinian refugees.
* Arrangements to share natural resources, such as water.
* Palestinian demands that Israel remove its settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.    More than 400,000 Israelis now live among about 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with another 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem.
WHY REVIVE THE PEACE PLAN NOW?
    Both Trump and Netanyahu would like to divert attention away from their domestic troubles.    Trump faces an impeachment trial while Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges in November.    Both deny wrongdoing.
    They also both face re-election campaigns – Netanyahu in March and Trump in November.    Netanyahu twice tried and failed to secure a majority in the Israeli parliament last year.
    Trump has repeatedly delayed the launch of his plan to avoid causing election problems for Netanyahu because of the possibility it will require some concessions from Israel.
    He faces his own political clock and could ill-afford to wait for months for Israel to decide its next prime minister, according to a source familiar with the peace team’s thinking.
WHAT’S IN THE TRUMP PLAN?
    The proposal is dozens of pages long but little has been revealed about its contents.
    Palestinian and Arab sources who were briefed on the draft fear it seeks to bribe Palestinians into accepting Israeli occupation, in what could be a prelude to Israel annexing about half of the West Bank including most of the Jordan Valley, the strategic and fertile easternmost strip of the territory.
    Palestinians say the Jordan Valley, nearly 30 per cent of the West Bank, would be a vital part of their future state, as the breadbasket of the West Bank and its border with Jordan.
    Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the plan’s principal author, launched the first stage in Bahrain in June.    It called for a $50 billion investment fund to boost the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.
WHAT ARE ITS CHANCES?
    The last Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
    Enduring obstacles include the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land and generations of mutual suspicion.    The last two decades have also seen the rise to power in Gaza of the armed Islamist movement Hamas, which is formally committed to Israel’s destruction and is in the midst of a decades-long power struggle with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.
    The elephant in the room is the two-state solution – the long-standing international formula to bring about peace by creating an independent Palestinian state co-existing side-by-side with Israel.
    The United Nations and most nations around the world back this blueprint, the foundation of every peace plan for decades.
    The Trump administration has refrained from endorsing it.    In November it reversed decades of U.S. policy when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington no longer regarded Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a breach of international law.
    Palestinians and most of the international community view the settlements as illegal under international law.    Israel disputes this.
CAN THE UNITED STATES BE AN HONEST BROKER?
    Netanyahu, who heads Israel’s ruling right-wing coalition, “gladly” accepted Trump’s invitation to Washington.    On the eve of the announcement he said: “The deal of the century is the opportunity of a century, and we’re not going to pass it by.”
    His principal domestic rival, the centrist former general Benny Gantz, also visited Washington to discuss the deal with Trump, calling it “a significant and historic milestone.”
    Both are jostling for maximum political advantage ahead of the March 2 election, where Gantz will seek to oust Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister.
    But Palestinian Prime Minister President Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Trump administration plan was “nothing but a plan to finish off the Palestinian cause.    We reject it.”
    The Palestinian leadership said Washington can no longer be regarded as a mediator after a series of Trump decisions that delighted Israel but infuriated Palestinians.
    These included recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
    The cuts were widely seen as a means of pressuring the Palestinian leadership to come back to the negotiating table.    So far, that has failed.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Miami, Samia Nakhoul in Beirut; Maayan Lubell, Jeffrey Heller, Dan Williams and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/28/2020 President Trump unveils Middle East peace plan with two-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump stand on stage together during
an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the
Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump proposed a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict as he unveiled his highly anticipated Middle East peace plan.    While speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Tuesday, the president laid out his administration’s plan.
    It includes a tunnel connecting the West Bank and Gaza.    Additionally, President Trump said the proposal will double Palestinian territory and set its capital in Eastern Jerusalem, where the U.S. will open an embassy.    The president also said his vision will end the cycle of Palestinian dependence on charity and foreign aid.
    Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the president for recognizing the state of Israel and for demanding Israeli security be upheld.    He said the White House peace plan would be successful because it attacks the root cause of the conflict.    Netanyahu went on to call President Trump the “greatest friend” the state of Israel has ever had.
    Critics have said Palestinian officials may resist the plan’s implementation as they may see it as too favorable for Israel.

1/29/2020 Trump Mideast plan cheers Israelis by Matthew Lee and Aron Heller, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited Middle East plan, which was celebrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “vision for peace” but is likely to continue to be opposed by Palestinians who said it favors Israel and falls short of their goal of creating a viable independent state.
    Trump’s plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in east Jerusalem while recognizing Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank – something the Palestinians are unlikely to accept.
    Trump called his plan a “win-win” for Israel and the Palestinians, but it was created without input from Palestinian leaders, and they had rejected it before the president unveiled it at the White House with Netanyahu by his side.
    Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s spokesman Jonathan Urich announced Tuesday on Twitter that the Israeli leader will ask his Cabinet on Sunday to approve his plan to annex parts of the West Bank.    The plan calls for leaving the strategic Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements under Israeli control.
    Trump acknowledged that he has done a lot for Israel, but he said he wanted the deal to be a “great deal for the Palestinians.”    He said his vision gives the Palestinians the time needed to rise up and meet the challenges of statehood.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “a thousand noes” to the peace plan.
    “After the nonsense that we heard today, we say a thousand noes to the Deal of the Century,” Abbas said at a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is headquartered.    He said the Palestinians remain committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing a state with its capital in east Jerusalem.
    “We will not kneel, and we will not surrender,” Abbas said, adding that the Palestinians would resist the plan through “peaceful, popular means.”
    The plan calls for a four-year freeze in new Israeli settlement construction, during which time details of a comprehensive agreement would be negotiated.
    However, it was not immediately clear if the freeze could be extended if a final deal is not concluded in the four years.
    Trump said he sent a letter to Abbas to tell him that the territory that the plan has set aside for a new Palestinian state will remain open and undeveloped for four years.
    “It’s going to work,” Trump said.    “If they do this, it will work.    Your response to this historic opportunity will show the world to what extent you are ready to lead the Palestinian people to statehood."
    “President Abbas, I want you to know that if you choose the path to peace, America and many other countries … we will be there to help you in so many different ways. And we will be there every step of the way,” Trump said.
    The 50-page political outline goes further in concessions to the Palestinians than many analysts had believed was likely.    However, it would require them to accept conditions they have been previously unwilling to consider, such as accepting West Bank settlements.
President Donald Trump speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while unveiling his Middle East peace plan. SUSAN WALSH/AP

1/29/2020 Critics say Trump’s new peace plan futile by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
    President Donald Trump unveiled details of his administration’s plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians on Tuesday, though the proposal’s critics warned before its release it has little chance of success because of its pro-Israel slant.
    Trump’s plan is intended to defuse decades of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.    In a surprise move, the initiative called for a “two-state” solution – an independent Palestine sitting alongside Israel sharing a capital of East Jerusalem.    A “two-state” solution has been a hallmark of Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives for years, but before the plan’s release, there was speculation Trump might omit it.
    Details about the initiative’s economic proposals, including $50 billion in infrastructure spending and investment over 10 years for the Palestinian territories and neighbors Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, have been previously announced.
    The plan’s political aspects have been a closely guarded secret.    Its release, after three years in the making, comes as Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, at the White House to discuss the plan.    It was not clear whether an invitation was extended to Palestinian leaders.
    Trump described his plan as a “historic breakthrough” and said he wrote to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying territory set aside for the Palestinian state would remain open for four years in what amounts to a freeze in Israeli settlement construction.
    He said the deal, outlined in an 80 page document, was a “win-win” for Israelis and Palestinians.    The plan would more than double the territory under Palestinian control.    It recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank, a scenario many Palestinians will find difficult to accept.    The plan would limit Palestinians to specific parts of East Jerusalem and leave Israel in sole charge of holy sites that are sacred to both sides.
    “After the nonsense we heard today, we say a thousand no’s,” Abbas said of the deal.
    Netanyahu said Israel owes Trump an “eternal debt of gratitude.”    He said Trump is the greatest friend Israel has ever had in the White House.    Shortly after the announcement, he asked his Cabinet to endorse a plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
    “While Trump claims a revolutionary approach to the peace process, this plan actually recycles past failed efforts: It places Palestinians on probation while they prove their worthiness of statehood, using conditions that are malleable and ill-defined; it seeks to induce Palestinian capitulation through economic largesse; and it removes the onus on IsraeI to make any concessions until Palestinians declare their full surrender,” said Tareq Baconi, a Middle East expert at International Crisis Group, a think tank.
    The peace plan was spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, White House adviser Avi Berkowitz, former Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel.    All four men have deep religious and educational ties to Israel – factors that undermined their legitimacy as honest brokers in the eyes of many Palestinians.
    This “‘peace’ plan ignores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and thus will continue to perpetuate the conflict,” said Yousef Jabareen, an Arab Israeli member of Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament.    Estimates vary, but about 1.84 million Arabs live in Israel, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.    An additional 5 million live in Israeli- occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    Attempts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have stagnated for years despite high-profile and rigorous American- brokered attempts at diplomacy.
    At its core, it’s a dispute – one of the world’s longest-running – over ancient land that two peoples, Jews and Arab Palestinians, lay claim to.

1/29/2020 Trump leaps into Middle East fray with peace plan that Palestinians denounce by Steve Holland, Dan Williams and Arshad Mohammed
U.S. President Donald Trump applauds Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they deliver joint remarks to discuss a
Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed creating a Palestinian state as part of a Middle East peace plan, drawing Palestinian condemnation for imposing strict conditions and agreeing to let Israel maintain control of long-contested West Bank settlements.
    Trump announced his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a White House event with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing at his side.    It includes what Trump called a four-year freeze by Israel on new settlement activity.
    Although Trump’s stated aim was to end decades of conflict, the plan he advanced favored Israel, underscored by the absence of Palestinians from Trump’s announcement.
    It seemed unlikely to immediately advance Israeli-Palestinian talks that broke down in 2014, but the plan was called “an important starting point for a return to negotiations” by the United Arab Emirates.    Saudi Arabia and Egypt also offered encouraging statements.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, mocked what Trump has called the “deal of the century,” describing it as the “slap of the century.”
    Palestinians have refused to deal with the Trump administration in protest at pro-Israel policies such as moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eastern part of which is sought by the Palestinians.
    Trump set in motion a four-year timeline for Palestinians to agree to a security arrangement with Israel, halt attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas and set up governing institutions in order to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in Abu Dis, a part of east Jerusalem.
    That too poses a potential problem for Palestinians.
    Abu Dis is a West Bank village just east of the Israeli municipal boundaries for Jerusalem.    Palestinians living in Abu Dis are cut off by a high concrete Israeli security wall and checkpoints.
    Palestinians reject any proposal that does not envision a Palestinian capital in all of East Jerusalem, which includes the walled Old City.
    Trump’s plan says that barrier should serve as a border between the capitals of the two states, adding that Jerusalem should remain Israel’s undivided, sovereign capital.
    “My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,” Trump said.
‘JERUSALEM IS NOT FOR SALE’
    Abbas, speaking to reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said: “Jerusalem is not for sale, our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain and your deal, the conspiracy will not pass.”
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, one of the architects of the plan, told Reuters Television the Palestinians “look quite foolish” for immediately rejecting the plan and should take some time to consider “a very strong opening offer.”
    “If we feel like there is a good-faith chance or a desire on their side to come with a counter-proposal, we’ll figure out the right forum to engage in it to bring about a solution,” he said.
        Before the Trump announcement, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza City and Israeli troops reinforced positions near a flashpoint site between the Palestinian city of Ramallah and the Jewish settlement of Beit El in the West Bank.
    Critics say both Trump and Netanyahu have been intent on diverting attention away from domestic troubles.    Trump is going through an impeachment trial, while Netanyahu was formally indicted in court on corruption charges on Tuesday.    Both men deny any wrongdoing.
    Netanyahu also faces a difficult election in March – his third in less than a year.    He is locked in a battle with Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz, who also expressed support for the Trump plan.
    Netanyahu said the Trump plan offered Palestinians a pathway to a future state but that it may take them “a very long time to get to the beginning of that path.”
    “If they agree to abide by all the conditions you have put forward in your plan, Israel will be there. Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away,” he said.
    Trump said he had sent a letter to Abbas asking him to study the deal.
    “I explained to him that the territory allocated for his new state will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years.    During this time, Palestinians can use all appropriate deliberation to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood and become a truly independent and wonderful state,” he said.
    Under Trump’s proposed Middle East peace plan, the United States will recognize Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.
    The White House document said Israel agreed to a four-year “land freeze” to secure the possibility of a two-state solution.    But a senior Israeli official later played down the notion of a settlement freeze in the West Bank.
    U.S. senior administration officials said they expected initial Palestinian skepticism over the plan but hoped they would agree to negotiate over time.    It places high hurdles for the Palestinians to overcome to reach their long-sought goal of a state.
    “Strip away the domestic and Israeli political considerations that determined the timing of the plan’s release, and the message to the Palestinians, boiled down to its essence, is: ‘You’ve lost, get over it,'” said Robert Malley, president of the International Crisis Group and a former U.S. National Security Council official.
    The U.S. plan represented the most detailed attempt to break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians in several years.
    Trump has endorsed a proposed map outlining the two states, U.S. officials said.    The Palestinian state would be double the size of land that Palestinians currently control and would be connected by roads, bridges and tunnels, they said.
    Israel will also take steps to ensure Muslim access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and respect Jordan’s role regarding holy sites, the U.S. officials said.
    Trump’s plan calls for Palestinian refugees to settle in a future Palestinian state and creates a “generous compensation fund” for them, one of the officials said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Dan Williams and Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Dan Williams, Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller, Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

    The following found at https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/trump-palestine-map?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1
1/29/2020 Why Trump's Palestine map is important by Frank Jacobs
    Trump's Middle East peace plan contains the first map of a Palestinian state that 'Israel can live with'.
Trump's plan calls for tunnels and bridges to overcome the dispersion of Palestinian territory. Image: the White House

• Trump's Middle East plan is the first U.S. proposal to contain a map of a two-state solution.
• Considering Israel's close involvement, this map represents a Palestine 'Israel can live with.'
• But Palestinians are unlikely to agree to give up East Jerusalem—or much else.

    Caught between a napkin and a conspiracy
The Palestinians' only gain: two zones ceded by Israel in the southern desert, one for 'high-tech manufacturing',
the other for 'residential and agricultural' purposes. Image: The White House
    Detail of the Conceptual Map for a Palestinian state, proposed by U.S. president Donald Trump.     "I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale," fulminated Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in a televised speech from Ramallah.    "Your (…) conspiracy will not pass."
    Meeting with such fury from one of the two parties it aims to reconcile, Trump's Peace Plan, proposed in Washington DC with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in attendance, is unlikely to succeed.
    But there is one major difference between this and all previous U.S. proposals to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: it contains a map.    And even if the Trump plan will follow all its predecessors into the dustbin of history, the map remains a significant first.
    Never before has a U.S. administration officially proposed borders for a Palestinian state.    Considering the close political concertation between the U.S. and Israel—its main ally in the region—it is safe to assume that those borders have been seen and approved by the Israeli side.    Which would also be a first.    Not that no borders haven't ever been proposed, but they have never been published.
    The Jerusalem Post cites the example of Ehud Olmert, when he was prime minister of Israel in 2008, showing Palestinian president Abbas a map during a private meeting. It showed Israel retreating from 94% of the West Bank (i.e. almost to the 1967 border), excepting some large settlement blocks.    As an equivalent of the remaining 6%, land inside Israel was offered.    Israel would also withdraw from East Jerusalem; the Temple Mount and the Old City would be placed under international control.
    Due to the sensitive nature of Olmert's plan—surely too generous for hardliners on the Israeli side—the Israeli PM did not want to hand over the map to Abbas, who sketched it onto a napkin after the meeting.    The 'napkin map' became public in 2013.

Conceptual map
Under the Trump plan, Israel cedes 70% of the West Bank to the Palestinian state.
Image: The White House

    The 'Conceptual Map' in Trump's plan is the first one ever published officially by the American (and/or Israeli) side. It is less generous than the Olmert plan:

    President Abbas's fury is understandable.    This proposal turns Israel's occupation and takeover of large parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank into a fait accompli.    But while the overall plan may fail, keep a good eye on this map. For the first time, it shows the extent of a Palestinian state that the Israeli state may feel comfortable living with.    And that's an important step.    Even if this may not be a state the Palestinians may feel comfortable living in.

1/29/2020 Abu Dis, an unlikely capital for a future Palestinian state by Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: An abandoned Palestinian parliament building is seen in a general view picture of the Palestinian town of
Abu Dis in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, east of Jerusalem January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Abu Dis, the town earmarked for the Palestinian capital in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, lies a short distance to the east of Jerusalem’s walled Old City.
    A relatively featureless urban sprawl on the old road to Jericho, it has little of the religious or cultural resonance of the historic city center, which contains sites sacred to the three great monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
    Abu Dis belongs to the Palestinian governorate of Jerusalem but is just outside the Israeli municipal city limits set by Israel after it captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, later annexing it in a move not recognized by most of the international community.
    What the neighborhood does have is a large shuttered building that was constructed in an earlier, more hopeful era to be a site for the parliament of the Palestinian Authority.
    That hall now lies abandoned and disused after the breakdown of the Oslo peace process and the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, two decades ago.
    Since then, Palestinians in Abu Dis have been cut off from Jerusalem neighborhoods to the west by a high concrete wall that Israel built to stop suicide bombers and gunmen entering the city.
    Students at a nearby university have used the wall as a backdrop to project movies during warm summer nights when they sit outside.
    The White House document accompanying the U.S. plan’s release said the barrier should “serve as a border between the capitals of the two parties.”
    It said Jerusalem should “remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city.”
    It continued: “The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north of the existing security barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds or another name as determined by the State of Palestine.”
GRAPHIC: Trump’s Middle East peace plan – https://graphics.reuters.com/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN/0100B5B73B0/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN.jpg
HOLY SITES     That would leave within Israel’s control the hill at the heart of the Old City known to Jews as Har ha-Bayit, or Temple Mount, and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary.
    The holiest place in Judaism, it was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity and its restraining wall built by Herod the Great – known as the Western Wall – is a sacred place of prayer for Jews.
    Atop the plateau are two imposing Muslim holy places, the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was built in the 8th century.    Muslims regard the site as the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
    It is this compound that Palestinians seek as part of the capital of a future state and to which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was referring when he said it was “impossible for any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian child to accept” a state without Jerusalem.
    The day after the Trump plan identified Abu Dis as a potential capital, residents were scornful of the notion.
    Mohammed Faroun, an Abu Dis resident, said: “The capital of Palestine is Jerusalem.”
Another resident, who declined to give his name, said: “Trump, or whoever else, are not welcome.    Jerusalem tells its own story, every stone tells about its history.    It was never Israeli or American, it is Palestinian, Islamic and Arab.”
(Additional reporting by Sinan Abu Mayzer in Abu Dis, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

1/29/2020 Defense minister pushes to extend Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements by Stephen Farrell and Ari Rabinovitch
A general view picture shows part of the Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A leading government hawk called on Wednesday for Israel to establish sovereignty over nearly a third of the occupied West Bank, hours after U.S. Donald Trump announced a Middle East peace plan that Palestinians said amounted to apartheid.
    The remarks by Naftali Bennett, a coalition partner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government, led Palestinians to say Trump’s plan had given the “green light” for Israel to formally annex its settlements in the West Bank that it has occupied since the 1967 Middle East War.
    Trump’s plan envisages a two-state solution with Israel and a future Palestinian state living alongside each other, but with strict conditions that Palestinians have baulked at.
    He proposed a four-year schedule for the creation of a Palestinian state, with Palestinians first having to agree to halt attacks by the Islamist militant group Hamas which controls the enclave of Gaza.
    But the plan also gave U.S. recognition of Israel’s West Bank settlements – deemed illegal under international law – Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, and a redrawn, demilitarized Palestinian state that would meet Israel’s security requirements.     Jerusalem would be the undivided capital of Israel, it said.
ELECTION JOSTLING
    With Netanyahu still outside Israel after attending the plan’s presentation in Washington, Bennett outlined his hardline interpretation of what the White House had offered Israel.
    “Last night history knocked on the door of our home and gave us a one-time opportunity to apply Israeli law on all settlements in Samaria, Judea, the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea,” Bennett said, using the Hebrew names for areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    He had ordered a team to be set up to apply Israeli law and sovereignty on all Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
    Bennett is vying with Netanyahu for support from right-wing voters in an election set for March 2.    It is unclear whether the present caretaker administration has a legal mandate to carry out such a move after two inconclusive elections in 2019.
    Netanyahu on Wednesday reiterated his support for Trump’s plan, telling Fox television: “We will not contradict in any way the outline that the president put forward.”
    But Amir Peretz, head of Israel’s left-wing Labor Party, said no unilateral plan could work.    “Now more than ever it’s clear that we need a diplomatic compass,” he said.
SLAP OF THE CENTURY
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Trump’s plan the “slap of the century” after it was announced.
    Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday Trump’s team had simply “copied and pasted” the blueprint that Netanyahu and Israeli settler leaders wanted to see implemented.
    “It’s about annexation, it’s about apartheid,” he said in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.    “Moving to the de jure annexation of settlements is something that was given the green light yesterday.”
    Palestinians also dismissed the proposal for a capital in Abu Dis, in the West Bank just outside the Israeli municipal borders of Jerusalems.    It lies a mile east of the historic walled Old City, home to sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam but cut off by an Israeli wall and checkpoints.
    Palestinian leaders believe the Trump administration is biased toward Israel.
    Before announcing the much-touted plan, it had broken from international consensus by recognizing disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, halted aid to the Palestinians, and said it no longer considered the settlements a breach of international law.
    Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and the plan’s principal architect, shrugged off the Palestinian rejection.
    “We’re not going to chase the Palestinians…the Palestinian leadership, you can’t really treat them like they’re a serious government, or capable or competent dealmakers,” he told reporters.    “They’ll do what they’ve always done, which is screw everything up.”
    The Palestinians could push for a U.N. condemnation of the plan.    Israel’s U.N. mission signaled on Tuesday it would work to thwart this in a diplomatic campaign with the United States.
PALESTINIAN STATE
    Gaza political analyst Talal Okal said the deal gave Israel the right to take what it wanted “immediately, while the Palestinians have to wait four years to see whether they have rights or not”.     Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli head of military intelligence said: “This is the most favorable plan for Israel ever presented by an international player.”     However he said that because it included mention of a two-state solution, it could still cause problems for Netanyahu among his right-wing allies.     Bennett seemed to confirm this.    “The Israeli government will not recognize a Palestinian state,” he said
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ari Rabinovitch and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Michelle Nichols in New York, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

1/29/2020 Arabs prioritize key ties with U.S. against Iran in reacting to Trump peace plan by Stephen Kalin and Amina Ismail
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint news conference to announce a
new Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
    RIYADH/CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab powers appear to be prioritizing close ties with the United States that are vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians in their reaction to President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
    At a White House event on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump proposed creating a Palestinian state but demilitarized and with borders drawn to meet Israeli security needs, while granting U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land and of Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.
    The plan diverges from previous U.S. policy and a 2002 Arab League-endorsed initiative that offered Israel normal relations in return for an independent Palestinian state and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    Saudi Arabia’s response exemplified the careful balance now required from Gulf Arab monarchies, Egypt and Jordan which rely on U.S. military or financial backing and find themselves aligned with the United States and Israel in confronting Iran.
    The Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed appreciation for Trump’s efforts and support for direct peace negotiations under U.S. auspices.    At the same time, state media reported that King Salman had called the Palestinian president to reassure him of Riyadh’s unwavering commitment to the Palestinian cause.
    Egypt and Jordan, which already have peace deals with Israel, as well as Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) used similar language that swung between hope for re-starting talks and caution against abandoning long-held stances.
    Despite Palestinians’ rejection of the plan and boycott of Trump over perceived pro-Israel bias, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the UAE – attended the White House gathering in a sign of changing times.
    In a bitterly divided Arab world, backing for Palestinians has long been seen as a unifying position but also often a source of internal recriminations over the extent of that support, especially as some states have made independent, pragmatic overtures to historical adversary Israel.
    Trump and Netanyahu praised the UAE, Bahraini and Omani ambassadors for attending the White House announcement: “What a sign it portends – I was going to say ‘of the future’ – what a sign it portends of the present,” Netanyahu said to applause.
    Critics were less kind, condemning the envoys’ presence as a “shameful” abandonment of the Palestinian cause.
    “No government or ruler wants to be seen to sell Palestine so cheaply and hand Netanyahu such a victory and, in fact, end up footing the bill,” said Neil Quilliam, senior research fellow at Britain’s Chatham House think-tank.
    “At the same time, all states except perhaps Egypt are dependent upon the U.S. and will not risk angering Trump, given his propensity to act like a petulant child.”
A THOUSAND NO’S
    Saudi King Salman has previously reassured Arab allies he would not endorse any plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s disputed status or Palestinian refugees’ right of return, amid perceptions Riyadh’s stance was changing under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is close to Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the plan’s main architect.
    Palestinian officials say Prince Mohammed, the de facto Saudi ruler, has pressed Abbas in the past to support the Trump plan despite serious concerns.    Saudi officials have denied any differences between the king and crown prince.
    Naif Madkhali, a prominent Saudi who tweets often in support of the government, blasted Trump’s plan: “No and a thousand no’s,” he wrote under the hashtag #Down_with_the_deal_of_the_century.
    In Bahrain, which hosted a U.S.-led conference last June on the Palestinian economy as part of Trump’s broader peace plan, opposition groups came out strongly against the proposal.
    “Whoever today gives up the Holy Land of Palestine will tomorrow give up his land in order to preserve his seat,” tweeted Waad party leader Ibrahim Sharif.    “Treachery is a stab in the back and is not a point of view.”
    Any change to the consensus on refugees’ right of return to what is now Israel and the Palestinian Territories would reverberate loudest in Jordan, which absorbed more Palestinians than any other country after Israel’s creation in 1948.
    Palestinians, which by some estimates now account for more than half of Jordan’s population, hold full citizenship but are marginalized and seen as a political threat by some people of Jordanian descent.
    “The biggest risk is to Jordan, where sentiment towards the issue and rising levels of discontent converge,” said Quilliam.
    Analysts predicted most Egyptians would reject the plan but not present a problem to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government, which has already cracked down harshly on dissent.
    “I feel angry and helpless as an Egyptian, an Arab, a Muslim and above all a human…” prominent blogger Zainab Mohamed wrote of Trump’s plan.
    The Palestinian Foreign Ministry criticized Arab countries after their generally positive comments on Trump’s plan.
    “Following the revelation of details of the American-Israeli conspiracy, it is unacceptable to hide behind ambiguous and murky statements in order to escape confronting this conspiracy,” it said in a statement.
    However, a spokesman for Abbas said later he had received calls from Saudi King Salman and Lebanese President Michel Aoun “supportive of the Palestinian position.”
(Reporting by Stephen Kalin in Riyadh, Lisa Barrington and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai, Amina Ismail and Ulf Laessing in Cairo, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in West Bank; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

1/29/2020 Israeli citizens cautiously optimistic of President Trump’s peace plan by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump walks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to an event in the East Room of the
White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s
much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Israeli citizens in the West Bank territory are expressing cautious optimism toward President Trump’s peace plan for Palestine.    According to recent reports, Jewish settlers in the West Bank believe the president’s plan could improve security and end decades-long hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.
    However, some settlers are expressing concern over the proposed creation of the ‘Palestinian State,’ which they said could claim their land in the future.    Israelis also said it’s unclear if the deal of the century can be implemented after Palestinian leaders rejected it.
    “I believe it’s looking very similar to what happened in 1947,” stated one local.    “To my mind, the Arabs will refuse, we shall agree and then we’ll be able to, absolutely legally, absorb parts of territories which we really have to.”
    Some Israelis also said the Kingdom of Jordan is already a Palestinian state and that there is no need to establish another one.
Israeli border police blocks exit of the Old City’s Damascus gate ahead of a protest against Middle East peace plan announced Tuesday
by US President Donald Trump, which strongly favors Israel, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

1/29/2020 Palestine’s Abbas to address UN Security Council on President Trump’s proposed peace plan by OAN Newsroom
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks after a meeting of the Palestinian leadership
in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is set to address the UN Security Council on President Trump’s proposed peace plan.    On Wednesday, the Palestinian envoy to the UN criticized the president’s proposal and said the deal would allow Israel to annex 40 percent of the Palestine’s territories.
    The diplomat called for the Security Council to hold a vote on the deal and said he hopes it fails.
    On Tuesday, Abbas rejected President Trump’s offer by saying it disproportionately favors Israel.    Palestinian officials said the deal would force them to negotiate from an unfavorable position.
    “To start the process of annexing about 40 percent of the occupied West Bank and to give us four years to negotiate the remaining part, is that an attractive option for us?” asked envoy Riyad Mansour.    “That doesn’t make sense.”
    The envoy went on to say Abbas will address with Security Council within the next two weeks.

1/30/2020 Kushner says he hopes Israel waits on sovereignty steps in West Bank by Jeffrey Heller
FILE PHOTO: A general view picture shows the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City in the background
and part of the Israeli barrier in the foreground, as seen from the Palestinian town of Abu Dis
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, east of Jerusalem January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said Washington wants Israel to wait until after its March 2 election before making any moves towards settlement annexation in the West Bank following the announcement of a U.S. peace plan.
    Kushner, an architect of the peace proposal hailed by Israel and rejected by the Palestinians, raised the stop sign in a video interview, posted on the Internet on Thursday, with GZERO Media, a subsidiary of political risk analysis firm Eurasia Group.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Tuesday, after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. plan, that he would ask his cabinet next week to approve applying Israeli law to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
    Such a move could be a first step toward formal annexation of the settlements, along with the Jordan Valley in the West Bank – territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war and which Palestinians seek for a future state.
    Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in war to be a violation of international law. Trump has changed U.S. policy to withdraw such objections.
    “Well let’s see what happens,” Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law, said when asked about the possibility Israel would begin an annexation process as early as this weekend.    “The hope is that they’ll wait until after the election and we’ll work with them to try to come up with something.”
    On Wednesday, Israel’s hawkish defense minister, Naftali Bennett, called for the government to establish sovereignty over nearly a third of the West Bank.
    Trump’s plan envisages a two-state solution with Israel and a future Palestinian state living alongside each other, but with strict conditions that Palestinians reject.
    The blueprint gives Israel much of what it has long sought, including U.S. recognition of its West Bank settlements and Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. A redrawn, demilitarized Palestinian state would be subject to Israeli control over its security, while receiving tracts of desert in return for arable land settled by Israelis.
    Asked in the interview whether Washington would be supportive if support Israel if “they go ahead and annex,” Kushner said: “No.    What the administration is doing is we’ve agreed with them on forming a technical team to start studying, taking the conceptual map.”
    The coming election is Israel’s third in less than a year, following two that were inconclusive.    Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is facing criminal corruption charges and trying to hold onto power with a right-wing coalition that views much of the West Bank as the biblical heartland of the Jewish people.
    Israel’s attorney general still has to weigh in on whether Netanyahu’s present caretaker government has the legal authority to carry out annexation moves.
(Editing by Peter Graff)

1/29/2020 Kushner: U.S. deal to benefit both Israel, Palestine by OAN Newsroom
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner arrives for an event with President Donald Trump and
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020,
to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    According to senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump’s Middle East peace plan greatly benefits the Palestinian people.
    In an Tuesday, Kushner said the “deal of the century” gives Palestinians a chance to establish a stable and internationally recognized country.    He added, the deal will also curb violence and end Islamic terror in Palestine. The White House official noted the conflict in the region has been used to “stoke extremism” for a long time.
    However, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejected the deal early Tuesday.    He said he wants Eastern Jerusalem and a removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.    Kushner pointed out that the deal is a compromise and can’t satisfy everyone’s demands.    He made the following comments on the matter:
    “The Palestinian leadership have to ask themselves a question: Do they want to have a state?    Do they want to have a better life?    If they do, we have created a framework for them to have it and we’re going to treat them in a very respectful manner.    If they don’t then they’re going to screw up another opportunity like they’ve screwed up every opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks after a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2020.
President Abbas said “a thousand no’s” Tuesday to the Middle East peace plan announced by President Donald Trump.(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
    The senior White House adviser added, territorial concessions by Palestine are necessary to ensure the security of Israel.    In return,     Palestine gets to join the international community as a sovereign nation, which will allow it to improve the lives of its people.

1/31/2020 Palestinians face uphill battle against Trump’s Middle East plan by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint news conference to discuss a new
Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – When Palestinian leaders learned that the release of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan was imminent, they swiftly announced a “day of rage” – a gritty, oft-used call for resistance against Israel.
    But few demonstrators actually took to the streets despite Palestinians’ broad rejection of Trump’s proposal, a gap between rhetoric and delivery that exposes the scale of the challenge their leaders face in pressuring the United States and Israel.
    As in past decades, critics are branding the Palestinians as naysayers, continually rejecting offers of a settlement in the hope, so far futile, of something better to come.
    And domestic frustration with the Palestinian leadership has been building for years, with an ageing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeking a legacy but having dwindling scope to demonstrate progress toward his people’s dream of freedom.
    Contrary to expectations, Trump did propose a “two-state” solution for the conflict – but with strict conditions that would leave any future Palestinian state under near-complete Israeli security control.
    Trump’s endorsement of Israel keeping its settlements delighted right-wingers, who immediately urged the extension of Israeli sovereignty to nearly 30% of the occupied West Bank, which Israel captured in a 1967 war.
    For a graphic on the Trump proposal, click on https://graphics.reuters.com/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN/0100B5B73B0/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN.jpg
    Palestinians say such moves would lead to apartheid.    Israel rejects any comparison of its policies towards the Palestinians to South Africa’s former system of legally-mandated racial segregation.
    Analysts say that Palestinians face a difficult road ahead.
    “They don’t have good options.    Responding positively to the Trump peace plan is impossible for any Palestinian leader.    He would be seen as having sold out the Palestinian national cause completely,” said Greg Shapland, a Middle East specialist at London’s Chatham House think tank.
    “(This) whole exercise seems to be structured in such a way that the Palestinians would have to refuse it and then the Americans can say to Israel and to the rest of the world, ‘go ahead and do it’ because the Palestinians are clearly not interested in peace,” Shapland said.
    That attack line has already been used by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and principal architect of the plan.
    “We’re not going to chase the Palestinians,” he told reporters.    “It will be very hard for them to play the victim card when they basically have a real deal on the table.”
    For a factbox on the plan, click on https://www.reuters.com/article/israel-palestinians-plan-factbox/factbox-trumps-mideast-plan-whats-in-it-idINKBN1ZS280
INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION
    One avenue for Abbas, 84, is to use the United Nations to drum up international opposition to Trump’s plan.
    But Washington can veto any move in the Security Council. And even if Abbas wins support in the General Assembly it will have little more practical effect than a 2017 vote calling on Trump to drop his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    That secured 128 of 193 votes in support of the Palestinian argument, but was only a rhetorical show of support.
    Abbas will also try other routes.    On Saturday he travels to Cairo for a meeting of the Arab League, where he will engage regional allies.
    But many Arab states rely on U.S. military aid or financial backing.    And most are led by Sunni Muslim administrations that are aligned with the United States and Israel in confronting Iran’s revolutionary Shi’ite theocracy.
    Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization, said it was important to “hold the (Arab) states who were part of this charade to account” but that it wasn’t likely to strengthen the Palestinians’ hand.
    “A better strategy is to begin to hold Israel accountable, whether it’s through sanctions or legal (moves),” she said.
    One such legal move is at the International Criminal Court, whose chief prosecutor is seeking an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian Territories.
    The court is still deciding if it has jurisdiction.    Israel says the court has no jurisdiction to investigate the Palestinian Territories.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Michelle Nichols in New York and Luke Baker in London, Editing by William Maclean)

1/31/2020 Turkey’s Erdogan criticizes Arab silence over U.S. Middle East plan
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference ahead of a visit to Algeria,
at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, January 26, 2020. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
    ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday criticized Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations for not speaking out against the U.S. Middle East plan which he said endorsed the Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands.
    Erdogan, who has positioned himself as a global champion for Muslim causes, said Arab nations’ stance toward Palestinians was pitiable and countries that failed to speak out would be responsible for “grave results
    On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed creating a demilitarized Palestinian state with borders drawn to meet     Israeli security needs, granting U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land and of Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital
.
    Turkey dismissed the plan as an attempt to steal Palestinian lands and kill off prospects of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
    Despite Palestinians’ rejection of the plan and their boycott of Trump, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – attended the White House gathering where Trump announced his plan.
    When we look at the stance of countries in the Muslim world toward this step and the announced text, I pity us.    Saudi Arabia mostly, you are silent.    When will you speak?    The same goes for Oman, Bahrain, the Abu Dhabi leadership,” Erdogan said in comments to members of his ruling party in Ankara.
    “They even go and applaud it there.    Shame on you,” he added.    “Some Arab countries supporting such a plan are betraying Jerusalem, their own peoples and most of all humanity.”
    Despite their historic support for Palestinians, some Arab powers have appeared to prioritize close ties with the United States and a shared hostility toward Iran over traditional Arab alliances.
    Saudi Arabia expressed appreciation for Trump’s efforts and support for direct peace negotiations under U.S. auspices, although state media reported that King Salman had called the Palestinian president to convey Riyadh’s unwavering support.
    Turkey’s ties with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have been tense over a host of issues, from the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to rival policies in Libya.
Erdogan said it was “inexplicable” for Palestinians to be pressured into accepting the plan, adding that he would talk later on Friday to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the leader of the Palestinian militant group, Ismail Haniyeh.
    Abbas will speak at the United Nations Security Council about the plan
.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans and Andrew Cawthorne)
[This is enlightening to me since this is the first sign to me that an entity is about to come out of the shadows to be the one who will influence the Arab and Muslim world to consider and influence the push to activate Trump’s peace plan, and as you may have read at the top of this file that I have proposed that Erdogan may be the biblical King Of The South, but I still leave it open that another entity as seen in the next article that may still come and be the one who fulfills the prophecy in Daniel 9:27.].

1/31/2020 U.N. aid agency fears U.S. Middle East plan will spark violence
FILE PHOTO: Christian Saunders, United Nations Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) interim commissioner-general, gestures during an interview with Reuters in Gaza City, January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Nidal al-Mughrabi
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. aid agency for Palestinian refugees voiced concern on Friday that the U.S. administration’s Middle East peace plan will spark further violence and said it had contingency measures in place to boost protection and assistance in the occupied territories.
    Christian Saunders, head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), asked about the U.S. plan which would not allow a right of return to Israel, said that this right was “enshrined in international law and various (U.N.) General Assembly resolutions.”
    “We certainly have serious concerns that (the U.S. plan) it will result in an escalation in clashes, violence,” Saunders told a Geneva briefing.    “Palestinian refugees also look to us for reassurance in times like this when their rights and safety come under threat.”
    UNRWA, which provides critical services to 5.6 million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, including the West Bank and Gaza, appealed to donors for $1.4 billion this year.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

1/31/2020 U.S. envoy warns Palestinians against raising opposition to U.S. peace plan at U.N. by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: New U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks to reporters after attending her first
U.N. Security Council meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S. September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft warned the Palestinians on Friday that bringing their displeasure with the U.S. peace plan to the world body would only “repeat the failed pattern of the last seven decades.”
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will speak in the U.N. Security Council in the next two weeks about the plan, Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour said on Wednesday, adding that he hoped the 15-member council would also vote on a draft resolution on the issue.
    However, the United States is certain to veto any such resolution, diplomats said.    That would allow the Palestinians to take the draft text to the 193-member U.N. General Assembly, where a vote would publicly show how the Trump administration’s peace plan has been received internationally.
    Craft said that while the Palestinians’ initial reaction to the plan was anticipated, “why not instead take that displeasure and channel it into negotiations?
    “Bringing that displeasure to the United Nations does nothing but repeat the failed pattern of the last seven decades.    Let’s avoid those traps and instead take a chance on peace,” she told Reuters.
    Craft said the United States was ready to facilitate talks and that she was “happy to play any role” that contributes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan unveiled by U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
    Mansour said on Thursday: “There is not a single Palestinian official (who) will meet with American officials now after they submitted an earthquake, the essence of it the destruction of the national aspirations of the Palestinian people.    This is unacceptable.”
    Israel’s U.N. mission signaled on Tuesday that it was preparing for the Palestinians to pursue U.N. action, saying in a statement that it was “working to thwart these efforts, and will lead a concerted diplomatic campaign with the U.S.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by David Brunnstrom and Dan Grebler)

2/1/2020 Palestinians cut ties with Israel, U.S. after rejecting peace plan by Omar Fahmy and Ulf Laessing
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of the death
of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    CAIRO (Reuters) – The Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by U.S. President Donald Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday.
    Abbas was in Cairo to address the Arab League, which backed the Palestinians in their opposition to Trump’s plan.
    The blueprint, endorsed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calls for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state that excludes Jewish settlements built in occupied territory and is under near-total Israeli security control.
    “We’ve informed the Israeli side … that there will be no relations at all with them and the United States including security ties,” Abbas told the one-day emergency meeting, called to discuss Trump’s plan.
    Israeli officials had no immediate comment on his remarks.
    Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces have long cooperated in policing areas of the occupied West Bank that are under Palestinian control.    The PA also has intelligence cooperation agreements with the CIA, which continued even after the Palestinians began boycotting the Trump administration’s peace efforts in 2017.
    Abbas also said he had refused to discuss the plan by with Trump by phone, or to receive even a copy of it to study it.     “Trump asked that I speak to him by phone but I said ‘no’, and that he wants to send me a letter … but I refused it,” he said.
    Abbas said he did not want Trump to be able to say that he, Abbas, had been consulted.
    He reiterated his “complete” rejection of the Trump plan, presented on Tuesday. “I will not have it recorded in my history that I sold Jerusalem,” he said.
PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
    The blueprint also proposes U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank land and of Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.
    The Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo said the plan did not meet the minimum aspirations of Palestinians, and that the League would not cooperate with the United States in implementing it.
    The ministers affirmed Palestinian rights to create a future state based on the land captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as capital, the final communique said.
    Foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, three close U.S. allies, as well as Iraq, Lebanon and others said there could be no peace without recognising Palestinian rights to establish a state within the pre-1967 territories.
    After Trump unveiled his plan, some Arab powers had appeared, despite historic support for the Palestinians, to prioritise close ties with the United States and a shared hostility towards Iran over traditional Arab alliances.
    Three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – attended the White House gathering where Trump announced his plan alongside Netanyahu.
    On Tuesday, Netanyahu said he would ask his cabinet this week to approve the application of Israeli law to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
    Such a move could be a first step towards formal annexation of the settlements and the Jordan Valley – territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in 1967.
    Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in war to be a violation of international law.    Trump has changed U.S. policy to withdraw such objections.
(Reporting by Omar Fahmy, Ulf Laessing, Rami Ayyub, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams; Editing by Frances Kerry, Kevin Liffey and Nick Macfie)

2/3/2020 Arabs in Israeli border towns fear Trump plan will transfer them to West Bank by Rami Ayyub and Sinan Abu Mayzer
FILE PHOTO: Buildings in the Palestinian village of Nazlat Isa near Tulkarm in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are seen behind
the Israeli barrier and from the Arab-Israeli village of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel February 1, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    BAQA AL-GHARBIYYE, Israel (Reuters) – Thousands of Israeli Arabs, many waving Palestinian flags, demonstrated in this town in Israel at the weekend to voice their fear that U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan could see them stripped of their rights as Israeli citizens.
    Trump’s proposal, disclosed last week, would see Israel keep its settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    But it also raised the possibility that 11 Arab border towns abutting the West Bank would become part of a new Palestinian state – alarming Israel’s 21 percent Arab minority.
    “Israel wants to get rid of these people – their land, their history and their space,” said Mohammed Barakeh, a protester and former Arab member of Israel’s parliament.
    Like their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza, Arabs in Israel have criticized Trump’s plan, which suggested what it billed as a “two-state” solution for the decades-long conflict.
    Critics say that by handing Jewish settlements in occupied territory to Israel and keeping Palestinians under Israeli security control, a viable independent state is impossible.
    On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the land swap idea, saying: “We do not agree at all, in any way, to swap land and residents from Israel to (Palestine).”
    Israel’s Arabs – predominantly Muslims, Christian and Druze – are mostly the descendants of the Palestinians who remained in their homes or were internally displaced following the 1948 war that surrounded Israel’s creation.
    Many identify as Palestinians and regularly voice solidarity with those in Gaza and the West Bank.
    But they fear losing their rights and ties to the land they have lived on for generations if they are moved from Israel to Palestinian rule in the West Bank.
    Ayman Odeh, who heads a coalition of mainly Arab parties in Israel’s parliament, said Trump’s proposal was “a green light to revoke the citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arab citizens who live in northern Israel.”
    Feelings also ran high at the weekend in Umm al-Fahm, a town on a hill that looks down into the West Bank across an Israeli military barrier that winds along its northern boundary.
    “I am a Palestinian Arab and a citizen of Israel,” said Umm Mahmoud, 42, a housewife from Umm al-Fahm, as she shopped for home supplies.
    “I cannot accept being transferred to the West Bank.    Although we are the same, we cannot leave our land, lives and traditions.    Although they (West Bank Palestinians) are our family, it is not possible,” she said.
HYPOTHETICAL MATTER
    The Trump plan said land swaps could include both populated and unpopulated areas and redrawing the borders of Israel so that the so-called Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine would need to be agreed on by both parties.
    David Friedman, the Trump-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Israel who was closely involved in the framing of the Middle East plan, denied that residents of Arab towns in Israel would lose citizenship if they eventually fell under Palestinian jurisdiction.
    “No one is being stripped of citizenship.    We don’t propose that,” he told reporters last Wednesday.
    Some Israeli government officials have privately voiced reservations about the idea.
    “I regard this as a hypothetical matter.    This is something the sides can weigh as an option after the plan is implemented,” Gabi Ashkenazi, a senior member of the opposition Blue and White Party, told Israeli Internet television channel Ynet.
    “We unequivocally regard the (Arab) citizens of Israel as equal citizens,” Ashkenazi said.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Sinan Abu Mayzer with additional reporting by Stephen Farrell and Nuha Sharaf in Umm al-Fahm, Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell)

2/3/2020 Reports: U.S. requesting UN Security Council meeting to address President Trump’s peace plan for Palestine by OAN Newsroom
China’s United Nations Ambassador Zhang Jun speaks during a press conference Thursday Jan. 30, 2020
at U.N. headquarters. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus
in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries as a global emergency. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
    U.S. diplomats are requesting a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council this week.    According to reports Monday, members of the council will address President Trump’s peace plan for Israel and Palestine.
    The president’s senior adviser Jared Kushner is expected to attend the gathering to explain the benefits of the plan.
    This comes after Palestinian leaders and Iranian-backed terror groups rejected the peace proposals.    They are demanding East Jerusalem and a removal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank.
    Chinese diplomats have already signaled that they may obstruct the discussions.
    “Palestinians should be a part of any negotiation concerning their future and they should be playing a big role in any plan concerning their fundamental rights,” stated Zhang Jun, UN envoy – Mainland China.
    U.S. diplomats believe the security council could green-light the plan to end violence at the Israeli-Palestinian border.    The meeting is expected to take place this coming Thursday.
A protester covers his face as another waves a Palestinian flag during a protest is held against the proposed
peace deal for the Middle East by President Donald Trump, near the U.S. embassy in Aukar, east of Beirut, Lebanon,
Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians demonstrated Sunday near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon
in rejection to a White House plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)


2/3/2020 Trump adviser Kushner to brief U.N. leaders on Mideast plan
FILE PHOTO: White House senior advisor Jared Kushner speaks during the Wall Street Journal
CEO Council, at the Newseum in Washington, U.S., December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, will brief U.N. Security Council ambassadors on Thursday about the Middle East peace plan that Trump unveiled last week, a U.S. official said on Monday.
    The plan has had a mixed reception, with Palestinians rejecting it but Israel welcoming the president’s decision to recognize Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements.
    The plan would set forth a four-year timeline for Palestinians to develop governing institutions and rein in the Hamas militant group in order to gain statehood with a capital based in a village east of Jerusalem.
    “Jared will travel to New York on Thursday to brief UNSC ambassadors on our Vision for Peace,” the U.S. official said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Leslie Adler)

2/4/2020 EU rejects Trump Middle East peace plan, annexation
FILE PHOTO: Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European
Commission holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union rejected parts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East on Tuesday, prompting an angry response from Israel which has strongly backed the U.S. proposal.
    The plan, announced by Trump last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side, was rejected outright by the Palestinians.    It would give Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including nearly all Palestinian land on which it has built settlements.
    The EU, which often takes time to respond to international developments because of a need for unanimity among its 27 members, had said last week that it needed to study the Trump plan before it would give its verdict.
    It made its conclusions public on Tuesday in a statement from EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who said Trump’s plan departs from “internationally agreed parameters
    “To build a just and lasting peace, the unresolved final status issues must be decided through direct negotiations between both parties,” Borrell said, noting the issues of the borders of a Palestinian state and the final status of Jerusalem were among those still in dispute.
    Steps by Israel to annex Palestinian territory, “if implemented, could not pass unchallenged,” Borrell said.
    Israel responded sharply to the remarks by Borrell, a Spaniard in office since the start of December.
    “The fact that the High Rep of the EU, Josep Borrell, chose to use threatening language towards Israel, so shortly after he assumed office & only hours after his meetings in Iran, is regrettable &, to say the least, odd,” tweeted Israeli Foreign ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat.
    “Pursuing such policies & conduct is the best way to ensure that the EU’s role in any process will be minimized.”
    EU policy in the Middle East tends to be cautious, as the bloc includes members with varying degrees of sympathy towards the Palestinians and Israel.    Some EU members have already recognized a Palestinian state, although the bloc as a whole says this is a matter to be resolved in peace talks.
    The EU condemned Trump’s decision in 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying Washington had compromised its position as a mediator for peace.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff)

2/5/2020 Gaza farmers return to their lands along volatile Israeli border by Nidal al-Mughrabi
Palestinian farmers, helped by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), throw wheat seeds as they plant
a field near the Israel Gaza border in the central Gaza Strip February 3, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA (Reuters) – Returning to his fields for the first time in 14 years, Palestinian farmer Naser Abu Isaeed surveyed the toll taken by conflict on formerly productive soil.
    “I saw an empty area full of holes and dry weeds,” said Abu Isaeed, who once grew fruit on the tracts along Gaza’s volatile border with Israel.
    He is one of about 600 Palestinian farmers who regained access to their fields along the border to cultivate crops under a project launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
    Citing security concerns, Israel has for years designated a 100 meter by 300 meter strip along its 40-km (25 mile)-long fence at the frontier as off-limits to Palestinians in Gaza, an enclave ruled by the Hamas militant group.
    Palestinians say the policy has deprived them of large areas of farmland, cut into livelihoods and reduced the space available to the densely populated strip’s two million residents.
    Under the ICRC project, launched in 2015, members of the Hamas-led Interior Ministry have cleared unexploded ordnance and other war material from 40 percent of the 2,500 acres (1,012 hectares) that make up the borderlands in that tract.
    Abu Isaeed was one of 90 farmers whose lands were being rehabilitated by ICRC in the project’s third phase which began last August and will end with the harvest in May.    In all, the ICRC said some 580 farmers have regained access to their land.
    Fields were plowed, fertilized and sown with wheat by ICRC-employed workers as part of the endeavor, organized in cooperation with Israeli authorities, Gaza’s Agriculture Ministry, local municipalities and farmers’ committees.
    “We risk death every time we enter the land,” said Serhey Abu Mandeel, 71, noting its proximity to the border, which is closely monitored by the Israeli military.    He and his family owned 12 acres planted with peas, soybeans, wheat and lentils.
    Like other Palestinian farmers, Abu Mandeel complained that herbicides sprayed by cropdusters inside Israel were being carried by winds across the border into Gaza and harming fields there.
    Farmers said the herbicides have killed their crops.    Gaza’s Agriculture Ministry put their losses at $1.25 million since last December.
    “We believe there should be a balance between security concerns and the impact of the herbicides on public health, the environment and the livelihoods of local people,” Gaza ICRC spokeswoman Suhair Zakkout told Reuters, adding they were in discussion with Israel over the issue.
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller, William Maclean)

2/5/2020 Draft U.N. resolution condemns Israeli annexation in Trump peace plan
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Arab League Secretary General
Ahmed Aboul Gheit (not pictured) in Cairo, Egypt January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A draft United Nations Security Council resolution on Tuesday condemned an Israeli plan to annex its settlements in the West Bank in a rebuke of President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel peace proposal.
    The draft text, circulated to council members by Tunisia and Indonesia, would seemingly face a U.S. veto, but nonetheless offered some members’ dim view of the peace plan that Trump rolled out last week with great fanfare.
    Diplomats said negotiations on the text would likely begin later this week.    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to speak to the council next week about the plan, possibly coinciding with a vote on the draft resolution.
    The resolution “stresses the illegality of the annexation of any part” of occupied Palestinian territories and “condemns recent statements calling for annexation by Israel” of these territories, according to the draft seen by Reuters.
    Trump’s plan, the product of three years effort by senior adviser Jared Kushner, would recognize Israel’s authority over the settlements and would require the Palestinians to meet a highly difficult series of conditions to be allowed to have a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.
    Kushner is due to brief Security Council ambassadors on the plan on Thursday.
    While the Palestinians have rejected the plan, a number of Arab governments have said it represents a starting point for a renewal of long-stalled negotiations.
    The resolution stresses the need for an acceleration of international and regional efforts to launch “credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process without exception.”
    A U.S. veto at the council level would allow the Palestinians to take the draft text to the 193-member U.N. General Assembly, where a vote would publicly show how Trump’s peace plan has been received internationally.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Mary Milliken & Shri Navaratnam)

2/5/2020 Iran will back Palestinian armed groups as much as it can: leader
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a public gathering ahead of the 41st anniversary of the
Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran February 5, 2020. Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran will support Palestinian armed groups as much as it can, Iran’s Supreme Leader said on Wednesday, urging Palestinians to confront a U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
    “We believe that Palestinian armed organizations will stand and continue resistance and the Islamic Republic sees supporting Palestinian groups as its duty,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech, the text of which appeared on his website.
    “So it will support them however it can and as much as it can and this support is the desire of the Islamic system and the Iranian nation.”
    U.S. President Donald Trump announced a U.S. plan last month which would set up a Palestinian state with strict conditions but allow Israel to take over long-contested Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    Palestinian leaders have rejected it as biased toward Israel.
    Trump’s plan is to the detriment of America and Palestinians should confront the deal by forcing Israelis and Americans out through jihad, Khamenei said, according to his official website.
    Tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States after top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting the Islamic Republic to retaliate with a missile attack against a U.S. base in Iraq days later.
    Khamenei jabbed at Arab leaders who have supported the Trump plan.
    “The welcoming and clapping from a few traitorous Arab leaders who are worthless and dishonorable among their own people has no importance,” Khamenei said, according to his official website.
    Separately, Khamenei called for a high turnout in parliamentary elections on Feb. 21, broadly seen as a gauge of support for authorities after all-out war with the United States almost broke out last month.
    “It’s possible that someone doesn’t like me but if they like Iran they must come to the ballot box,” Khamenei said, according to his official website, noting that the elections could help solve Iran’s international problems.
    Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at hardliners over the mass disqualification of candidates for the election.
    Iran’s economy has been battered after Trump pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic in 2018 and reimposed sanctions in a bid to bring Iran to the negotiating table for curbs on its ballistic missile program and to cut its support for regional proxies.
    America’s attempt to pressure Iran to negotiate through sanctions will not work, Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state TV on Wednesday.
    “They thought we would request negotiations from America.    Negotiations by their definition, not our definition,” Rouhani said.    “They want us to surrender through cruel, unequal and undignified negotiations. This is impossible for the Iranian people.”
(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Alex Richardson, William Maclean)
[MAKE A CHOICE PALESTINIANS DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE TO LIVE IN STRIFE AND DEATH WITH IRAN BACKED HAMAS OR FIND SOME PEACE WITH THE OFFERINGS OF A PEACE PLAN SO YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE FINALLY AND IMPROVE YOUR LIFE.].

2/5/2020 Rouhani says U.S. is a terrorist, calls on Palestinians to challenge Middle East peace plan by OAN Newsroom
In this photo released by the official website of the Office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks
in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP)
    Iran is calling on Palestinian forces to fight President Trump’s Middle East peace plan.    On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced his disapproval of the proposal, calling it the “crime of the century.”
    Rouhani labeled the U.S. a terrorist threat and noted the country has imposed unfair, severe economic sanctions on Iran amid nuclear talks.
    “We want to talk under a free climate in which our logic is dominant…because we are right,” stated the Iranian president.    “(Americans) want to make us surrender in unfair, unequal and humiliating negotiations, (but) this is impossible.”
    Iran recently said it plans to increase uranium production and will no longer abide by the 2015 nuclear deal.
    President Trump has called for Israeli control of the “long contested Jewish areas in the West Bank” as a condition to implement a Palestinian state.
[Rohani you will never be part of the 'Deal of the Century' because you will be the 'Sanctions For The Century' and will go down in history as not killing any Americans but only your own 146 Iranians with missles.].

2/5/2020 President Trump: Iran war was closer than you thought by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House
on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing U.S. troops in Washington,
as Vice President Mike Pence and others looks on. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
    President Trump has admitted the U.S. narrowly avoided going to war with Iran earlier this year.    While speaking at an off-the-record lunch with TV anchors on Tuesday, the president reportedly said a war with Iran was “closer than you thought.”
    The president’s comments came in response to a question on tensions with Iran in early January.    This followed the killing of General Qasem Soleimani and several retaliatory strikes from Iran.
    Iran’s ayatollah is now making new threats against the United States.
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 5, 2020. Khamenei said Wednesday
that Donald Trump’s Mideast plan will not outlive the president. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
    “America’s plan for the Middle East will definitely not succeed, this plan will die before Trump’s death,” stated Ayatollah Khamenei.    “What they did and are pursuing is firstly stupid, secondly, it is a sign of their wickedness, and thirdly, it is already harming them from the start.”
    President Trump said he will continue to stand up to the ayatollah regime while supporting the Iranian people.
[Khamenei that deal of the century will be implemented by the Arab nations in time because they will want peace and economic improvement and you will be shut out of the benefits of it and you will be begging Trump to stop the sanctions and will have to give into what the world wants not what you want because the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is in control here or you will suffer the prophesies of your demise in Jeremiah 49:35-39 PROPHESY OF ELAM.].

2/5/2020 Israeli troops kill Palestinian in West Bank protest: medics
Relatives of 17-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Al-Hadad react at a hospital in Hebron
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli troops shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian who was taking part in a violent protest on Wednesday against U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan, witnesses and medical officials said.
    Mohammed al-Hadad was the first Palestinian killed in unrest since Trump unveiled his plan last week to accolades from Israel but condemnation from many in the Arab and Muslim world.
    Witnesses and medical officials said al-Hadad was shot as he took part in a protest in Hebron, a Palestinian city with Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli troops were pelted with rocks.
    The Israeli military spokesman’s office said in a statement that soldiers “identified a Palestinian who hurled a Molotov cocktail at them (and) responded with fire in order to remove the threat.”
    The Palestinians, who have long shunned the Trump administration, accusing it bias toward Israel, say the peace plan falls far short of their demands for territorial and other rights. Washington deems many of those demands unrealistic.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

2/6/2020 Palestinian killed in West Bank; Israeli troops hurt in Jerusalem ramming by Dan Williams
A boy walks past the house of Palestinian assailant Ahmed Al-Qanbaa after it was demolished by
Israeli forces? in Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A car ran down a group of Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem early on Thursday in a suspected Palestinian attack and, in a separate incident, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian during clashes in the occupied West Bank, authorities said.
    Long-simmering Palestinian unrest has been stoked anew by anger at U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which was embraced by Israel and rejected by the Palestinians when it was announced last week.
    The Jerusalem car-ramming took place on David Remez Street, which is close to the Arab neighborhoods of eastern parts of the city that Palestinians want for a state. A theater and late-night restaurants and bars are also located along the street.
    A military spokeswoman said 12 soldiers were injured.    They were sight-seeing after coming to the city to be sworn in upon completing basic training.
    The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a total of 14 people were injured, including one admitted to hospital with severe injuries and another with moderate injuries.
    “The incident is being investigated as a terror attack,” a police spokesman said. The driver was still at large.
    “It is just a matter of time – and not much time – until we get our hands on the attacker.    Terrorism will mot defeat us, we will win,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
    In the West Bank city of Jenin, a 19-year-old man was shot dead by troops while throwing rocks at them, Palestinians said.
    An Israeli military spokesman said troops came to Jenin to demolish the home of a Palestinian who was involved in the 2018 killing of a Jewish settler.    Troops opened fire at Palestinians who shot and threw bombs at them in Jenin, the spokesman said.
    Palestinian medics said a Palestinian police officer was also seriously wounded by Israeli gunfire in the incident.    The military did not immediately comment on that account.
    On Wednesday, Israeli troops shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian elsewhere in the West Bank, saying he had thrown a fire-bomb at them during a violent protest against Trump’s peace plan. He was the first fatality since Trump’s plan was unveiled.
    There have also been several days of violence across the border with the Gaza Strip.    Palestinians have launched mortar shells, rockets and balloon-borne explosives into Israel, causing panic but no serious casualties.    Israel has carried out nightly air strikes against sites belonging to Gaza’s ruling Hamas Islamists.
    Hamas praised the West Bank clashes and Jerusalem attack.
    “The spreading resistance and clashes by our people in the West Bank and their resistance in the heart of occupied Jerusalem is an active response against the destructive Trump deal,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem.
    The Palestinians, who have long shunned the Trump administration, accusing it of bias toward Israel, say the peace plan falls far short of their demands for territorial and other rights.    Washington deems many of those demands unrealistic.
    Israel supports the Trump plan, which would give it much of what it has sought for decades, including sovereignty over nearly all the occupied land on which it has built settlements.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Tom Hogue, Lincoln Feast and Peter Graff)

2/6/2020 12 Israeli soldiers injured, suspect in custody after terror attack in Jerusalem by OAN Newsroom
Israeli soldiers take aim during clashes in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
    A man is in custody after a car rammed into a group of Israeli soldiers in a suspected Palestinian terror attack. According to local media, the suspect has been identified as Sanad al-Tarman.
    The incident took place early on Thursday in Jerusalem, seriously injuring one person and wounding 11 others.    A group of Golani Brigade soldiers were walking down a sidewalk when the car struck them from behind and fled the scene.
    Soldiers said they were unable to shoot at the driver, despite attempts to load their guns and chase after him, because the hit-and-run happened within seconds.
    “This happened in seconds,” said IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman.    “We understand that some soldiers tried to put magazines into their guns and tried to go after the car, but this happened quickly.”
    A joint operation between Israeli military, intelligence and border police units resulted in al-Tarman’s arrest later that day.
    A police spokesperson described how Israel is responding to safety concerns in the area.
    “At this moment in time, security assessments are being made in order to prevent incidents from taking place in Judea and Samaria on the ground,” stated Micky Rosenfeld.    “Heightened security will continue in Jerusalem over the next 24 hours for Friday prayers on the Temple Mount.”
Israeli soldiers take aim at Palestinian protesters during clashes in the West Bank
city of Hebron, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
    This comes amid rising tensions between Israel and Palestine.    Terror group Hamas has been encouraging attacks on Israelis.
    “We call for escalating confrontations with the occupation and its settlers and fighting their assaults against the land and holy sites, especially the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” read a recent statement from Hamas.

2/6/2020 UK PM Johnson backs U.S. peace plan in call with Netanyahu
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London, Britain February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his support for a U.S. Middle East peace plan and a two-state solution in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Johnson’s spokesman said on Thursday.
    Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed the creation of a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem, dependent on Palestinians taking steps to become self-governing, in an attempt to achieve a peace breakthrough.    Palestinian leaders have rejected the plan.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison)

2/7/2020 Palestinian protester killed in unrest over U.S. Mideast plan by Stephen Farrell
A Palestinian demonstrator hurls stones at Israeli forces as he stands next to the Israeli barrier
during a protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, in the
village of Bilin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian protester was shot dead in the West Bank on Friday as Palestinian and U.S. leaders blamed each other for violence that erupted after President Donald Trump unveiled a Middle East Peace plan that Palestinians rejected as one sided.
    Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces have repeatedly clashed since the peace proposals were unveiled by Trump, with Israel’s prime minister at his side.
    Friday’s killing raised the Palestinian death toll to four. Israelis have been wounded.
    On Friday, mourners had gathered in the occupied West Bank for the funeral of a Palestinian police officer who was shot dead in the unrest a day earlier.    Palestinian authorities said he was killed by Israeli gunfire.    Israel has not commented.
    There were sporadic clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces near Azzun, where the funeral was held.
    Palestinians also clashed with Israeli troops in Jericho and burned tyres in the West Bank village of Bil’in.
    Palestinian medics said one protester had been shot and killed near Tulkarm on Friday.
    The Israeli army said dozens of Palestinian rioters had hurled rocks and fire bombs at troops, and soldiers had identified a Palestinian who threw a firebomb and “responded with fire in order to remove the threat.”
    “The Palestinian people will not allow the ‘Deal of the Century’ to pass,” said Mohammed Barakeh, waving a Palestinian flag in Bil’in, referring to the U.S. peace deal.
    “They are fighting for their national character and the independence of their country,” said Barakeh, a former Israeli lawmaker and member of Israel’s 21% Arab minority, many of whom identify with Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza.
    President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has rejected Trump’s peace plan, which would give Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including the disputed holy city of Jerusalem and nearly all the occupied land on which it has built settlements.
    Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Washington was to blame for the unrest since the plan was unveiled.
    “Those who introduce plans for annexation and the legalizing of occupation and settlements are really responsible for deepening violence and counter-violence,” he said.
    He said Abbas would go to the U.N. Security Council with “a genuine peace plan.”
    Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, the main architect of the U.S. plan, has denounced the Palestinian leadership, breaking from decades of diplomacy when Washington sought to appear neutral.    On Thursday, he blamed Abbas for the violence.
    “I think he does have responsibility,” Kushner said after briefing U.N. Security Council ambassadors.    “He calls for days of rage in response, and he said that before he even saw the plan.”
    Israeli police said security chiefs had met on Thursday and would increase security “across the country, with emphasis on Jerusalem.”
    Palestinians have long boycotted relations with the Trump administration, which they view as biased.    Washington says its plan offers a path toward a Palestinian state, and blames the Palestinian leadership for chasing unrealistic goals. (Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by Edmund Blair)
[Hamas and Hezbollah are going to try to push the Palestinians to perform these attacks in desperation to try to destroy any peace plan and we know that this is Iran Mullahs behind all of this in their revenge rage but God has ordained it to occur eventually for the eventual occurance of Daniel's prophecy in Daniel 9:27.].

2/8/2020 Israel drawing up map for West Bank annexations: Netanyahu by Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian President
Vladimir Putin (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Pool
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has begun to draw up maps of land in the occupied West Bank that will be annexed in accordance with U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed peace plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.
    “We are already at the height of the process of mapping the area that, according to the Trump plan, will become part of the state of Israel.    It won’t take too long,” Netanyahu said at an election campaign rally in the Maale Adumim settlement.
    Netanyahu said the area would include all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley – territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war but which Palestinians want in a future state.
    “The only map that can be accepted as the map of Palestine is the map of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
    Prospects for annexations, which have already been widely condemned, are unclear.
    Israel will hold a national election on March 2 and Netanyahu, who is facing criminal corruption charges, is hoping to win a fifth term in office.    He presently heads a caretaker government, whose legal authority to annex territory is still undecided by judicial authorities.
    Settlers make up part of Netanyahu’s right-wing voter base and many members of his coalition cabinet view the West Bank as the biblical heartland of the Jewish people.
    Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in war to be a violation of international law.    Trump has changed U.S. policy to withdraw such objections.
    Palestinians say the settlements make a future state non-viable.    Israel cites security needs as well as biblical and historical ties to the land on which they are built.
    Trump’s plan envisages a two-state solution with Israel and a future Palestinian state living alongside each other, but it includes strict conditions that Palestinians reject.
    The blueprint gives Israel much of what it has long sought, including U.S. recognition of settlements and Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.
    A redrawn, demilitarized Palestinian state would be subject to Israeli control over its security, and would receive tracts of desert in return for arable land settled by Israelis.
    Right after Trump presented the plan on Jan. 28, Netanyahu said his government would begin extending Israeli sovereignty to the settlements and the Jordan Valley within days.
    But Washington then appeared to put the breaks on that and Netanyahu has since faced pressure from settler leaders to annex territory despite any U.S. objections.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by David Clarke)

2/9/2020 U.S. warns Israel against ‘unilateral’ West Bank moves by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attends a conference in Jerusalem January 8, 2020 REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A U.S. envoy warned Israel on Sunday not to declare sovereignty over West Bank land without Washington’s consent, pushing back against calls for immediate action by ultra-nationalists within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition.
    U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, unveiled on Jan 28, envisages Israel keeping key swathes of the occupied territory where Palestinians seek statehood.    But the question of timing has opened up a rare rift between the allies.
    Netanyahu initially pledged a speedy “application of Israeli law” – de facto annexation – to Jewish settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley, delighting his religious-rightist base ahead of Israel’s March 2 election, where he hopes to win a fifth term.
    But he was forced to backpedal after the White House made clear it wanted a U.S.-Israeli mapping process – likely to take weeks or more – completed first.
    The Palestinians, for their part, have rejected the Trump plan as a non-starter.
    With Defence Minister Naftali Bennett and other Israeli ultra-nationalists urging an immediate cabinet vote on sovereignty in the West Bank, the U.S. ambassador intervened.
    “Israel is subject to the completion (of) a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee.    Any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition,” envoy David Friedman tweeted.
    In a separate speech, Friedman elaborated that his message was “a little bit of patience, to go through a process, to do it right, is not something which we think is too much to ask for.”
‘POTENTIALLY ADVERSE’
    “With the news out that the (Israeli) cabinet was about to be pushed in a direction that was potentially adverse to our view of the process, we just let people know where we stand,” he told the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) think-tank.
    “It was not a threat.”
    In parallel, Netanyahu invoked the White House position.
    “The (U.S.) recognition is the main thing and we don’t want to endanger that,” the premier told his cabinet on Sunday.
    At the JCPA, Friedman said the mapping process was unlikely to be completed before March 2.    But he held out the possibility of implementation even if the election does not produce a clear winner, as was the case twice in the last year.
    Asked if Washington first wanted a permanent Israeli government – as opposed to a caretaker government of the kind Netanyahu has headed by default for months – in place, Friedman said: “We have not made that demand.”
    Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war to be a violation of international law.    Trump has changed U.S. policy to withdraw such objections and the prospect of Israeli annexations have drawn widespread condemnation.
    Palestinians say the settlements make a future state unviable. Israel cites security needs as well as biblical and historical ties to the land on which they are built.
    “Any unilateral step is rejected whether it is taken before or after the election,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.    “Facts can’t be created on the ground and they will never become a reality.”
    “The only thing we can accept is the Palestinian map on the 1967 borders,” Abu Rdainah added.
    On Saturday, Netanyahu told an election rally that the mapping process with the Americans was already under way.    “We’ve been waiting since 1967 and some people are making a big deal out of a few weeks,” he said, alluding to rightist rivals.
(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Mark Potter)

2/11/2020 Palestinians’ Abbas, at U.N., says U.S. offers Palestinians ‘Swiss cheese’ state by Arshad Mohammed and Steve Holland
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a map while speaking during a Security Council meeting
at the United Nations in New York, U.S., February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
    (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, appearing before the United Nations Security Council, on Tuesday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal as a gift to Israel and unacceptable to Palestinians.
    Waving a copy of a map that the U.S. plan envisions for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, Abbas said the state carved out for Palestinians looked like a fragmented “Swiss cheese.”
    In a setback for the Palestinians, a draft Security Council resolution circulated by Tunisia and Indonesia that would have implicitly criticized Trump’s plan, including Israel’s retention of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, was not put to a vote.
    The text, which faced a near-certain U.S. veto, did not go forward in part because it failed to garner the support needed by the Palestinians to isolate the United States, two diplomats at the United Nations said.
    One said the draft, which the United States wanted to water down, attracted 11 or 12 votes in favor on the 15-member council.    A second diplomat said it would have required too many compromises to achieve the 14-1 vote the Palestinians may have sought.
    “Today, by not putting forward a polarizing resolution, the United Nations Security Council demonstrated that the old way of doing things is over,” a senior Trump administration official said.
    Released on Jan. 28, Trump’s plan would recognize Israel’s authority over West Bank Jewish settlements and require Palestinians meet a difficult series of conditions for a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.
    “This is the state that they will give us,” said Abbas.    “It’s like a Swiss cheese, really. Who among you will accept a similar state and similar conditions?
    Speaking at an election rally in the Israeli town of Bat Yam, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the criticism and hinted at the possibility that Arab states might entertain the Trump plan even if Palestinians do not.
    “This is not Swiss cheese. This is the best plan that exists for the Middle East – for the Middle East – and for the State of Israel and for the Palestinians, too,” he said, adding that the plan “recognizes reality and the rights of the people of Israel, both of which you constantly refuse to recognize.”
    Abbas urged Trump to disavow the plan and seek a return to negotiations based on existing U.N. resolutions that call for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 border lines.
    “The U.S. cannot be the sole mediator,” he said, rejecting the traditional U.S. role in seeking to broker an end to the conflict and calling for an international conference.
    Suggesting violent protests could break out, Abbas said “the situation could implode at any moment. … We need hope.    Please do not take this hope away from us.”
    Later, however, he said Palestinians would not “resort to terrorism.”
    Although Trump’s stated aim was to end decades of conflict, his plan favored Israel, underlined by the Palestinians’ absence from his White House announcement with Netanyahu at his side.
    While Arab League foreign ministers on Feb. 1 rejected the plan, three Gulf Arab states – Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – were represented at the White House announcement, suggesting they may be prioritizing ties with Washington and a shared hostility toward Iran over traditional Arab alliances.
    Abbas said the deal is not an international partnership, but rather a proposal from one state supported by another state to be imposed on Palestinians.
    Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, accused Abbas of being unrealistic and said peace was not possible while he remained in power.
    In a show of support for Abbas, Ehud Olmert, a former centrist Israeli prime minister who had claimed significant progress in talks with the Palestinians aimed at securing a final peace deal, later stood by him at a joint appearance.
    Olmert, once a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, resigned in 2008 and eventually spent 16 months in jail for corruption linked to his position as mayor of Jerusalem.
    A Feb. 5-8 poll conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 94% of Palestinians reject the plan, which Trump has called the “Deal of the Century.”
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Howard Goller and Dan Grebler)

2/11/2020 EU’s Borrell warns of violence if Israel annexes Jordan Valley
FILE PHOTO: EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses the European Parliament
in Strasbourg, France, February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
    STRASBOURG (Reuters) – The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, urged Israel on Tuesday not to annex the Jordan Valley, a large swathe of the occupied West Bank, warning of Palestinian protests if it went ahead.
    Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war. The Palestinian Authority wants to make the area part of a future state, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention on Tuesday to annex the valley if he wins re-election.
    “This may happen … You can be sure it’s not going to be peaceful,” Borrell told the European Parliament.
    Around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.    The main Palestinian city there is Jericho, with around 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.
    Borrell, who traveled to Washington last week, also reiterated his rejection of parts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s new peace plan for the Middle East.
    The U.S. plan would give Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including nearly all Palestinian land on which it has built settlements.
    “The proposals tabled two weeks ago clearly challenge the internationally agreed parameters.    It is difficult to see how this initiative can bring both parties back to the table,” Borrell said of Israel and the Palestinians.
    “I made this point to my (U.S.) interlocutors: we need to ask ourselves whether this plan provides a basis for progress or not.”
(Reporting by Marine Strauss, Robin Emmott; Editing by Gareth Jones)

2/12/2020 U.N. report names 112 companies doing business with Israeli settlements by Stephanie Nebehay
Cars are parked outside Rami Levy supermarket in the Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations’ human rights office on Wednesday named 112 companies it said have business ties to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, angering Israel and prompting a Palestinian threat of legal action against the firms.
    A long-delayed report issued in Geneva said 94 of the companies were domiciled in Israel and 18 were listed in six other countries — the United States, Britain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Thailand and France.
    A spokesman for Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the report was not a “blacklist” and was not intended to qualify any of the companies’ business activities as illegal.
    But it is a sensitive issue as companies named could be targeted for boycotts or divestment intended to put pressure on Israel over its settlements.    Despite the spokesman’s remarks, they could now also face legal battles.
    “We demand the companies immediately close their headquarters and branches inside illegal Israeli settlements because their presence contradicts international and U.N. resolutions,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh wrote on his Facebook page.
    He said companies would be pursued through “international legal institutions and in courts in their countries for taking part in human rights violations in Palestine.”    Palestinians could also demand compensation for “use of our occupied land illegally,” he said.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the report as the work of a “biased and uninfluential body.”
    “Instead of dealing with human rights, this body is trying to blacken Israel’s name.    We reject any such attempt in the strongest terms and with disgust,” he said in a statement.
    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called the report a “shameful capitulation” to anti-Israel groups.
    Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war.    Palestinians and much of the world view the settlements as illegal under international law, but the United States and Israel dispute this.
    The United States in effect backed Israel’s right to build settlements on Nov. 18 last year by abandoning its long-held position that they were “inconsistent with international law.”
    A Middle East peace plan announced last month by U.S. President Donald Trump proposed allowing Israel to keep control of the West Bank settlements though the plan would also create a Palestinian state.
    Several hours after the report was issued, there was no reaction from the U.S. government.
HIGHLY CONTENTIOUS
    The report was issued on the eve of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s main annual session opening in Geneva from Feb 24.    Neither Israel nor the United States are members of the forum which both accuse of a bias against Israel.
    “I am conscious this issue has been, and will continue to be, highly contentious,” Bachelet said in a statement.
    Her office said the report “does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them.”
    One of the businesses named in the report, home-rental company Airbnb, had already acknowledged having listings in settlements and said last April that it would donate proceeds from any bookings in the territory to international humanitarian aid organizations.
    Another, Cheerios maker General Mills Inc, said it was listed because of a manufacturing facility that “uses natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes.”
    About 50% of the workers are Palestinians who enjoy full social benefits and “the facility has a history of continuing employment and employee satisfaction,” a General Mills spokesman said.
    Other businesses listed for inclusion in a database included travel firms and a steel producer.    They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell, Jeffrey Heller and Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, and by Uday Sampath Kumar; Editing by Timothy Heritage)

2/12/2020 Netanyahu rejects U.N. report on companies involved with settlements
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly
cabinet meeting in Jerusalem February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday denounced a long-delayed U.N. report listing companies that have business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    “The U.N. Human Rights Council is a biased and uninfluential body,” Netanyahu said in a statement.    “Instead of dealing with human rights this body is trying to blacken Israel’s name.    We reject any such attempt in the strongest terms and with disgust.”
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Gareth Jones)

2/13/2020 Saudi minister denies any plans for crown prince to meet Israeli PM
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 14, 2019. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Thursday denied media reports of a possible meeting between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid speculation about normalizing ties between Gulf Arab states and Israel.
    “There is no meeting planned between Saudi Arabia and Israel,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya English website in response to reports that included Israel’s daily Haaretz.
    “Saudi Arabia’s policy has been very clear since the beginning of this conflict.    There are no relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the Kingdom stands firmly behind Palestine.”
    The two countries’ interest in containing Iran have increasingly converged with both viewing Tehran as a main threat, but Saudi Arabia maintains that any relations hinge on Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East war, territory Palestinians seek for a future state.
    Netanyahu appeared last month at a White House event where President Donald Trump offered a peace plan that proposed creating a Palestinian state but diverged from a 2002 Saudi initiative.
    The Palestinian leadership has rejected Trump’s plan, saying it heavily favors Israel and will deny them a viable independent state.
    But Gulf Arab states welcomed the U.S. efforts in a move viewed as prioritizing close ties with Washington vital to countering Iran over traditional unswerving support for the Palestinians.
    In 2017, an Israeli cabinet minister said the country had covert contacts with Riyadh, and Israel Radio reported that Prince Mohammed had met with officials in Israel, drawing an official Saudi denial.
    Netanyahu, who faces criminal corruption charges and is seeking re-election next month, has previously pointed to covert cooperation with Arab states, without naming them.
    The longest-serving Israeli prime minister met Sudan’s leader last week during a visit to Uganda and agreed to start normalizing relations.
    Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia had always shown a willingness to normalize ties with Israel provided there is “a just and fair settlement” agreed by Israel and the Palestinians.
    “Short of that, Saudi policy will remain steadfast,” he added.
(Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Howard Goller)

2/13/2020 U.S. rejects U.N. database of companies in Israeli-controlled territories: Pompeo by Lisa Lambert
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo co-hosts an event celebrating the anniversary of the White House's Women’s Global
Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the U.S. government would not furnish any information for a database of companies operating in Israeli-controlled territories that the United Nations’ human rights office released, and said the compilation hurts peace efforts in the Middle East.
    “The United States has long opposed the creation or release of this database,” Pompeo said in a statement.    “Its publication only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations … Attempts to isolate Israel run counter to all of our efforts to build conditions conducive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that lead to a comprehensive and enduring peace.”
    The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday named 112 companies it said have business ties to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
    A spokesman for Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the report was not a “blacklist” and was not intended to qualify any of the companies’ business activities as illegal.
    But the release prompted a Palestinian threat of legal action against the firms, and raised concerns that the companies could be targets of boycotts or divestment to pressure Israel over its settlements.
    Pompeo, along with two leading U.S. Senators, assailed the release for its potential of making companies boycott targets.
    Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rob Portman, who sit on the Finance Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, called it an “anti-Israel database, akin to a blacklist, of companies” that made major U.S. companies, including General Mills and Airbnb vulnerable to boycotts.
    “The Human Rights Council should use its energy to encourage both Israel and the Palestinians to return to good faith negotiations,” said Cardin.    “The United States cannot stand by while American businesses are being pressured by a foreign entity because of their work in Israel, one of our key allies.”
    The United States has stood for many years as one of Israel’s strongest allies and last month Pompeo’s boss, President Donald Trump, revealed a Middle East plan that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed as a path to durable peace.    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, though, has denounced the plan as a gift to Israel that will lead to violence.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)

THE FOLLOWING WAS INSPIRED BY THE TELEVISION SHOW "END OF THE AGE" BY DR. IRVIN BAXTER DATED 2/14/2020.
    It was entitled "Peace Deal."
    Acts 1:1-19
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.[ note that there are only ELEVEN DISCIPLES NOT TWELVE ANYTHING AFTER THAT WAS CALLED AN APOSTLE DURING CATHOLICISM BASED ON PAUL WHO WAS NOT A DISCIPLE].
14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.    [This was a warning of the coming Abomination mentioned in Daniel 9:27 would be fulfilled.]

    Then Irvin mentioned that Jesus told us when you see the Fig Tree and then told us in Matthew 24:1-31 what was coming then. Matthew 24:15-16, 21
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (who so readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

    So the bottom line is the Palestinians must have a State for the Deal of the Century to work.
    As seen in Trump's "Deal of the Century" on page 12:
    "This Vision is for compromise, and contemplates a Palestinian state that encompasses territory reasonablly comparable in size to the territory of the West Bank (Judea) and Gaza pre-1967."
    "The Israeli population located in enclaves that remain inside continguous Palestinian territory but that are part of the State of Israel shall have the option to remain in place unless they choose otherwise, and maintain their existing Israeli citizenship."

    Dr. Baxter continues that there must be five things to occur.
    I ADDED THE FOLLOWING IMAGES OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT AND OTHER IMAGES OF THE TEMPLE
   
Above left image is what the Jewish Temple formerly looked like - Right image is the Muslim Temple Dome of the Rock
   
Above left image is the view of the East Gate - Right image is the another view of the East Gate
       
Above left image is where the Jewish Temple could be built and is reference to Revelation 11:1-2 mentioned above - Center image and Right image show more detail of the Hara esh Sharif (Temple Mount)
    So lets see how things go from this point on.

2/16/2020 Israel hopes Germany, other ICC members will help stave off Palestinian investigation by Dan Williams and Stephanie van den Berg
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem February 16, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM/THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Israel’s prime minister on Sunday hailed what he called efforts by friendly states to stop the International Criminal Court opening an investigation into alleged war crimes against Palestinians.
    The court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in December there was enough evidence for an investigation into thousands of killings – but asked the court to rule on whether it had the jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories.
    Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia have asked the court over the past two weeks to let them file “amicus brief” opinions on the case, ICC records show.
    Some, including Germany, said they would argue the court’s jurisdiction did not extend to the Palestinian territories.    Brazil said it would argue that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis should be resolved through political dialogue, not a court ruling.
    Netanyahu told his cabinet countries had responded to Israeli lobbying over the case.
    “We are struggling against this (proceeding) and, at our side, I must say, are many friends around the world (which) joined the U.S. in a steadfast stand alongside Israel.”
    The Palestinians were accepted as an ICC member in 2015 after they signed the court’s founding Rome Statute, based on their United Nations “observer state” status.
    Israel and the United States, neither of them ICC members, dispute the court’s jurisdiction in the absence of a sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem.
    The Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, representing 57 Muslim states, asked to file a brief, arguing that the Palestinians have sovereignty over the Palestinian territories.
    The Palestinian Bar Association, the International Commission of Jurists and other legal and human rights organization have also asked to filed briefs with the court to say it does have jurisdiction in this case.
    U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking stalled in 2014. A new U.S. peace plan, unveiled by President Donald Trump last month, envisaged Israel keeping East Jerusalem and swathes of West Bank land, and was rejected by the Palestinians.
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

2/18/2020 Palestinians channel protests through dawn prayers by Stephen Farrell and Ali Sawafta
Palestinians perform the Fajr (Dawn) prayers outside Al-Nasir mosque in Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied
West Bank February 14, 2020. Picture taken February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    NABLUS (Reuters) – Before sunrise, thousands of Palestinians streamed toward the mosque in Nablus’s Victory Square, swelling the usual crowds of morning worshippers to launch a new front in their protests against Israel and the United States.
    The scene has been repeated elsewhere in the West Bank, where people have begun turning out for early prayers in unprecedented numbers, forsaking the usual protest sites where they risk arrest and channeling their anger into a mass expression of faith.
    “This is the most peaceful way to get the message out,” said restaurant owner Saif Abu Baker, as the Nablus crowds spilled out of the mosque into surrounding alleyways and courtyards.
Political slogans including “For the sake of God, we have risen up” echoed through Nablus’s Old City after the calls from the muezzin and the murmured recitations of the faithful.
    “I would hope that it is a new form of channeling the way the message is being sent out there,” said Abu Baker.    “Because we have tried protesting and it did not work because we don’t have enough power.    It’s the safer way for everyone.”
    Much of the crowd’s message at Friday’s fajr (dawn) prayers – the day when most people turn out – was a rejection of the perceived pro-Israel bias of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
    There have only been small regular street rallies since that plan was launched last week.    Few have responded to calls by President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority for ‘Days of Rage’.
    Instead many have begun heeding calls on Facebook and other social media sites to attend what is becoming known as the ‘Great Fajr Campaign’ – described as a show of solidarity against Trump and what they see as Israeli threats to Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and Hebron.    Those two cities have also seen larger turnouts in the past few weeks.
    The first calls for a surge in attendance were from Fatah, Abbas’s nationalist political faction that dominates the Palestine Liberation Organization.
    Numbers grew after the campaign gained support from the Islamist group Hamas, which holds sway in mosques, especially in cities where it has a sizeable following.
KNIGHTS OF THE DAWN
    Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, in Gaza, told Reuters the campaign was a bid to alert Palestinians to the Trump plan, and to Israel’s plans to annex its West Bank settlements.
    In Nablus – where crowds surged to several thousand on Friday, from around 2,000 the week before – worshippers insisted there was no single group behind the drive, describing it as a grassroots movement still finding its feet.
    But the streets echoed with chants popular at Hamas rallies, including: “A nation with the leadership of Muhammad will not be defeated.”
    The event appeared to be organized – extra prayer carpets were rolled out, food and water were available in abundance and the gathering was supervised by stewards wearing fluorescent jackets proclaiming them ‘Knights of the Dawn,’ and bearing the stenciled image of the nearby al-Nasr (Victory) mosque.
    The crowds have been much smaller than the numbers that attended the Great March of Return protests at the Gaza border fence when that campaign started nearly two years ago.
    In those Gaza demonstrations, 215 Palestinians were killed and several thousand injured in confrontations with Israeli troops.    One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.
    In Nablus the crowds at dawn prayers have been peaceful, with little sign of any heightened security.
    Hani Al-Masri, a Palestinian political analyst, said the campaign reflected Hamas’s cautious approach to operating in the West Bank, where, unlike Gaza, it faces Israeli troops and Palestinian Authority forces intent on stopping Hamas from inflaming the streets and seizing control.
    Hamas’s organization in the West Bank is not in good shape because of crackdowns by the Palestinian Authority and by Israel,” he said.
    “Fajr prayers is the most that Hamas can do.”
    Asked whether Israel was aware of the enlarged dawn prayer meetings, an Israeli military spokesman and the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency had no immediate comment.
(Stephen Farrell reported from Nablus and Ali Sawafta from Ramallah. Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Dan Williams in Jerusalem. Editing by Andrew Heavens)

2/18/2018 Israel hopes Germany, other ICC members will help stave off Palestinian investigation by Dan Williams and Stephanie van den Berg
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem February 16, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS
(This February 16 story changes “thousands of killings” to “reports of more than 200 killings and thousands of injuries” and changes December to January in paragraph 2)
    JERUSALEM/THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Israel’s prime minister on Sunday hailed what he called efforts by friendly states to stop the International Criminal Court opening an investigation into alleged war crimes against Palestinians.
    The court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in January there was enough evidence for an investigation into reports of more than 200 killings and thousands of injuries.    She has asked the court to rule on whether it had the jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories.
    Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia have asked the court over the past two weeks to let them file “amicus brief” opinions on the case, ICC records show.
    Some, including Germany, said they would argue the court’s jurisdiction did not extend to the Palestinian territories.     Brazil said it would argue that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis should be resolved through political dialogue, not a court ruling.
    Netanyahu told his cabinet countries had responded to Israeli lobbying over the case.
    “We are struggling against this (proceeding) and, at our side, I must say, are many friends around the world (which) joined the U.S. in a steadfast stand alongside Israel.”
    The Palestinians were accepted as an ICC member in 2015 after they signed the court’s founding Rome Statute, based on their United Nations “observer state” status.
    Israel and the United States, neither of them ICC members, dispute the court’s jurisdiction in the absence of a sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem.
    The Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, representing 57 Muslim states, asked to file a brief, arguing that the Palestinians have sovereignty over the Palestinian territories.
    The Palestinian Bar Association, the International Commission of Jurists and other legal and human rights organisation have also asked to filed briefs with the court to say it does have jurisdiction in this case.
    U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking stalled in 2014.    A new U.S. peace plan, unveiled by President Donald Trump last month, envisaged Israel keeping East Jerusalem and swathes of West Bank land, and was rejected by the Palestinians.
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)

2/20/2020 ‘Feels like prison’: Palestinian family cut off from West Bank village by Israeli barrier by Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh
Palestinian man Omar Hajajla, who is cut off with his family from the rest of their village by the Israeli wall, looks out of his house at
the Israeli settlement of Gilo, in Al-Walaja village near Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    AL-WALAJA, West Bank (Reuters) – Omar Hajajla may have a private gateway to his home in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but it is hardly a sign of luxury: it runs beneath an Israeli barrier that cuts him and his family off from the rest of their nearby Palestinian village.
    Israel began building its West Bank barrier in 2002 at the height of a Palestinian uprising, saying it aimed to stop attacks by bombers and gunmen in its cities.
    But the barrier’s circuitous route along and through the West Bank – Palestinians call it a land grab – slices through some Palestinian communities.
    In Hajajla’s case, it boxed him off from his village of Al-Walaja, near Bethlehem, part of West Bank territory Israel captured in a 1967 war.
    “Prison may be better than this, because even though I am at home, it feels like prison,” said Hajajla, 53, who lives in the house with his wife and three children.
    After appealing to Israel’s Supreme Court, Hajajla in 2013 reached a settlement under which the Israeli Defense Ministry built a tunnel and a remote-operated gate under the barrier, he said, giving his family access to their village.
    That underground bypass road, strewn with graffiti, is now the sole entrance to Hajajla’s home.
    The family needs permission from Israel’s military to use their remote control to open the gate and take their children to school or go to the grocery store, Hajajla says.
    Israel could take away his remote access if he violates a series of conditions, Hajajla says, including having guests over without coordinating their visit in advance with the military.
    “My wife and I try as much as we can to keep our life normal,” Hajajla said.    “We try to give our kids a break from this routine, to teach them that this is our land, our country, and we will never let it slip away.”
    U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking stalled in 2014.    A new U.S. peace plan, unveiled by President Donald Trump last month, envisaged Israel keeping East Jerusalem and swathes of West Bank land, and was rejected by the Palestinians.
(Reporting by Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Giles Elgood)

2/202020 Israel, Palestinian Authority agree to end trade dispute: officials
FILE PHOTO: A labourer feeds calves in their shed at a farm in Be'er Tuvia, southern
Israel February 5, 2020. Picture taken February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
    JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
    The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves.    The Authority exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank under interim peace deals.
    In response to the boycott, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett in January announced a halt to all agricultural imports from the PA, which in turn prompted the Authority to end imports of Israeli agricultural products.
    Palestinians in the West Bank send over two-thirds of their farming exports to Israel, whose agriculture ministry says the calves boycott affected around 400 Israeli cattle breeders, costing them a total of $70 million since October.
    A final tit-for-tat move in the trade dispute came on Feb. 8, when Israel’s defense ministry banned all Palestinian exports through Jordan, apparently in an effort to entice the PA to lift its ban on Israeli calves.
    In a statement announcing the agreement, Israel’s defense ministry said that “the calf boycott has been lifted, (and) trade with the PA will be restored accordingly.”
    The actions of the PA had in part reflected greater efforts to end what it sees as over-dependence on Israeli markets.    The PA prime minister’s office said in a statement that under the agreement Israel would allow the PA to begin the “direct import of livestock, including calves, from all countries around the world without obstacles.”
    The trade dispute had threatened to fray trade links that have generally held strong since the two sides signed the interim peace accords in the 1990s, even weathering the collapse in 2014 of peace talks.
    Bilateral tensions have been further fueled by the announcement last month of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan and an ensuing string of violent incidents in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians have rejected the proposal as favoring Israel.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Dan Williams, Writing by Rami Ayyub, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Toby Chopra)

2/20/2020 Netanyahu announces plans to build 3K new settler homes near East Jerusalem by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the area where a new neighborhood is to be built in the
Israeli West Bank Israeli settlement of Har Homa, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (Debbie Hill/Pool via AP)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a new plan to build thousands of homes for Jewish settlers near East Jerusalem.    He made the announcement on Thursday while campaigning for the region’s upcoming general election.
    Palestinians have condemned the move, calling it another blow to their hopes for an independent state. Despite this objection, Netanyahu approved the construction and predicted the population in the area will continue to grow.
    “Today, I announce the establishment of Har Homa, a neighborhood where we will build 2,200 housing units,” stated the prime minister.    “Har Homa will be a neighborhood of 50,000 residents, like a medium-size city in Israel.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, stands with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, left, as he announces a new
neighborhood is to be built in the Israeli West Bank Israeli settlement of Har Homa, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (Debbie Hill/Pool via AP)
    According the Netanyahu, around 1,000 housing units will be built for Arabs in a nearby neighborhood as part of a solution to the housing shortage in the area.

2/20/2020 Netanyahu announces plans for 3,000 new settler homes near East Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to supporters at a Likud party rally as he campaigns
ahead of the upcoming elections, in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv, Israel February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he was reviving a plan for the construction of 3,000 new settler homes near East Jerusalem, a project effectively frozen after international opposition.
    Netanyahu’s announcement, during an election campaign in which he has sought to shore up support from pro-settlement voters, was condemned by the Palestinians as another blow to their hopes for an independent state.
    He has pledged to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the area’s Jordan Valley as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan presented by U.S. President Donald Trump last month. Palestinians have rejected Trump’s blueprint as biased towards Israel.
    Opponents of the project, in the Givat Hamatos area adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Safafa, said it would sever parts of East Jerusalem from the nearby Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
    Construction of 2,610 housing units for Jews in Givat Hamatos was approved by a Jerusalem planning committee in 2014.    The Israeli government effectively put the project on hold after the United States and the European Union criticized the plan.
    Visiting an area overlooking the Israeli settlement of Har Homa on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Thursday, Netanyahu said in a video he posted on social media: “Today I approved the construction in Givat Hamatos” of 3,000 homes for Jews, of which 1,000 would be marketed soon.
    He said some 1,000 housing units would be built for Arabs in Beit Safafa.    No construction date was announced for either area.
    In a separate project, Netanyahu said another 2,200 housing units would be built in Har Homa, located like Givat Hamatos in an area of the West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem after the area’s capture in the 1967 Middle East war.
    “Netanyahu’s insistence on building thousands of settlement units is the systematic destruction of the two-state solution and the implementation of the Trump plan,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said after the Israeli leader’s announcement.
    Palestinians and much of the world view Israel’s settlements in areas seized in the 1967 conflict as illegal under international law, but the United States and Israel dispute this.
(This story adds dropped words in paragraph 4)
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

2/23/2020 Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trump’s Mideast peace plan by Philip Pullella
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
    BARI, Italy (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
    Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
    “The Mediterranean region is currently threatened by outbreaks of instability and conflict, both in the Middle East and different countries of North Africa, as well as between various ethnic, religious or confessional groups,” Francis said.
    “Nor can we overlook the still unresolved conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, with the danger of inequitable solutions and, hence, a prelude to new crises,” he said.
    The participants included Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, whose jurisdiction includes Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.
    It was believed to be the first time the pope, who has often defended both Palestinian rights and Israel’s need for security, has spoken in public about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Trump announced the plan on Jan. 28.
    The plan would recognize Israel’s authority over West Bank Jewish settlements and require Palestinians meet a series of conditions for a state, with its capital in a West Bank village east of Jerusalem.
    Although Trump’s stated aim was to end decades of conflict, his plan favored Israel, underlined by the Palestinians’ absence from his White House announcement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side.
    The Palestinians and Arab League foreign ministers have rejected the plan and the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel.
    Palestinians, with broad international backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel views the whole city its “united and eternal” capital.
    The pope expressed concern in 2018 when the United States announced the moving of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying the city’s “status quo” should be respected.    Francis has called for all to honor U.N. resolutions on the city.
    “There is no reasonable alternative to peace, because every attempt at exploitation or supremacy demeans both its author and its target.    It shows a myopic grasp of reality, since it can offer no future to either of the two,” Francis said, speaking in general about the Middle East.     Francis again warned against populist politicians who he said used “demagogic terms” such as “invasion” when talking of migration.
    To be sure, acceptance and a dignified integration are stages in a process that is not easy.    Yet it is unthinkable that we can address the problem by putting up walls,” he said.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella. Editing by Jane Merriman)
[We can clearly tell now that the Pope is on the side of the Globalist and World Government control as it says in Revelation the Scarlet Woman will ride on the back of the Beast and I have told you who the Beast is.].

[I was watching Fox News on Sunday 2/23/2010 the show "Life, Liberty and Levin," and the guest was Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and he told us what the Israel Blue White party of Benny Gantz as he described it on the show is no different than the Democrats of the United States which seems to prove the Globalist are trying to do President Donald Trump in every avenue to reverse everything he has achieved since 2016 but they have failed miserably.    What is remarkable and I did not know this until the above mentioned that Netanyahu is going through the identical corrupt actions against him in every avenue of his administration including phony charges and if either party were to win election it would destory Israel and the U.S.    So there is a lot to lose in our freedoms and future and I pray for both that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is guiding the action here.].

2/24/2020 Gaza-Israel hostilities flare through second day with rocket attacks, air strikes by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Rami Ayyub
Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Gaza militants on Monday fired rockets toward Israel, which responded with air strikes, in the second day of an escalation that began to ebb after the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad announced a halt to its attacks.
    Islamic Jihad has fired 80 rockets toward Israeli communities along the Gaza border since Sunday, an Israeli military spokeswoman said, while Israel has attacked sites in Gaza and Syria that killed three Islamic Jihad members.
    The violence comes a week before an Israeli election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office after two inconclusive votes.
    Islamic Jihad said earlier on Monday it had ended its “military response” to Israel.    But it then reversed course and resumed firing rockets, saying Israel had continued air strikes after the militants’ apparent de-escalation.
    “We have carried out a response in order to stress our position: bombardment for bombardment,” said Abu Hamza, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad’s armed wing.
    A Palestinian official later said that Israel and Islamic Jihad had reached a “reciprocal and simultaneous” ceasefire, brokered by Egypt and the United Nations and set to take effect at 23:30 (21:30 GMT).
    The Israeli military said its jets truck an Islamic Jihad training and weapons storage facility in southern Gaza, as well as other underground infrastructure.
    “Yesterday we attacked in Syria and in Gaza. We are continuing to strike now with jets, tanks and helicopters,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Twitter on Monday evening.
    “We will continue to strike until quiet is restored,” Netanyahu added.
    Israel’s defense ministry said it had closed all of its border crossings with the Gaza Strip, which it keeps under blockade citing security concerns, and closed the coastal enclave’s waters from fishing.    Crossings would remain closed except for humanitarian cases, a statement said.
    The latest fighting began around dawn on Sunday when Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad member who was trying to plant explosives near Israel’s border fence with the Gaza Strip.
    Video widely shared on social media showed what appeared to be the lifeless body of the militant dangling from an Israeli military bulldozer as it removed the corpse.
    The images created an uproar in Gaza, prompting calls for retaliation.    Islamic Jihad later fired a barrage of rockets into Israel.
    Just before midnight on Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck what the military called “a hub of Islamic Jihad’s activity in Syria” in the Adeliyah region outside Syria’s capital, Damascus.
    Islamic Jihad continued to fire rockets into southern Israeli communities into Monday as funerals for the group’s two dead militants were held in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.
    The Gaza rocket fire sent residents of southern Israel running to shelters, and the Israeli military said it had closed down roads in the area as a precaution.    No casualties were reported.
    There was no sign that Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas had been drawn into the rocket firing.
    An uneasy truce between Israel and Hamas has helped stave off the sort of large-scale fighting that led to Israel-Gaza wars in 2014 and 2008.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Rami Ayyub and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Hugh Lawson and Dan Grebler)

2/25/2020 Israel-Gaza ceasefire takes hold after two-day flare-up
FILE PHOTO: A rocket is fired towards Israel, in the southern Gaza Strip February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA (Reuters) – A ceasefire brokered by Egypt and the United Nations took hold on the Israel-Gaza border on Tuesday after two days of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.
    Islamic Jihad had fired 80 rockets towards Israeli communities along the Gaza border since Sunday, an Israeli military spokeswoman said, while Israel attacked sites in Gaza and Syria that killed three members of the militant group.
    No casualties were reported on the Israeli side of the frontier and many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile system.
    The violence came a week before an Israeli election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office after two inconclusive votes.
    The frontier fell quiet early on Tuesday, after a Palestinian official said Israel and Islamic Jihad had reached a “reciprocal and simultaneous ceasefire” mediated by Egypt and the United Nations.
    “This round is over and Palestinian resistance promised its people that every act of aggression by the Zionist occupation would be met by a reaction from the resistance,” Khader Habib, a senior Islamic Jihad official, told Reuters.
    The Israeli military said it reopened roads near the Gaza border on Tuesday that it had closed when the fighting began and that train services would resume in the area.
    But citing security concerns, the military kept Israel’s border crossings with Gaza closed, except for humanitarian cases, and banned Palestinian fisherman from heading to sea.
    The violence erupted on Sunday when Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad member who the military said was trying to plant explosives near Israel’s border fence with the Gaza Strip.
    Video widely shared on social media showed what appeared to be a lifeless body of the militant dangling from an Israeli military bulldozer as it removed the corpse.
    The images created an uproar in Gaza, prompting calls for retaliation that were followed by rockets launched by Islamic Jihad.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

2/25/2020 Israel’s Netanyahu seeks settlers’ votes with annexation pledge by Maayan Lubell
Daniella Weiss, an Israeli settler leader speaks to Israeli men during her interview with Reuters in the settlement outpost of Har Hemed
near the settlement of Kedumim in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 20, 2020. Picture taken February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    HAR HEMED, West Bank (Reuters) – An election in Israel next week could bring many settlers in the occupied West Bank closer to a long-held goal – annexation of the settlements where they live.
    But for hardline settlers, that prize could come with an unacceptable price – the creation of a Palestinian state.
    Their dream of consolidating Israel’s hold on the West Bank and their nightmare of giving some of it up are both included in the pages of U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East, announced in January.
    Fighting for his political survival in Israel’s third election in less than a year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged, if he wins Monday’s vote, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the settlements, built on land captured in a war in 1967.
    His frequent campaign stops in settlements and promises of de-facto annexation – which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said would create a fragmented and unviable “Swiss cheese” of a Palestinian state – could draw votes from the far-right.
    But Netanyahu’s annexation promises do not go far enough for some settlers.    They believe God promised the land to their forefathers and want all the West Bank, for which they use the Biblical name Judea and Samaria, not just the settlements.
    “Rest assured that we will not stop claiming every single inch of this land when Netanyahu, please God, is elected,” said Daniella Weiss, a settler leader from Kedumim who helped establish the nearby settlement outpost of Har Hemed.
    The provisions of Trump’s plan will for the first time be a factor for voters as the contents were announced after Israel’s inconclusive elections on April 9 and Sept. 17 last year.
    The West Bank’s 450,000 settlers, living in more than 250 settlements and outposts among towns where 3 million Palestinians reside, make up only about five percent of Israel’s population.    But the settler movement is influential, with a high voter turnout, and is powerful within Netanyahu’s Likud party.
PIED PIPER
    Netanyahu goes on trial on March 17 on corruption charges he denies.    But opinion polls show Likud inching past the centrist Blue and White party of former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, though neither is likely to win a solid parliamentary majority.
    The settlements traditionally vote right-wing, with Likud mainly competing with religious and ultra-religious parties for votes.    Every vote could be vital as the last two elections were extremely close — a single seat in parliament could prove decisive when it comes to coalition-building.
    Seeking to shore up settler support, Netanyahu has held almost daily events in settlements, including visiting Ariel on Monday with Trump-appointed U.S. Ambassador David Friedman.
    Still, some settlers are skeptical he will make good on his annexation promise.
    “He talks about it a lot but something always comes up at the last minute,” said Yoni Novick, from Karnei Shomron settlement.
    Novick, 43, had come to the settlement’s pub to listen to a leader of Yemina, a far-right party competing with Likud for the settler vote.    Asked for whom he would vote, he said: “I really don’t know.”
    Further south, in Maale Adumim, a settlement of more than 40,000 people about 15 minutes drive from Jerusalem, the red-roofed homes, shopping mall, flowerbeds and traffic make it look like many other Israeli cities.    But most of the international community regards it and other settlements as a violation of international law.
    Israel rejects that view, and is largely backed by the Trump administration.
    Maale Adumim’s deputy mayor, Guy Yifrach, said he believed there was broad consensus among Israelis that sovereignty should be applied to settlements such as his.    He does not believe Gantz would press ahead with annexation if he became prime minister.
    “The question is who will advance it, and who will drag his heels.    If Netanyahu forms the government he will immediately advance it once he gets U.S. permission,” he said.
    But in Kiryat Arba settlement, settler leader Elyakim Haetzni said anyone supporting Netanyahu was being duped “like the children following the Pied Piper of Hamelin.”
    “Netanyahu says what is good for him at that moment.    He saw that people want sovereignty, so he’s using it as bait.    He wants them to bite at it in order to swallow the idea of a Palestinian state,” Haetzni said.
(Additional reporting by Eli Berlzon, Dedi Hayun and Rami Amichay; Editing by Stephen Farrell, Jeffrey Heller and Timothy Heritage)

2/25/2020 Netanyahu revives settlement plan opponents say cuts off East Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to supporters at a Likud party rally as he campaigns
ahead of the upcoming elections, in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv, Israel February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday he was reviving Israel’s most contentious settlement plan, a proposal that opponents say would split the West Bank, cut off East Jerusalem and make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.
    Netanyahu’s announcement, six days before an election in which the rightwing leader needs backing from settlers and their supporters, would give the go ahead to 3,500 homes for Jewish settlers on a parcel of barren hills known as E-1.
    Israel had frozen a plan to build settlements there since 2012 because of objections from the United States, European allies and other world powers who considered the project a threat to any future peace deal with the Palestinians.
    Palestinians say it would split the Israeli-occupied West Bank in two, and cut off its residents from access to East Jerusalem, also territory Israel captured in a 1967 war, and where Palestinians hope to locate the capital of a state.
    “I have given instructions to immediately publish for deposit the plan to build 3,500 housing units in E-1,” Netanyahu said in a speech, describing the first phase of a planning process.    “This had been delayed for six or seven years.”
    The E-1 plan would expand the large Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, effectively connecting it to Jerusalem, about a 15-minute drive away.
    Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu’s announcement “crossed all red lines” and he called on the international community to act.
DANGEROUS POLICY
    Palestinians and much of the world view Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as illegal under international law.    Israel disputes this, and the United States under President Donald Trump has shifted its policy to lift previous objections.
    “This is dangerous policy and we consider this an act of destroying the peace process,” Abu Rdainah said about Israeli settlement activities.
    Citing a “historic opportunity” provided by a peace plan unveiled last month by Trump, Netanyahu has pledged to apply Israeli law to the settlements and the West Bank’s Jordan Valley after the election, a step considered de facto annexation.
    The U.S. proposal, unveiled by Trump with Netanyahu at his side and boycotted by the Palestinians, would recognize Israeli sovereignty over settlement areas.    It envisages a Palestinian state, but with limited control over security and stripped of strategic land, which Palestinians say is non-viable.
    Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, is struggling to keep hold of power in a third vote after failing to secure a majority in two inconclusive elections last year.    He also faces criminal corruption charges.
    His main opponent, centrist Benny Gantz, has been more circumspect about how far he would go in taking advantage of the shift in U.S. policy under Trump to further expand and formalize Israeli control of occupied territory.
    Last week, Netanyahu announced he was reviving a separate project, also frozen after international opposition, to build 3,000 new settler homes at Givat Hamatos in the West Bank, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
    The E-1 project has symbolic resonance for supporters of the settler movement, with Netanyahu an early backer.    In 2005, Netanyahu toured the area to kick off a bid for the leadership of the rightwing Likud party.    He told reporters who accompanied him that if he became prime minister, he would defy international pressure and build on the site to create a “Greater Jerusalem,” under Israeli control.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Peter Graff)

2/27/2020 Former European leaders say Trump’s Middle East peace plan akin to apartheid
FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag and a placard during a protest against the
U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan and in support of President Mahmoud Abbas, near the
Jewish settlement of Beit El in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    LONDON (Reuters) – Fifty former European prime ministers and foreign ministers have condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan in an open letter, saying it would create an apartheid-like situation in occupied Palestinian territory.
    In the letter published by British newspaper The Guardian, the former ministers rejected Trump’s plan for Israelis and Palestinians, which was announced in January and proposes a two-state solution.
    Trump’s blueprint risks fuelling the conflict at the expense of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, by annexing large parts of occupied Palestine territory under permanent Israeli military control and is not a legitimate solution, they wrote.
    “The plan envisages a formalization of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights.    Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid – a term we don’t use lightly,” they said.
    “It recognizes only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and offers no just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees,” they added.
    Fifty politicians, including former French prime minister and foreign minister Dominique de Villepin, former German foreign minister and vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, Britain’s former foreign secretary Jack Straw and Ireland’s former president Mary Robinson signed the letter.
    Other signatories included former ministers or leaders of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
    “Considering the urgency of the situation, we call on Europe to reject the U.S. plan as a basis for negotiations and to take immediate and effective steps to counter the threat of annexation – and thereby preserve the international rules-based order,” they said.
    The Palestinians and Arab League foreign ministers have rejected the plan and the Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel.
    Earlier this week, the Pope also appeared to criticize the plan, warning against “inequitable solutions” to the conflict
.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
[WELL ITS LOOKING LIKE THE FUTURE ANTICHRIST WHOEVER IT WILL BE MENTIONED IN DANIEL 9:27 WILL HAVE TO COME OUT IN THE SUNSHINE TO MAKE THE PARTIES TO DO THE DEAL WHICH WILL OCCUR EVENTUALLY BECAUSE IT IS PROPHESIED EVENTHOUGH THE EU NATIONS AND POPE DON'T UNLESS THEY ARE PART OF IT OR THE OTHER BEAST WITH TWO HORNS LIKE A LAMB, BUT SPOKE LIKE THE DRAGON MENTIONED IN REVELATION 13:11-16.].

3/1/2020 Angered by Trump’s plan, Israel’s Arabs look to oust Netanyahu by Rami Ayyub
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he delivers a statement during his visit at
the Health Ministry national hotline, in Kiryat Malachi, Israel March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    NAZARETH, Israel (Reuters) – On the eve of Israel’s third election in a year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been urging supporters to mount a final push to win the one or two more seats he says he needs to form a government.
    But as he campaigns, another force in Israeli politics – the Arab minority – is hoping to use a new surge of anger against the right-wing leader and his U.S. allies to edge the electoral arithmetic the other way.
    Arab lawmakers are urging their communities to turn out in ever greater numbers on March 2 to show their opposition to the new peace plan – dubbed the “Deal of the Century” – unveiled by U.S. President Donald Trump in January.
    Anger among Israel’s Arabs has focused on one part of that plan in particular, a proposed redrawing of borders that would put some Arab towns and villages outside Israel and into the area assigned to a future Palestinian state.
    “There is someone who set this plan: Benjamin Netanyahu,” said Ayman Odeh, chief of the Arab-dominated Joint List coalition.
    “We need to overthrow him, our biggest agitator, the person behind the Deal of the Century,” Odeh added during a stop in Taibe, a village that could be moved outside Israel under Trump’s plan.
    Polls show Netanyahu’s Likud movement virtually neck and neck with centrist leader Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party.
    Arab lawmakers currently hold 13 seats in the 120-member Knesset.    If the Arab and centrist blocs both hold their voting share – and certainly if they increase – that would make it harder for Netanyahu to get the extra seats he needs in the country’s finely-balanced political set-up.
    Nearly 80% of Arabs who are familiar with the Trump plan oppose it, according to a Feb. 24 poll by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation at Tel Aviv University.
    The poll’s author, Arik Rudnitzky, said the Trump initiative had injected “new blood into this relatively calm electoral campaign” and forecast a slight increase in Arab turnout over last September’s election, from 59% to 60%.
Graphic: Trump’s Middle East plan – https://graphics.reuters.com/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN/0100B5B73B0/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN.jpg
I AM STILL OCCUPIED
    Israel’s Arab minority – Palestinian by heritage, Israeli by citizenship – makes up 21 per cent of Israel’s population.
    Mostly Muslim, Christian and Druze, they are descendants of the Palestinians whose communities, including Nazareth, found themselves inside Israel as the country was formed in 1948.
    Their political representatives have had to choose their words diplomatically as they push their campaign against Netanyahu.
    If they reject the notion of coming under Palestinian rule too aggressively or overtly, they could be seen as selling out their brethren in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But if they embrace that notion, they risk losing the benefits of Israeli citizenship.
    “Everyone wants to stay in Israel, everyone wants an Israeli I.D. because they can see the situation in the West Bank, and here it is better,” said Zuhri Haj Yahya, a Taibe resident.
    He said it made no difference to his sense of identity whether he lived under Israeli or Palestinian rule.
    “I am Palestinian,” he said.    “I am still occupied, whether I am here or there.”
    As the election neared, Netanyahu dismissed concerns about land swaps and sought to win over Arab voters.
    “The last thing I believe in is uprooting anyone from their home.    No one will be uprooted,” he told Arabic-language channels PANET and Hala TV on Feb. 18.
    Likud also said its 15 billion shekel ($4.37 billion) investment program was more than any government ever invested in Arab communities.
    But Arab politicians derided Netanyahu’s appeals, and his promises of direct flights to Mecca for Muslim pilgrims.
    “What did Netanyahu really do for us,” asked politician Ahmad Tibi, calling it a last-ditch effort to “manipulate our community.”
(Additional reporting by Sinan Abu Mayzer in Taibe, Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Andrew Heavens)

3/3/2020 Israel’s Arab parties set for largest-ever showing in parliament by Rami Ayyub and Nuha Sharaf
FILE PHOTO: Buildings in the Palestinian village of Nazlat Isa near Tulkarm in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are seen behind
the Israeli barrier and from the Arab-Israeli village of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel February 1, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    JERUSALEM/TAIBE, Israel (Reuters) – Israel’s Arab parties looked poised on Tuesday for their largest-ever representation in parliament, propelled by what analysts say is anger toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his U.S. allies.
    The Joint List coalition of Arab factions looked set to take 15 of parliament’s 120 seats with more than 90% of the vote counted, a two-seat boost for representatives of the 21% Arab minority.
    Arab voter turnout surged to 64.7%, its highest in 20 years, according to Arik Rudnitzky, a researcher with the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).
    Politicians and analysts said the strong showing helped limit gains by Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and its partners, which appeared to fall just short of a governing majority after Monday’s vote.
    “The Netanyahu regime does not have 61 (seats) for one reason: the ascendance of the Joint List,” the coalition’s leader, Ayman Odeh, said in the Arab city of Shefaram to cheering supporters, who snapped selfies with politicians late into election night.
    But the Joint List is unlikely to translate its record showing into influence during coalition negotiations as no Arab party has ever sat in an Israeli government.
    The leader of main Likud rivals, the centrist Blue and White party, denied that a government led by it would rely on the Joint List after Likud tried to taint it during the campaign by associating it with Arab lawmakers.
GET OUT THE VOTE
    Many of Israel’s Arab citizens have protested against a proposal in U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan – dubbed “The Deal of the Century” – that would put a cluster of Israel’s Arab towns near the West Bank into a future Palestinian state.
    The Joint List played on Arab anger in those border communities at the prospect of being denied the benefits of Israeli citizenship to encourage people to vote.
    It also picked up support from Arab citizens who voted for non-Arab, left-wing Israeli parties in the country’s last election in September, according to Rudnitzky, the IDI researcher.
    In Taibe, a tree-lined Arab village that could be moved outside Israel under Trump’s plan, Ahmad Aweidah said he voted to push back against what he called “Netanyahu’s racism” and to reject the U.S. Mideast proposal.
    “The Deal of the Century stirred something up in the Arabs.    It got them to go vote to try to stop it,” the 27-year-old fishmonger said.
    Rinad Musleh Jbara, another Taibe resident, said she hoped the Joint List’s strong showing “will add to peoples’ awareness of the need to exercise their natural, democratic right to vote in elections for the Knesset.”
    Israel’s Arab minority – Palestinian by heritage, Israeli by citizenship – is mostly descended from the Palestinians who lived under Ottoman and then British colonial rule before staying in Israel after the country’s 1948 creation.
    Arab lawmakers often call for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories and complain their communities face discrimination in areas such as health, education and housing.
    Netanyahu’s party counters that its 15 billion shekel ($4.34 billion) investment plan for the Arab sector is the largest ever by an Israeli government.
(Rami Ayyub reported from Jerusalem and Nuha Sharaf from Taibe; editing by Stephen Farrell and Philippa Fletcher)

3/4/2020 Palestinians protest as Israeli bulldozers clear land by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi
Israeli machineries, guarded by Israeli forces, bulldoze lands near the Palestinian village
of Qusra, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    QUSRA, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians have launched protests in the occupied West Bank after Israeli bulldozers began clearing land in what villagers fear is an attempt to confiscate it for future Jewish settlements.
    Scuffles intensified this week as Israeli voters voted in an election, with Palestininans saying settlers had been emboldened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan and Israeli election rhetoric about annexing settlements.
    Villagers from nearby Qusra challenged troops guarding Israeli bulldozers as they worked in a field close to Migdalim settlement in the northern West Bank.
    In another nearby village, Beita, residents protested over several days, planting a Palestinian flag and erecting a tent on the hilltop of al-Arma to defend it against settlers from Itamar settlement, near the city of Nablus.    Some demonstrators hurled rocks at Israeli troops.
    “I came here because this is my land, and I want to die on my land but they are not letting me come near it,” said Joudat Odeh, from Qusra.
    “They are happy at the victory of Netanyahu,” said Odeh, 70.    “They are coming to control this land and we are helpless.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party leads the vote count after Monday’s election, but with 99% of votes counted on Wednesday he was still short of securing enough seats for a governing coalition.
    Victory would pave the way for Netanyahu to make good on his pledge to annex settlements in the West Bank under Trump’s peace plan.
    Palestinians have rejected the proposal, saying it would kill their dream of establishing a viable state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    More than 400,000 Israeli settlers now live among about 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with a further 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem.    Palestinians and much of the world view the settlements as illegal under international law, a position Israel and the United States dispute.
    An Israeli military statement said that on March 1 Israelis were carrying out “agricultural work” near Migdalim when around 30 Palestinians “came to the area, hurled rocks and came into physical confrontation with the Israelis. Military forces came to the area and dispersed the crowd.”
    Soon afterwards, the statement said, 120 Palestinians gathered nearby in what it termed a “riot.”    It said its troops were confronted with burning tyres and “large amounts of rocks” and “responded with riot dispersal means.”
    Qusra protesters said Israel had stopped Palestinians using or farming the lands in question since the 1990s, and now they feared settlers would seize them for their own use.
    “I am afraid that in a few days Netanyahu may come to lay the cornerstone of a new settlement,” said Mohammad Shokri, 80, from Qusra.
    “He gave them a promise he would increase settlement.    They want to take over all the mountains and to leave nothing for the Arabs
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Timothy Heritage)

4/26/2020 Thousands protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by OAN Newsroom
A man with protective face mask amid concerns over the country’s coronavirus outbreak, holds a sign during a
protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, April 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli citizens are protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.    Around 2,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Tel Aviv this week and called for him to step down.
    According to protesters, Netanyahu shouldn’t be in power while criminal corruption charges are pending against him.
    This came after the prime minister and his challenger, Benny Gantz, formed an emergency coalition government to tackle the pandemic earlier this week.    Protesters believe the move still isn’t enough.
    “I came to demonstrate for the democracy, for a rule that is not by someone who is accused, who has issues with the law,” stated one demonstrator.    “The person has issues with the law cannot rule a government.”
People keep social distance amid concerns over the country’s coronavirus outbreak, during “Black Flag” protest against Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and government corruption, at Rabin square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, April 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Protesters have said as long as Netanyahu is still in power, he has influence over the court in his own criminal investigation.    He’s expected to stand trial next week on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud.
[I suspect that this rally was set-up by the Blue-White party who are angry that they did not take over since Benny Gantz did not win the Prime Minister title, and I am telling you that if he had Israel would have been under control by Arab and Palestinian entities and Israel would no longer be Israel but something else not what the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob attended anymore.    So Netanyahu will be in charge still from now until August 1, 2021 when Gantz takes it for 18 months, and if you have followed my work you will see that I have something to occur in the supernatural by 2022.].

4/26/2020 Netanyahu ‘confident’ U.S. will allow West Bank annexation in two months
FILE PHOTO: Birds fly as the Israeli settlement of Ramat Givat Zeev is seen,
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced confidence on Sunday that Washington would give Israel the nod within two months to move ahead with de facto annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.
    Palestinians have expressed outrage at Israel’s plans to cement its hold further on land it seized in the 1967 Middle East war, territory they are seeking for a state.
    Netanyahu, in announcing a deal with his centrist rival Benny Gantz last week to form a unity government, set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and annexing outright the area’s Jordan Valley.
    Such a move would need to be agreed with Washington, according to the Netanyahu-Gantz agreement.
    In a video address on Sunday to a pro-Israeli Christian group in Europe, Netanyahu described a U.S. peace proposal announced by President Donald Trump in January as a promise to recognise Israel’s authority over West Bank settlement land.
    “A couple of months from now I am confident that that pledge will be honoured,” Netanyahu told the European Commission for Israel.
    Palestinian officials offered no immediate comment on Netanyahu’s remarks.
    Palestinians have flatly rejected the Trump peace proposal, partly because it awards Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including nearly all the occupied land on which it has built settlements.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday it was up to Israel whether to annex parts of the West Bank and said that Washington would offer its views privately to its new government.
    The Palestinians and many countries regard Israel’s settlements in the West Bank as illegal under the Geneva Conventions that bar settling on land captured in war.
    Israel disputes this, citing security needs and biblical, historical and political connections to the land.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Hugh Lawson)

4/30/2020 Arab foreign ministers condemn Israeli plan to annex parts of occupied West Bank
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands at an overview of the Israeli settlement
of Har Homa, located in an area of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, that Israel annexed to Jerusalem after the
region's capture in the 1967 Middle East war, February 20, 2020. Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab countries on Thursday condemned Israel’s plan to de facto annex parts of the occupied West Bank as a “new war crime” against Palestinians, the Arab League said in a statement after a video conference of foreign ministers.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in announcing a deal to form a unity government, has said cabinet discussions will start on July 1 on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and annexing the area’s Jordan Valley outright.
    Palestinians have expressed outrage at Israel’s plans to cement its hold further on land it seized in the 1967 Middle East war, territory they are seeking for a state.
    Implementing such plans “represents a new war crime added to the Israeli record full of brutal crimes against the Palestinian people,”, the Arab foreign ministers said in a statement after their emergency meeting, which was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Arab League secretary general Ahmed Aboul Gheit accused Israel of “taking advantage of the global preoccupation with confronting the coronavirus epidemic to impose a new reality on the ground.”
    “This step, if taken, would eliminate the possibility of embodying an independent, sovereign, geographically connected and viable Palestinian state.    This step, if completed, would end the two-state solution,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said during the meeting.
    Netanyahu said on April 26 that the United states would give Israel the nod within two months to move ahead with de facto annexation of parts of the occupied lands.
    The Arab countries urged Washington to abide by U.N. resolutions and “withhold support for plans and maps of the Israeli occupation government woven under the cover of the so-called American-Israeli deal of the century,” the statement said.
    Palestinians have flatly rejected the U.S. peace proposal announced by President Donald Trump in January, partly because it awards Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including nearly all the occupied land on which it has built settlements.
    Arab states on Thursday also urged European Union countries to exert pressure on Israel to cancel its plans for the West Bank, and to recognise a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 “to save the hope of peace and a two-state solution.”
(Reporting by Seham Eloraby and Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

5/4/2020 Netanyahu fate at stake as coalition deal challenged in top court
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding the
new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s top court on Monday heard challenges to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to secure a governing coalition, with opposition figures arguing a deal on a new unity administration would unlawfully shield him in a corruption trial.
    The Supreme Court’s 11-justice panel convened for a second day after hearing separate petitions on Sunday against Netanyahu’s authority to form a government given his indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
    Rulings are expected by Thursday.    Should the court find against Netanyahu on either front, it would likely trigger a snap election – the fourth since April 2019 – as the country grapples with the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.
    Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz signed an agreement last month to form a unity government under which they would take turns leading Israel after their three, inconclusive ballot runs.    They cited the coronavirus crisis in forming the pact.     In power for more than a decade and currently head of a caretaker government, right-wing Netanyahu would serve as prime minister of a new administration for 18 months before handing the reins to centrist Gantz, according to the unity deal.
    Netanyahu, 70, would then assume the role of “substitute prime minister,” which some analysts say would exempt him from a law that requires cabinet-level ministers to resign from public office if they are indicted on criminal charges.
    Netanyahu’s trial is due to open on May 24.    He has denied any wrongdoing and accused political rivals of a “witch-hunt.”
    The coalition deal also grants Netanyahu influence over important judicial appointments, which critics argue gives the premier undue sway over the outcome of his own proceedings.
    The pact has support from a majority in parliament.    But several groups, including opposition parties and democracy watchdogs, petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify the deal, arguing in part that it shields Netanyahu from legal penalties.
    Some analysts have said the court, though cast by Netanyahu loyalists as liberal and interventionist, was unlikely to strike down the deal or bar Netanyahu from forming a government.
    Responding to the petitions, Israel’s Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said that while certain aspects of the deal “raise major difficulties,” there were no grounds to disqualify it.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub, Editing by William Maclean)

5/5/2020 U.N. Palestinian refugee agency operating on ‘month-to-month’ basis due to U.S. aid cut: official
A Palestinian youth on a bicycle looks on as a boy sits on a wall in Jabalia refugee camp, one of the most densely populated areas in the world,
amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the northern Gaza Strip May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Scrambling to tackle COVID-19 in camps across the Middle East, the U.N. agency supporting Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday it only has enough cash to operate until the end of May because of American funding cuts.
    In 2018 President Donald Trump’s administration halted annual payments of $360 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance to some 5.5 million registered refugees in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
    Elizabeth Campbell, UNRWA’s director in Washington, told reporters that the loss of U.S. aid had a “corrosive impact” on the agency’s ability to help vulnerable people.
    “We are basically operating on a month-to-month basis.    Right now, we have funding to pay our 30,000 health care workers until the end of this month,” Campbell said in a Zoom conference call from Washington.
    She said UNRWA had only secured a third of its $1.2 billion annual budget and that it was suffering its “worst financial crisis” since beginning operations some 70 years ago.
    The agency is trying to plug the $800 million shortfall in part by appealing to European and Gulf countries for emergency donations, Campbell said.
    Donations from the European Union, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Canada and Japan have helped fill UNRWA’s 2020 budget gap, Campbell said, while Saudi Arabia has also provided project-specific funding.
    The United States was by far UNRWA’s biggest donor until it withdrew funding, calling for reforms and suggesting its services be transferred to refugee host countries.
    Palestinian refugees are mostly descendants of some 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled amid fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.    Nearly a third live in 58 camps where UNRWA provides services.
    Many refugees fear the dwindling aid they receive could fall further as the coronavirus crisis persists and donors shift priorities.
    UNRWA has tried to halt the spread of COVID-19 in and around camps, closing all its 276 schools that are attended by close to 300,000 children.
    It has launched a $14 million emergency appeal for coronavirus funding, and says it will issue another, larger, aid request in the coming days.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

5/6/2020 Pandemic boosts Palestinian PM as potential Abbas successor by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas attend the funeral of former senior Fatah
official Ahmed Abdel Rahman, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank December 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH, West Bank/GAZA (Reuters) – One man has become the face of the Palestinians’ response to the COVID-19 crisis, and it’s not President Mahmoud Abbas.
    Rather it is Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, an economist-turned-politician whose prominence in tackling the coronavirus has led many Palestinians to predict that he may one day succeed 84-year-old Abbas as president.
    For Shtayyeh – an unelected Abbas appointee – the urgency of the Palestinian Authority (PA) efforts to curb the virus have helped reinvigorate the domestic image of a body long viewed by some as corrupt and unproductive.
    Some 96 percent of West Bank Palestinians trust the way the PA under Shtayyeh has handled the pandemic, said a recent poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre.
    The West Bank has recorded 354 cases and just two deaths.    After an outbreak in Bethlehem in March the PA moved quickly to impose a full lockdown, fearing its weak health system would be overwhelmed.
    “The current crisis has bolstered Shtayyeh’s presence and cemented the impression that he might be the next president,” said political analyst Akram Atallah.
    “He has brandished an image as a successful administrator in the eyes of the media, a leader who can be trusted to navigate a pandemic.”
    Shtayyeh has consistently said he does not harbour ambitions of the presidency, deferring instead to senior colleagues in the umbrella     Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Fatah, the party that has long dominated it.
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD
    Certainly, as Palestinian president and chairman of the PLO, Abbas still holds the levers of power.
    It is Abbas who retains final authority to impose and lift coronavirus restrictions, acting through press releases and rare television appearances.
    But Shtayyeh, a Fatah loyalist two decades younger than Abbas, has taken the podium each week to reassure Palestinians.
    So far, it has helped his rise.    But prominence is a double-edged sword: if things go wrong, he will likely shoulder much of the blame.
    Shtayyeh’s grasp of financial issues facing ordinary Palestinians has earned him respect.    He was born in the village of Tell, near Nablus, before going on to earn a PhD in economic development from the University of Sussex in Britain.
    Before Abbas installed him as prime minister in 2019, the fluent English-speaking Shtayyeh headed the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction, a donor coordination institution.
    But some criticise what they call his “capitalist” background – a criticism also levelled at his technocrat predecessor, Salam Fayyad, who was seen as too close to the West.
    Unlike Fayyad, Shtayyeh has the advantage of belonging to Fatah.
STAGNATION
    Palestinian political institutions have stagnated, without any presidential or parliamentary elections for more than a decade, and any successor, no matter who it is, will inherit a multitude of problems.
    Negotiations with Israel broke down in 2014, relations with the United States are at an all-time nadir and the PA’s power base is now confined to parts of the occupied West Bank after the Islamist group Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.
    Beyond coronavirus, Shtayyeh has failed to reconcile with Hamas, and his government has been squeezed by U.S. aid cuts and tax and trade disputes with Israel.
    Shtayyeh also faces internal opposition from Fatah power brokers and security chiefs, who themselves harbour leadership ambitions, said sources within the group.
    Two Fatah sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some establishment figures initially backed Shtayyeh, but now regard him as “a threat.”
    “They thought (Shtayyeh) would serve as an employee at their service, but he proved he could work without them,” said one.
    “Abbas is holding on to power. He keeps his grip on security, foreign affairs and finance,” said another insider.
    But Fatah official Fahmy Azzaarir said Shtayyeh’s main focus was the pandemic, not succession.
    “We all hope the prime minister will succeed in getting us out of the crisis,” Azzaarir said.    “Everyone must support him.”
(Additional reporting and Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

5/6/2020 Masked and partitioned, worshippers return to Jerusalem’s Western Wall
A general view shows the plaza of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, with partitioned areas for worshippers to
adhere to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions on large gatherings in Jerusalem May 6, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Worshippers are returning to the Western Wall in Jerusalem as Judaism’s holiest prayer site gradually reopens under eased coronavirus precautions.    But now they are themselves being walled-off.
    Under revised rules, up to 300 visitors at a time are being allowed to access the Western Wall, a remnant of two ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem’s Old City.    They must wear masks.
    “Worshippers that have so yearned to visit the sacred stones and pray in front of them can return to the Western Wall while keeping to the health ministry restrictions,” said the site’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz.
    But the prayer plaza facing the wall, which in peak holidays of the past would throng with thousands of people, is subdivided by barriers and cloth partitions forming temporary cloisters that can each accommodate 19 worshippers – the current cap.
    Full Jewish prayer services require a quorum of 10.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Pravin Char)

5/6/2020 Israel plans thousands of new settler homes ahead of Pompeo visit by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: A general view picture shows the Israeli settlement of Efrat (L) in the Gush Etzion settlement block as
Bethlehem is seen in the background, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel announced a plan for thousands of new Jewish settlement homes in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday as Washington voiced readiness to back de facto Israeli annexations there.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to visit Israel next week, a source said, a sign that he is weighing in on a territorial issue that has been a centrepiece of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition-building efforts.
    Netanyahu wants to ally with political rival Benny Gantz and start cabinet discussions on July 1 about declaring Israeli sovereignty over settlements and the strategically key Jordan Valley in the West Bank.    The unity government deal has been contested in Israel’s top court.
    Fresh construction for the settlement of Efrat was approved on land that could accommodate around 7,000 housing units, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said on Wednesday.
    “The building momentum in the country must not be stopped, even for a second,” tweeted Bennett, a religious-nationalist in Netanyahu’s current caretaker government.
    The settlements are deemed illegal by most world powers and condemned by the Palestinians, who see all the West Bank, which Israel captured in a 1967 war, as theirs for a future state.     The United States has offered to recognise Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank as part of a proposal President Donald Trump unveiled in February, which also envisages talks on founding a Palestinian state in up to 70% of the territory.     Pompeo planned to visit Israel for one day next week and meet Netanyahu, a conservative, as well as the centrist Gantz, a person briefed on the trip said, without elaborating on the agenda.    The U.S. State Department had no immediate comment.
    The newspaper Israel Hayom quoted U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as saying that sovereignty in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley was “an Israeli issue” and adding: “We are ready.”
    In separate remarks to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Friedman reiterated a call for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking:
    The expectation is that the prime minister will agree to negotiate and, if the Palestinians show up, he will negotiate in good faith based on this (Trump) plan.”
    The Palestinians say the plan is biased against them, and have boycotted Washington’s mediation efforts since it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017.
    “The Trump Administration’s Annexation plan endorses everything that the illegal Israeli colonial-settlement enterprise is about: A racist narrative, violations of international law and the perpetuation of the denial of Palestinian rights,” Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said.
    Israel and the United States do not use “annexation” for Israel’s planned moves, arguing that the term applies to land taken from a sovereign country, whereas the West Bank was controlled by Jordan but not generally recognised as part of its sovereign territory before the 1967 war.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

5/9/2020 COMMENTARY ON "END OF THE AGE" IRVIN BAXTER ON ISRAEL'S FUTURE by Jim A. Cornwell
    A survey of Israel is to be done by June, and after 3 elections so there is no government and it will have to have one by August.
    The Palestinians will be forced to come to the negotiating by then as Israel will annex the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements (Samaria).    So this will be a world changing event, in this will lock in new borders of the Palestinian State, and Palestinians will have to come to the negotiaion table or will have to accept what Israel gives them.
    The Trump peace plan if implemented will make the Temple Mount to be shared for all people to go there to pray.
    The prophecy has to have a Temple for these to be fulfilled:
Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
    But is this leading to the Jews could build their Temple on the Mount during the symbolic first 3 1/2 years of the prophecy in Daniel 9:27 which claims the Antichrist will stop it, which will start the last symbolic 3 1/2 years.
    I have written in my work dated 1995 "The Alpha and the Omega" so after 25 years I have starting at the year 1950 with 6 twelve year periods (72 years) which is related to Revelation 6:1-17.    And I also associate this to the year 1948 when Israel became a nation a coincidence.    So I am stating that we have been in the first symbolic 3 1/2 years since then and I think it will come to an end in 2022 as Israel will have their Palestine State as the Trump peace plan is promoting but I still think there is an entity in the lurch in the Middle East who will step into the light and cause this to happen and then the events for the last symbolic 3 1/2 years which is in God's plan.
    As Baxter states there is no stable government in Israel for all this to form.    As you have seen in recent news articles above Benny Gantz went after a minority government and got 15 seats of the Knesset Arab block and made a deal, but it did not work, because 3 Knesset members backed out because Gantz said he would not do that, which would have the Arabs to have leverage inside and would know Israel's secrets and military secrets.
    So Gantz did not have the votes, and there was a shift of public opinion.    So now Netanyahu's Likud party would receive 40 seats in the Knesset, the unicameral national legislature of Israel or the legislative branch of the Israeli government, and now Gantz has only 30 and losing favor with only 17 seats in Knesset, so Netanyahu has 62 and Gantz 58.
    So Netanyahu could hold out for a 4th election and would have enough to form a government.
    But recently Netanyahu concerned that he may be indicted and go to prison for bribery charges by his enemies in the high court who want to take him down, so he is considering whether to form a unity government or have a 4th election.
    I do know that is God is in control and has used Netanyahu, Trump and Kushner to implement these events back on January 28, 2020 and I think they will somehow get the UN Security Council to sign off on this deal, when the UN Assembly meets in September in New York and gets this implemented before the November 3, 2020 presidential election.
Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
    So could the "he" in the above verse be the United Nations Assembly Security Council, which I have already promoted the Globalist is the product of all the UN, etc, World Government and the Fourth Kingdom.
Daniel 2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and and bruise.
Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
    SO MAYBE WE KNOW WHO THE ENTITY IS NOW.
[So will that happen or not?    New York City is an epicenter for the global coronavirus pandemic.    The new coronavirus causes the respiratory illness COVID-19 and has killed hundreds of thousands of people globally.
    "It’s hard to imagine that the traditional General Assembly with thousands and thousands of people descending on New York and on the U.N. compound can be held this September as if nothing happened,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
    Dujarric was responding to questions about an interview given by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Paris Match.    Guterres said it was “unlikely” the United Nations could bring together in New York thousands of people from around the world.
    “We are studying different alternatives that digital technology offers to enable us to hold this General Assembly which would correspond to the 75th anniversary of the U.N.,” Guterres said.    “It will be up to the member states to decide.”]

5/13/2020 Pompeo lauds Israel over coronavirus cooperation, raps China by Dan Williams
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department,
in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2020. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Israel on Wednesday for sharing information during global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and took another swipe at China over what he said was its lack of transparency.
    U.S. President Donald Trump and his senior officials have engaged in a war of words with China, where the new coronavirus first emerged, saying it failed to inform the world fast enough about the dangers it posed and muzzled those who raised the alarm.    Beijing strongly denies the charges.
    Arriving in Israel on a one-day visit, Pompeo told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “You’re a great partner, you share information – unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide that information – and we’ll talk about that country, too.”
    Pompeo did not name China and did not give specific examples of Israeli cooperation in the fight against coronavirus.
    Earlier, Pompeo repeated Washington’s charges against Beijing in an interview for the Israel Hayom newspaper.
    Here is what we know for sure.    The virus originated in Wuhan, China.    The Chinese Communist Party knew about this virus in December of 2019 (and) attempted to obfuscate this."
    “They denied people the ability to talk, they didn’t share this information quickly enough, they created enormous risk for the world,” he said.
    The United States has previously cautioned Israel against potential security threats from Chinese investment in Israel, prompting the Netanyahu government to set up a committee last October to vet such projects.
    Israel, with a population of nine million, has reported 16,539 new coronavirus cases including 262 deaths.    The United States, which has 328 million people, has reported 1.4 million cases and more than 83,000 deaths, the world’s highest number.
BORDERS
    Israel moved aggressively and early against the pandemic, shutting its borders in mid-March as part of measures that Netanyahu said had been discussed with the White House.
    Pompeo was to meet later with Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s political rival turned designated coalition partner.    The two are scheduled due to swear in their new government on Thursday.
    On their agenda has been a proposed declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements and the strategic Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank – territory the Palestinians want for a future state.
    The Palestinians are boycotting the Trump administration over its perceived pro-Israel bias, but Pompeo said he would discuss Washington’s peace vision with Netanyahu.
    “There remains work yet to do and we need to make progress on that – I’m looking forward to it,” Pompeo said.
    With Palestinian leaders warning that a de-facto Israeli annexation move could imperil the already limited cooperation between the sides, there has been a spike in West Bank violence.
    On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian teenager during a raid near the West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
    The Israeli military said soldiers opened fire after Palestinians threw rocks and fire-bombs at them during an arrest operation and that one soldier was slightly wounded.
    A day earlier, a Palestinian stone-thrower killed an Israeli soldier who was taking part in an arrest raid near Jenin city.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Gareth Jones)

5/14/2020 Cabinet post disputes delay Israeli government inauguration
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding
the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The planned inauguration on Thursday of an Israeli unity government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been postponed until Sunday, an official statement said, in last-minute wrangling over cabinet appointments.
    Under a coalition agreement with his former election rival, centrist Benny Gantz, Netanyahu would serve as prime minister for 18 months before the former armed forces chief replaces him.
    Their power-sharing deal ends more than a year of political deadlock in which three inconclusive elections were held and Netanyahu was indicted in three criminal cases on corruption charges he denies.     Gantz agreed to delay the government’s swearing-in ceremony to give Netanyahu more time to allocate cabinet posts to members of his Likud party, a joint statement said.
    Their pact split Gantz’s centrist party, Blue and White.    He cited the coronavirus crisis as a main reason for reneging on campaign promises not to partner with a prime minister under a corruption cloud.
    The unity agreement would leave Netanyahu in power throughout a trial due to begin on May 24, the first such proceedings against a sitting Israeli prime minister, enabling him to maintain a powerful public pulpit in fighting back against what he has termed a political witch-hunt.
    It also opens the way for the right-wing Netanyahu to move ahead with a pledged de facto annexation of territory in the occupied West Bank – land that the Palestinians seek for a state and which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    Netanyahu has set July 1 as a starting point for cabinet discussions on his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.    He has given no stated deadline for implementing the move.
    Annexation, vehemently opposed by the Palestinians who have urged international sanctions against Israel in response, would be certain to heighten tensions in the West Bank and Gaza that could ignite violence and draw international outrage.
    On an eight-hour visit to Israel on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper that West Bank territorial steps were an Israeli decision that Netanyahu had a right to make.
    Pompeo noted, however, that the issue was complex and required coordination with Washington, which has formed a joint team with Israel to map out new territorial lines in the West Bank under a Middle East peace plan announced by U.S. President Donald Trump in January.
    That proposal envisages the vast majority of West Bank settlements being incorporated into “contiguous Israeli territory.”
(Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

5/14/2020 Palestinians look to a digital future to connect with their past by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell
A Palestinian wearing gloves works on designs for a digital fine arts online event to mark Nakba amid
the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Gaza City May 10, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Virtual reality tours have replaced flag-waving rallies as Palestinians facing coronavirus restrictions create digital spaces to lament the loss of their physical homeland in 1948.
    Cellphone apps and Zoom video chats are among the other online tools Palestinians are using to mark the Nakba, or “Catastrophe,” when they and their descendants were forced from their villages or fled in the war that surrounded Israel’s creation.
    The Nakba is generally marked on May 15 – the day after Israel’s Independence Day in the western calendar.
    Last year Israeli troops wounded nearly 50 Palestinians during Nakba protests, but rallies were cancelled this year.    In the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas authorized digital activities to mark the anniversary.
    While the Palestinians still have no state on the ground, many are finding new ways to remember their past and express their identity online.
    Palestine VR, a free app, is one of several new tools that aim in part to connect millions of diaspora Palestinians with their forefathers’ towns and villages, some of which now lie abandoned in Israel.
    “Coming to Palestine is transformational, especially for Palestinians who aren’t allowed to visit,” said Ramallah-based Palestine VR founder Salem Barahmeh, 30, as he guided Zoom participants through the app’s 47 virtual tours of Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank.
    “We want to share Palestine with them, and help them feel and understand this place.”
    Majd al-Shihabi, a Palestinian refugee born in Syria, is part of a team that developed Palestine Open Maps, an interactive database of Palestinian villages and Jewish towns as they stood in 1948.
    “Palestinians anywhere can see visual details of their villages, reinforcing our understanding of what Palestine was like before the exodus,” Shihabi, 31, said from Beirut.
    The new initiatives highlight a “digital nation” that has also formed around Palestinian culture, food and fashion, according to activists and entrepreneurs.
    Joudie Kalla, a Palestinian-British chef and author of Palestine on a Plate, says vigorous recipe debates amongst her 124,000 Instagram followers are evidence of a growing community.
    “No one can stop Palestinians from connecting on social media – even if it’s impassioned discussion over whose village makes the best kibbeh,” Kalla, 42, said from London, referencing a traditional Arabic meat pie.
STATEHOOD ELUSIVE
    Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.    Israel captured and occupied those territories in the 1967 Middle East war, later annexing East Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally and withdrawing from Gaza in 2005.
    In 2012, the U.N. General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine. But full Palestinian statehood has remained elusive.
    Many Palestinians abroad fear losing touch with their roots.
    This has prompted “fusion” projects that are transforming Palestinian fashion staples like the keffiyeh – a black or red-and-white checkered scarf now available in multiple colours.
    Clothing company Threads of Palestine makes keffiyeh tee-shirts, hoodies, and onesies for babies, sourcing fabric from the West Bank’s last keffiyeh factory.
    “The keffiyeh, it oozes with Palestinian culture,” said manager Abed al-Aziz al-Karaki at Hebron’s Hirbawi factory.
(This story corrects to show Palestine Open Maps was created by a team)
(Editing by Giles Elgood)

5/14/2020 Palestinian hits Israeli soldier in car-ramming and is shot dead: military
Israeli forces are seen at the scene of an incident near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank May 14, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli soldier shot dead a Palestinian on Thursday who drove deliberately at high speed towards troops in the occupied West Bank, injuring one of them, the military said.
    Violence has flared in the territory in the past week in the run-up to the planned inauguration later on Thursday of a new Israeli “unity” government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Its agenda includes possible de facto annexation of Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, with cabinet deliberations on the move, vehemently opposed by the Palestinians, set to begin in July.
    Palestinians seek to establish a state in the West Bank, land captured by Israel in a 1967 Middle East war, and regard Israeli settlements in the territory as illegal, as do many countries.
    The military said that a vehicle driven by a Palestinian hit a soldier in a car-ramming attack at an army post outside Negohot settlement near the city of Hebron and that he was shot dead by another soldier.    The injured soldier was taken to hospital.
    The Palestinian Health Ministry first confirmed the driver’s death, after the military originally said only that he had been “neutralised.”    There was no immediate Palestinian comment on the circumstances of the incident.
    On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian in Fawwar refugee camp in the West Bank.    The military said soldiers, on an arrest raid, had responded with live fire after being attacked with rocks and fire-bombs.
    On Tuesday, a rock thrown from a rooftop in the West Bank village of Yabad killed an Israeli soldier taking part in an operation to detain suspected militants.
    In a separate incident in the West Bank that day, a Palestinian was shot and wounded by police after he tried to stab security staff at a checkpoint, a police spokesman said.
    There was no immediate official Palestinian comment on the Fawwar refugee camp or checkpoint incidents.
    U.S.-backed peacemaking between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

5/17/2020 Netanyahu’s new Israeli government approved, eyes West Bank annexations by Jeffrey Heller
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a swearing in ceremony of his new unity government with election rival Benny Gantz,
at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem May 17, 2020. Adina Valman/Knesset spokespersons' office/Handout via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s parliament approved on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new unity government, ending more than a year of political deadlock, but he still faces a trial starting next week for alleged corruption.     His decision to share power with former rival, centrist Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, opens the way for Netanyahu to proceed towards a pledged annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians seek for a state.
    After three inconclusive elections, the conservative Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months before handing over to his new partner.
    Gantz, a former armed forces chief, will be Netanyahu’s defence minister and “alternate prime minister,” a new position that Netanyahu will hold when Gantz takes the helm.
    By assuming that “alternate” premiership once he hands over to Gantz, Netanyahu hopes to avoid having to resign under legal rules that allow a prime minister to remain in office even if charged with a crime.
    Israel’s longest-serving leader, Netanyahu, 70, first came to power in 1996 and has served three consecutive terms since 2009.    He goes on trial on May 24 on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud, which he denies.
    “The people wanted unity, and that is what it got,” Netanyahu told parliament, citing a desire to steer clear of a fourth election and the need for a national battle against the coronavirus crisis.
    Lawmakers ratified the new administration by a vote of 73 to 46.
WEST BANK
    Netanyahu can now push forward his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank, territory Palestinians want for their own independent state.
    These regions are where the Jewish nation was born and rose.    It is time to apply Israeli law on them and write another great chapter in the annals of Zionism,” he said.
    But while Netanyahu has set July 1 as a starting point for cabinet discussions on the highly contentious issue, there is no publicly stated deadline for annexation of land that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war
.
    Palestinians have vehemently opposed such a move, urging international sanctions against Israel in response.    It would be certain to heighten tensions in the West Bank and Gaza.
    “These colonial and expansionist positions confirm once again his (Netanyahu’s) ideological enmity towards peace,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
    Gantz, 60, had cited the criminal charges against Netanyahu after the latest election in March when he again pledged to his own voters that he would not serve in a government with the veteran conservative leader.
    Angering many of his supporters and splitting his own party, he made a deal in the end, saying the coronavirus crisis made national unity an imperative.
    The new cabinet will have a record 36 ministers.    Several new posts have been created to ensure both Netanyahu and Gantz can bring loyalists on board.
    Opposition leader Yair Lapid ridiculed the public-health rationale behind the coalition, noting the number of Israeli COVID-19 victims on ventilators had fallen so steeply that the new government “could place a minister next to each bed.”
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Frances Kerry and Gareth Jones)

5/20/2020 Explainer: Why is Israel’s Netanyahu facing trial? by Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands next to his wife Sara as he waves to supporters following the announcement
of exit polls in Israel's election at his Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A week after being sworn into office for a fifth term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go on trial on May 24, charged with corruption.
WHAT ARE THE CHARGES AGAINST NETANYAHU?
    Bribery, fraud and breach of trust.    Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in three criminal cases last November.    He denies all wrongdoing.
    CASE 4000 alleges that Netanyahu granted regulatory favours worth around 1.8 billion shekels (about $500 million) to Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq Telecom Israel.
    In return, prosecutors say, he sought positive coverage of himself and his wife on a news website controlled by the company’s former chairman, Shaul Elovitch.
    In this case, Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust.    Elovitch and his wife, Iris, have been charged with bribery and obstruction of justice.    The couple deny wrongdoing.
    CASE 1000, in which Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust, centres on allegations that he and wife Sara wrongfully received almost 700,000 shekels worth of gifts from Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer and Israeli citizen, and Australian billionaire businessman James Packer.
    Prosecutors said gifts included champagne and cigars and that Netanyahu helped Milchan with his business interests.     Neither Packer nor Milchan face charges.
    CASE 2000 alleges that Netanyahu negotiated a deal with Arnon Mozes, owner of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, for better coverage.    In return, the prime minister allegedly offered legislation that would slow the growth of a rival newspaper.    Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust.    Mozes has been charged with offering a bribe, and denies wrongdoing.
WHAT DOES NETANYAHU SAY?
    Netanyahu says he is the victim of a politically orchestrated “witch hunt” by the media and the left to oust him from office.
    Loyalists in Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party have accused the justice system of bias, and Netanyahu has said receiving gifts from friends was not against the law.
    His legal team says criminal investigations into relations between politicians and the news media threaten press freedom.
WILL A VERDICT COME SOON?
    Unlikely.    The trial could take years.    Netanyahu could also seek a plea deal rather than go through the trial process.
COULD NETANYAHU GO TO JAIL, IF CONVICTED?
    Bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine.    Fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Timothy Heritage)
[ISN'T OBVIOUS THAT DONALD TRUMP AND NETANYAHU ARE BEING ATTACKED BY THE GLOBALIST WORLD GOVERNMENT SYSTEM THAT HAS TRIED TO CONTROL ALL SYSTEMS AND THESE TWO HAVE BEEN THE PROBLEM TO IT TO DO ITS WORLD TOTAL TAKEOVER..].

5/20/2020 Israel must abandon annexation threat, says U.N. Middle East envoy by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal
Representative of the Secretary-General, briefs the U.N. Security Council during a council meeting on the situation
in the Middle East at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Israel must abandon its threat to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, the U.N. Middle East envoy said on Wednesday, branding such a plan as a serious violation of international law that would “close the door to a renewal of negotiations.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said cabinet discussions would begin on July 1 on his plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to territory Palestinians want for their own state.    There is no publicly stated deadline for annexation of land that Israel captured in 1967.
    The continuing threat of annexation by Israel of parts of the West Bank would constitute a most serious violation of international law, deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution, close the door to a renewal of negotiations,” U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council.
    “Israel must abandon its threat of annexation.    And the Palestinian leadership to re-engage with all members of the quartet,” he said, referring to the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
    Mladenov urged the 15-member council to back a push by U.N. chief Antonio Guterres against unilateral steps that would hinder diplomatic efforts to renew negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
    Such a statement by the council is unlikely as it has to be agreed by consensus and the United States traditionally shields its ally Israel from any action.
    “This council cannot dictate the end to this conflict.    We can only encourage the parties to sit down together to determine how they wish to make progress,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said.
    The Palestinians have rejected a peace plan by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
    Mladenov urged the quartet to “come forward with a proposal that will enable the quartet to take up its mediation role.”
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
[The Globalist henchmen are hard at work but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is in control.].

5/21/2020 Palestinians shun CIA after declaring end to security coordination with U.S. and Israel by Rami Ayyub and Nidal al-Mughrabi
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with
foreign diplomats, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – The Palestinians have suspended contacts with the CIA after announcing an end to security coordination with Israel and the United States in protest at Israeli proposals to annex territory in the West Bank, a Palestinian official said on Thursday.
    Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Washington had been told of the move after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday his administration was no longer committed to agreements with Israel and the United States, including on security coordination.
    On cooperation with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Erekat told reporters in a video call: “It stopped as of the end of the (Palestinian) president’s speech.”
    Intelligence cooperation with the CIA continued even after the Palestinians began boycotting U.S. peace efforts led by President Donald Trump in 2017, with the sides working together on heading off violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority is based.
    Abbas has threatened before to end security ties, without following through.    Israeli officials say he needs Israel’s support in the face of domestic challenges from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
    But Erekat said: “Things change and we have decided it is time now to change.”
    “Security cooperation with the United States is no more.    Security coordination with Israel is no more,” said Erekat.    “We are going to maintain public order and the rule of law, alone.”
    The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem declined to comment.
    Later in the day, a senior Palestinian security official told Reuters that Palestinian forces had begun to pull back from some areas of the West Bank that they had policed in coordination with Israel during the coronavirus crisis.
    “In light of the president’s instructions about ceasing security coordination, the Israeli side was notified” of the partial withdrawal.
    Israeli officials had no immediate comment and it was not clear how widespread the Palestinian forces’ drawback was.     Palestinians worry that Israel, with the blessing of Washington, could carry out pledges to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, which they see as annexation.
    Palestinians seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as their capital.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta; writing by Dan Williams; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

5/24/2020 Israel’s Netanyahu goes on trial for corruption
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding
the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020. Gali Tibbon/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu opens on Sunday in a Jerusalem court, where he will become the first serving Israeli prime minister to face criminal prosecution, in a case he calls a political witch-hunt.
    Netanyahu is required to appear for the session in Jerusalem District Court, a week after he was sworn in to a record fifth term as head of a unity government, ending more than a year of political deadlock in the wake of three inconclusive elections.
    He was indicted in November on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges in three cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favours for media tycoons in return for favourable coverage.
    Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, has cast his prosecution as a leftist witch-hunt meant to oust a popular right-wing leader.
    As prime minister, Netanyahu is under no legal obligation to resign and he has said his court battle will not affect his ability to do his job.
    A three-judge panel will hear his case.    On Wednesday, it turned down his request to stay away from the opening session.
    In asking to be excused, Netanyahu called the event a formality and argued that bringing his contingent of bodyguards would waste public funds and make it hard to comply with social distancing rules.
    Some critics said Netanyahu was trying to avoid the optics of a prime minister sitting in the defendant’s dock.
    Turning down his request, the court said it was important for justice to be seen to be done.
    Six years ago, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was found guilty of bribe-taking and served 16 months in jail.    His trial took place after his 2006-2009 term in office.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Potter)
[As you can see that the anti-Israel coalitions and Globalists are so desperate to get rid of him so they can take over the ruling class and destroy the nation of Israel but as we see the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is in control of all of this just as in the Trump "America First".].

5/25/2020 Israel’s Netanyahu says he won’t miss West Bank annexation opportunity by Jeffrey Heller
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement before entering the district court room where he
is facing a trial for alleged corruption crimes, in Jerusalem May 24 2020. Yonatan Sindel/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will not miss a “historic opportunity” to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, calling the move one of his new government’s top tasks.
    Palestinians consider such a step as illegal annexation of occupied land they seek for a future state.    Last week, they declared an end to security cooperation with Israel and its ally, the United States, in protest at the territorial plan.
    Netanyahu has pledged to put Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank under Israeli sovereignty.    He has set July 1 as a starting date for cabinet discussions on the issue, which has also raised alarm within the European Union.
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the matter complex and said it required coordination with Washington.    Netanyahu’s new political partner, centrist Benny Gantz, has been equivocal about de facto annexation.
    At a meeting of legislators of his right-wing Likud party on Monday, Netanyahu set land moves in the West Bank as “perhaps the first in importance in many respects” of the tasks to be undertaken by the government he and Gantz formed on May 17
.
    “We have a historic opportunity, which hasn’t existed since 1948, to apply sovereignty judiciously as a diplomatic…step in Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the year of Israel’s birth and using the biblical names for the West Bank.
    “It is a big opportunity and we will not let it pass by,” he said a day after the start of his corruption trial.    He denies charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
    Netanyahu has cited U.S President Donald Trump’s plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace as underpinning de facto annexation.    The Palestinians have rejected the proposal, announced in January, under which most Jewish settlements would be incorporated into “contiguous Israeli territory.”
    Palestinians and most countries view the settlements on land Israel took in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal.    Israel disputes this.    Israeli critics of annexation have voiced concern it could increase anti-Israeli violence.
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

5/25/2020 Palestinians easing coronavirus restrictions in West Bank
FILE PHOTO: Gamal Abdel Nasser mosque is seen closed during Friday prayers over concerns of the spread of the coronavirus
disease, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File Photo
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Mosques, churches and businesses in the occupied West Bank will reopen on Tuesday in an easing of coronavirus restrictions, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday.
    The Palestinian Authority declared a health emergency in March and imposed lockdowns after the first cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
    Shtayyeh said it was time to “cautiously return life to normal” now that infection rates had slowed.
    The reopening of houses of worship, shops and factories on Tuesday will coincide with the last day of the Eid El-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
    Shtayyeh said that government ministries and offices would reopen on Wednesday and that checkpoints set up to limit traffic between West Bank cities would be removed.
    The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed 423 cases of the new coronavirus in the West Bank and two deaths.
    The health crisis has led to a 50% fall in commercial revenues in the West Bank, in a blow to an already ailing economy in which unemployment is at 17.6%, local officials said.
    In the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Palestinian Authority’s rival, the Islamist group Hamas, 54 coronavirus cases and one death have been recorded.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Hugh Lawson)
[What the news is not telling you is that Israel is helping the Palestinians to defeat the coronavirus deaths since they have no one helping them, but will the Palestinian people return the appreciation of that.].

5/26/2020 Israeli leader vows to push ahead with annexing parts of West Bank
    JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday pledged to annex parts of the occupied West Bank in the coming months, vowing to move ahead with the explosive plan despite a growing chorus of condemnations by key allies.    The Palestinians, with wide international backing, seek the entire West Bank as the heartland of a future independent state.    Annexing large chunks of this territory would all but destroy the faint remaining hopes of a two-state solution.    Israel captured the West Bank in 1967.

5/29/2020 What Is About To Happen To Israel In The Near Future by Jim A. Cornwell.
    After watching a recording of "End Of The Age" with Irvin Baxter, I prepared the following comments as to what he promoted and my opinion of what I think will occur.
    On April 20, 2020 Netanyahu and Benny Gantz signed a deal for a new government which means Netanyahu will be Prime Minister for 18 months April 2020 through January 2021 to September 2021 for 18 months, at which time Gantz takes over through October to January 2022 through March 2022 to complete his 18 months.    I am amused that is the year that my book claims is six-12 year periods = 72 years ends (1948 Israel becomes a nation - 1950 beginning of the Age of Aquarius until 2022), and I have said that is the end of the 1st half or the 3 1/2 of the 7 year symbolic period that everyone claims is prophecy, and would to me start what everyone is amused to have come finally and this is to contemplate about.
    As my work shows the symbolic figure 12, which is the number of zodiac signs, each with 2,160 years and totals at 25,920 years divided by 360 degrees in a circle equals 72 years per degree, which I think correlates to the time frame mentioned above, as God has his own timeline.
    Now to back up if the Trump peace plan is to be implemented and is being projected to be by July 1st, 2020 and as you see above that I propose that it is not representing the final 7 years and Israel government it now contains moderate right wing and left wing control in this coalition government and this peace plan to establish a 70% Palestinian State would never been approved if the HaYamin HeHadash, legally known as Tzion LeShevah, is a right-wing political party in Israel, which is being pushed out, and not invited now to stop it.
70% Palestinian State and 30% Israel
    The bible claims that Israel will annex the settlements and the Jordan Valley and will in turn succeed 20% to the Palestinan State, which is paragraph 29 in the coalition agreement in the plan to put up a debate with the United States, and the government, approve by the Knesset by July 1, 2020 for a Sovereignty Bill and Netanyahu's Likud party or Gantz cannot veto and author and approved by the Knesset.
Broader Peace
    Now is this the prophesy of Daniel 9:27 "And he shall confirm the (Abrahamic) covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
    Every one calls this to be the Antichrist which is not defined if it is a he, a man, a superhuman, or a globalist government, but it distinctly states the entity confirm this with many (a multitude, many people or nations).    The next issue is it does not say 7 years instead it is one week.    I have told you that I think the 72 years is a symbolic 3 1/2 of assumed 7 years, but since the 72 years is more interesting as 72 * 52 weeks = 3774 weeks, so if there is another symbolic 3 1/2 coming then there are another 3774 weeks coming in the next 72 years, and which one of those weeks is the chosen one for this dasterly Antichrist will do that deed.
    Jesus said 2,000 years ago in Matthew 24:15-21:
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
    Israel has been helping the Palestinian people to fight the coronavirus and even after that they still get opposition, which means Trump's peace plan will have to have Palestinian approval on their side of the deal because they have been negotiating since 1948 and have lost their veto powers and Israel continued for 4 years for the Palestians to agree on the deal as the plan in paragraph 28: The two Prime Ministers will make a peace agreement with Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE and advance a regional cooperation to improve economic spheres, which PLO general Saeb Erdkat has tried to do this forever but it would never work.
    "A government coalition based on commitment to annex more occupied Palestinian territory is a threat to rule-based world order in general, but to peace, security and stability in the Middle East in particular." - Secretary-General Saeb Erekat
    "The new government that is being established has an unprecedented majority for the application of Israeli Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley." Yesha Council Head David ElHayani.
    So Baxter promotes that the Palestinian Authority will push fo a peace conference asking Russian president Putin to hold an International Conference for peace in the Middle East, so we would have a U.S.-Israel and a PLO-Russia, which would have Russia to implement this.    Time is short, so a Trump-Putin meeting is likely, and of course Abbas will push for an International Conference For Peace, Middle East group, U.N. Security Council, and the U.N. General, as we now have the whole World Government involved, and Trump will want this done before the November 3 election hopefully in September.
    So now you know why He will covenant with many for one week.

5/30/2020 Israeli police fatally shoot Palestinian in Jerusalem – spokesman
FILE PHOTO: Israeli border police secure the area outside Jerusalem's Old City where officers
fatally shot a man they believed was armed May 30, 2020. REUTERS/Sinan Abu Mayzer
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police officers fatally shot a Palestinian they suspected was carrying a weapon in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday, a police spokesman said, but the man was later found to have been unarmed, Israeli media reported.
    “Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.    They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot, during the chase officers also opened fire at the suspect,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
    Rosenfeld said the suspect, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem, was dead.
    Police did not confirm to reporters whether the man had been carrying a weapon, but Israel’s Channel 13 News said he was unarmed and may have been mentally challenged.
    There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials.
    Tension has risen in recent weeks with Israel saying it hopes to move ahead with a plan to extend sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank – a de-facto annexation of land the Palestinians seek for a state.
    The Palestinians, Arab states, the United Nations and European states have warned against the move and the Palestinians have declared an end to security cooperation with Israel and its ally, the United States, in protest.
    On Friday, the Israeli military said its troops in the West Bank shot and killed a Palestinian attacker who had tried to run them over with a car.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell, Ali Sawafta and Roleen Tafakji; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

6/3/2020 President Trump says inviting Russia to G7 summit is common sense by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this May 18, 2020 file photo, President Donald Trump tells reporters that he is taking zinc
and hydroxychloroquine during a meeting with restaurant industry executives about the
coronavirus response, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The president has defended inviting Russia to rejoin the G7 summit this year.    On Wednesday, President Trump stated it is common sense to bring Russia’s President Vladimir Putin back into the fold and noted it would be easier to solve issues involving Russia with Putin in the room.
    He went on to discuss Russia’s recent cooperation during the pandemic, as well as the potential opportunity to discuss a new nuclear pact.
    The problem is many of the things that we talk about are about Putin, so we’re just sitting around wasting time.    Then you have to finish your meeting and somebody has to call Putin, or deal with Putin, on different things.    I say have him in the room.    It used to be the G8…” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
[NOTE: See there was an 8th head that grew out of the beast with 7 heads with one head had 10 horns and 10 crowns (WTO World Trade Center) and the 8th head will return again].
    Russia was removed from the group in 2014 following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.    President Trump previously claimed former President Barack Obama may have played a role in this.
    Other G7 nations, including Canada and Germany, have criticized the president’s decision.    Additionally, the U.K. has vowed to veto any attempt to bring Russia back into the group.
[Trump wants Putin there because he needs to bring forth “The Deal of the Century” for the Trump/Kushner peace plan for new Palestine State and many of these nations will be part of that to occur and Putin will be the key to get the Palesinians to come to the table.    If this does not happen then he will have to have a seperate meeting with Putin and Israel-Palestinians and the UN Security Council to do this business by September 1st.].

6/6/2020 Israeli protesters denounce prime minister’s annexation plan by OAN Newsroom
A man holds Israeli flag during a rally against Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank,
in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, June 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
    Citizens of Israel have criticized the prime minister’s annexation plan.    On Saturday, thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to denounce his plan to extend sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.
    The region is currently occupied by millions of Palestinians, who want the land to become an independent state.
    Protesters were seen gathering under a banner stating “No to Annexation,” while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
    “So, we are here to protest the idea of the annexation that does not serve Israelis.    (It) does not serve Palestinians, blocks the option for a two state solution, blocks any option for decent lives for Palestinians and is actually a fiction that serves Trump, serves Bibi (Netanyahu), does not serve people.    This is why we are here.” – Noga Daganbuzaglo, Director of an Israeli think tank
People chant during a rally against Israel plans to annex parts of the West Bank,
in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, June 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
    According to reports, nearly half of the country supports the prime minister’s decision.
[Netanyahu is attempting to annex the area that is in the map of the Trump/Kushner peace plan so the Palestinians time is running out to get with the program.].

6/9/2020 Palestinian PM says not informed of new UAE aid flight via Israel by Ali Sawafta and Alexander Cornwell
FILE PHOTO: A cargo plane operated by Etihad Airways offloads aid related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for
Palestinians, at Ben Gurion Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel May 19, 2020. Israel Airports Authority office/Handout via REUTERS
    RAMALLAH, West Bank/DUBAI (Reuters) – Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Tuesday he was unaware that a plane from the United Arab Emirates was to fly to Israel carrying medical aid for the Palestinians.
    His remarks, after the flight was announced by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, cast doubt over whether the Palestinians – at odds with Israel over occupied land they seek for a state – would accept the supplies.
    The Palestinian Authority is sensitive about attempts to direct aid or assistance to areas under its limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank without its knowledge and coordination.
    The Palestinians, who have no airports and typically receive aid via Jordan, Egypt or Israel, rejected a similar shipment of medical supplies to combat the coronavirus on May 19, saying it had not been coordinated with them.
    “If any country, whether Arab or European or international country wants to help us, we welcome that.    We don’t say no – as long as it is not conditional and as long as it is fully coordinated with us,” Shtayyeh told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
    The aid was coordinated through the United Nations, which was handling the logistics, the UAE foreign ministry said.
    “The UAE’s only concern is to support the Palestinian people through this challenging period, in line with its historic support,” it said.
    State-owned Etihad also operated the May 19 flight, the first known flight by a UAE airline to Israel.
    Etihad said on Tuesday it would operate a second flight to Israel carrying medical aid on a cargo-only service from Abu Dhabi.     Israel’s foreign ministry said the Etihad flight landed at Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening.     Aid would be transferred to Gaza and the West Bank by the UN and a unit of Israel’s defence ministry, it said.
    Israel has no diplomatic relations with the Gulf Arab countries and there are no commercial flights between them.    But shared concerns over Iran’s regional influence have led to a discreet thaw in ties.
    The Palestinians have warned against Arab normalisation with Israel, which has pledged to annex the West Bank’s Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley.    Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Timothy Heritage)

6/9/2020 Palestinian PM: Israel must face consequences over planned West Bank annexations by Rami Ayyub and Ali Sawafta
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh addresses journalists during a meeting with members of the Foreign
Press Association in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 9, 2020. Abbas Momani/Pool via REUTERS
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Israel must face consequences if it annexes land in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Tuesday, pointing to possible European sanctions.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to extend sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, territory Israel took in the 1967 Middle East war and which Palestinians seek for a state.
    Netanyahu’s new government is due to begin discussing the de facto annexation on July 1, but it is unclear whether Israel’s main ally, the United States, would greenlight the step.
    The Palestinians have rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace blueprint, announced in January, under which most of the settlements Israel built would be incorporated into “contiguous Israeli territory.”
    At a news conference, Shtayyeh said annexation would kill any possibility of peace with Israel and erode “the Palestinian, regional and international consensus” on a two-state solution.
    He said Israel must now “feel the heat of international pressure.”
    European states, Shtayyeh said, were debating “sanctions on Israel and freezing association agreements, as well as cancelling some research programmes” and “recognising Palestine” as a state in the West Bank and Gaza.
    Most countries view Israel’s settlements on occupied land as illegal.    Israel disputes this.    Palestinians now exercise limited self-rule in parts of the West Bank while Palestinian Islamist group Hamas rules tiny Gaza.
    But Shtayyeh said the 27-nation European Union’s consensus decision-making was “a bit complicated,” and one or two countries were not in line with others on the issue.
    An EU spokesman in Jerusalem declined comment on Shtayyeh’s remarks but pointed to an earlier statement from EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell which said that annexation, “if implemented, could not pass unchallenged.”
    Shtayyeh said the Palestinians submitted a four-and-a-half page counter-proposal to Trump’s plan to the Quartet of Middle East mediators – the United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations.
    The proposal included a demilitarised Palestinian state with “minor border modification wherever it is needed” and exchanges of land equal “in size and volume and in value – one to one,” Shtayyeh added
.
    The Palestinians have declared agreements with Israel void in protest against annexation.    Shtayyeh said his government’s rejection of taxes collected by Israel on its behalf meant salaries would not be paid to some 130,000 public workers.
(This story corrects to show that PM did provide some details of Palestinians’ counter-proposal to Trump plan.)
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

6/12/2020 In rare appeal to Israeli public, UAE warns against annexation by Rami Ayyub
A Palestinian holds a burning tire during a protest against Israel's plan to annex parts
of the occupied West Bank, in Hebron June 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel cannot expect to normalise relations with the Arab world if it annexes land in the occupied West Bank, a United Arab Emirates envoy wrote in Israel’s top newspaper on Friday.
    Some Israeli officials have dismissed the notion that applying sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank would slow a discreet opening between Israel and Arab countries, particularly with Gulf states who share Israeli concerns over Iran.
    But, in a rare appeal to the Israeli public by an Arab official, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington, Youssef Al Otaiba, said the move would be what he called an “illegal takeover” of land Palestinians seek for a state.
    “Annexation would – certainly and immediately – upend all Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and the UAE,” he wrote in an op-ed in Israel’s best-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, published in Hebrew.
    Israel has no diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab countries, but common concerns over Iran’s regional influence have led to a limited thaw in ties.    In May, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad made the first known flight by a UAE carrier to Israel, carrying coronavirus aid for the Palestinians.
    “All the progress that you’ve seen and the attitudes that have been changing towards Israel, people becoming more accepting of Israel and less hostile to Israel, all of that could be undermined by a decision to annex,” Al Otaiba said in a separate interview with The National, an Abu Dhabi-based newspaper.
    Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries with which Israel has formal relations.
    The Israeli government intends to begin debating annexation on July 1.    While the move won support in U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, an Israeli minister on Thursday said there were gaps with Washington on the issue and that the two allies had yet to agree on a map of territorial lines.
    Responding to Al Otaiba’s op-ed, Israeli Foreign ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat said on Twitter: “Peace is an opportunity for the whole Middle East, and provides potential for us all.
    “The U.S. Peace Initiative (Trump plan) is a starting point to realize this vision,” he added.
    Palestinians say annexation would render impossible their goal of statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    They have called for international sanctions against Israel.
    The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, condemned the UAE’s Al Otaiba for what it called an attempt to seek common ground with Israel.
    “All parties that seek normalisation with the occupation (Israel) must cease this track,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Grant McCool)

6/14/2020 Israel approves funding for new ‘Trump Heights’ settlement by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this June 16, 2019, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, his wife Sara,
United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, left, and his wife Tammy pose during the
inauguration of a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in the Golan Heights. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed plans to construct a new settlement in the Golan Heights named after President Trump.    The funding for “Trump Heights” was approved on Sunday, which will allocate $2.3 million towards the settlement.
    This big move expressed gratitude for President Trump’s decision to steer clear from prior foreign policies that actively worked against the state of Israel.
    “Today, we will begin practical steps to construct the settlement ‘Trump Heights’ in the Golan Heights, which Israel’s sovereignty over it was recognized by President Trump,” stated the prime minister.

    Netanyahu also praised both the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for authorizing sanctions against anyone involved in an International Criminal Court investigation of Americans or U.S. allies.
[This ICC is another Globalist entity who is hassling the U.S. and Israel because they are not following their program for world government takeover and trying to stop any nationalism or sovereignty and the U.S. is the "Two Wings Of The Eagle" helping the "Woman with the 12 stars and have the protections of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Jesus Christ who will return soon as this as we are at beginning of the end of the time, and times, and half a time 1948-2020 and soon to start the second half of the time, and times, and half a time 2021 to unknown.
Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Revelation 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.].

6/16/2020 Exclusive: Israel builds new Jerusalem road that will link settlements as government weighs West Bank annexation by Stephen Farrell, Maayan Lubell and Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows a bridge under construction as part of The American Road, an Israeli
ring road that is being built through East Jerusalem. The construction is in Sur Baher, a Palestinian
neighbourhood of East Jerusalem May 10, 2020. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Construction is under way on a major new ring road for Jerusalem that Israeli officials say will benefit all of its residents, but critics of the project say is another obstacle to Palestinian hopes to make East Jerusalem the capital of a future state.
    The bypass, called The American Road, will connect Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank that are north and south of Jerusalem.    The central and southern sections of the road are already being built, and tenders for the northernmost stretch – at a projected cost of $187 million – will be issued toward the end of the year, a Jerusalem municipality official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
    In total, the project, which will run along or near the outer rim of East Jerusalem, is forecast to cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars.    Israel annexed East Jerusalem, in a move that has not won international recognition, after capturing the area, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in a 1967 war.
    The construction comes as the Israeli government is set to begin cabinet-level discussions from July 1 about implementing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election promise to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank – a planned step that is sparking growing international criticism.    Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.
    Israeli officials say the road, which will include a 1.6 kilometre (one mile) tunnel east of the Mount of Olives, will ease traffic congestion for both Israelis and Palestinians living in the area.
    “It doesn’t unite the settlements.    It’s not about uniting borders or municipal lines,” said Arieh King, a Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and a leading figure in the city’s settler movement.    “But it does connect them more on the daily level – whether it’s studies, tourism or commerce.    And then in practice you create a huge Jerusalem metropolis.”
    Palestinians say the new road will primarily benefit settlers, and will further undermine the feasibility of East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza.
    “This project cuts off Palestinian neighborhoods within the city from one another,” Fadi Al-Hidmi, the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, said via email.    Responding to questions from Reuters, Al-Hidmi said The American Road was part of Israel’s “illegal” ring road project, which “surrounds occupied East Jerusalem to further connect Israeli settlements and sever the occupied Palestinian capital from the rest of the West Bank.”
    Israel’s West Bank settlements were built by successive governments on land captured in the 1967 war.    More than 400,000 Israelis now live there, with another 200,000 in East Jerusalem.        Palestinians say the settlements make a future state unviable, and most of the world views them as illegal under international law.    Israel disputes this, citing its security needs and biblical and historical ties to the land on which they are built.
    King said the highway would be a “significant corridor” from the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank and settlements such as Har Homa south of the city centre, to settlements to the north and east of Jerusalem, including Maale Adumim, which is home to more than 40,000 people.
    Arab residents in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods such as Umm Tuba and Sur Baher would also benefit, he said, because it would reduce their travel times.
    Israel’s transport ministry directed questions to the Jerusalem municipality.
    Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli attorney who represented some Palestinian families affected by the construction, told Reuters the bypass fitted into a long-time strategy by Israel of using infrastructure projects to secure “de facto annexation” of territory.
    “What we are seeing here is, again, the seamless integration of the northern West Bank, East Jerusalem under sole Israeli control, and the southern West Bank for the purposes of the settlers,” said Seidemann, who specialises in the geopolitics of Jerusalem.    “That is the motivation, and the fact that it will benefit a Palestinian East Jerusalemite somewhat is collateral spinoff, but not more than that.”
    Planning documents reviewed by Reuters and visits to the area to plot the route show the road will run for more than eight kilometres (five miles).    Dozens of Palestinians living along the route of The American Road pointed to such factors as the scope of the construction and the proximity of the highway’s northern and southern ends to major settlements as evidence that the bypass was designed primarily for settlers.
    The scale of The American Road project, named after a decades-old narrow road that winds through southeast Jerusalem, is evident some four kilometres from the city centre, where a huge bridge is rising in a remote valley.    The grey edifice, which can’t be seen from outside the valley, towers over the rural landscape.    At the site, cement-mixers rumble through the hill-hugging Palestinian neighbourhoods of Sur Baher and Jabal al-Mukabar toward the 230-metre-long structure.
    Billboards advertise an August 2021 completion date for a section of The American Road nearest Har Homa, the settlement built by Netanyahu in the 1990s that overlooks the Palestinian town of Bethlehem.
    “We lived in a paradise, and now we will live under a highway,” said Khader Attoun, whose house looks directly over the bridge.     “Israel wants to squeeze us out of our land and confine us to our tiny homes, to let settlers drive on highways through the valley of our ancestors.”
Graphic – The American Road: https://graphics.reuters.com/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/ROAD/xlbvggmlavq/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-ROAD.jpg
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell, Maayan Lubell and Rami Ayyub; Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Nuha Sharaf in Jerusalem; edited by Peter Hirschberg, Janet McBride)

6/16/2020 Greek PM visits Israel, hoping to restore tourism and warning on Turkey
FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece,
April 28, 2020. Greek Prime Minister's Office/Dimitris Papamitsos/Handout via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Israel on Tuesday in a show of confidence in the countries’ anti-coronavirus measures which Athens hopes can be translated into a resumption of tourism.
    With Greece, Israel and Cyprus partnered up on energy projects in the eastern Mediterranean, Mitsotakis also warned against exploration efforts by “neighbourhood bully” Turkey.
    Israel sees the visit as an opportunity to dilute European opposition to its planned annexation of occupied West Bank land which the Palestinians want for a state.
    Hoping to salvage its tourism sector this summer, Greece opened its main airports to mainly EU visitors on Monday.    Israel has provided about 1 million tourists annually in recent years.
    “I am certain that the flights from Israel will resume very soon,” Mitsotakis told Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth before he arrived in Israel.    “I aspire to make Greece the safe destination of Europe.”
    Mitsotakis said the Greek-Israeli-Cypriot energy explorations arrangement “is not directed against nor exclusive of anyone,” but accused Turkey of trying to exert political and military control over the region.
    “Turkey is welcome to give up on its imperialistic pipeline dreams and cooperate with us as an equal and law-abiding partners – not as the neighbourhood bully,” he said.
    Turkey says it is within its sovereign rights.
    Israel says its planned annexation of Jewish settlements and the strategic Jordan Valley in the West Bank is in line with a U.S. plan for peace with the Palestinians, but the European Union has said it “could not pass unchallenged.”
    “We expect Greece to be an anchor of support for us in the Union,” Yossi Amrani, the Israeli ambassador to Athens, told Israel’s Army Radio when asked about the annexation plan.
    Mitsotakis told Yedioth he would also speak to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after returning to Greece.
(Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

6/21/2020 Palestinians fear Israeli annexation could further limit Dead Sea access
People smear themselves with mineral-rich mud on the shore of the Dead Sea in
the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 19, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    DEAD SEA, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians are worried their restricted access to the salty waters of the Dead Sea and its mineral-rich beaches could be cut further if Israel annexes land in the occupied West Bank.
    Israel, citing support from U.S. President Donald Trump, has announced plans to extend sovereignty over parts of the West Bank – including the Jordan Valley, which partly borders the Dead Sea.    Palestinians have voiced outrage at the proposal.
    The Dead Sea is a popular destination where bathers float in hypersaline waters and use the nutrient-rich mud on their skin.    Its shores border Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.
    “This place is a blessing for all Palestinians, but if there will be annexation it will be hard for them to reach here.    They may need permits,” said Musa Farah, a lifeguard at one of the small, Israeli-run resorts that dot the Dead Sea’s West Bank coast.
    Even some owners of Israeli resorts – set up after Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war – are concerned they could lose customers under the annexation plan.
    “My business will be very much affected,” said Dina Dagan, owner of the Biankini Village Resort.    “The Israeli government should know that my business depends on the Palestinians who visit here.    This place is open for Jews and Arabs.”
    During peace talks – stalled since 2014 – the Palestinians have sought to gain some control over part of the Dead Sea coastline and set up resorts, which they see as a potential boon for their economy.
    The Palestinians have long sought a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
    Most countries view Israeli settlements in occupied territory as illegal.    Israel rejects this.
(Reporting by Yosri Al-Jamal; Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

6/22/2020 U.S. officials to meet this week on Israel annexation plan by Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk outside the
Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials will gather this week to discuss whether to give Israel a green light for its plan to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s target date of July 1 approaches.
    A senior administration official said on Monday that the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, will be in Washington to meet officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz.    President Donald Trump could also join in.
    Under Trump’s Middle East peace proposal, unveiled in January, it is envisaged that the United States would recognize the Jewish settlements – built on land that the Palestinians seek for a state – as part of Israel.
    The proposal would create a Palestinian state as part of a broader peace plan, but impose strict conditions on it.    Palestinian leaders have dismissed the initiative entirely.
    Encouraged by Trump’s push, Netanyahu has set July 1 as the date to launch his project of extending sovereignty over the settlements and the Jordan Valley, hoping for a green light from Washington.    Most countries view Israel’s settlements on occupied land as illegal, and Palestinian leaders have voiced outrage at the prospect of annexation.
    “Ultimately, as the team approaches this thought of annexation, the main thing going through our heads is, ‘Does this in fact help advance the cause of peace?’    And therefore, that is what will help drive a lot of the discussion,” the official said.
LIMITED ANNEXATION FIRST?
    Among the main options expected to be considered is a step-by-step process in which Israel would initially declare sovereignty over several settlements close to Jerusalem instead of the 30% of the West Bank envisaged in Netanyahu’s original plan, according to a person familiar with the matter.
    The source said the Trump administration has not closed the door to a larger annexation, but fears that allowing Israel to move too fast could kill any hopes of eventually drawing the Palestinians to sit down to discuss Trump’s peace plan.
    There are also concerns about opposition to annexation from Jordan, one of only two countries that have a peace treaty with Israel, as well from Gulf states that have quietly expanded engagement with Israel in recent years.
    Washington has also made clear it wants Israel’s unity government, which has been divided on the issue, to reach a consensus before going ahead with any actions, the source said.    Defense Minister Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party, has so far been reluctant to back Likud-leader Netanyahu’s plan.
    Berkowitz has been fielding calls about the Trump plan from European and Arab nations, but the U.S. side has privately expressed frustration that they are not offering constructive ideas on how to amend it, a source familiar with the issue said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

6/22/2020 Palestinian painter channels her fears of Israeli annexation by Raneen Sawafta
Khadeeja Bisharat, a Palestinian artist, displays a conflict-inspired artwork she has painted,
in Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    JORDAN VALLEY, West Bank (Reuters) – Amid the barren hills of the Jordan Valley, Palestinian artist Khadeeja Bisharat paints scenes of bulldozers and demolitions, a reflection of fears of what may happen to her isolated Bedouin community if Israel annexes land in the occupied West Bank.
    Some 15,000 Palestinians live in tiny pastoral encampments scattered across the Jordan Valley.    Israel has pledged to extend its sovereignty over the territory – some 30% of the West Bank – with cabinet-level discussion on the move set to begin July 1.
    “This affects our psychological wellbeing, and the children’s wellbeing … Will they allow residents to stay? Will they demolish their houses?” Bisharat, 37, said from her Bedouin encampment in the northern Jordan Valley.
    She says she has tried to express her fear and uncertainty through paintings, among them a watercolour depicting women gathered around a demolished home and a scene of a yellow bulldozer approaching a tin Bedouin shack.
    “I try to convey a message of how the occupation impacts us, the violations we are subjected to,” the mother-of-three said.
    Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war.    An Israeli military post, near the Jewish settlement of Hamra, looks down on Bisharat’s community from a nearby hilltop.
    She said she felt surrounded, far from areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority and exposed to Israeli demolition of farm shacks erected by her community.
    Israel has cited a lack of proper permits, required in parts of the West Bank under complete Israeli military control, in issuing demolition orders.
    Peace Now, an Israeli advocacy group that opposes Israel’s settlement policy, says most Palestinian applications for building permission are rejected.
    Bisharat’s husband, Mahmoud, said their community would be defiant in the face of Israeli annexation.
    “Even if it is imposed on us, we will resist with all the means we have.”
(Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

6/23/2020 Palestinian driver shot dead after alleged car-ramming on Israeli police
Israeli forces check the scene of a Palestinian ramming attack at an Israeli military checkpoint near
the town of Abu Dis in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police on Tuesday shot dead a Palestinian man who they said had tried to ram his car into an officer at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.
    Palestinian officials questioned the police’s account of Ahmad Erekat’s death.    They said he was rushing to nearby Bethlehem to pick up family members from a hair salon on his sister’s wedding day.
    Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 27-year-old Erekat lightly injured an officer when he drove his vehicle into a barrier at a checkpoint near the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem.
    “(He) got out of the car and approached officers who responded by shooting” him and “he died at the scene,” Rosenfeld added.
    Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the man killed was his relative, and that his wedding was set for next week.
    “This young man was killed in cold blood.    What the occupation army (Israeli military) claims, that he was trying to run someone over, is a lie,” he said.
    Video showed Israeli troops placing a plastic sheet over the man, who lay shirtless on the ground next to his vehicle.
    Tensions have risen in recent weeks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet due on July 1 to begin discussing annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.
    Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

6/23/2020 Vexed by annexation: The battle inside the EU over Israel by Robin Emmott, Luke Baker, John Irish and Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian returns a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during a protest against Israel's plan
to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in Hebron June 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma/File Photo
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two months before Donald Trump unveiled his Middle East peace plan on Jan. 28, Luxembourg’s foreign minister was certain the U.S. president would break with the European Union and recognise Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
    Jean Asselborn wrote to his EU colleagues on Dec. 1 to warn that a lasting, two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians was being “dismantled piece by piece, day after day,” according to the letter, reviewed by Reuters.
    In an assertive move for Luxembourg, a country of just 626,000 people but a founder member of the European Union, Asselborn urged the bloc to “speak with a strong and unified voice” and defend a world “where the rule of law prevails, not the rule of the strongest.”
    Trump’s highly contested plan duly offered U.S. recognition of Israel’s settlements dotted across the West Bank, and Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley — land captured in the 1967 Middle East war and claimed by Palestinians for their own future state.    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 as the date to begin moving forward on the annexation.
    The United Nations Security Council has said that settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which has been ratified by 192 nations and stipulates that a country cannot “deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”    Israel disputes this, citing biblical, historical and political connections to the land.
    Trump has reversed decades of U.S.-led diplomacy by backing Israeli annexation, with a White House statement arguing that his plan “creates a path to prosperity, security, and dignity for all involved.”    European Union officials fear an Israeli unilateral move will undermine years of peace-making efforts.
    “The prospect of a viable two-state solution is the only way forward to ensure peace,” Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, the EU representative to the West Bank and Gaza, told Reuters.
    However, a Reuters examination based on internal documents and interviews with more than two dozen diplomats and officials shows there is no clear EU strategy either on how to stop Israel’s plan or to respond in a meaningful way if annexation goes ahead.
    Where once the European Union spoke with unanimity on Middle East peace, with bigger nations like France and Britain able to dominate discussion, such unity has proved hard to maintain over the past decade as smaller countries became more assertive and Israel successfully forged strong ties with newer member states, EU diplomats said.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined requests for comment on efforts to secure backing within Europe for annexation.    An Israeli official familiar with the issue said Europe and Israel shared many partnerships in various fields and that it was important not to undermine them.    “In our view, partners should not threaten each other or speak above each other’s heads,” the official said.
    A senior EU diplomat, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, acknowledged that the bloc will almost certainly fail to reach the unanimity required for joint action should annexation take place.
    “It’s hell in the EU to try to get a common position on this,” the diplomat said.
GUILT
    With possible annexation looming, a group of at least eight smaller EU states, led by Luxembourg, is attempting to take on Netanyahu, seeing itself as the conscience of Europe and emphasizing the need to stand up for international law in part because the bloc is itself bound together by laws.
    Standing with Luxembourg are Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Malta and Finland, EU diplomats say.
    While most are diplomatic minnows, they have equal say in the EU’s consensus-based, decision-making councils.    In Middle East policy, they feel the weight of history far less than Europe’s most powerful nation, Germany, which still carries the burden of guilt over the Nazi crimes of World War Two.
    Ranged against Luxembourg and its allies are countries including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, Latvia, Cyprus and Poland, all of which, to one extent or another, have shown themselves ready to defend Israel’s interests, according to diplomats, cables and meeting minutes detailing the diplomatic discussions among the EU’s 27 governments in Brussels.
    Internal EU minutes from meetings on May 6 and May 13, when EU envoys discussed Asselborn’s call to action, highlight the split.
    “No unilateral steps,” the Czech envoy told the May 13 gathering, ruling out the prospect of the EU adopting punitive measures should Israel press ahead with annexation.    Hungary then blocked any attempt to draw up a joint statement for a meeting of EU foreign ministers on May 15.
    Of the bigger EU states, France, with the largest Jewish and Arab populations in Europe, and Spain have largely aligned with Luxembourg, but they maintain a lower profile in discussions, four EU diplomats said.    Both countries have spoken out publicly against annexation, but have not said how they might respond.
    Denmark and the Netherlands sit in the middle along with Germany and Italy, critical of Israel at times but not overtly pro-Palestinian. One senior EU diplomat said Berlin was against annexation and if Israel proceeded with its plan, it would come “at a price.”    However, the diplomat said EU economic sanctions were simply too sensitive for Berlin to consider.    “Germany will not push for that.”
    Asselborn, 71, who has served as Luxembourg’s foreign minister since mid-2004, said the issue of annexation went beyond the Middle East.
    “We cannot cut international law into pieces.    There are principles that need to be upheld,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
    “You’re speaking to a Luxembourger.    I can tell you, our country is a small country, but we were occupied twice in the 20th century.    Without respect for international law, we would no longer exist,” he said.
LEVERAGE
    The European Union is Israel’s largest trading partner, with nearly a third of Israel’s exports going to the bloc.    Belgium is among the countries that feels the EU could use this leverage, and has asked the European Commission, the EU’s executive, to draw up a list of possible punitive measures on Israel, including on trade, an EU diplomat said.
    Amongst possible countermeasures being discussed in private in Brussels are suspending Israel’s privileged EU trade agreement, banning imports from settlements, and cutting Israel out of scientific research and student exchange programmes, EU diplomats say.
    In his December letter to other EU ministers, Asselborn suggested nations should consider a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state – something only Sweden has done to date.
    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in February that annexation “if implemented, could not pass unchallenged.”    However, the lack of consensus means he has been unable to flesh out what any such challenge might contain.
    By contrast, the EU agreed swiftly in 2014 to impose hefty economic sanctions targeting Russia’s financial, energy and defence sectors when Moscow seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine – land that Russia still holds.
    “Big countries never had a problem imposing counter measures against Russia over Crimea’s annexation, so why can they not do it on Israel? We need coherence,” Simon Moutquin, a Belgian Green lawmaker, told Reuters.
    EU diplomats, officials and experts point to a strong presence of pro-Israel advocates in Brussels, with at least 10 lobby groups opening offices in the city over the past 17 years as Israel looked to bolster its international image in the wake of the second Palestinian intifada and three wars in Gaza.    Israel’s own diplomats are also viewed as extremely efficient.
    “The Israelis are very active in Brussels,” said European parliamentarian Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White, a Spaniard who chairs the assembly’s delegation with Israel.
    Perhaps the most significant relationship Israel has forged over the past decade is that with Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, EU diplomats say.    Through Hungary, Israel’s ties have improved with the Visegrad Group, an alliance combining Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, which carries its own weight within the EU.
    In Orban, Netanyahu has found an ally prepared to block statements or actions critical of Israel, even in the face of heavy pressure from other European capitals, EU diplomats say.    Thanks in part to his blocking tactics, the EU has not been able to agree to a legally binding position on the Middle East peace process since 2016.
    “Hungary … will continue to oppose unilateral and unjust international political approaches against Israel,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto wrote on Facebook on June 10, as Germany’s foreign minister flew for talks to Jerusalem to warn against annexation.
(Robin Emmott reported for this story from Brussels, John Irish from Paris, Luke Baker from London and Maayan Lubell from Jerusalem; Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin and Gergely Szakacs in Budapest; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

6/23/2020 In West Bank, Israeli settler leaders complicate annexation plan by Dan Williams
Hananel Elkayam, mayor of Itamar, gestures during his interview with Reuters in Itamar a Jewish
settlement near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    ITAMAR, West Bank (Reuters) – Jewish settler leaders who resist the creation of a Palestinian state are complicating Israel’s plans to annex scores of settlements in the occupied West Bank under U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace blueprint.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet is due next month to discuss the annexation plan, under which Israel would apply sovereignty over 30% of the West Bank – in areas where most of its about 130 settlements are located.
    The plan is opposed by the Palestinians, who seek a state in all of the West Bank, as well as in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as a capital.    Most world powers agree.
    The plan also faces resistance from settler leaders who oppose Trump’s calls for a future Palestinian state that would envelop at least 15 Jewish settlements – despite U.S. guarantees of protection for, and access to, the future “enclaves.”
    “We’re talking about strangling a community,” said Hananel Elkayam, mayor of Itamar settlement, one of the 15 named in the plan.
    In misgivings echoed in the other 14, Elkayam predicted residents would be unable to commute to jobs through territory that would be in a new Palestinian state, would by denied construction and would be at greater risk of attack than now.
    “I would tell (Trump): Thanks very much for the plan, thanks very much for the great affection for the Jewish people (but) we’ll set our own destiny,” Elkayam said.
KEEPING DOOR TO DIPLOMACY OPEN
    U.S. officials will this week discuss whether to give Israel the green light for annexation moves seen by the Palestinians and many other countries as illegal land-grabs.
    Israel’s West Bank settlements were built by successive governments on land captured in a 1967 war.    More than 400,000 Israelis now live there, with another 200,000 in East Jerusalem, which was also taken in 1967.
    A Direct Poll survey last week found 56.8% of settlers support the Trump plan, more than the Israeli average.
    Elkayam and other settler leaders say that backing is for annexation – on condition that plans for Palestinian statehood are scrapped.
    Israeli and U.S. officials want to be seen as keeping a door open to diplomacy.    Where that door might lead worries Yochai Damri, head of a regional council that includes four of the 15 listed settlements.
    Damri sees Palestinian statehood becoming more likely if the Republican president is defeated by Democrat Joe Biden in November’s U.S. election, and if, or when, Netanyahu is succeeded by centrist Benny Gantz, the Israeli premier’s partner in a fragile unity government.
    The Trump plan says residents of the future enclaves can stay put “unless they choose otherwise.”    Damri and other settlers hear in that a hint that they should quit to make way for Palestinian territorial contiguity.
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Timothy Heritage)

6/24/2020 Israel, Palestinians tighten restrictions as coronavirus reemerges
FILE PHOTO: A member of Palestinian security forces gestures as he speaks with a truck occupant at a checkpoint
after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has extended to June 5 a state of emergency in response
to the coronavirus crisis, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli and Palestinian authorities have brought back some coronavirus restrictions after the number of new cases jumped in what official’s fear could herald a “second wave” of infections.
    A partial lockdown went into effect on Wednesday in a town in central Israel and several neighborhoods in the city of Tiberias where infection rates were particularly high.    The Palestinian Authority put the West Bank city of Hebron on lockdown as well.
    Israel was one of the first countries to close its borders and impose restrictions when the global pandemic first emerged and the Palestinians quickly followed suit.
    The campaign took a major economic toll, but it worked. An initial spike of hundreds of daily cases dropped to single digits.     Israel has reported 308 fatalities, much less than many developed countries, and three people have died from the virus in the Palestinian territories.
    The restrictions have since been gradually eased in a bid to revive businesses that had closed, and with it infection numbers have slowly risen.    On Tuesday, Israel saw 428 new cases and the Palestinians reported 179, the highest number to date.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected more communities would be added to the lockdown list and urged Israelis to follow social distancing guidelines.    On Monday he gave police the authority to hand out 500 shekel ($146) fines to people not wearing masks in public.
    Despite the spike in cases, Israel is unlikely to reimpose a full lockdown, during which unemployment soared.    A 100-billion-shekel stimulus plan is already pushing the country’s budget deficit in 2020 to an estimated 11% of gross domestic product.
    “Economic reserves are low with a limited arsenal for policymakers.    This current state of affairs makes it very difficult to reimpose a closure,” Bank Hapoalim, the country’s biggest lender, said in a research report.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Rami Ayyub, Tova Cohen, Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

6/24/2020 Trump aides begin discussions on Israel’s West Bank annexation plan: sources by Matt Spetalnick and Steve Holland
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump puts his hands on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
shoulders as they deliver joint remarks on a Middle East peace plan proposal in the East Room
of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior aides to U.S. President Donald Trump began discussions on Tuesday on whether to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light for his plan to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to a U.S. official and a person familiar with the deliberations.
    With Netanyahu’s July 1 target date approaching, the White House meeting included Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and the U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the U.S. official said.
    Trump, whose support Netanyahu is counting on for a move that has drawn condemnation from the Palestinians and U.S. Arab allies, did not participate, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.    But U.S. sources have said he could join in later as this week’s deliberations continue.
    Under Trump’s Middle East peace proposal unveiled in January, it is envisaged that the United States would recognize the Jewish settlements – built on land the Palestinians seek for a state – as part of Israel.
    Trump’s proposal would eventually create a Palestinian state under a broader peace plan but impose strict conditions on it.    Palestinian leaders have completely rejected the initiative.
    Encouraged by Trump’s push, Netanyahu intends to launch his project of extending sovereignty over the settlements and the Jordan Valley, hoping for U.S. approval.    Most countries view Israel’s settlements as illegal, and Palestinian leaders have voiced outrage at the prospect of annexation.
    Among the main options under U.S. consideration is a step-by-step process in which Israel would initially declare sovereignty over several settlements close to Jerusalem instead of the 30% of the West Bank envisaged in Netanyahu’s original plan, according to a person close to matter.
    Trump has not closed the door to a larger annexation, but fears that allowing Israel to move too fast could kill any hopes of drawing the Palestinians into talks on Trump’s plan, the source said.
    There are also concerns about opposition from Jordan, one of only two countries that have a peace treaty with Israel, and from Gulf states that have quietly expanded engagement with Israel.
    The officials on Tuesday held what one source called “informal internal discussions.”    No decisions were reached at the meeting, which Kushner attended before leaving with Trump on a trip to Arizona, the U.S. official said.
        Washington has also made clear it wants Israel’s unity government, divided on the issue, to reach a consensus.
(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick and Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

6/24/2020 U.N. chief calls on Israel to abandon West Bank annexation plan by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a session of the Human Rights Council
at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel on Wednesday to abandon plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning this threatened prospects for peace with the Palestinians.
    “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-state solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations,” Guterres told the U.N. Security Council.
    “I call on the Israeli Government to abandon its annexation plans,” he said.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet is preparing to start discussions on July 1 on annexation of the West Bank, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a state.
    Palestinians vehemently oppose the annexation plan, as do most world powers.    Palestinian leaders have also completely rejected a peace proposal unveiled in January by U.S. President Donald Trump, in which Washington would recognize Jewish settlements as part of Israel.
    Should Israel decide to extend its sovereignty, it will be doing so with respect to areas over which it has always maintained a legitimate, historical and legal claim,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon told the council.
    Senior aides to Trump began discussions on Tuesday on whether to give Netanyahu a green light for his annexation plan. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that extending Israeli sovereignty was a decision “for Israelis to make.”
    “I understand that many of you have concerns,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft told the council.    “At the same time, we ask that you also hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for acts they are responsible for.”
    Guterres called on the Middle East Quartet of mediators – the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations –     “to take up our mandated mediation role and find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage, without preconditions, with us and other key states.”
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)
[It will be all the parties mentioned above including Arab nations who will institute Trump's plan before it is all over since it would be an economical and a peace effort for all parties to intitute this item mainly because it is prophesied to occur and at that time we will know who the Antichrist mentioned as He (Whatever form) in Daniel 9:27 is.].

6/24/2020 Pompeo says up to Israel to decide on annexation as Trump aides meet by Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives a news conference about dealings with China and Iran, and on the fight
against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2020. Mangel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday it was up to Israel to decide whether to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to do despite international opposition.
    Senior aides to U.S. President Donald Trump met for a second day to discuss whether to give Netanyahu the green light for annexation, which has drawn condemnation from the Palestinians, U.S. Arab allies and other foreign governments.
    Despite that, Pompeo – speaking to reporters ahead of Netanyahu’s July 1 target date – said extending Israeli sovereignty was a decision “for Israelis to make.”
    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel to abandon plans to annex parts of the West Bank, warning this threatened prospects for peace with the Palestinians. [nL1N2E10T5]
    Under Trump’s peace proposal unveiled in January and met with widespread skepticism, the United States would recognize the Jewish settlements – built on land the Palestinians seek for a state – as part of Israel.
    The proposal would create a Palestinian state but impose strict conditions.    Palestinian leaders have dismissed the initiative and it has gone nowhere.
    Netanyahu intends to launch his project of extending sovereignty over settlements and the Jordan Valley, hoping for U.S. approval.     Most countries view Israel’s settlements as illegal, and the Palestinians have voiced outrage at annexation.
    While criticizing Palestinian leaders for rejecting Trump’s “vision for peace,” Pompeo did not provide any signs of where the administration stands on the specifics of Netanyahu’s plan.
    Pompeo was at the White House to join the discussions, and Trump could also take part, a U.S. official said.
    Among the main options under U.S. consideration is a gradual, step-by-step process in which Israel would initially declare sovereignty over several settlements close to Jerusalem instead of the 30% of the West Bank envisaged in Netanyahu’s original plan, according to a person close to matter.
    The Trump administration has not closed the door to a larger annexation.
    But Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser is concerned that allowing Israel to move too fast could kill hopes of drawing the Palestinians into talks on the peace plan he mostly authored, the source said.
    There are also concerns about opposition from Jordan, one of only two countries that have a peace treaty with Israel, and from Gulf states that have quietly expanded engagement with Israel.    Washington has also made clear it wants Israel’s unity government, divided on the issue, to reach a consensus.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Matt Spetalnick, Arshad Mohammed, David Brunnstrom; writing by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown)

6/25/2020 As Israel threatens West Bank annexation, Gazans recall settler withdrawal by Nidal al-Mughrabi
Palestinian man Haidar al-Zahar picks up peaches in his vineyard that once neighbored a former Jewish settlement,
on the outskirts of Gaza City, June 22, 2020. Picture taken June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Nidal Almughrabi
    GAZA (Reuters) – Vineyard owner Haidar al-Zahar recalls with joy the day in 2005 when Israel removed its settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip, part of a withdrawal that few Palestinians thought they would ever see.
    “I felt like a prisoner who suddenly found himself a free man,” he said.
    A decade and a half later he is on the warpath as Israel considers whether to annex its settlements in the occupied West Bank, 40 km (25 miles) away, divided from Gaza by Israel and which Palestinians seek as the heartland of a future state.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on the move, proposed as part of a U.S. peace plan.
    Israel today has all the power.    No one can deny that – they can do whatever they want,” Zahar, 68, said.
    He urged Palestinians to wage “armed resistance” to prevent the annexation, saying Israel had evacuated its troops and 8,500 settlers from Gaza in part because of Palestinian attacks at the time.
    “Without willing martyrs, nothing will change,” he said.
    Israel, which blockades Gaza citing security concerns, said it withdrew to improve its security and international status in the absence of peace talks.
    Israel captured Gaza and the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem, in a 1967 war.
    The Palestinians and most countries consider that annexation of the West Bank, where more than 420,000 Jewish settlers live, would be an illegal act, a designation that Israel disputes.
    In Gaza, Zeyad Mhana, a public servant, said Israel has been emboldened by a rift between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Hamas Islamists who took over Gaza in internal fighting in 2007.
    “We regret what is happening in the West Bank, but unfortunately it is a result of our division,” the 46-year-old said.
    In the southern Gaza district of Rafah, Mohammad Seidam, 84, said West Bank Palestinians must not give up hope.    “In Gaza they had built gardens, farms and greenhouses and God removed them,” he said.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Rami Ayyub and Jeffrey Heller; editing by John Stonestreet)
[The annexation will happen and Palestinians are about to lose out if they do not get with the plan and most other countries you mention hate Israel but the Middle East countries will find this option will bring financial gain to them and will force you to become a Palestinan State.].

6/25/2020 No final decision at White House talks on Israeli annexation moves, U.S. officials say by Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnick and Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: A general view picture shows a section of Itamar, a Jewish settlement, in the foreground as Nablus
is seen in the background, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Three days of White House meetings between aides to U.S. President Donald Trump on whether to give Israel a green light to annex parts of the occupied West Bank have ended without any final decision, senior U.S. officials said on Thursday.
    The high-level discussions centered on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to extend Israeli sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the territory, which has drawn condemnation from the Palestinians, U.S. Arab allies and other foreign governments.
    With Netanyahu’s cabinet due to begin formal annexation deliberations on Wednesday, the still-unclear U.S. position suggested the Trump administration wants to move cautiously.
    “There is as yet no final decision on the next steps for implementing the Trump plan,” one of the officials told Reuters, referring to the president’s Israeli-Palestinian peace blueprint that could provide a basis for Netanyahu’s annexation moves.
    Trump, who has hewed to a heavily pro-Israel policy, participated in the discussions, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
    Another U.S. official said further “fact-finding” would be needed before a U.S. determination.
    Under Trump’s peace proposal unveiled in January and met with widespread skepticism, the United States would recognize the settlements – built on land the Palestinians seek for a state – as part of Israel.
    The proposal would create a Palestinian state but impose strict conditions.    Palestinian leaders have dismissed the initiative and it has gone nowhere.
    Netanyahu hopes for U.S. approval for his project of extending sovereignty over settlements and the Jordan Valley.    Most countries view Israel’s settlements as illegal.
    This week’s meetings included Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other aides.    On Wednesday, Pompeo said that any decision on annexation was “for Israelis to make.”
    Among the main options under U.S. consideration is a gradual process in which Israel would initially declare sovereignty over several settlements close to Jerusalem instead of the 30% of the West Bank envisaged in Netanyahu’s original plan, according to a person close to matter.
    The Trump administration has not closed the door to a larger annexation.    But Kushner is concerned that allowing Israel to move too fast could further alienate the Palestinians.
    There are also worries about opposition from Jordan, one of only two countries that have a peace treaty with Israel, and from Gulf states that have quietly expanded engagement with Israel.    Washington also wants Israel’s unity government, divided on the issue, to reach a consensus.
(Reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Edmund Blair and Alistair Bell)

6/25/2020 Israel, UAE to cooperate in fight against coronavirus
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a protective face mask, attends the weekly cabinet
meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, June 14, 2020. Sebastian Scheiner/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM/DUBAI (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates will cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus, the two countries said on Thursday, a possible boost to Israeli efforts to normalise relations with Gulf Arab countries.
    Two private companies from the United Arab Emirates and two Israeli companies will work together on medical projects, including those to combat the new coronavirus, the UAE’s state-run news agency WAM said.
    The cooperation comes at a time of strong Arab opposition to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank – territory Palestinians seek for a state – under a U.S. peace plan.
    Israel has no diplomatic relations with Arab countries in the Gulf, but common concerns about Iran’s regional influence have led to a limited thaw in relations.
    “This scientific and medical partnership overcomes historical and political challenges in the region,” an Arabic statement from WAM said, adding that the priority was humanitarian action and constructive cooperation to safeguard people’s health.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said earlier on Thursday that a formal announcement about the partnership was imminent.
    Last week, the UAE’s minister for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said it could work with Israel on some areas, including the battle against the coronavirus and on technology, despite political differences.
    Netanyahu said at a military ceremony that Israel and the UAE would collaborate in research and development and technology “to improve the well-being of the entire region.”
    He said the agreement stemmed from intensive contacts with the UAE over recent months.
    In May, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad made the first known flight by a UAE carrier to Israel, carrying coronavirus-related aid for Palestinians.
    Speaking to a conference of the American Jewish Committee advocacy group on June 16, Gargash said Israel cannot expect to normalise relations with the Arab world if it annexes West Bank land. He also said cooperation with Israel on the pandemic would not affect the UAE’s opposition to annexation.
    Israel is due on July 1 to begin a cabinet debate on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; additional reporting by Lisa Barrington and Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Grant McCool)

6/29/2020 WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN TO ISRAEL ON JULY 1, 2020 AND THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY IS POSSIBLE NOW.
    Much of this information was on "End Of The Age" by Irvin Baxter.
    The San Reno Resolution and Treaty of Sevres in 1920 resulted in the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 to declare the new nation of Israel and mandated in 1922.    In almost 100 years later President Donald Trump started that to implement that in 2020.
    In 1949 when the five Arab nations attacked Israel and then Jordan came into their area at that time Israel miracalously stopped them.    Jordan did not leave on the cease fire and occupied the West Bank (Judea-Samaria), an illegal occupation, and Jordan tried to annex it, but the United Nations said they could not do that as being illegal, so Jordan was under an illegal occupation from 1945-1967.
    So Israel has taken it from Jordan, not the Palestinians, who claims it is theirs.
    Israel's economic minister Eli Cohen said, "We now have a historic opportunity to promote the issue with the backing of the most supportive administration we've ever had in the White House, thanks to President Trump's 'Deal Of The Centrury.'    We have to take advantage of this opportunity immediately and apply sovereignty as soon as possible."
    This is the 30% Israel and 70% Palestinian new Palestine state.
    "This historic event will be historic justice for the region of the homeland that were liberated in the Six-Day War."
    It is not an Annexation or Restoration, it is they Liberated this territory from the Jordanian occupation in the 1967 Six-Day War.
    Not suprprisingly, the Palestinian Authority is warning that Annexation of Judea and Samaria will herald a disaster for the Palestinians and cause a "NAKBA" (Catastrophe) similar to what took place in 1948.
    On May 14, 1948 the rebirth of the nation of Israel (was Arab Catastrophe) and they are planning to have another Nakba, but they are not Palestinian territories because in 1967 the Jordan occupation occurred, at that point in time there was no such thing as Palestinians, which was created by Yasser Arafat, and they are trying to appeal to the United Nations and the International Circuit Court, which has been in the news recently, and they criticized Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.    The PA leadership Senior oficials said, "We are furious and heavily disappointed in the Arab rulers who have done nothing less than betray us."
    U.S. Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo came to discuss to implement the plan for peace on May 12, 2020 for 6 hours and left, after updating progress made.
    Will this happen?    The U.S. wants to know if Israel wants to do it, and the Arab nations mentioned are okay with the U.S. and it is for all of them to get the Palestinians to take the deal.
    The Trump peace plan is different and more detailed than any of the previous plans.
    Of course the Palestinians think they should get 100% not 70% where 850,000 Jews live there.
    Recognition of Palestine will thwart annexation according to Palestinian Authroity Cabinet Leader Mohammad Shtayyah, "We left the door open to any serious initiative that seeks to revive the peace process under multilateral international sponsorship led by the quartet, as the success of peace process depends on the existence of a fair mediator, clear and agreed upon principles, a serious partner and a set timetable."     I do not know if this pandemic was the initiator, but Abbas and the Palestinians cannot get nations to go against the U.S. plan, coming soon on July 1, 2020, and Mahmoud Abbas and Erekat are fooling themselves, that the Arab states will not challenge the plan and will not stop what is being done.
    Saudi officials, "Believe Trump will serve a second term, the Palestinians failed to make the most of the Obama administration.    It is time for Abu Mazen (Abbas) and his advisers to wake up and realalize that global and regional interests have changed.    If they again miss an opportunity to establish an independant and sovereign state alongside Israel because of the annexation of the [Jordan] valley and some of the settlements, they will be left with nothing."
    The Arab nations are more concerned about stopping Iranian expansion where the U.S. is also stopping it and would not jeopardise that over Palestinians.
    So July is almost here and Israel is ready.

6/29/2020 Israel’s Gantz said date for West Bank annexation talks ‘not sacred’: party source
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top coalition partner Benny Gantz said on Monday that a July 1 target date to begin discussing proposed annexation of occupied West Bank land was “not sacred,” a source in Gantz’s party said.
    The remarks, which the source said Gantz made during a meeting with U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and White House adviser Avi Berkowitz, threw doubt on prospects for a unified Israeli approach to President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
    Washington wants Gantz on board for the plan, which envisages Israel annexing Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, and a Palestinian state established under strict conditions elsewhere in the West Bank.
    With the Palestinians boycotting the plan, however, Netanyahu and Gantz had agreed in a deal under which they formed a coalition government last month that a cabinet debate on annexation could begin as of July 1.
    “Gantz made clear in the meeting that July 1 is not a sacred date” and voiced preference for Israel dealing with the economic ravages of the coronavirus crisis, a source in his centrist Blue and White party said.
    Briefing reporters last week, Gantz — who serves as Israel’s defence minister, as well as alternate prime minister — predicted that the coronavirus crisis could last 18 months.
    Hailing the Trump plan as an “historic move,” Gantz told the U.S. envoys that it should be advanced “with strategic partners in the region and with the Palestinians, and to reach an arrangement that benefits all side,” the source said.
    The U.S. embassy spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Catherine Evans)

6/29/2020 Israeli campaigners want Jewish ruins included in West Bank annexations by Rinat Harash
Eitan Melet, a director at Israeli lobby "Safeguarding Eternity", stands next to a map near ruins of the ancient desert
fortress of Cypros, near the Palestinian city of Jericho, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    NEAR JERICHO, West Bank (Reuters) – The Israeli government faces calls from campaigners to declare sovereignty over ancient Jewish ruins on land in the occupied West Bank that Israel does not plan to annex under U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace blueprint.
    The annexation plan, which the government is due to start discussing as of Wednesday, envisages Israel annexing Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley – some 30% of the West Bank.    Under Trump’s plan, a Palestinian state would be created in the rest of the West Bank, occupied by Israel since a 1967 war.
    An Israeli advocacy group called “Safeguarding Eternity” is worried about what will happen to Jewish archaeological sites on parts of the West Bank not included in Trump’s annexation map.
    It wants Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to guarantee Israeli control over sites such as the remnants of hilltop Hasmonean and Herodian forts dating back two millennia, and hundreds of ruins from earlier Jewish rule.
    “This entire plan – its right, its essence – is the connection of the Jewish people to their land and our heritage,” Eitan Melet, a director of Safeguarding Eternity, said as he stood among a jumble of limestones that were the foundation of the desert fortress of Cypros, overlooking the Palestinian city of Jericho.
    “If we don’t take our heritage sites into account, this plan has no right to exist at all.”
    The Israeli government has not commented on the campaigners’ demands.    The Palestinians reject Trump’s blueprint and Israel’s plan to annex territory they seek for a future state.
PALESTINIAN MINISTRY: SITES ARE PROTECTED
    Assaf Avraham, an archaeologist at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said he too was worried about the fate of archaeological sites in the West Bank.
    “If these areas are not in the hands or under the sovereignty of (authorities) that know how to take care of and maintain archaeological sites, and which have the motivation to do so, we really fear for these places,” he said.
    The Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry dismissed such concerns.
    It said in a statement that it is “able to protect and preserve the cultural heritage sites under Palestinian control, as maintenance and restoration work is carried out continuously.”
    The Palestinians say Trump’s plan is biased, and most world powers view Israel’s settlements in the West Bank as illegal.
    Interim 1993 peace accords granted the Palestinians limited self-rule in West Bank areas, where they agreed to secure Jewish heritage sites for Israeli visits.
(Additional reporting by Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh; Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

6/30/2020 Israeli minister signals major West Bank annexation move not imminent by Jeffrey Heller
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with member of the Knesset for Likud Zeev Elkin as they attend the
swearing-in ceremony of the 22nd Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli minister played down on Tuesday the likelihood of major moves to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank on July 1, the planned starting point for cabinet debate on the issue.
    Zeev Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said Israel still did not have the green light it seeks from Washington to begin extending its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, territory Palestinians seek for a state.
    Palestinian leaders, the United Nations, European powers and Arab countries have all denounced any annexation of land that Israeli forces captured in a 1967 war.
    “Whoever painted a picture of everything happening in one day on July 1, did so at their own risk,” Elkin, minister of higher education, told Army Radio when asked what would happen on Wednesday.    “From tomorrow, the clock will start ticking.”
    No cabinet session for Wednesday has been announced.
    U.S. officials are in Israel as part of the White House’s efforts to win consensus within its government for annexation as envisioned in an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan announced by President Donald Trump in January.
    The proposal calls for Israeli sovereignty over about 30% of the West Bank – land on which Israel has built settlements for decades – as well as the creation of a Palestinian state under strict conditions.
    Palestinians say the blueprint would make statehood, in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, unviable, and most world powers view Israel’s settlements on occupied land as illegal.    Netanyahu says the Jewish people have a legal, historic and moral claim to the West Bank, the biblical Judea and Samaria.
    Netanyahu and his main coalition government partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, are at odds over annexation, which the right-wing prime minister has promoted.
    In an interview with the YNet news site on Tuesday, Gantz repeated his call for Israel to try to enlist Palestinian and international support for the Trump plan before proceeding with a unilateral annexation move.
(Editing by Maayan Lubell and Timothy Heritage)
[THE GAMES BEGIN BUT DON’T WORRY THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IS IN COMMAND OF WHAT WILL BE REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE NATIONS MAY WANT AND WAITING FOR AN INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY WHO WILL COME OUT OF THE WOODWORK TO IMPLEMENT IT.].

7/1/2020 Israeli foreign minister says annexation move unlikely Wednesday by Dan Williams
An aerial view shows the Jewish settlement of Kochav Hashachar in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s foreign minister said a move toward the proposed annexation of occupied West Bank land was unlikely on Wednesday, the start date set by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for discussing such a move.
    “It seems unlikely to me that this will happen today,” Gabi Ashkenazi, a member of the centrist Blue and White party that is a coalition partner of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud, told Israel’s Army Radio.
    “I reckon there will be nothing today, regarding (the extension of Israeli) sovereignty.”
    Netanyahu and his senior coalition partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz are at odds over the timing of any unilateral annexation move.
    After meeting U.S. envoys on Tuesday to discuss annexation within the framework of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, Netanyahu said such talks would continue for several days.
    Trump’s proposal calls for Israeli sovereignty over about 30% of the West Bank – land on which Israel has built settlements for decades – as well as creation of a Palestinian state under strict conditions.
    “There are very robust conversations with Israel on the Trump plan,” a U.S. official told Reuters after White House adviser Avi Berkowitz concluded his trip to Israel.
    The Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and have rejected Trump’s plan, saying it would deny them a viable state.
    Most world powers view Israel’s settlements as illegal.    Israel disputes this, citing historical and biblical ties to the West Bank, as well as security needs.
    In an editorial published in Israel’s largest selling newspaper on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for any annexation plans to be scrapped.
    “Annexation would represent a violation of international law,” Johnson wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth, echoing remarks he made in parliament on June 16.    “I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead.    If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”
(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Michael Perry and Timothy Heritage)

7/1/2020 UK PM Johnson tells Israel: do not annex parts of the occupied West Bank
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech during his visit to
Dudley College of Technology in Dudley, Britain, June 30, 2020. Paul Ellis/Pool via Reuters
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Israel that it should not annex parts of the occupied West Bank, cautioning that London would not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines.
    “Annexation would represent a violation of international law,” Johnson was quoted as saying by ynetnews.com.    “It would also be a gift to those who want to perpetuate the old stories about Israel.”     “I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead,” he said.    “If it does, the UK will not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.”
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)
[Sounds like the UK is joining into the Globalist World Government opinion and maybe they are getting scared because the Old and New Testament prophecies are starting to become a reality that is in the works and everyone is also attacking the Trump administration at every turn and it is definite that the entity behind these attacks are very noticeable and if I were them I would get on the right side of the equation, which is GOOD vs. EVIL, Christianity vs DEVIL (aka Satan), and it is all in Daniel 9:27.].

7/2/2020 Palestinians slash public wages in tax dispute with Israel over annexation
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara wears a protective face mask during a leadership
meeting near Jericho in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) said on Thursday it will slash the wages of tens of thousands of its employees after its protest action against Israel’s annexation plans in the occupied West Bank deepened a cash crisis.
    Its economy already battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the PA, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals, last month rejected handovers of taxes that Israel collects on its behalf.
    The transfers, about $190 million a month, make up more than half of the PA’s budget and stem from duties on imports that reach the West Bank and Gaza via Israeli ports.    The PA snubbed the taxes after declaring bilateral agreements with Israel null in May.
    Awaiting a green light from its U.S. ally and saying more talks with Washington were needed, Israel did not meet its July 1 target date for the start of a cabinet debate on extending sovereignty to the West Bank’s Jewish settlements and Jordan Valley.
    But the economic impact of the PA’s protest against annexation was already being felt.
    “Due to the rejection of the tax money and overall decline in income…the state’s revenues have declined by 80 percent,” Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said, also referring to funds lost during the pandemic.
    He announced that many of the PA’s 132,000 employees would see their wages cut by half, not to fall below a minimum of 1,750 shekels ($507) a month.
    Analysts say the health crisis and financial disputes with Israel could drive the PA to financial collapse. After a surge in new coronavirus cases, the PA has placed several West Bank towns under lockdown, which it plans to expand to the entire territory beginning on Friday.
    Most PA employees are in the West Bank, with 30,000 in Hamas-run Gaza.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Rami Ayyub, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Angus MacSwan)

7/9/2020 Palestinians hope Biden would roll back Trump’s embrace of Israel by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Debbie Hill/Pool/File Photo
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian leaders hope Democrat Joe Biden will tone down Washington’s pro-Israel policies if he becomes U.S. president, and Palestinian-Americans have been pressing his campaign for a change, sources familiar with the efforts said.
    So far, their efforts have had little impact, the sources said.
    U.S. President Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy to the city and made peace proposals envisaging Israeli sovereignty over parts of the occupied West Bank, territory Palestinians seek for a state.
    Trump’s moves — including aid cuts to the Palestinian Authority that exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank — have prompted Palestinian officials to sever ties with Washington.
    “If Mr Biden (is) elected in November, we hope that it will be a totally different dynamic,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said last week during a virtual conference with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
    Biden is the presumptive Democratic challenger in November’s election.    He is on record as challenging plans by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the West Bank — de facto annexation of territory Israel seized in a 1967 war.
    “Biden opposes any unilateral action by either side that makes the prospects of a two-state solution less likely – including annexation, which Biden opposes now, and would continue to oppose as President,” campaign spokesman Michael Gwin said in a statement for Reuters.
    Gwin did not address what action Biden might take if he were president and Israel annexed West Bank land.
    Netanyahu’s proposed move, under Trump’s peace blueprint, has been criticised by Arab and European nations.    The Israeli leader is awaiting the green light from Washington.
PROGRESSIVE SUPPORT
    Buoyed by support from progressives in the Democratic party, Palestinian diaspora activists want Biden to take a more critical look at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
    More than 120 prominent Palestinian-Americans have signed a “Statement of Principles” that they say determine their community’s support for candidates for federal office.
    They include making aid to Israel conditional on it ending “practices that violate Palestinian rights and contravene international law,” and revoking any potential U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in occupied territory.
    “We want to see Biden embrace the party’s progressives, who have recognised the shared struggle between Palestinians living under military occupation, and Black and brown Americans who face police brutality, systemic racism and injustice,” said Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison, a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in August.
    Those positions have failed to gain traction with Biden’s team, three people familiar with the campaign’s thinking said.
    “The progressives want a full-throttle platform change — a pro-Palestinian flank, an anti-annexation flank — but there just isn’t appetite in the campaign so far,” one of the sources said.
(Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York, Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Timothy Heritage)

7/9/2020 Protests over economy in Israel may turn violent, opposition leader says by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Co-leader of Blue and White party, Yair Lapid, speaks to supporters at his
election campaign event in Tel Aviv, Israel September 15, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said on Thursday protests over the economic slowdown could soon turn violent as restrictions to contain the coronavirus are reimposed and state assistance for the jobless lags.
    Alarmed by a new spike in COVID-19 cases, conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week ordered a slew of businesses to shut back down and disbanded some children’s summer camps, dashing hopes for relief from record 21% unemployment.
    Protesters from across the political spectrum have taken to the streets with demands for speedier compensation from a coalition government they see as overstaffed and ineffectual. Less than half of $29 billion in pledged aid has been paid out.
    Israeli police said there had been no sign of violence at protests, but Lapid, a centrist, cautioned that could change.
    “We are talking to people who are becoming more and more desperate and angry, who feel, and rightly so, that the country has deserted them at their hardest hour,” Lapid told Reuters.
    “We are trying to be responsible…to calm things down, telling people, ‘You know violence is not the answer’,” he said.
    “But it’s getting harder by the day…I sympathise with the anger and I also worry about the possibility of violence as a result of this anger.    What I am trying to do is not to encourage it but to raise a red flag as to what might happen.”
    Tamar Hermann, a political scientist and sociologist at the non-partisan Israel Democracy Institute, said violence had been rare at past domestic demonstrations.
    “In Israel, violence has always created a backlash against the protesters,” she said.    But Hermann said Israelis from many income groups were now feeling economic pain.    “The big question is what the government plans to do in the coming days.”
    Asked how far Israel was from violent unrest, Lapid said: “Not that far.    Not far enough.”
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

7/10/2020 Hundreds Gather For Funeral Of Palestinian Shot By Israeli Troops
Relatives of Palestinian man Ibraheem Yakoub react during his funeral in Kifl Haris
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    SALFIT, West Bank (Reuters) – Hundreds of people gathered in the occupied West Bank on Friday for the funeral of a Palestinian man shot by Israeli soldiers a day earlier.
    Israel’s army said troops opened fire after the Palestinian and another man started throwing fire bombs at a guard post near the town of Nablus.
    Palestinian officials dismissed the report and said the man had been walking with friends when he was shot dead.
    People at the funeral in the village of Salfit carried Palestinian flags and chanted “Allahu Akbar,” or God is greatest.
    Tensions have been high in the West Bank in recent weeks as Israel weighs a plan to annex part of the territory that Palestinians seek for a future state.
(Reporting by Mohamad Torokman and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
[I think we should send all the radical groups in the U.S. who are attacking police departments in Democrat controlled cities to Israel so they can see what they would do to them if they attacked them.].

7/12/2020 Jordan Presses Sweeping Tax Evasion Crackdown To Aid Ailing Economy by Suleiman Al-Khalidi
FILE PHOTO: Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz speaks to the media during
a news conference in Amman, Jordan April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo
    AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz promised on Sunday to deepen a crackdown on tax evasion that officials say has deprived the country’s cash-strapped economy of billions of dollars’ revenue in recent years.
    The government has gone after senior businessmen and former politicians suspected of tax dodging, money laundering and customs evasion in a weeks-long campaign that has gained greater urgency with the hit to state finances from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “Protecting public money and fighting corruption is a national duty,” Razzaz said in his weekly television address to the nation.
    Tax authorities have raided around 650 companies so far, sometimes accompanied by security forces, according to officials who say this is the biggest campaign to combat tax evasion in decades.
    The government said it had frozen the assets of dozens of companies and businessmen on suspected tax evasion charges.    It added that it would track offshore havens where wealthy Jordanians have long parked cash to avoid taxes.
    Some critics have accused the government of using the campaign to carry out a witch hunt against its political enemies, including some of Jordan’s leading business figures, including former ministers and senior politicians.
    Officials deny that, saying the goal is to ensure justice and that no one is above the law.
    The government has been using its wider powers under a state of emergency since March to give prosecutors and the main anti-corruption agency greater powers, and stiffen penalties.
    A two-month coronavirus lockdown has crippled Jordanian businesses and slashed state revenues by tens of millions of dollars, leading to the sharpest economic contraction in two decades.
    The government expects the economy to shrink by 3.5% this year, a far cry from an International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimate of 2% growth before the pandemic.
    The aid-dependent country, already undertaking a tough three-year IMF reform programme, tapped international debt markets this month to borrow $1.75 billion.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

7/14/2020 IMF Predicts Dire Economic Consequences Of Pandemic In Middle East by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 20, 2019 file photo, workers stand on a platform at a Saudi Aramco oil separator processing facility in Abqaiq,
near Dammam in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province. The International Monetary Fund said in the latest outlook released Monday, July 13, 2020,
that the Middle East’s energy producers are expected to earn $270 billion less in oil revenue compared to last year. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
    Forecasts indicate Middle Eastern countries should expect to be hit particularly hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
    Projections released by the International Monetary Fund Monday (IMF) indicate the region’s economy is expected to contract by 3.3 percent this year.    This is a worse outlook than the global average.    The world’s economy is expected to shrink by 3 percent this year.
    Of particular concern for the region are drops in oil revenue.    The IMF expects sales to be reduced by 7.3 percent, or $270 billion, this year.
    The organization is urging governments to prepare for the fallout as they fear social unrest under worsened conditions.
    “We are calling for revamping social protection, improving access to social services, and also increasing the level of financial inclusion to help and support those who are vulnerable,” stated Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia IMF.
    Since the start of the pandemic, the IMF has approved roughly $17 billion in emergency aid to countries in the Middle East.

7/29/2020 Jordan Sets Nov. 10 As Date For Parliamentary Elections by Suleiman Al-Khalidi
FILE PHOTO: King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo
    AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan has set Nov. 10 as the date for parliamentary elections, hours after a royal decree to hold a countrywide poll, state media said Wednesday.
    Jordan’s parliament has legislative powers but its electoral law marginalises the representation of political parties and most MPs rely on family and tribal allegiances.    Constitutionally most powers rest with the king, who appoints governments and has the final say over new laws.
    The election will be held at a time when the aid-dependant country is grappling with a severe economic contraction due to COVID-19 and comes amid heightened worries about any unilateral Israeli move to annex territory in the occupied West Bank.
    Officials fear that annexation would bury the prospect of a viable Palestinian state and mean that any eventual settlement of the decades-old conflict would be at the expense of Jordan, a country where many people are descendants of Palestinian refugees whose families left after the creation of Israel in 1948.
    The electoral law keeps intact a system that limits the representation of those of Palestinians origin in favour of native Jordanians who are the backbone of the country’s political establishment.
    Jordan’s main political opposition comes from a party drawn from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood movement but it faces legal curbs on its activities
.
    Opposition politicians say the government has been using draconian emergency laws enacted last March at the start of the coronavirus lockdown to limit civil and political rights.    Activists have been arrested in recent weeks over comments on social media.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alison Williams and David Holmes)

7/30/2020 Trump Likely To Address U.N. In Person In September, Says U.N. Envoy by Michelle Nichols
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media before departing on Marine One for travel to
Midland, Texas from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump hopes to address the U.N. General Assembly in person in September, his U.N. envoy said on Thursday, while all other world leaders will send videos instead of traveling to New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.
    The annual high-level gathering had been shaping up to be a weeklong celebration of the 75th anniversary of the world body, but U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres suggested in May that leaders send video statements due to likely travel issues.
    The 193-member General Assembly agreed last week to the special measures, which allow one – possibly two – New York-based representatives for each country to be in the General Assembly hall for the speeches.
    “We’re hoping that President Trump will actually be speaking in person in the General Assembly.    He will be the only world leader to be speaking in person,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft told the Meridian International diplomacy think tank.
    “Obviously we’re going to be focused on human rights issues, on transparency, on accountability,” she added.
    The United States is traditionally the second country after Brazil to address the General Assembly, due to start this year on Sept. 22.
    The coronavirus has infected at least 17.1 million people and there have been more than 668,000 known deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.    New York was an epicenter earlier this year for the virus, which emerged in China in December.
    Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said there were no plans for German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to come the New York in September.
    “We have to be careful, we must not endanger people by coming with a big delegation here, and therefore we agreed to the proposal to have the leaders present their speeches in a virtual way,” Heusgen told a news conference to mark the end of Germany’s July presidency of the U.N. Security Council.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)
[THIS WILL BE THE EVENT FOR THE NATIONS TO DISCUSS THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY TO CREATE A PALESTINIAN STATE WITH ISRAEL INTERTWINED TO HELP THE AREA IMPROVE ITS ECONOMICS FOR ALL THE MIDDLE EAST NATIONS AND I THINK THAT RUSSIA AND THE U.S. WILL ASSIST IN THE IMPLEMENTING THIS.].

8/4/2020 Israeli Leaders Locked In Budget Battle As Economic Crisis Deepens by Steven Scheer and Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a statement at the Israeli Defense Ministry in
Tel Aviv, Israel with the Alternate PM and Defence Minister Benny Gantz July 27 2020, following the high
tensions with the Lebanese militant group of Hezbollah at the Israeli-Lebanon border. Tal Shahar/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A stand-off between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main coalition partner over passage of Israel’s budget threatens to trigger its fourth election in a little over a year amid an economic crisis fuelled by the coronavirus outbreak.
    A ballot is automatically mandated if a budget is not approved by parliament by Aug. 25.    Analysts are concerned that a new election and likely protracted coalition talks afterwards would have a crippling impact on an economy already expected to contract 6% this year, with unemployment now above 21%.
    Such instability could also make prospects for any return to a long-dormant peace process with the Palestinians even more remote and complicate Netanyahu’s bid to annex, with U.S. approval, parts of the occupied West Bank.
    The budget is pivotal to a “unity” accord reached after an inconclusive March election. It calls for Defence Minister Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party to take over as premier from right-wing Likud chief Netanyahu in 2021.
    The power-sharing pact stipulated that Israel would pass a binannual budget but Netanyahu is now calling for a 2020 budget instead. Gantz insists on sticking to the deal that was to be his insurance policy for a smooth transition of power.
    Failure to resolve the dispute could provide Netanyahu with a quick way out of the deal with Gantz and enable him to remain prime minister through an election campaign, possibly as early as November or in March if a 2021 budget is not agreed.
    Some analysts point to Netanyahu’s corruption trial, which began in May, as a catalyst for the crisis.    A snap ballot could lead to a delay in proceedings, and he could opt to pursue a law to block his prosecution if he wins another term.
    “The whole issue is really mostly politics,” said former Bank of Israel governor Karnit Flug.
UNCERTAINTY
    Flug, now vice president of research at the Israel Democracy Institute, said a budget for only 2020 implied government instability, and “that really intensifies economic uncertainty.”
    Economists said that with a 2020 budget effectively covering only the last quarter, at this late stage passing a separate one for 2021 made no sense.
    Cedric Berry, associate director of sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings, said any budget delay “would heighten concerns about Israel’s ability to implement prudent fiscal policy and erode (its) track record of debt reduction.”    He said this could pressure Israel’s ratings.
    For Netanyahu, now in his fifth term, an election with a health crisis raging would be especially risky.    But many Israeli political commentators have been sceptical from the start about his pledge to transfer power to Gantz.
    “Gantz is concerned that Netanyahu is aiming to establish the pretext to bring down the government in early 2021 … Gantz is right to be concerned,” said Henry Rome, a senior analyst at the Eurasia Group think tank.
    Flug said another election could make Israeli leaders prone to taking populist moves leading to a loss in market confidence, a rise in risk premium and damage to credit ratings.
Amid a second wave of COVID-19 infections, public trust in Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis has plummeted.    Thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets, demanding his resignation over the graft charges, which he denies.
    But opinion polls predict a weak showing for Gantz in any new ballot, with Netanyahu still backed by a large bloc in parliament.
    Denying he is pushing for an election, Netanyahu argues that an annual budget would allow the government to stream money immediately to battle the coronavirus and that a longer-term budget would include spending cuts.
    Gantz dismissed that as a “fairytale” in an interview with the Ynet website on Tuesday, saying Israel needed a long-term fiscal plan for economic and political stability.
(Additional reporting by Tova Cohen and Dedi Hayun; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

8/13/2020 Israel Halts Fuel Shipments To Gaza Over Fire Balloons by Rami Ayyub and Nidal al-Mughrabi
A Palestinian worker fills a motorbike with fuel at a petrol station in Gaza City August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    TEL AVIV/GAZA (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday it would stop shipments of fuel into Gaza in response to Palestinians in the enclave launching incendiary balloons that have torched tracts of farmland on the Israeli frontier.
    Palestinians in Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza have launched dozens of helium balloons laden with incendiary material in recent days to pressure Israel to ease its blockade of the territory.
    Fuel shipments were stopped “in light of the continued launching of incendiary balloons from the Strip toward (Israel) and of the undermining of security stability,” a defence ministry statement said.
    Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the measure a “grave act of aggression” that would deepen Gaza’s economic hardship.
    The halt in fuel shipments could shut down Gaza’s sole power plant and lead to further electricity cuts, said Mohammad Thabet, an official with Gaza’s main power distribution company.
    Gaza relies on Israel for most of its energy needs.    Its population of two million currently receives around six hours of electricity followed by a 10 hour power cut.
    Overnight, Israeli warplanes and tanks struck what the military said were Hamas facilities, calling it a response to the balloons.    Israel had earlier shut down Gaza’s main commercial crossing and reduced the area where it permits Palestinians to fish.
    In Gaza City, a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was damaged by one of the strikes, Gaza’s interior ministry said.
    The school was empty at the time and there were no reports of casualties.    “Apparently the device did not explode,” an UNRWA statement said.
    An Israeli military spokeswoman said the report was being checked.
    Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008 and have traded blows in the past few years.    Citing security concerns, Israel keeps tight control of its border crossings with Gaza and imposes a naval blockade.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Robert Birsel and Gareth Jones)

[THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS ACKNOWLEGING THAT “THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY” IS BEGINNING TO SHOW THAT IT IS IN PROCESS AS THE ARAB NATIONS ARE READY TO GET THEIR COUNTRIES TO GET BACK INTO ECONOMIC BEGINNINGS AND THEY WILL PURSUE THAT THE PALESTINIANS WILL BE FORCED TO CONSIDERED THE NEW STATE OF PALESTINE WITH ISRAEL IN THAT BUT WHO WILL BE THE ONE WHO WILL CONFIRM IT AND THERE WILL BE A UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING IN NEW YORK IN SEPTEMBER THAT MAY DEAL WITH THAT ISSUE TO GET IT IMPLEMENTED TO BRING PEACE TO THE MIDEAST.].
8/13/2020 Israel, UAE To Normalize Relations In Shift In Mideast Politics, West Bank Annexation On Hold by Maha El Dahan, Jeffrey Heller and Steve Holland
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that Israel and the United Arab Emirates
have reached a peace deal that will lead to full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in
an agreement that U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker at White House in Washington, U.S., August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    DUBAI/JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship, a move that reshapes the order of Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to Iran.
    Under the accord, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, Israel has agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank.    The agreement also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.
    Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.    But the UAE, along with most other Arab nations, did not recognise Israel and had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with it until now.    The UAE becomes the first Gulf Arab country to reach such a deal with the Jewish state.
    The agreement was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States that accelerated recently, White House officials said.
    A joint statement said Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed had “agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”
    “This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the statement said.
    In a separate statement, the crown prince stressed that the agreement would stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories, which Israel has said had been awaiting a green light from Washington.
    The agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accords, also gives Trump a foreign policy accomplishment as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3.
    “HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
    In the White House Oval Office, Trump said similar deals are being discussed with other countries in the region.
    The UAE said it would remain a strong supporter of the Palestinian people and that the agreement maintained the viability of a two-state solution to the longstanding Israel-Palestinian conflict.    There was no immediate reaction from the Palestinians, who hope to create an independent state in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
    Netanyahu said the agreement represented a “historic day” for his country.    It could also be a personal boost to Netanyahu, who is on trial for alleged corruption and whose domestic popularity has dropped over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
    A senior Israeli official said applying Israeli sovereignty to areas of the West Bank was still on the agenda, adding, “The Trump administration asked us to temporarily suspend the (sovereignty) announcement so that the historic peace agreement with the UAE can be implemented.”
‘NIGHTMARE’ FOR IRAN
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a trip to Central European countries, said: “This is an enormous, historic step forward. Peace is the right path forward.”
    Trump’s special envoy Brian Hook called the deal a “nightmare” for Iran.
    There was no immediate response from the Iranian government but the Tasnim news agency, affiliated with Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards, called the accord “shameful.”
    Iran and Israel are arch foes.    Israel is particularly concerned about suspected Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.    Iran is also involved in proxy wars from Syria to Yemen, where the UAE has been a leading member of the Saudi-led coalition opposing Iran-aligned forces there.
    With a population of less than 10 million but the Arab world’s second-largest economy thanks to oil, the UAE has exerted growing commercial and military clout in the Gulf and the wider region over the past two decades, much of it aimed at confronting Islamist militants and the influence of Iran.
    U.S. lawmakers have tried to rein in Trump administration plans for arms sales, particularly to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for use in the war in Yemen.
MORE DEALS IN PIPELINE?
    Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.
    The two countries, which agreed in June to cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus in a sign of closer ties, are expected soon to exchange ambassadors and embassies.
    The joint statement said that “as a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty” over areas of the West Bank that were envisioned in a U.S. plan announced by Trump in January.
    A signing ceremony including delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates is due to be held at the White House in the coming weeks.
    “Everybody said this would be impossible,” Trump said.    “After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalise their diplomatic relations.”
    Trump added, “This deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure and prosperous Middle East.    Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead.”
    This was already being discussed with other states, he said.
    The agreement envisions giving Muslims greater access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem by allowing them to fly from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, White House officials said.
    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed “any initiative that can promote peace and security in the Middle East region,” a U.N. spokesman said.
    Guterres had urged Israel in June to abandon plans to annex settlements in the West Bank, warning that this threatened prospects for peace with the Palestinians.
(Reporting By Maha El Dahan and Lisa Barrington, Steve Holland in Washington; Jeff Heller in Jerusalem, Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Will Dunham)

8/13/2020 Israel Hails UAE Deal But Palestinians – And Settlers – Dismayed by Stephen Farrell
A television screen shows U.S. President Donald Trump as Palestinians follow the news on UAE 's agreement with Israel
on normalising relations, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel talked of “history” and Palestinians of “betrayal” after Thursday’s surprise announcement of a deal to normalise relations between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates.
    In a nationwide televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal would lead to “full and formal peace” with the Gulf Arab state and voiced hope that other countries in the region would follow the UAE’s example.
    Netanyahu said it also entailed acceding to a request from U.S. President Donald Trump to “temporarily wait” on implementing the Israeli leader’s pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
    “It’s an incomparably exciting moment, a historic moment for peace in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose officials seemed to be taken by surprise, issued an unusually strong condemnation of a regional Arab neighbour and instructed the Palestinian ambassador to the UAE to return immediately.
    “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the UAE, Israeli and U.S. trilateral, surprising, announcement,” said Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
    Reading a statement on Palestinian television, Abu Rudeineh said the leadership regarded the UAE’s move as “a betrayal.”
    The statement urged the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to assemble to “reject” the deal, adding “neither the UAE nor any other party has the right to speak in the name of the Palestinian people.”
    The deal provides a diplomatic achievement for Netanyahu after weeks of domestic criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, but also angered right-wing Israeli settlers who want to annex the West Bank.
    Netanyahu said that while he had promised to apply Israeli sovereignty to areas, including Jewish settlements, in the territory, which Palestinians seek for a future state, he had made clear he first needed a green light from Washington.
    “He deceived us.    He has deceived half a million residents of the area and hundreds of thousands of voters,” said David Elhayani, head of the Yesha Council of settlers.
PRO-ISRAEL STANCE
    Abbas, who heads the Palestinian Authority and the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, has refused all political dealings with the Trump administration for more than two years, accusing it of taking a consistently pro-Israel stance.
    Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator, told Reuters: “We were blindsided.    Their secret dealings are now completely out in the open.    It is a complete sell-out.”
    Much use was made of the word “normalisation” – a term that has very different connotations on either side.
    For Israel and the White House it signified a welcome rapprochement with a key Gulf player in a region from which Israel has long been isolated, aside from two peace treaties with its immediate neighbours Egypt and Jordan.
    But for many Palestinians and Arabs in other countries, the word has overwhelmingly negative connotations.
    In Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, told Reuters: “Normalisation is a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause, and it serves only the Israeli occupation.”
    In a rare show of unity, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke to Abbas by phone to convey his “absolute rejection” of the deal, Hamas officials said.
    There was no official reaction or media coverage in Saudi Arabia, but some Saudis tweeted under hashtags “normalization is treason,” “UAE” and “Israel.”
    Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said the deal was a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and of pan-Arabism.
(Writing by Stephen Farrell; Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Marwa Rashad in Riyadh and Lisa Barrington in Dubai.; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

8/13/2020 President Trump Announces Historic Peace Deal Between Israel, United Arab Emirates by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office at the White House, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    President Trump has helped broker a historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which will reportedly lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations.
    The president announced the finalization of the Abraham Accords Thursday over Twitter.    He called it a “huge breakthrough” and spoke more on the agreement from the Oval Office.
    As part of the deal, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it has considered annexing.
    “Just a few moments ago, I hosted a very special call with two friends, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, where they agreed to finalized a historical peace agreement,” stated President Trump.    “Everybody said this would be impossible.”
    Israel and the UAE will also exchange embassies and ambassadors to help secure peace and prosperity in the region.

8/14/2020 White House: Israel, UAE to reestablish ties - West Bank annexation halted as part of deal by John Fritze, David Jackson, Michael Collins and Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United Arab Emirates and Israel had agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations, a potentially historic agreement and a rare foreign policy win for the president during an election year.
    As part of the deal, Israel agreed to halt its controversial plan to annex parts of the West Bank, land that Palestinians see as vital to their hopes of a future state.
    In a statement released by the White House, the two governments said the agreement was reached during a call Thursday involving Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
    The joint statement said the countries “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”    The White House said Israel and the UAE would sign a series of bilateral deals on everything from investment to tourism to security.
    In a pair of tweets, Netanyahu called it a “historic day,” while Bin Zayed highlighted Israel’s agreement to “stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.”
    Israel will instead “focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” the joint statement says.
    The agreement makes the UAE only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties with Israel.    The other two are Egypt and Jordan.
    “It’s an enormous historic step forward,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters traveling with him in Europe.    “It’s really good news.”
    Pompeo argued the development could boost Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which had been widely seen as dead on arrival.
    “I hope the Palestinians will see this for what it is ... a historic opportunity for the Middle East to be stable and peaceful,” Pompeo said.
    Israel and the Arab Gulf countries have been quietly working to improve ties for years, according to Omar Rahman, a visiting fellow at Brookings Doha Center, a think tank.
    But Arab leaders have been hesitant to go public for fear of alienating the Palestinians and inflaming the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he wrote in a 2019 analysis of the Israel-Arab Gulf state relationship.    A 2002 Arab peace initiative envisioned that Arab countries would only normalize relations with Israel in exchange for returning territory Israel seized in 1967, among other concessions.
    “What we see today is a new Middle East,” said Brian Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran.
    Former presidential envoy Brett McGurk called it a “historic decision” for the region.
    “Contacts have been ongoing for years,” he tweeted.    “It takes guts to make this final step.    Diplomacy works.”
President Donald Trump said Thursday that the UAE and Israel will sign a peace deal,
and he expects other countries in the region to follow suit. SUSAN WALSH/AP

8/14/2020 Israel, UAE To Normalize Relations In Shift In Mideast Politics; West Bank Annexations On Hold by Maha El Dahan, Jeffrey Heller and Steve Holland
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that Israel and the United Arab Emirates
have reached a peace deal that will lead to full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in an
agreement that U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker at White House in Washington, U.S., August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    DUBAI/JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship, a move that reshapes the order of Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.
    Under the accord, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank.    It also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.
    Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.    But the UAE, along with most other Arab nations, did not recognise Israel and had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with it until now.    It becomes the first Gulf Arab country to reach such a deal with the Jewish state.
    Officials from the three countries called the accord “historic” and a breakthrough toward peace.    But Palestinian leaders, apparently taken by surprise, denounced it as a “stab in the back” to their cause.
    A joint statement said Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed had “agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”
    The accord will allow the two countries “to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” it said.
    Israel and the UAE are expected soon to exchange ambassadors and embassies.    A signing ceremony is due to be held at the White House.
    “As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty” over areas of the West Bank as envisioned in a U.S. plan announced by Trump in January, it said.
    The agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accord, also gives Trump a foreign policy accomplishment as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3.    Speaking in the White House Oval Office, Trump said similar deals are being discussed with other countries in the region.
    Trump said the agreement unites “two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region” and represents “a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure and prosperous Middle East.”
    The UAE said it would remain a strong supporter of the Palestinian people, who hope to create an independent state in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and that the agreement maintained the viability of a two-state solution to the longstanding Israel-Palestinian conflict.
    The accord could also be a personal boost to Netanyahu, who is on trial for alleged corruption and whose domestic popularity has dropped over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
    In a televised address, Netanyahu said the deal would lead to “full and formal peace” with the UAE and voiced hope that other countries in the region would follow its example.    It also entailed acceding to a request from Trump to “temporarily wait” on implementing his annexation pledge, Netanyahu said.
    “It’s an incomparably exciting moment, a historic moment for peace in the Middle East,” Netanyahu added.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, rejected the accord.    Spokesman Abu Rudeineh, reading from a statement outside Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank, said it was a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa (mosque, Islam’s third-holiest shrine) and the Palestinian cause.”
    Asked if the Palestinian leadership had been aware the deal was coming, veteran negotiator Hanan Ashrawi told Reuters: “No.    We were blindsided. … It is a complete sell-out.”
    In Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the armed Islamist group Hamas, said: “    Normalisation is a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and it serves only the Israeli occupation.”
    The UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said the agreement would stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories, for which Israel had been awaiting a green light from Washington.
    Senior UAE official Anwar Gargash said the deal had helped defuse what he called a ticking time-bomb.    Gargash urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
‘NIGHTMARE’ FOR IRAN
    Trump’s special envoy Brian Hook called the agreement a “nightmare” for Iran.    An Iranian official said the agreement would not secure peace in the region.
    Railing against “criminal Israel,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a special adviser to Iran’s parliamentary speaker, said in a tweet: “Abu Dhabi’s behaviour has no justification, turning back on the Palestine cause.    With that strategic mistake, #UAE will be engulfed in Zionism fire.”
    Iran and Israel are arch foes.    Israel is particularly concerned about suspected Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.    Iran is also involved in proxy wars from Syria to Yemen, where the UAE has been a leading member of the Saudi-led coalition opposing Iran-aligned forces there.
    With a population of less than 10 million but the Arab world’s second-largest economy thanks to oil, the UAE has exerted growing commercial and military clout in the Gulf and the wider region over the past two decades, much of it aimed at confronting Islamist militants and the influence of Iran.
    Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the joint statement said.
    “Everybody said this would be impossible,” Trump said.
    “Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead,” Trump added.
    This was already being discussed with other states, he said.
(Reporting By Maha El Dahan, Lisa Barrington and Parisa Hafezi, Steve Holland in Washington; Jeff Heller in Jerusalem, Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Will Dunham)

8/14/2020 As UAE Hails Israel Accord, Silence From Saudi Arabia by Maha El Dahan and Marwa Rashad
Palestinians take part in a protest against the United Arab Emirates' deal with Israel to normalise
relations, in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) – As media and people in the United Arab Emirates hailed the Gulf state’s deal to normalise relations with Israel as a diplomatic victory that helps the Palestinians, silence reigned in Saudi Arabia, longtime figurehead of regional policy towards Israel.br>     Analysts see the surprise UAE-Israel agreement announced on Thursday as a strategic boost for the UAE’s regional and global standing that could put it ahead of its powerful Saudi neighbour and ally, especially in critical relations with Washington.
    Saudi Arabia is the Gulf’s largest economy and the world’s biggest oil exporter, but the UAE has in recent years become increasingly assertive in its own foreign policy, especially in regional hot spots such as Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
    In July last year the UAE said it was withdrawing its troops from Yemen where it had jointly with Saudi Arabia led a Western-backed coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis since 2015.
    The accord was a rare triumph for U.S. President Donald Trump in Middle East diplomacy ahead of his Nov. 3 re-election bid.    But, should he be defeated by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the UAE could gain an advantage over Riyadh in relations with the United States.
    “The move positions the UAE nicely should Biden win, as it will help smooth things over with (the U.S.) Congress and, by doing so, leave Saudi Arabia outflanked and more exposed than ever before,” said Neil Quilliam, associate fellow with Chatham House and managing director of Azure Strategy.
    “This must be the real concern for the Saudi leadership right now – and the lead calculation on how to respond to the UAE-Israel move.”
    Last year Congress passed legislation to block sales of some weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in an attempt to pressure the Gulf states over civilian casualties in the Yemen war.    The legislation was vetoed by President Donald Trump.
    While there has been no official comment from the Saudis on the UAE-Israel pact so far, Twitter users in the kingdom shared pictures of the late King Faisal, who during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war led an oil embargo that aimed to punish the United States and other countries for their support of Israel.
    Users shared a quote from one of Faisal’s speeches: “If all Arabs agreed to accept the existence of Israel and dividing Palestine, we will never join them.”
GULF IS AGAINST NORMALISATION
    On Thursday morning, the Arabic hashtag “Gulfis_Against_Normalisation” was trending in third place in Saudi Arabia.
    Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, has been ruled by 84-year-old King Salman since 2015.    He has overseen bold changes at home and abroad led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS as he is widely referred to, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler and next in line to the throne.
    Both Saudi Arabia and Israel view Iran as the major threat to the Middle East.    Increased tension between Tehran and Riyadh has fuelled speculation that shared interests may push the Saudis and Israel to work together, and there have been signs in recent years of some thawing between the two.
    However, King Salman’s position as custodian of Islam’s holiest sites makes it harder or the kingdom to take the same step as the UAE while the status of Jerusalem remains unresolved and an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal remains elusive.
    “To do so would risk losing public support at a time of significant economic crisis and would give a boon to Iran at such a delicate time,” said Quilliam.
    Palestinians seek a state on land occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem, also captured then by Israel, as their capital.    Israel deems Jerusalem to be its eternal, indivisible capital.
    Israel agreed as part of the accord with the UAE to suspend plans to annex parts of the occupied territories, but Palestinians said they were blindsided by the announcement and rejected it, calling it a “betrayal.”
    The UAE-Israel deal appeared at odds with a 2002 Arab League peace proposal, moribund for many years, that would have required Israel to withdraw from all occupied territories in exchange for normal relations with Arab states.
    White House adviser Jared Kushner hinted on Thursday that other Arab states would follow the UAE’s path.    Bahrain, a close Saudi ally, and Oman, which hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018, have both released statements in support of the UAE opening to Israel.
    There has been no official comment from Kuwait, nor from Qatar, which has been in a sharp political dispute with the Saudis, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for three years.
    “Everyone in the UAE is so happy and satisfied with the decision…The negativity you see is only coming from outside,” said Emirati Twitter user Hassan Sajwani, who describes himself as an Emirati writer on current affairs and counter-terrorism with over 60,000 followers.
    He tweeted a flag of Israel with a heart emoji and wrote “Visit Israel.”
(Reporting By Maha El Dahan and Marwa Rashad with additional reporting by Dahlia Nehme; Writing by Lisa Barrington and Maha El Dahan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/14/2020 UAE’s Israel Deal Met With Arab Dismay But Quiet Welcome In Gulf by Rami Ayyub
People tear a picture depicting Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a protest against the
United Arab Emirates, in front of the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem's Old City, August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – From cries of “betrayal” to fears about “falling dominoes,” the deal making the United Arab Emirates the third Arab state to forge ties with Israel stirred anger and dismay around the Middle East, but a cautious welcome from the UAE’s Gulf allies.
    The mixed response highlighted new fault lines in a region where fear and distrust of Iran – shared by Israel and some Arab states – has challenged a decades-old allegiance to the Palestinian issue as a major driver of Arab policy.
    Palestinians, who want to establish a state on West Bank territory captured by Israel in 1967, denounced the agreement as a betrayal of the long-held Arab stance that peace should be conditional on Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory.
    The agreement, which is set to make the UAE only the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to make peace with Israel, calls for a temporary suspension of Israel’s planned annexation of occupied West Bank territory, but not withdrawal.
    The deal, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped to broker with support of senior adviser Jared Kushner, forms a new axis with the UAE aligning itself with Israel in confronting Shi’ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Islamist radicals in the region.
    This is likely to heighten tensions in the Gulf, which in the past two years has seen attacks on tankers and energy installations that the United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed on Iran, a charge Tehran denies.
‘FALL LIKE DOMINOES’
    Some worshippers at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, where Palestinians want to establish the capital of a future state, carried pictures of UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed with the word “traitor” underneath his image.
    “Just like Egypt, Jordan and now Abu Dhabi, the whole Arab world will start to fall like dominoes,” said Mohammad al-Sharif, 45, a member of Israel’s Arab minority.    “That Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and his dirty dogs look out for themselves and their interests and the rest of us can go to hell.”
    Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Saeb Erekat spelled out the potential consequences for his people if a united Arab front splintered.
    “The whole thing that we based our strategy on as Arabs is that the (2002) Arab peace initiative specified that once Israel withdraws, there will be peace between Arabs and Israelis."
    “Netanyahu came determined, with Kushner, Trump… to change the formula, that they want Arab recognition of Israel while they continue with the occupation, and the United Arab Emirates yesterday stamped the green light for this,” Erekat said.
    Meanwhile Lebanon’s leading Druze politician Walid Jumblatt dismissed it as an pre-election manoeuvre by Trump.
    “I hope Arabs realise the danger of the situation before it is too late and all of Palestine is lost,” he said on Twitter.
TURKEY MAY SHUT EMBASSY
    Iran lambasted the deal.    “The shameful measure of Abu Dhabi to reach an agreement with the fake Zionist regime (Israel) is a dangerous move and the UAE and other states that backed it will be responsible for its consequences,” the Foreign Ministry said.
    Turkey, a powerful regional rival of the UAE, said history would not forgive the Gulf Arab country for making a deal which undercut the 2002 Arab peace plan, which had proposed peace in return for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territory.
    “We may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador,” President Tayyip Erdogan said after Friday prayers, adding that he could close Turkey’s embassy.
    But, in a region beset with other challenges including civil wars, poverty and economic crisis, some people appeared to have other concerns.
    At Istanbul’s landmark Hagia Sophia, converted by Erdogan to a mosque last month in a move which he portrayed as a step towards restoring “freedom” to Al Aqsa in Jerusalem, worshippers who spoke to Reuters were unaware of the announcement.
INCENTIVE FOR PEACE
    Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace deals with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively and enjoy close ties with the UAE, both welcomed the agreement.    Jordan said the pact could make a beneficial impact if it spurred Israel to accept a Palestinian state on land it took in the 1967 Middle East war.
    “If Israel deals with it as an incentive to end occupation…, it will move the region towards a just peace,” Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said.
    Oman and Bahrain also praised the accord but Saudi Arabia, which has in the past helped guide Arab policy towards Israel and hosts Islam’s two holiest sites, has remained silent, as have Kuwait and Qatar. [L8N2FG22C]
    Jordan’s former foreign minister, Marwan al-Muasher, said it was possible other Gulf states could follow Abu Dhabi’s lead in opening relations with Israel.    But none of those could address the root problem.
    “In the end it’s not the Gulf states who are living under occupation, it’s the Palestinians.    And until you reach a solution with the Palestinians, it does not matter how many peace deals you make with Arab states,” he told Reuters.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta, Ali Kucukgocmen, Ghaida Ghantous, Suleiman al-Khalidi and Stephen Farrell; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/14/2020 Palestinians Warn Israel-UAE Deal Imperils Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque by Rami Ayyub
A Muslim man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary
and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Angry Palestinians in Jerusalem accused the United Arab Emirates of collaborating with Israel and endangering Al-Aqsa mosque – Islam’s third-holiest site – as they gathered for Friday prayers the day after the Gulf state’s deal with Israel.
    Under an agreement brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump, Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic ties, brought together by a confluence of interests against Iran.
    The deal also envisions giving Muslims greater access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque by allowing them to directly fly from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
    This was greeted with dismay by Palestinian worshippers filing into the tree-lined hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
    “Our brothers in the Emirates put our blessed mosque in the grip of death,” said Kamal Attoun, 60, an East Jerusalem Palestinian and Old City merchant.
    Asked if he would welcome Muslims from the Emirates or the Gulf under such circumstances, Attoun said: “You’ve seen how collaborators from Saudi Arabia have been received in the past.    The same fate awaits the Emiratis.”
    He was referring to a pro-Israel Saudi internet influencer who was reportedly taunted as he walked through the Old City compound last year.
    Palestinians have long sought East Jerusalem, where the Old City is located, as capital of a future state and have looked to Arab nations to defend that stance. If they normalise ties with Israel, Palestinians fear losing any chance of future sovereignty in the city and guaranteed access to Al Aqsa mosque.
    Mohammad al-Sharif, 45, a member of Israel’s Arab minority, said he would not hold it against ordinary Muslims from the Gulf “because their rulers made a mistake.”
    But he was scathing about their leaders.
    “Collaboration with the UAE is worse, a hundred times worse than collaborating with Israel.    That Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and his dirty dogs look out for themselves and their interests and the rest of us can go to hell,” he said, referring to Abu Dhabi’s crown prince.
    The top Islamic official in Jerusalem, Sheikh Abdul-Azim Salhab of the Islamic Waqf, told Reuters he does “not accept the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque to be the subject of political bickering.    It is higher than this tug-of-war.”
    Condemnation also came from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose spokesman on Thursday read out a statement from the leadership on Palestinian television calling the deal a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause.”
    Palestinians across Gaza and the occupied West Bank rallied on Friday against the deal.    Protesters in the city of Nablus burned effigies of Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
ISRAELIS DELIGHTED
    Meanwhile, Israel embraced the deal, with the country’s biggest-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, calling it a “bold breakthrough
    Some analysts said Netanyahu risked angering his supporters by walking back pledges to annex land in the West Bank – territory sought by Palestinians for a state – so as to do a deal with an Arab Gulf country.
    “He gained a few points with the centre-left, which loves agreements with Arabs, but he lost many more points with his base of right-wing voters,” wrote Ben Caspit in Maariv.
    Netanyahu, dogged by an ongoing corruption trial and criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, has hailed the agreement as a personal success in integrating Israel in the Middle East.
    On his Arabic-language Twitter account he credited Israel’s foreign intelligence service Mossad with helping to clinch the deal.
    Under spy chief Yossi Cohen, Netanyahu said, the Mossad helped develop Israel’s relations with the Gulf and “ripen the peace agreement with the Emirates.”
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/14/2020 White House Officials Seek Momentum With Other Countries After Israel-UAE Deal by Steve Holland
Flanked by U.S. Ambassador to Israel Melech Friedman and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner,
U.S. President Donald Trump announces that Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a peace deal that will lead to
a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in an agreement that
U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker at White House in Washington, U.S., August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior White House officials on Friday sought to use the momentum from a historic deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to appeal to more Arab and Muslim countries to set aside long-standing tensions and make similar agreements.
    A senior White House official said President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and Middle East envoy, Avi Berkowitz, had been in touch with “numerous” countries in the region, trying to see if more agreements would materialize.    The official declined to name the countries.
    On Thursday, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced they would normalize diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship, a move that reshapes the order of Middle East politics.    Trump helped broker the accord.
    Speaking at a news conference, Trump predicted that other countries would be signing similar accords with Israel.
    “What you will see now is other countries will come into that deal and you will have peace in the Middle East,” he said.
    Speculation has centered around two Gulf nations, Bahrain and Oman, both of which welcomed the deal.    Sudan was also a subject of speculation.
    Bahrain hosted a U.S.-led Middle East conference a year ago, aimed at raising money for the Palestinians and Jordan as part of Trump’s Middle East peace initiative.
    “There are numerous countries that we have been in contact with literally in the last 24 hours,” said the official.    “We have been in contact with officials from numerous countries, Arab and Muslim, in the Middle East and Africa.”
    The Israel-UAE deal was viewed widely as a foreign policy victory for Trump as he struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and resulting economic recession while facing a tough battle for re-election on Nov. 3.
    Trump said on Thursday he expected to have a signing ceremony for the deal in about three weeks, with delegations from each country.
    Kushner and Berkowitz are making the case to other countries that improved ties with Israel could have economic benefits and help counter Iranian influence in the region.
    “If you’re an Arab or Muslim country and you see the positive reception the world gave this agreement, it would be natural to see this as a really historic time and opportunity and we are optimistic ongoing negotiations will prove fruitful,” the official said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Dan Grebler and Rosalba O’Brien)

8/16/2020 Israel Says It Expects Bahrain And Oman To Follow UAE In Formalising Ties
FILE PHOTO: Palestinians take part in a protest against the United Arab Emirates' deal with Israel to normalise
relations, in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow the United Arab Emirates in formalising ties with Israel, Israel’s intelligence minister said on Sunday.
    Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic relations, reshaping Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.
    “In the wake of this agreement will come additional agreements, both with more Gulf countries and with Muslim countries in Africa,” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Army Radio.
    “I think that Bahrain and Oman are definitely on the agenda.    In addition, in my assessment, there is a chance that already in the coming year there will be a peace deal with additional countries in Africa, chief among them, Sudan,” he said.
    Both Bahrain and Oman praised the U.S.-sponsored accord, but neither have commented on their own prospects for normalised relations or responded to requests for comment on the subject.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Omani and Sudanese leaders in the past two years, including a visit to Oman in October 2018.
    “I expect more countries will be joining us in the peace circle,” Netanyahu told cabinet ministers on Sunday, according to a statement from his office.
    “This is a historic change which advances peace with the Arab world and will eventually advance a real, sober and secure peace with the Palestinians,” he said.
    The UAE-Israel deal firms up opposition to regional power Iran.    The Palestinians denounced the deal as a betrayal.
[nL1N2FG1OR]
    UAE and Israeli foreign ministers held their first publicly-acknowledged call on Sunday after the Gulf state opened telephone lines to Israel.
    Israel signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.    But the UAE, along with most other Arab nations, has had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with it.
    Oman maintains friendly ties with both the United States and Iran and has previously been a go-between for the two feuding countries.
    A close ally of Saudi Arabia – which has not yet commented on the UAE-Israel accord – Bahrain hosted a senior Israeli official at a security conference in 2019 as well as a U.S-led conference on boosting the Palestinian economy as part U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace initiative.
    Government sources in Kuwait said its position towards Israel is unchanged, and it will be the last country to normalise relations, local newspaper al-Qabas reported.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Alexander Cornwell and Lisa Barrington in Dubai; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Toby Chopra)

8/16/2020 Mideast Peace Talks Remain Priority, Macron Says After Call With Abbas
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron at
his headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank, January 22, 2020. Abbas Momani/Pool via REUTERS
    PARIS (Reuters) – The resumption of peace negotiations remain a priority to reach a just solution in the Middle East, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter on Sunday.
    Macron said he had spoken with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.    “I told him of my determination to work for peace in the Middle East,” Macron said.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by David Goodman)

8/17/2020 UAE Minister Says UAE-Israel Agreement Not Directed At Iran
FILE PHOTO: UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash is seen during preparatory meeting
for the GCC, Arab and Islamic summits in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali
    DUBAI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirate’s minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Monday the UAE reaching an agreement to normalise ties with Israel was a “sovereign decision” that was not directed at Iran.
    The UAE on Sunday said it had summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Abu Dhabi in response to a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — in which he called the agreement a betrayal — that the foreign ministry described as “unacceptable.”
(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

8/17/2020 U.S. Won’t Approve Israeli Annexations For ‘Some Time’, Kushner Says by Dan Williams and Alexander Cornwell
FILE PHOTO: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law, speaks during
a discussion on "Inside the Trump Administration's Middle East Peace Effort" at a dinner symposium of
the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
    JERUSALEM/DUBAI (Reuters) – The United States will not consent to Israeli annexations in the occupied West Bank for “some time,” preferring to focus on the Israel-UAE normalisation deal and wider regional peacemaking, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Monday.
    The United Arab Emirates has said that its move to formalise relations with Israel, announced on Thursday, put paid to an annexation plan that angered Palestinians – who want the West Bank for a future state – and worried some world powers.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts the annexation plan – already dogged by disputes within his governing coalition – as temporarily on hold. But he has also said he wants approval from Israel’s main ally first.
    “Israel has agreed with us that they will not move forward without our consent.    We do not plan to give our consent for some time,” Kushner told reporters in a telephone briefing.
    “Right now the focus has to be on, you know, getting this new peace agreement implemented."
    “We really want to get as much interchange between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as possible and we want Israel to focus on creating new relationships and new alliances.”
    The U.S.-UAE-Israel joint statement on the normalisation deal said Israel had agreed to “suspend” the annexation plan.
    “What you’re saying as suspension, we’re seeing as stopping,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters shortly after the deal was announced.
    Palestinians, feeling sidelined six years after their own peace talks with Israel stalled, have condemned the Gulf power.
    Dismissing such censure as “noise,” Kushner said the onus was on the Palestinians, who are boycotting U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration for perceived pro-Israel bias, to come around to a new peace proposal it unveiled in January.
    Kushner said Washington was not pressuring other Gulf Arab states to recognise Israel.    Kuwait, he said, was “out there taking a very radical view on the conflict to date in favour of the Palestinians and obviously that hasn’t been very constructive.”
    After the 1991 Gulf war, Kuwait deported Palestinians for their leadership’s siding with Iraq.    Eli Avidar, a former Israeli diplomatic emissary in the Gulf turned opposition lawmaker, invoked such a scenario for Palestinians in the UAE.
    “Emirati citizens are different to Israelis and Americans.    They won’t forget,” he said in an Arabic speech.    “Your brothers who reside in the UAE will be expelled due to your attitudes.”
(Writing by Dan Williams and Alexander Cornwell; additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/17/2020 Israel’s President Invites UAE’s De Facto Leader To Jerusalem by Jeffrey Heller
The national flags of Israel and the United Arab Emirates flutter along a highway following the agreement
to formalize ties between the two countries, in Netanya, Israel August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s president on Monday invited the United Arab Emirates’ de facto leader to visit Jerusalem, praising his role in achieving a “noble and courageous” deal to normalise relations between Israel and the UAE.
    Both countries announced on Thursday they would forge formal ties under a U.S.-sponsored deal whose implementation could recast Middle East politics ranging from the Palestinian issue to dealing with Iran, the common foe of Israel and Gulf Arabs.
    The deal drew anger and dismay in much of the Arab world and Iran but a quiet welcome in the Gulf.
    “In these fateful days, leadership is measured by its courage and ability to be groundbreaking and far-sighted,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin wrote in a letter to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
    “I have no doubt that future generations will appreciate the way you, the brave and wise leaders, have restarted the discourse on peace, trust, dialogue between peoples and religions, cooperation and a promising future,” Rivlin wrote.
    “On behalf of the people of Israel and (me) personally, I take this opportunity to extend an invitation to Your Highness to visit Israel and Jerusalem and be our honoured guest,” Rivlin said in the letter, which his spokesman released publicly.
    The Palestinians have called the deal a “betrayal” by an Arab country that they have long looked to for support in establishing a state in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    “I am hopeful,” Rivlin’s letter went on, “that this step will help build and strengthen the trust between us and the peoples of the region, a trust that will promote understanding between us all."
    “Such trust, as demonstrated in the noble and courageous act, will set our region forward, bring economic well-being and provide prosperity and stability to the people of the Middle East as a whole.”
    Palestine Liberation Organization official Wassel Abu Youssef condemned Rivlin’s invitation, saying “the visit of any Arab official to Jerusalem through the gate of normalisation is rejected.”
    Any such top-level Arab visit could be politically explosive given Jerusalem’s internationally disputed status.
    Israel seized the eastern part of the city in 1967 and annexed it in a move that has not won world recognition.    It considers all of Jerusalem its capital.    Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of the state they seek.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller with additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/17/2020 Netanyahu Says Israel Preparing For Direct Flights To UAE Over Saudi Arabia
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adjusts his mask while standing next to Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev, as he
gives a statement at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel August 17, 2020. Emil Salman/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel is preparing for direct flights, over Saudi Arabia, to the United Arab Emirates as part of its normalisation deal with the UAE.
    Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic relations under a U.S.-sponsored deal whose implementation could reshape Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.    The UAE would only be third Arab state in more than 70 years to establish relations with Israel.
    Netanyahu, briefed at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport on plans for expanding flight activity curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, gave no time frame for the opening of an air link with the Gulf Arab country.
    “We are currently working on enabling direct flights, over Saudi Arabia, between Tel Aviv and Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Netanyahu told reporters, estimating flight time at “about three hours, just like to Rome
    Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel and its air space is closed to Israeli airliners.    But in what was seen in Israel as a harbinger of warmer relations with Riyadh, Air India was allowed in 2018 to begin flying over Saudi territory on its New Delhi-Tel Aviv route.
    At Ben-Gurion airport, Netanyahu said he saw “tremendous scope for bilateral tourism and gigantic scope for investment” with the UAE.
    A delegation from Israel is expected to travel to the UAE within weeks to work out the modalities of normalised relations, but any swift opening of a commercial air route could be complicated by coronavirus restrictions.
    On Sunday, the UAE opened telephone lines to Israel, a link inaugurated in a conversation between the two countries’ foreign ministers.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/18/2020 Netanyahu Says UAE Deal Did Not Change Israeli Policy On U.S. Arms Sales by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties, between Israel and the United Arab
Emirates, during a news conference at the prime minster office in Jerusalem, August 13, 2020. Abir Sultan /Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has not softened its opposition to any U.S. arms sales to the United Arab Emirates that could diminish its military superiority as part of the U.S.-brokered normalisation of their ties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday.
    The statement followed a report in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the Trump administration planned a “giant” sale of advanced F-35 jets to United Arab Emirates as part of the Gulf country’s move last week to normalise ties with Israel.
    The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and representatives of the UAE government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
    Under understandings dating back decades, Washington has refrained from Middle East arms sales that could blunt Israel’s “qualitative military edge” (QME).    This has applied to the F-35, denied to Arab states, while Israel has bought and deployed it.
    “In the talks (on the UAE normalisation deal), Israel did not change its consistent positions against the sale to any country in the Middle East of weapons and defence technologies that could tip the (military) balance,” Netanyahu’s office said.
    The Trump administration has signalled that UAE could clinch unspecified new U.S. arms sales after last Thursday’s normalisation announcement.
    Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, an observer in Netanyahu’s security cabinet, said the decision-making forum had held no discussion about any changes to QME policy and that Israel had not agreed to any changes by the United States.     “Israel has not given its consent to coming along and changing the arrangement,” Cohen told public radio station Kan.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alex Richardson and Angus MacSwan)

8/18/2020 Abbas Says Palestinians Not Worried About ‘Nonsense’ Israel-UAE Deal by Ali Sawafta
President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership to discuss the United Arab Emirates' deal
with Israel to normalize relations, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that Palestinians were not concerned about the normalisation deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, referring to the accord as “nonsense.”
    In his first public remarks since the U.S.-sponsored deal was announced last week, Abbas accused the Gulf Arab state of turning its back on Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and an Israeli-led blockade in Gaza.
    However, Abbas said: “We aren’t worried about the nonsense that happens here and there and especially in recent days, when a trilateral agreement between the Emirates, Israel and America was announced.”
    Israel, long shunned by most Arab and Muslim countries in the region, on Thursday agreed with the UAE to forge full relations, angering Palestinians who have long looked to oil-rich Gulf states for support in their quest for statehood.
    “They (the UAE) have turned their backs on everything: the rights of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian state, the two-state solution, and the holy city of Jerusalem,” Abbas said during a meeting of factions in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
    Abbas, 84, accused the UAE of trying to justify the deal by arguing it helped stop Israeli annexations in the West Bank, a move which the United States says it will not consent to for “some time” in order to focus on implementing the agreement. [nL8N2FJ3Z8]
    In a rare sign of unity, Abbas’s meeting at his presidential compound was attended by rival groups including the Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza and from which Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, has long been estranged.
    Although senior Palestinian officials have called for an urgent meeting of the Arab League over the deal, few countries have come to the Palestinians’ defence in wake of the agreement.
    Kuwait said its position towards Israel is unchanged, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have remained silent.
    Others, like Bahrain and Oman, have welcomed the deal, stirring speculation that the two Gulf states could follow in formalising ties with Israel. [nL8N2FI0GR]
    The Palestinians seek a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by David Holmes)

8/18/2020 Gaza’s Lone Power Plant Shuts Down Amid Tension With Israel by Nidal al-Mughrabi
A view shows Gaza's power plant after it was shutdown according to Palestinian officials,
in the central Gaza Strip August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    GAZA (Reuters) – Gaza’s lone power plant shut down on Tuesday, less than a week after Israel suspended fuel shipments to the Palestinian enclave over the launching of incendiary balloons that have caused brush fires in southern Israel.
    Gaza, run by Hamas Islamists, relies on Israel for most of its energy needs.    Its population of two million currently receives around six hours of electricity followed by a 10-hour power cut.
    “The power feed may now decline to only four hours (per day),” said Mohammad Thabet, an official at Gaza’s main power distribution company, after fuel ran out at the plant.
    Gaza homes and businesses rely on generators to make up for the lengthy power cuts, increasing the financial pressure on its largely impoverished people.
    Officials in Gaza said the power plant’s closure would cause disruptions at vital facilities such as hospitals, which are also equipped with generators.
    Dozens of helium balloons carrying incendiary material have been launched from Gaza in recent days, in what political sources described as a bid to pressure Israel to ease its blockade and allow more Arab and international investment.br>     Israel cites security concerns in imposing restrictions.
    The political sources said the balloons were part of efforts to persuade Qatar to increase its cash aid to Hamas as the Gulf state attempts to lower Gaza border tensions.
    Israel has carried out air strikes over the past week against positions held by Hamas and other factions, saying it would not tolerate the balloon incidents.
    Anticipating Israeli attacks after balloon or rocket launchings, Hamas routinely evacuates personnel from outposts.
    With tensions high, Israel has closed its lone commercial crossing with Gaza and banned sea access, effectively shutting down commercial fishing.
    Egyptian mediators on Monday held talks in Israel and Gaza on restoring calm.
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Ed Osmond)

8/18/2020 Israel To Establish Flights To UAE by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Miri Regev tour Ben-Gurion Airport and are briefed
on preparations for the resumption of flights, 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Tel Aviv, Israel. (Emil Salman/Haaretz Pool via AP)
    Israel announced a plan to establish flight routes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the initiative at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday.
    The prime minister said direct flights will be introduced between the cities of Tel Aviv, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.    It will take about three hours each way.
    The new flight plans come amid warming relations between Israel and the UAE, following a peace treaty brokered by the United States.
    “It will transform Israeli aviation and the Israeli economy with tremendous scope for tourism for both sides and gigantic scope for investment,” said Netanyahu.    “The people in the Emirates are extremely interested in massive investment in Israel, in technology.”
    The planned flights will fly over Saudi Arabia, a country which does not recognize Israel and has barred Israeli airplanes from entering its airspace in the past.    It’s still unclear when the new flight routes will become operational.

8/19/2020 West Bank Settlers Say Netanyahu Duped Them With Annexation Backtrack by Eli Berlzon
The Israeli national flag flutters as apartments are seen in the background in the Israeli settlement of Maale
Adumim in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 16, 2020. Picture taken August 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    MASSUA SETTLEMENT, West Bank (Reuters) – Israel’s settler leaders say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defrauded them of their long-held dream of annexing the occupied West Bank as part of the country’s normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates.
    Their anger could be a problem for right-wing Netanyahu, whom they accuse of repeatedly floating the idea of annexation only to cave in to international pressure when the terms of the UAE deal required him to walk back his promises.
    “He deceived us, defrauded us, duped us,” said David Elhayani, head of the Yesha Council, the settlers’ main umbrella organisation.
    “It’s a major disappointment.    It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, a golden opportunity that the prime minister missed because he lacked the courage,” said Elhayani.    “He’s lost it.    He needs to go.”
    Israel’s West Bank settlements – which range in size from a few hilltop caravans to sprawling commuter towns – were built by successive governments on land captured in a 1967 war.
    Around 450,000 Jewish settlers now live among 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with a further 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem.    Most countries view the settlements as illegal, a view that Israel and the United States dispute.
    When Netanyahu promised during recent elections to apply Israeli sovereignty to areas of the West Bank, including Jewish settlements, he said he first needed a green light from Washington.
    That green light appeared to have been given by President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan released in January, which envisaged Israel applying sovereignty – de facto annexation – to its 120 settlements in almost a third of the West Bank.     But when Trump announced the UAE deal this month, he said annexation was now “off the table.”
SOVEREIGNTY
    Polls have shown wide support in Israel for the UAE deal.    But the ideological settler leadership has significant political clout, and has long been a bastion of Netanyahu’s support.     Aware that he might lose their backing to parties even more hawkish than his own, Netanyahu sought to keep settler hopes alive.
    “Sovereignty is not off the agenda, I was the one who brought it to the Trump plan with American consent.    We will apply sovereignty,” he told Israel Army Radio, saying the White House had merely asked for a suspension.
    But many settler leaders are unconvinced.    Bezalel Smotrich, a settler with the ultranationalist opposition Yemina party, said Netanyahu “has been deceiving right-wing voters for many years with great success.”
    Palestinians, who seek a state of their own in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, have vigorously opposed the policies of Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner, including their Middle East plan and UAE deal.
    They accuse Trump, Kushner and Netanyahu of drawing up blueprints that would leave them only an unviable Palestinian state of separate enclaves scattered across the West Bank.
    But the Trump vision of limited Palestinian statehood has created strange bedfellows.
    The Palestinians say it gives them too little.    But for the most hardline Israeli settlers it gives the Palestinians too much.    For these settlers, any Palestinian state is anathema.
    In the hilltop settlement of Kedumim, veteran settler leader Daniella Weiss said: “I don’t think the Jewish nation needs to give up any of its treasures, any part … of our homeland, for a peace treaty.”
    “I am a pioneer that established an outpost, then my children did it, now my grandchildren are doing it.    This is the dream and this is the plan and this is what our movement does.”
(Reporting by Rami Amichay, Eli Berlzon and Maayan Lubell; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Stephen Farrell and Alison Williams)

8/19/2020 Saudi Remains Committed To Arab Peace Initiative For Israel Peace, Foreign Minister Says
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud attends a joint news conference with
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, Germany August 19, 2020. John Macdougall/Pool
    RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia remains committed to peace with Israel on the basis of the longstanding Arab Peace Initiative, its foreign minister said on Wednesday in the first official comment since the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise relations with Israel.
    Israel and the UAE said on Thursday they would normalise diplomatic relations under a U.S.-sponsored deal whose implementation could reshape Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.
    The Arab Peace Initiative was drawn up by Saudi Arabia in 2002, in which Arab nations offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.
    “The kingdom considers any Israeli unilateral measures to annex Palestinian land as undermining the two state solution,” Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said in an event in Berlin on Wednesday, in comments reported on Saudi’s foreign affairs ministry Twitter page.
    Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognise Israel and its air space is closed to Israeli airliners.
    The Kingdom, a close U.S. ally, has been ruled by 84-year-old King Salman since 2015, who has over the years repeatedly reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return.
    Saudi officials have repeatedly denied any difference between King Salman, and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler and next in line to the throne, who has shaken up long-held policies on many issues and told a U.S. magazine in April that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land.
    Both Saudi Arabia and Israel view Iran as the major threat to the Middle East. Increased tension between Tehran and Riyadh has fuelled speculation that shared interests may push the Saudis and Israel to work together, and there have been signs in recent years of some thawing between the two.
(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir in Dubai and Marwa Rashad in Riyadh, writing by Marwa Rashad; Editing by Toby Chopra)

8/20/2020 Israel Deal Should Remove Any Hurdle To F-35 Sale, UAE Official Says
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighter hovers in an aerial display during a
media preview of the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su
    DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates’ accord to normalise ties with Israel should remove “any hurdle” for the United States to sell the F-35 stealth fighter jet to the Gulf Arab state, a senior Emirati official said on Thursday.
    The United States has sold the F-35 to allies, including Turkey, South Korea, Japan and Israel, but sales to the Gulf require a deeper review due to U.S. policy for Israel to maintain a military advantage in the Middle East.
    “We have legitimate requests that are there. We ought to get them … the whole idea of a state of belligerency or war with Israel no longer exists,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in an online interview with the Atlantic Council.
    However, he said the UAE had not made any new requests to the Americans since the deal with Israel.
    The Gulf state, one of Washington’s closest Middle Eastern allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin Corp, which Israel has used in combat.
    An industry insider has told Reuters the United States is eyeing the sale of F-35s to the UAE in a side agreement to the UAE-Israel deal.
    However, any F-35 sale could take years to negotiate and deliver, while Israel’s prime minister has said his country would oppose any sale, citing a need to maintain Israeli military superiority in the region.
    Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defence for acquisition and sustainment and a leader in the U.S. weapons export process, told reporters on Thursday that in general, the United States aims to reach a letter of agreement for new F-35 sales in about 6 months.    She referred questions on the UAE deal to the State Department.
    A State Department spokesman deferred to Trump’s comments from a news conference on Wednesday in which he said, “They’d like to buy F-35s, we’ll see what happens, it’s under review.”
    Poland, the most recent F-35 customer, purchased 32 of the jets in January, but will not receive its first delivery until 2024.    Any sale would also need congressional approval.
    Washington guarantees that Israel receives more advanced American weapons than Arab states, giving it what is labelled a “Qualitative Military Edge” over its neighbours.
    “The UAE expects that its requirements will be accepted and we feel that with the signing of this peace treaty in the coming weeks or months … that any hurdle towards this should no longer be there,” Gargash said.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell and Lisa Barrington in Dubai and Mike Stone in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Toby Chopra, Mark Potter and Dan Grebler)

8/21/2020 Saudi Price For Ties With Israel Is Palestinian State: Saudi Royal
FILE PHOTO: Former Head of Saudi intelligence and current Saudi King Faisal Center for Research and
Islamic Studies Chairman Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud attends a close session meeting at the
IISS Regional Security Summit - The Manama Dialogue in Manama, December 8, 2013. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s price for normalising relations with Israel is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, a senior member of the Saudi royal family reaffirmed on Friday.
    Prince Turki al-Faisal was apparently responding to U.S. President Donald Trump who said on Wednesday he expected Saudi Arabia to join a deal announced last week by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise diplomatic ties.
    The UAE is only the third Arab state in more than 70 years to forge full relations with Israel.    Under the U.S.-brokered deal, Israel shelved plans to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, which Palestinians seek as part of a future state.
    The UAE said Israel’s commitment had kept alive the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Israel hitherto had no formal ties with Gulf Arab states but shared concerns with the UAE about Iran’s regional influence and actions, along with the UAE’s role as a regional business hub, led to a limited thaw and discreet contacts in recent years.
    The deal raised speculation that other U.S.-backed Gulf Arab countries might follow.    But Prince Turki said Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf Arab power which has traditionally guided policy towards Israel, expected a higher return from Israel.
    “Any Arab state that is considering following the UAE should demand in return a price, and it should be an expensive price,” he wrote in the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.
    “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has set a price for concluding peace between Israel and the Arabs – it is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as capital, as provided for by the initiative of the late King Abdullah.”
    That 2002 Arab League plan offered Israel normalised ties in return for Israeli withdrawal from all territories – the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem – captured in the 1967 Middle East war, and a Palestinian state there.
    But Prince Turki also voiced understanding for the UAE’s decision, noting that Riyadh’s close ally had secured a key condition – a halt to Israeli annexation plans.
    In the first Saudi reaction to the UAE-Israeli deal, Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said on Wednesday Riyadh remained committed to the Arab peace initiative.
    Prince Turki, a former ambassador to Washington and ex-intelligence chief, holds no government office now but remains influential as current chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

8/23/2020 Pompeo To Visit Israel And UAE With Peace, Iran And China On Agenda, Sources Say
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters following a meeting with members of the
U.N. Security Council about Iran's alleged non-compliance with a nuclear deal and calling for the restoration of
sanctions against Iran at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., August 20, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Pool
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Israel on Monday and the United Arab Emirates a day later to discuss the countries’ normalisation deal, two sources briefed on his itinerary said.
    Also on Pompeo’s agenda will be the security challenges posed by Iran and China in the region, said the sources, who declined to be identified by name or nationality.
    Israel and the UAE announced earlier this month that they would normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship.
    Under the accord, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank.
    The deal also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is expected to travel to Israel and the UAE in early September, and may stop in other countries as well, an administration official said.    Kushner will be accompanied by Avi Berkowitz, Trump’s Middle East envoy, the official said.
    Kushner and Berkowitz will thank Israel and the UAE for completing the deal, the official said.
(Reporting by Dan Williams, Steve Holland, and Jan Wolfe; Editing by David Clarke and Daniel Wallis)

[AS YOU CAN SEE TRUMP HAS HIS PEOPLE GOING TO GET THE PLAYERS IN THE MIDEAST TO WANT FINANCIAL SECURITY FOR THEIR REGION WHICH WILL FORCE THE PALESTINIANS TO TAKE THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY OR THEY WILL LOSE OUT].

8/25/2020 Sudan PM Tells Pompeo He’s Not Authorised To Normalise Ties With Israel by Khalid Abdelaziz
FILE PHOTO: Sudan's new Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok, speaks during
a Reuters interview in Khartoum, Sudan August 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
    KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday that he was not mandated to normalise ties with Israel, and the issue should not be linked to Sudan’s removal from a U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list.
    Pompeo arrived from Israel on what he said was the first official non-stop flight between the two countries, as the United States looks to strengthen Sudan-Israel ties.
    He met Hamdok and ruling council head Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, tweeting that Sudan’s democratic transition was a “once in a generation opportunity.”    He discussed the Sudan-Israel relationship with both Hamdok and Burhan, according to State Department statements.
    The United States has been restoring relations with Sudan following the ousting of former Islamist leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 after mass protests.    The country is one year into a 39-month political transition in which the military and civilians are sharing power.
    Its economy is in crisis and authorities have been pushing to end the U.S. terrorism listing, which prevents Sudan from accessing financing from international lenders.
    Sudan’s removal from the list “remains a critical bilateral priority for both countries,” the State Department said.
    Pompeo’s visit follows an accord between Israel and the UAE this month to forge full relations, and comes as Israel and the United States push more Arab countries to follow.
    In February, Burhan met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda, a meeting condemned by Sudanese protesters.    He afterwards cast doubt on any rapid normalisation of relations, though Israeli aircraft soon began overflying Sudan.
    Ties with Israel are a sensitive issue in Sudan, which was among the hardline Muslim foes of Israel under Bashir.    The government sacked its foreign ministry spokesman last week after he called the UAE decision to normalise relations with Israel “a brave and bold step.”
    Hamdok’s transitional government “does not have a mandate … to decide on normalisation with Israel,” he told Pompeo, and the matter would be decided after all Sudan’s interim bodies had been established, according to government spokesman Faisal Saleh.
    “The Prime Minister called on the U.S. administration to separate the process of removing Sudan from the list of states sponsoring terrorism and the issue of normalisation with Israel,” Saleh said.
    A legislative body to serve alongside the ruling council and the government is yet to be formed, a step that Pompeo noted was “crucial.”
    Washington imposed sanctions on Sudan over its alleged support for militant groups and the civil war in Darfur.    Trade sanctions were lifted in 2017.
Pompeo and Hamdok also agreed that reaching a deal over the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) was “crucial to regional stability,” according to the State Department.
    Sudan discussed the issue on Tuesday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was on a separate visit to Khartoum.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, Dan Williams, Nadine Awadalla and Omar Fahmy; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Giles Elgood and John Stonestreet)

8/26/2020 Pompeo In Bahrain Discusses Regional Stability, Unity
    DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed regional stability and Gulf unity with the crown prince of Bahrain on Wednesday, as part of a Middle East tour following an accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on normalising relations.
    On his arrival on Tuesday night, Pompeo had said it was vital to seize the momentum of the U.S.-brokered deal announced on Aug. 13.
    We discussed the importance of building regional peace and stability, including the importance of Gulf unity and countering Iran’s malign influence in the region,” he wrote on Twitter following the meeting with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
    Israel and the United States have said they are pushing more Arab countries to follow the UAE’s path.    Israel’s intelligence minister has mentioned Bahrain as a possible candidate.
    Pompeo said he also met the king of Bahrain.
    Pompeo first visited Jerusalem and Sudan, and is now traveling to the UAE.
(Reporting by Maher Chmeytelli, Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Hugh Lawson, William Maclean)

8/29/2020 UAE Scraps Israel Boycott In New Step Towards Normal Ties by Maher Chmaytelli
FILE PHOTO: The municipality building is lit in the United Arab Emirates national flag following the announcement of a deal
to normalise relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, in Tel Aviv, Israel August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The president of the United Arab Emirates scrapped an economic boycott against Israel, allowing trade and financial agreements between the countries in another key step towards normal ties, the UAE’s state news agency reported on Saturday.
    Israel and the UAE said on Aug. 13 they would normalise diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump that reshapes the order of Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.
    President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a decree abolishing a boycott law as part of “the UAE’s efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation,” the WAM news agency said.
    Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the UAE had taken “an important step towards peace, which will yield substantial economic and commercial achievements for both people while strengthening the stability in the region.”
    The announcement came as Israeli flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines Ltd prepared to operate the country’s first direct flight between Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi.
    An Israeli government delegation and top aides to Trump, including his senior adviser Jared Kushner, are due to travel on the flight on Aug. 31, a U.S. official said.
    Before the Aug. 13 deal can be officially signed, details must be agreed on issues such as the opening of embassies, trade and travel links.
    Israel’s Channel 13 TV said bilateral trade could initially be worth $4 billion a year, a figure it said could soon be tripled or quadrupled. Government officials did not immediately confirm that estimate.
    Israeli Agriculture Minister Alon Schuster said Israel was working on potential joint projects that could help improve the oil-rich Gulf nation’s food security, such as water desalination and crop cultivation in the desert.
    “With their money and our experience, we could go a long way,” he told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM in an interview on Friday.
    Officials from the two countries recently said they were looking at cooperation in defence, medicine, tourism and technology.
    The decree announced on Saturday means UAE citizens and businesses will be free to do business with Israel.
    The two countries do not yet have official air links, and it was unclear whether Monday’s El Al flight would be able to fly over Saudi Arabia – which has no official ties with Israel – to cut down on flight time.
    In May, an Etihad Airways plane flew from the UAE to Tel Aviv to deliver supplies to the Palestinians to help fight coronavirus, marking the first known flight by an UAE carrier to Israel.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Helen Popper and Clelia Oziel)

8/30/2020 Israel Hopes For Washington Signing Ceremony On UAE Deal By Mid-September by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: The national flags of Israel and the United Arab Emirates flutter along a highway following the
agreement to formalize ties between the two countries, in Netanya, Israel August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel hopes to hold a signing ceremony in Washington for its normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates by mid-September, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet said on Sunday.
    The date for such an event could be decided by senior aides to Netanyahu and to U.S. President Donald Trump when those officials fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday for talks, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis told public broadcaster Kan.
    Top Trump adviser Jared Kushner and the other U.S. delegates were due in Israel on Sunday to prepare for the UAE mission.
    “This (normalisation) agreement is expected to be signed in the month of September in the city of Washington,” Akunis said.    “That is meant to be one of the outcomes of the talks in the next 24 hours in the Emirates – setting a date for the signing.”
    Akunis added that the Netanyahu government hopes the ceremony will take place “before our Rosh Hashanah” or Jewish new year, which is on Sept. 18.
    Israel and the UAE announced on Aug. 13 that they would normalise diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by Trump.    The agreement reshapes the Middle East order, from the Palestinian issue to relations with Iran.
    On Saturday, the Gulf power announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel, allowing trade and financial agreements between the countries.
    Officials from the two countries have said they are looking at cooperation in defence, medicine, agriculture, tourism and technology.
    “We are talking about commercial deals worth $500 million in the initial stages, and this will keep rising all the time,” Akunis said.
    Such bilateral deals, he said, will give rise to “trilateral investments, in other words, in additional projects with other countries in the region.”    He did not name these countries.
    The U.S. and Israeli delegations are due to travel together to Abu Dhabi on an El Al Israel Airlines Ltd plane, Israel’s first direct flight between Tel Aviv and the UAE capital.
    El Al released pictures of the Boeing 737-900 jet that will take the delegates.    The word “peace” in English, Hebrew and Arabic is inscribed on the exterior above the cockpit windows for the occasion.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Sam Holmes and Frances Kerry)

8/30/2020 Trump Adviser Sees More Arab, Muslim Partners For Israel After UAE Deal by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: The national flags of Israel and the United Arab Emirates flutter along a highway following the agreement
to formalize ties between the two countries, in Netanya, Israel August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday more Arab and Muslim countries were likely to follow the United Arab Emirates in normalising relations with Israel.
    The White House official, Robert O’Brien, and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on the eve of talks in Abu Dhabi on Monday on finalising formal Israel-UAE ties.
    Israel and the UAE announced on Aug. 13 that they would forge official ties under a deal brokered by Washington.    The diplomatic move reshapes the Middle East order, from the Palestinian issue to relations with Iran.
    “We believe that other Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead and normalise relations with Israel,” O’Brien told reporters after talks at Netanyahu’s residence.
    He did not name the states, but Israeli officials have publicly mentioned Oman, Bahrain and Sudan.
    Palestinians have condemned the UAE’s move as abandonment of a policy of linking official relations with Israel to achievement of Palestinian statehood in territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war.
    The Trump administration has been trying to coax other Sunni Arab countries that share Israel’s concerns about Iran to join in a regional peace push.
    Kushner, speaking alongside Netanyahu and O’Brien, said the UAE deal was a “giant step forward” in the direction.
    “To have played a role in its creation, and I say this as the grandson of two Holocaust survivors, it means more to me and to my family that I can ever express,” Kushner said.
    Kushner, O’Brien and other U.S. officials will join an Israeli delegation on Monday in the first flight by an Israeli commercial airline – El Al – to the UAE.
    Speaking on Israel’s Kan public radio on Sunday, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis said Israel hopes to hold a signing ceremony in Washington for the UAE deal by mid-September.
‘MEANINGLESS SPECTACLE’
    In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said Kushner and his team were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to attend a White House signing event and give Trump a boost ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.
    “They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” Ashrawi said.
    On Saturday, the UAE announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel.    Officials from the two countries have said they are looking at cooperation in defence, medicine, agriculture, tourism and technology.
    Netanyahu told reporters that abolishing “the anachronistic boycott” opened the door for “unbridled” trade, tourism and investment.
    Statements issued by the UAE and Israel on Sunday said the UAE minister of state and Israel’s agriculture minister spoke by phone on Friday and “pledged to collaborate on projects that address food and water security.”
    The UAE, a desert state, relies on imports for around 80% to 90% of its food, and has heavily encouraged investments in recent years in agricultural technology and farmland investments abroad.
(Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell and Maha El Dahan in Dubai; Writing by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Sam Holmes and Frances Kerry)

8/30/2020 Kushner, U.S. Officials To Tour Middle East For Peace Talks by OAN Newsroom
White House adviser Jared Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make joint statements to the press
about the Israeli-United Arab Emirates peace accords, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)
    White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is set to tour the Middle East to help broker peace deals between multiple countries in the region.    On Sunday, he met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu for peace discussions, leaving the door open for the Palestinian people to possibly join.
    Kushner touted the recent Israel-UAE peace deal, which he claimed “set the stage” for countries in the area to follow suit.
    Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States all voiced optimism about the deal and are hoping to establish peace.
    “There is still much work left to accomplish, but the Abraham Accord is a giant step forward.    We will continue to pursue peace between Israel, the biblical homeland of the Jewish people, and its Arab and Muslim neighbors.    I have never been more hopeful about peace.” – Jared Kushner, White House Senior Adviser
    The adviser will soon begin traveling to other territories and countries in the Middle East to convince them to join the deal.

8/31/2020 First Official Israeli Flight To UAE Takes Off With Trump Aides Onboard
Senior U.S. Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner listens to U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien
speaking ahead of boarding the El Al's flight LY971, which will carry a U.S.-Israeli delegation from Tel Aviv
to Abu Dhabi at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel August 31, 2020. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – The first official Israeli flight to the United Arab Emirates took off on Monday from Tel Aviv, carrying U.S. and Israeli delegates to talks on cementing an Israel-UAE normalisation deal brokered by Washington.     Saudi Arabia, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, has given permission for the El Al Airlines Boeing 737 to fly over its territory en route to the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi, a source familiar with the flight plan said.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

8/31/2020 Israeli, U.S. Officials On Historic Flight To UAE To Formalize Normalization Deal by Dan Williams
An Israeli delegation led by National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien
and U.S. President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner make their way to board the Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner
as they fly to Abu Dhabi for talks meant to put final touches on the normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates
and Israel, at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias?
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Top aides to U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a historic first flight from Tel Aviv to the United Arab Emirates on Monday to finalize a pact marking open relations between the Gulf power and Israel.
    Even before discussions start in Abu Dhabi, the delegates made aviation history when the Israeli commercial airliner flew over Saudi territory on the direct flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE capital.
    “That’s what peace for peace looks like,” Netanyahu tweeted, describing a deal for formal ties with an Arab state that does not entail handover of land that Israel captured in a 1967 war.
    Announced on Aug. 13, the normalization deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years and was catalyzed largely by shared fears of Iran.
    Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE’s move, worried that it would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that called for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory – and acceptance of Palestinian statehood – in return for normal relations with Arab countries. [L8N2FV09W]
    Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and national security adviser Robert O’Brien head the U.S. delegation.    The Israeli team is led by O’Brien’s counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat. Officials will explore bilateral cooperation in areas such as commerce and tourism, and Israeli defense envoys are due to visit the UAE separately.
    “I prayed yesterday at the (Western) Wall that Muslims and Arabs throughout the world will be watching this flight, recognizing that we are all children of God, and that the future does not have to be pre-determined by the past,” Kushner told reporters on the tarmac at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport.
    Israeli officials hope the two-day trip will produce a date for a Washington signing ceremony, perhaps as early as September, between Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
FOREIGN POLICY BOOST
    That could give Trump a foreign policy boost ahead of his re-election bid in November.
    The Trump administration has tried to coax other Sunni Arab countries concerned about Iran to engage with Israel.    The most powerful of those, Saudi Arabia, while opening its airspace to the El Al flight, has signaled it is not ready.
    In Abu Dhabi, several people were injured on Monday in an explosion that was likely caused by gas lines in a restaurant, police said.     Abu Dhabi-owned the National daily reported that the blast hit KFC and Hardees restaurants.    In a second incident, one person was killed when a gas cylinder exploded in a Dubai restaurant, local media reported.
    With the word “peace” printed in Arabic, English and Hebrew above a cockpit window, the El Al Boeing 737 took off for Abu Dhabi from Tel Aviv, a flight of about 3 hours and 20 minutes, the pilot announced to passengers.
    Like all El Al 737s, the aircraft was equipped with an anti-missile system, an Israeli spokesman said, and carried security agents of the U.S. Secret Service and the Israeli Shin Bet to guard the delegations.
    Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive committee, said Kushner and his team were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to give Trump an election boost.
    “They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” she said.
(Reporting by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub; Writing by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Peter Cooney, Toby Chopra, William Maclean)

8/31/2020 Israeli, U.S. Officials Land In UAE, Kushner Urges Palestinians To Negotiate by Dan Williams and Lisa Barrington
The Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner carrying Israeli and U.S. delegates lands at Abu Dhabi
International Airport, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
    ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Senior U.S. and Israeli officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state, and they told Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate peace.
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner also said on arrival that Washington could help maintain Israel’s military edge while advancing its ties to the UAE, the Arab world’s second largest economy and a regional power.
    Announced on Aug. 13, the normalisation deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years and was forged largely through shared fears of Iran.
    Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE’s move, seeing it as a betrayal that would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position which calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
    Kushner said Palestinians should not be “stuck in the past.”
    “They have to come to the table. Peace will be ready for them, an opportunity will be ready for them as soon as they are ready to embrace it,” said Kushner, part of a U.S. delegation that accompanied Israeli officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE.
    Kushner and national security adviser Robert O’Brien headed the U.S. delegation.    The Israeli team was led by O’Brien’s counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.
    Israel and the United Arab Emirates will discuss economic, scientific, trade and cultural cooperation on the visit. Direct flights between the two countries will also be on the agenda, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told al Arabiya television after landing in Abu Dhabi.
    “That’s what peace for peace looks like,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, describing a deal for formal ties with an Arab state that does not entail handover of land that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    At a news conference in Jerusalem late on Monday, Netanyahu said: “It will be a warm peace because it will be based on cooperation in the realm of economics, with an entrepreneurial economy like ours, with vast economic capabilities, with big money looking for investment channels.”
ARABIC GREETING
    Even before landing, the delegates made aviation history when the Israeli commercial airliner flew over Saudi territory on the direct flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE capital.
    Israeli officials hope the two-day trip will produce a date for a signing ceremony in Washington, perhaps as early as September, between Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
    That could give U.S. President Donald Trump a foreign policy boost ahead of his re-election bid in November.
    The Trump administration has tried to coax other Sunni Arab countries concerned about Iran to engage with Israel.    The most powerful of those, Saudi Arabia, while opening its airspace to the El Al flight, has signalled it is not ready.
    On board the packed airliner, passengers were welcomed in Arabic as well as English and Hebrew, a gesture marking the historic flight.
    “Wishing us all salaam, peace and shalom, have a safe flight,” the pilot, Captain Tal Becker, said on the intercom, in Arabic, English and Hebrew, using all three languages to also announce the flight number and destination.
    Like all El Al 737s, the aircraft was equipped with an anti-missile system, an Israeli spokesman said, and carried security agents of the U.S. Secret Service and the Israeli Shin Bet.
    Palestinian leaders expressed anger at a deal which they believe further erodes their struggle for an independent state.
    “Peace is not an empty word used to normalize crimes and oppression.    Peace is the outcome of justice,” politician Saeb Erekat said in a Tweet.
    “Peace is not made by denying Palestine’s right to exist and imposing an apartheid regime."    Apartheid is what Netanyahu means by “peace for peace.”
    The Islamist Hamas group, which controls the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, also condemned the UAE.
    The flight represents a “stab in the back of the Palestinian people, a prolonging of the occupation, and a betrayal of the resistance of the (Palestinian) people,” Hamas said in a statement.
    Hours before the plane landed, in apparently unrelated incidents that authorities attributed to gas malfunctions, three people were killed and several others were injured in two separate explosions in Abu Dhabi and UAE tourism hub Dubai, police and local media said.
    The Abu Dhabi government media office said two people were killed in the blast in the capital, which the National daily reported hit KFC and Hardee’s restaurants, located on a main road leading to the airport.
    In the second incident, one person was killed when a gas cylinder exploded in a Dubai restaurant, local media reported.
(Reporting by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub, Ari Rabinovitch and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Editing by William Maclean and Gareth Jones)

8/31/2020 Israel, Hamas Agree To Restore Calm Along Gaza Border
FILE PHOTO: Gaza's Hamas Chief Yehya Al-Sinwar talks to media before meeting with Chairman of the Palestinian
Central Election Committee Hana Naser, in Gaza City October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo
    GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian militant groups and Israel agreed to end a weeks-long escalation of unrest along the Israel-Gaza border, Gaza’s ruling Islamist group Hamas and Israel said on Monday.
    Under the deal, brokered by a Qatari envoy, Hamas would end the launching of incendiary balloons, and Israel would end air strikes, said a Palestinian official close to the mediation.
    COGAT, Israel’s liaison agency to the Palestinian territories, confirmed that after security consultations led by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Gaza’s main goods crossing would reopen and fishermen would be allowed back to work, up to 15 nautical miles.
    A COGAT statement said the decisions were “subject to the continuation of the calm and the security stability” but warned that if Hamas failed to deliver, Israel would “act accordingly.”
    Hamas said the understanding would ease the way for implementation of projects “that will serve the people of Gaza, and alleviate the suffering amid the coronavirus wave.”
    Palestinians and humanitarian groups have urged an easing of the Israeli-led blockade on Gaza, fearing even more hardship after the first outbreak of COVID-19 there last week.
    Israel says the restrictions are necessary because of security fears over Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist organisation.
(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Howard Goller)

8/31/2020 Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Says Committed To Palestinian State With East Jerusalem As Its Capital
FILE PHOTO: Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit
in Mecca, Saudi Arabia May 30, 2019. Picture taken May 30, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via
    CAIRO (Reuters) – The Abu Dhabi crown prince said on Monday that the United Arab Emirates is committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV reported.
    In a statement read by UAE’s foreign minister Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said to the Palestinian community in the country that the normalistion deal with Israel was a sovereign decision in the favour of peace.
    “Peace is a strategic choice, but not at the expense of the Palestinian cause,” he said according to Al Arabiya.
(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Ahmed Tolba; Editing by Sandra Maler)

9/1/2020 Israel, Hamas Agree To Restore Calm Along Gaza Border
A Palestinian police officer disinfects a car during a lockdown following the outbreak of the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Gaza City September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian militant groups and Israel agreed to end a weeks-long escalation of unrest along the Israel-Gaza border, Gaza’s ruling Islamist group Hamas and Israel said on Monday.
    Under the deal, brokered by a Qatari envoy, Hamas would end the launching of incendiary balloons, and Israel would end air strikes, said a Palestinian official close to the mediation.
    COGAT, Israel’s liaison agency to the Palestinian territories, confirmed that after security consultations led by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Gaza’s main goods crossing would reopen and fishermen would be allowed back to work, up to 15 nautical miles.
    A COGAT statement said the decisions were “subject to the continuation of the calm and the security stability” but warned that if Hamas failed to deliver, Israel would “act accordingly.”
    Hamas said the understanding would ease the way for implementation of projects “that will serve the people of Gaza, and alleviate the suffering amid the coronavirus wave.”
    Palestinians and humanitarian groups have urged an easing of the Israeli-led blockade on Gaza, fearing even more hardship after the first outbreak of COVID-19 there last week.
    Israel says the restrictions are necessary because of security fears over Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist organisation.
(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Howard Goller)

9/1/2020 Israel And UAE Agree To Cooperate On Financial Services: Israeli Statement
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed on Tuesday to set up a joint committee on financial services cooperation with the aim of promoting investment between the two countries, an Israeli statement said.
    Israeli and UAE officials meeting in Abu Dhabi signed the understanding, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the statement.
    One focus, Netanyahu said, would be on “cooperation in the field of financial services and removing financial barriers for making investments between the countries, as well as promoting joint investments in the capital markets.”

8/31/2020 White House Officials Make Historic Flight To UAE With Israeli Prime Minister by OAN Newsroom
An official message welcomes passengers on an Israeli El Al plane carrying an Israeli-American delegation and journalists
on a flight to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
    Trump administration and Israeli officials landed in the first ever direct commercial passenger flight to the United Arab Emirates from Israel.    The two delegations took off from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport early Monday in an Israeli commercial plane landing in Abu Dhabi.
    This came just a couple weeks after the Trump administration’s historic UAE peace deal, which established open relations between Israel and the UAE.
    “We hope that that this will start an even more historic journey for the Middle East and beyond,” stated White House senior advisor Jared Kushner.    “I prayed yesterday at the (Western) Wall that Muslims and Arabs from throughout the world will be watching this flight, recognizing that we are all children of God, and that the future does not have to be pre-determined by the past.”
    Kushner and security advisor Robert O’Brien made remarks upon landing in which they noted that they aim to lay the groundwork for the peace deal on this trip.    This is part of Kushner’s greater tour of the Middle East with hopes to tie more countries into the peace deal.

9/1/2020 After UAE-Israel Breakthrough, Kushner Pushes Other Arabs To Go Next by Lisa Barrington and Dan Williams
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien pose for a group
photo, at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Dan Williams
    AL-DHAFRA AIR BASE, Abu Dhabi (Reuters) – After accompanying an Israeli delegation to the UAE for historic normalization talks, White House adviser Jared Kushner set off on a tour of other Gulf capitals on Tuesday, looking for more Arab support.
    Israel and the United Arab Emirates set up a joint committee to cooperate on financial services at the talks in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.    Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, accompanied the Israeli delegation on Monday on what was billed as the first Israeli commercial flight to the influential Gulf monarchy, which agreed in August to normalize relations.
    Israel exchanged embassies with neighbors Egypt and Jordan under peace deals decades ago.    But until now, all other Arab states had demanded it first cede more land to the Palestinians.
    In remarks reported by the UAE state news agency WAM, Kushner suggested other Arab states could follow quickly.    Asked when the next would normalize ties with Israel, he was quoted as saying: “Let’s hope it’s months.”
    Kushner later flew to Bahrain, and is expected also to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
    While no other Arab country has yet indicated a willingness to follow the UAE, the richest, Saudi Arabia, allowed the El Al charter flight carrying Kushner and the Israelis to use its air space.     In Bahrain, which houses the U.S. naval headquarters for the region, the state news agency reported that during his meeting with Kushner, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had praised the role the UAE has played in defending Arab and Islamic interests. DISGRACED FOREVER
    The Palestinians have denounced the UAE agreement with Israel, which they say violates a longstanding pan-Arab position that Israel could normalize relations only in return for land. The UAE says it obtained a major concession from Israel to halt plans to annexe territory on the occupied West Bank.     The Gulf Arab states are mainly ruled by Sunni Muslim monarchs who consider their biggest foe to be Shi’ite Iran, and Israel has long held out the promise that their common enemy could bring them together.
    In a fiery speech on Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “The Emiratis will be disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic world, Arab nations and Palestine.”
    “The UAE, along with Israelis and evil Americans like the Jewish member of Trump’s family, are working together against the interests of the Islamic world,” Khamenei said, referring to Kushner, who is Jewish.
    Asked about Khamenei’s remarks, UAE Foreign Ministry official Jamal Al-Musharakh told reporters in Abu Dhabi: “The path to peace and prosperity is not paved with incitement and hate speech.”
    Israeli officials have played up the economic benefits of the UAE deal.    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said representatives of the two countries had signed an agreement on cooperation in financial services.
    The state-run Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Invest in Israel, part of Israel’s economy ministry, issued a joint statement saying they had agreed to set out a plan to establish formal cooperation.
    Amid the historic normalization talks, Kushner spent a morning meeting UAE military officials at an Abu Dhabi air base that houses U.S. military F-35 jets, advanced stealth aircraft which the Gulf state has long sought to buy despite Israeli objections.
    The UAE has said normalization should remove any hurdle blocking the sale.    Netanyahu said on Monday Israel still opposes selling the jets to the UAE.
(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi, Alexander Cornwell and Maha El Dahan in DUBAI; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Giles Elgood)
[Khamenei is too stupid to know that the Mideast Arabs are dissing him because they are buying F-35's to defend themselves from him and Iran].

9/1/2020 Amid Talks With Israel, UAE Pursuit Of Stealth Jets Rumbles In Background by Lisa Barrington and Dan Williams
U.S. President Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien pose for a group photo with UAE's Air Force Major General
Falah Al Qahtani, at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lisa Barrington
    Al DHAFRA AIRBASE, Abu Dhabi (Reuters) – Amid historic normalization talks between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, American officials spent a morning at an Abu Dhabi air base housing U.S. stealth jets which the Gulf state hopes to buy despite Israeli objections.
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met Emirati military officials at the UAE’s Al Dhafra air base, where the U.S. keeps some of its F-35 advanced stealth warplanes, highlighting the UAE’s years-long drive to obtain the aircraft.
    Israel, which has the F-35, has balked at any other Middle East powers obtaining the plane, citing U.S. laws that it should maintain a military advantage in the region.
    Kushner, son-in-law to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrived in the Gulf Arab state on Monday on a two-day trip with an Israeli delegation for talks with UAE officials following their U.S.-brokered Aug. 13 accord to normalize relations.
    The Gulf state, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin Corp , which Israel has used in combat.
    UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said normalization should remove “any hurdle” for the United States to sell the F-35 to the UAE.
    A UAE official said the visit to the Emirati air base, which the U.S. also uses, near the UAE capital Abu Dhabi was not related to the F-35 issue, while another praised three decades of U.S.-UAE military cooperation.
    “Our relationship has been built on trust and mutual support,” Major General Falah al-Qahtani told reporters.    “We have stood together to fight extremism in all of its forms.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday F-35 plane sales were not part of the deal with the UAE, underscoring Israel’s concern not to dilute its access to advanced American weapons systems in the region.
    “The Americans acknowledged that.    Our position hasn’t changed,” Netanyahu said.
    He said that White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien made clear to him during a visit to Israel this week that the United States is committed to preserving Israel’s military edge in the volatile region.
    The United States has sold the F-35 to allies including Turkey, South Korea, Japan and Israel.
    “The F-35 issue is a long-standing request of the UAE and it’s not by any means a driver of reaching this accord,” Jamal Al-Musharakh, chief of policy planning and international cooperation at the UAE foreign ministry, told reporters.
    Kushner, who traveled on to Bahrain from the UAE on Tuesday, said he hoped another Arab country would normalize ties with Israel within months.
    No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.    Several have ruled out normalization under current conditions.    Only two other Arab states have forged full relations with Israel – Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Dan Williams in Abu Dhabi, Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

9/2/2020 Stop Or Suspend West Bank Annexation? Devil In The Detail For Israel-UAE Deal by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, U.S. President's Senior Advisor Jared Kushner
and UAE's National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a meeting in Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. Ministry of Presidential Affairs/WAM/Handout via REUTERS
    GAZA/ABU DHABI (Reuters) – A difference between English and Arabic versions of a trilateral statement after an historic flight from Israel to the UAE has been seized upon by Palestinians to suggest the Gulf state has overstated Israeli readiness to drop West Bank annexation plans.
    The English version of a joint communiqué by the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the United States in Abu Dhabi on Monday said the accord had “led to the suspension of Israel’s plans to extend its sovereignty.”
    But the Arabic version, carried by the UAE state news agency WAM, said “the agreement … has led to Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian lands being stopped.”
    The discrepancy was highlighted by Palestinians after President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner flew with U.S. and Israeli delegations on the first Israeli commercial flight to the UAE to cement the normalisation accord, the first by a Gulf state.
    “Compare yourself the two versions… suspension of extending sovereignty, not stopping annexation of Palestinian lands,” tweeted Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation on Tuesday.
    The UAE has portrayed the accord, announced by Trump on Aug. 13, as a means to halt Israeli annexation of occupied West Bank lands, where Palestinian hope to build a future state.
    Jamal Al-Musharakh, chief of policy planning and international cooperation at the UAE foreign ministry, said the difference in wording was merely a translation issue.
    “If anyone can think of a better synonym than ‘Eeqaf’ (stopping) for ‘suspending’, then please let me know,” he told reporters.
    “One of the prerequisites of the commencing of bilateral relations was the halting of the annexation,” said Musharakh.    The Emirati government did not respond when asked for further comment.
    But Hanan Ashrawi, a senior PLO official, said it was a “forked tongue” attempt to influence public opinion in the Arab world.
NO CHANGE IN MY PLAN
    “I don’t think it is a problem of translation, I think it is a disingenuous way of trying to manipulate the discourse,” she told Reuters.
    “The Arabic translation is a way of misleading Arab public opinion by saying they have succeeded in stopping the annexation, while actually they suspended it.”
    In recent election campaigns Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to apply Israeli sovereignty to West Bank areas, including Jewish settlements, but said he needed a green light from Washington.
    Speaking in Hebrew and using the biblical terms for the West Bank, Netanyahu told Israelis on Aug. 13 – the day the deal was announced: “There is no change in my plan to apply our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States.    I am committed, it has not changed.”
    Keeping annexation hopes alive is widely seen as Netanyahu’s attempt to placate his right-wing voter base.    Settler leaders have accused him of repeatedly floating annexation, only to cave in to international pressure.
    An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Wednesday said it had nothing to add to the original Aug 13. statement, which said: “As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough …Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace.”
    The White House declined to comment on the UAE trip communique, but a U.S. source familiar with the matter said the White House was not responsible for the Arabic translation.
    At the briefing to reporters in Washington after the Aug 13 announcement Trump said annexation was “right now off the table,” and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman added: “The word suspend was chosen carefully by all the parties.    ‘Suspend’ by definition, look it up, means a temporary halt.    It’s off the table now but it’s not off the table permanently.”
    During his UAE trip this week Kushner also used the word “suspend.”
    “Israel has agreed to suspend the annexation, to suspend applying Israeli law to those areas for the time being,” he told the WAM agency.    “But in the future it is a discussion that I am sure will be had.    But not in the near future.”
(This story was refiled to fix typo in ‘spokeswoman’ in paragraph 16, adds ‘Aug 13’ in paragraph 18 to establish time element)
(Writing and reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi in Dubai, and Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem. Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Alexandra Alper in Washington, Editing by William Maclean)

9/4/2020 Rival Palestinian Factions Hold Rare Joint Meeting Over Israel-UAE Deal by Ali Sawafta
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a virtual meeting with Palestinian factions over Israel and the United Arab Emirates'
deal to normalise ties, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 3, 2020. Alaa Badarneh/Pool via REUTERS
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a rare meeting with rival factions on Thursday as they sought to present a united front over Israel and the United Arab Emirates’ deal to normalise ties.
    The meeting was held through video-conference between Ramallah in the West Bank and Beirut, where Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhalah attended.
    It is rare for Islamist Hamas and Abbas’s secular Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization to have such high-level contacts after years of in-fighting.
    Palestinians were dismayed by the Gulf state’s ‘normalisation’ accord with Israel, seeing it as a betrayal likely to weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israel to withdraw from occupied territory.    The deal was brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump, Abbas has refused to deal with Trump’s administration for more than two years, accusing it of pro-Israel bias, and rejected Trump’s Mideast plan, unveiled in January.
    “Our meeting comes at a very dangerous stage, in which our national cause faces various plots and dangers,” Abbas said on Thursday.
    “In order to stand together in the trench of confrontation and peaceful popular resistance to the occupation, I invite you here to agree on the formation of a national leadership.”
    Speaking from the fortified Palestinian embassy in Beirut, Haniyeh also said it was important to have a unified strategy.
    “We must succeed in ending the division and building a unified Palestinian position,” he said.    “At this stage, failure is forbidden.”
    Senior U.S. and Israeli officials visited Abu Dhabi on Monday on a historic trip to cement the UAE accord.    Trump adviser Jared Kushner told Palestinians they should accept the deal, restart negotiations with Israel and not be “stuck in the past.”
(Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Zainah El-Haroun in Ramallah; Editing by Dan Grebler)
[Palestinians have to make a choice to join and have a future in peace or suffer and find themselves with no backing except from terrorists regimes.].

9/4/2020 Serbia, Kosovo To Open Israel Embassies In Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Senior U.S. Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner (not pictured) make
joint statements about the Israeli-United Arab Emirates peace accords in Jerusalem, August 30, 2020. Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and Kosovo have agreed to establish diplomatic ties and Kosovo, along with Serbia, will open embassies in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.
    Netanyahu’s statement came shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump made a similar announcement in Washington, where he met with leaders of Serbia and Kosovo as they agreed to normalize economic ties between them.
    “Kosovo will be the first country with a Muslim majority to open an embassy in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said.    “As I’ve said in recent days – the circle of peace and recognition of Israel is expanding and more countries are expected to join.”
    Only two countries – the United States and Guatemala – have already opened embassies in Jerusalem.    Palestinians have opposed such moves.
    The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad international backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.
    Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it annexed after the 1967 war, as its capital.
    Israel and the United Arab Emirates last month agreed to normalize diplomatic ties in an accord Trump helped broker.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

9/7/2020 Amid Talks With Israel, UAE Pursuit Of Stealth Jets Rumbles In Background by Lisa Barrington and Dan Williams
U.S. President Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien pose for a group photo with UAE's Air Force Major General Falah Al Qahtani,
at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lisa Barrington
(This story updates Sept. 1 article to add background on F-35 programme)
    Al DHAFRA AIRBASE, Abu Dhabi (Reuters) – Amid historic normalisation talks between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, American officials spent a morning at an Abu Dhabi air base housing U.S. stealth jets which the Gulf state hopes to buy despite Israeli objections.
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met Emirati military officials at the UAE’s Al Dhafra air base, where the U.S. keeps some of its F-35 advanced stealth warplanes, highlighting the UAE’s years-long drive to obtain the aircraft.
    Israel, which has the F-35, has balked at any other Middle East powers obtaining the plane, citing U.S. laws that it should maintain a military advantage in the region.
    Kushner, son-in-law to U.S. President Donald Trump, arrived in the Gulf Arab state on Monday on a two-day trip with an Israeli delegation for talks with UAE officials following their U.S.-brokered Aug. 13 accord to normalise relations.
    The Gulf state, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the fighter jet made by Lockheed Martin Corp , which Israel has used in combat.
    UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said normalisation should remove “any hurdle” for the United States to sell the F-35 to the UAE.
    A UAE official said the visit to the Emirati air base, which the U.S. also uses, near the UAE capital Abu Dhabi was not related to the F-35 issue, while another praised three decades of U.S.-UAE military cooperation.
    “Our relationship has been built on trust and mutual support,” Major General Falah al-Qahtani told reporters.    “We have stood together to fight extremism in all of its forms.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday F-35 plane sales were not part of the deal with the UAE, underscoring Israel’s concern not to dilute its access to advanced American weapons systems in the region.
    “The Americans acknowledged that.    Our position hasn’t changed,” Netanyahu said.
    He said that White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien made clear to him during a visit to Israel this week that the United States is committed to preserving Israel’s military edge in the volatile region.
    The United States has sold the F-35 to allies including South Korea, Japan and Israel.    Turkey’s participation in the F-35 programme was suspended over its purchase of an advanced Russian anti-aircraft system.
    “The F-35 issue is a long-standing request of the UAE and it’s not by any means a driver of reaching this accord,” Jamal Al-Musharakh, chief of policy planning and international cooperation at the UAE foreign ministry, told reporters.
    Kushner, who travelled on to Bahrain from the UAE on Tuesday, said he hoped another Arab country would normalise ties with Israel within months.
    No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.    Several have ruled out normalisation under current conditions.    Only two other Arab states have forged full relations with Israel – Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Dan Williams in Abu Dhabi, Alexander Cornwell in Dubai; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

9/7/2020 Saudi King Tells Trump That Kingdom Is Eager To Achieve Fair Solution To Palestinian Issue
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not pictured) in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 14, 2019. Picture taken January 14, 2019. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call on Sunday that the kingdom was eager to achieve a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue, which he said was the main starting point of the kingdom’s proposed Arab Peace Initiative, the state news agency reported.
    The leaders spoke by phone following a historic U.S. brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state to normalise ties with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.
    King Salman told Trump he appreciated U.S. efforts to support peace and that Saudi Arabia wanted to see a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue based on the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by the kingdom in 2002.
    Under the proposal, Arab nations have offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognise Israel.
    However, this month the kingdom said it would allow flights between UAE and Israel, including by Israeli airliners, to use its airspace.
    White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has said he hopes another Arab country normalizes ties with within months.
    No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.
    King Salman’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Kushner discussed the need for the Palestinians and the Israelis to resume negotiations and reach a lasting peace after Kushner visited the UAE last month.
    The UAE-Israel deal was met by overwhelming Palestinian opposition.
(This story corrects to say a fair and permanent solution of Palestinian issue is the main starting point of the Arab Peace Initiative, not based on the Initiative)
(Reporting by Alaa Swilam, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin)
[I do not think that the policies noted above will be the final decisions so lets see what will happen in the near future as God is in charge of this issue as prophesied in Daniel 9:27 and remember we are dealing with the descendants of Ishmael the son of Abraham by a concubine Hagar and the twelve Arab nations of the Middle East OPEC who controlled all the oil until recently and now are going to nuclear energy and want to move their nations to new economic growth and we are waiting to see who or what will initiate this endeavor].

9/7/2020 IAEA Providing Support For Saudi Arabia As It Plans To Adopt Nuclear Energy: Saudi TV
FILE PHOTO: A flag with the logo of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) flutters in front
of their headquarters in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Rafael Grossi was quoted on Monday as saying that Saudi Arabia was preparing to adopt nuclear energy and the agency was providing support, Saudi state TV Al-Ekhbariya reported.
    “Saudi Arabia is interested in nuclear energy and we are working on providing it with the necessary support,” Al-Ekhbariya quoted Grossi as saying.
    The kingdom has said it wants to tap nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and use nuclear power to diversify its energy mix.
(Reporting by Dahlia Nehme; Editing by Rania El Gamal and Susan Fenton)

9/7/2020 UAE Planning First Official Visit To Israel On Sept. 22: Source by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official as he makes his
way to board the plane to leave Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias//File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates is planning to make its first official visit to Israel on Sept. 22 to build up the countries’ agreement to normalize relations, a source familiar with the provisional itinerary said on Monday.
    Israeli officials declined to comment and UAE officials did not respond to calls seeking comment.
    The two countries announced on Aug. 13 they would normalize diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that was hailed as a breakthrough by Washington and Israel but spurned by the Palestinians.
    The UAE delegation’s trip to Israel, which has yet to be finalized, would come in reciprocation of a groundbreaking trip to Abu Dhabi last week by senior Israeli and U.S. envoys, the source told Reuters.
    The source said the UAE was expected to finalize the trip after a date is announced for a ceremony, likely in Washington, where the countries’ leaders will sign their normalization accord.    That ceremony is likely to take place in mid-September, the source added.
    The source declined to be identified by name or nationality due to the sensitivity of the evolving contacts.
    The trip would be the first publicly acknowledged visit to Israel by an official delegation from the UAE.
    Israel exchanged embassies with neighbors Egypt and Jordan under peace deals decades ago.    But until the UAE accord, all other Arab states had demanded Israel first cede more land to the Palestinians.
    An Israeli minister said on Monday annual trade between Israel and the UAE is expected to reach $4 billion.
(Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem and Aziz El Yaakoubi in Dubai; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Andrew Heavens)

9/8/2020 Palestinians Set To Soften Stance On UAE-Israel Normalisation: Draft Statement
FILE PHOTO: President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership to discuss the United Arab Emirates' deal with
Israel to normalize relations, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File Photo
    RAMALLAH (Reuters) – The Palestinian leadership has watered down its criticism of the normalisation deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates before an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Wednesday at which the accord will be debated.
    A draft resolution presented by the Palestinian envoy, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, does not include a call to condemn, or act against, the Emirates over the U.S.-brokered deal.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also issued instructions on Tuesday banning any offensive statements or actions towards Arab leaders, including UAE rulers.
    Announced on Aug. 13, the accord was the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years, and was forged largely through shared fears of Iran.
    The draft Palestinian resolution to be debated by Arab foreign ministers said the Israel-U.S.-Emirates announcement “doesn’t diminish Arab consensus over the Palestinian cause, the Palestinian cause is the cause of the entire Arab nation.”
    “The trilateral announcement doesn’t change the principal Arab vision based on the fact that the two-state solution on the 1967 borders is the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East,” the draft said.
    The tone is markedly different from that of Abbas, whose office on Aug. 13 called the accord “betrayal” and a “stab in the back of the Palestinian cause.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump have described the accord as historic, and urged other Arab countries to follow suit.
    Emirati leaders said the deal shelved Israeli plans to annex territory in the occupied West Bank.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal Almughrabi, Editing by Timothy Heritage)
[ABBAS IS NOW BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE AS THE ARAB NATIONS ARE STARTING THE PEACE PROCESS FOR THEM.].

9/8/2020 Palestinian Economic Woes Compounded By COVID-19: U.N. Report by Stephanie Nebehay
Palestinians shop at a market in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File Photo
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding dire economic conditions in the Palestinian territories, where GDP per capita was already projected to fall by 3% to 4.5% this year, a United Nations agency said on Tuesday.
    Lockdown measures have had “grave fiscal implications” for authorities and residents of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and come as donors are cash-strapped, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a report.
    “The ‘pre-existing conditions’ in the occupied territories are essentially malignant.    And they will get worse over the coming years as the consequences of COVID-19,” said Richard Kozul-Wright, director of UNCTAD’s division on globalisation and development strategies.
    “Inequality, indebtedness, insecurity, (and) insufficient investment have been long-standing problems in the Palestinian occupied territories,” he told a news briefing.
    Palestinian health officials have reported 215 deaths from COVID-19 and more than 35,000 infections across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    A U.N. aid group has warned that a lack of key medical items in Gaza could make it hard to treat the disease effectively.
    “The situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is going from bad to worse,” Mahmoud Elkhafif, UNCTAD’s coordinator of the assistance to the Palestinian people, told the briefing.
    Donor support is expected to decline in 2020 to $266 million, “the lowest in more than a decade,” he said.
    Unemployment was already at a “depression-level” of 33% last year, the report said.
    By April 2020, revenues collected by the Palestinian National Authority from trade, tourism and transfers had declined to their lowest levels in 20 years, it said.
    To allow for expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the Israeli zoning and planning regime “makes it nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits to build in their own land for any purpose,” the report said.
    Last year, Israel demolished or seized 622 Palestinian structures in the West Bank, it said.
(additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem; Editing by Peter Graff)

9/8/2020 Netanyahu And Chad Official Discuss Possible Exchange Of Envoys: Israeli Statement
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Chad's President Idriss Deby, during
a meeting in N'Djamena, Chad January 20, 2019. Kobi Gideon/Government Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and a Chadian envoy discussed a possible upgrading of relations on Tuesday that would include a mutual exchange of ambassadors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
    Chadian President Idriss Deby visited Israel in 2018 to start a process of reviving ties that the African country severed in 1972.    Israel has cast the process as part of an outreach to the Arab and Muslim world.
    That process now includes the announcement last month of a normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates.
    In Tuesday’s talks, a Chadian delegation led by Abdelkarim Deby, the president’s son, and Netanyahu discussed “appointing ambassadors and opening diplomatic missions, including (by Chad) in Jerusalem,” a statement by the prime minister’s office said.
    The delegation could not immediately be reached for comment.
    According to the Israeli statement, the delegation – which included Chad’s intelligence chief – also discussed bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism and other matters.
    In a separate statement, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said Netanyahu governments would send a business delegation to develop possible mineral projects in Chad.
(Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

9/9/2020 Palestinians Fail To Persuade Arab Ministers To Condemn UAE-Israel Deal by Ahmed Tolba and Nadeen Ebrahim
A banner showing Arab countries's flags is seen as a woman walks during a protest against normalizing ties with Israel, in
Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as Arab foreign ministers meet September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Palestinian leaders won renewed Saudi support for Palestinian statehood on Wednesday, but failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn last month’s normalisation deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
    At a video conference of foreign ministers, the Palestinian leadership softened its own censure of the UAE for the U.S.-brokered Aug. 13 accord, which is to be formalised at a signing ceremony at the White House next week, but to no avail.
    “Discussions regarding this point were serious.    It was comprehensive and took some time.    But it did not lead in the end to agreement about the draft communique that was proposed by the Palestinian side,” Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki told reporters.
    The UAE-Israel accord was the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years, and was forged partly through shared fears of Iran.
    Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE’s move, fearing it would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
SAUDI SUPPORT
    A Saudi statement on remarks made by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud included no direct mention of the normalisation deal.
    But the prince said Riyadh supported the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders in place before the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to the statement.
    The United States, Israel and the UAE have urged Palestinian leaders to re-engage with Israel.    On a trip to the Emirates, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said Palestinians should not be “stuck in the past
    In televised comments at the meeting, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki referred to the accord as a “surprise,” and an “earthquake” for Arab consensus, and voiced dismay at the failure to call an emergency Arab summit after the deal was announced.
    But he avoided stronger words such as “betrayal” that Palestinian leaders had used in the immediate aftermath of the announcement.     Maliki used tougher language against Israel, referring to “colonial and racist occupation”, and accused the United States of blackmail, pressure and assault against Palestinians and some Arab states.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Ahmed Tolba, Nidal Al Mughrabi, Maher Chmaytelli, Ulf Laessing, Stephen Farell, Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Kevin Liffey)

9/10/2020 President Trump: Other Arab Nations May Join Israel-UAE Deal by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Air Force One for a trip to a campaign rally
in Freeland, Mich., Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has called on other Arab nations to join the latest peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.    The President added countries are “lining up” to join the treaty.
    “Next week at the White House, we’ll be having a signing between the UAE and Israel.    We could have another country added into that. I will tell you, countries are lining up that want to go into it.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    He went on to say he’s in talks with the king of Saudi Arabia on the matter.    The President also said even Iran’s ayatollah regime may finally join talks.
    “Two things are going to happen.    If we win the election, Iran will come and sign a deal with us very, very rapidly within the first, I would say, week.    But let’s give ourselves a month, because their GDP was down 25%, which is like an unheard of number.    They’d like to be able to get back to having a successful country again.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States
    The President added he also expects the Palestinian National Authority will want a peace deal with Israel once it discovers the majority of Arab nations have joined.

9/10/2020 Trump Says Another Country Could Join Israel-UAE Accord
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses reporters during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing
Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was possible another country could soon join a diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
    Trump is to host a signing ceremony next Tuesday that will include delegations with Israel and the UAE.    His negotiators have been trying to get other Gulf nations, such as Bahrain and Oman, to join in normalizing relations with Israel.
    Israel and the UAE agreed last month to normalize relations in a deal that Trump helped orchestrate.
    “Next week at the White House we’ll be having a signing between the UAE and Israel, and we could have another country added into that.    And I will tell you that countries are lining up that want to go into it,” Trump told a White House news conference.
    Trump, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3, did not disclose the name of the country that might be the next to join, but predicted that Saudi Arabia would eventually do so.
    “You’ll be hearing other countries coming in over a relatively short period of time.    And you could have peace in the Middle East,” he said.
    “I think what ultimately will happen is you’re going to have quite a few countries come in.    The big ones are going to be coming in.    I spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia, so we’re talking.    We just started the dialogue.    And you’ll have them come in,” he said.
    The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to a query on whether the Saudi ambassador or another Saudi representative would attend next week’s signing ceremony at the White House.
    Trump said he believed the Palestinians, who have denounced Trump’s Middle East peace initiative as too favorable to Israel, would ultimately “get back into the fold” and open a dialogue.
    “I’m frankly surprised they haven’t been to the table earlier,” said Trump, who added the United States would consider lifting a freeze on aid to the Palestinians if a deal can be reached with them.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Steve Holland, Lisa Lambert and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney)

9/11/2020 Bahrain Follows Emirates In Normalizing Ties With Israel by Steve Holland, Dan Williams and Aziz El Yaakoubi
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President's senior adviser, Jared Kushner (L) and Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa (R)
pose for a press photo, during Kushner's visit to Manama, Bahrain, September 1, 2020.
Bahrain News Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo
    WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM/DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain joined the United Arab Emirates in agreeing to normalize relations with Israel on Friday, a move forged partly through shared fears of Iran, but one that threatens to leave the Palestinians further isolated.
    U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted the news after he spoke by phone to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.
    “This is truly a historic day,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, saying that he believed other countries would follow suit.
    “Opening direct dialogue and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region,” the United States, Bahrain and Israel said in a joint statement.
    A month ago, Bahrain’s fellow Gulf Arab State, the United Arab Emirates, agreed to normalize ties with Israel under a U.S.-brokered deal which is scheduled to be signed at a White House ceremony hosted by Trump on Sept. 15.
    The Israel-UAE ceremony will be attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan.    The joint statement said Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani would join that ceremony and sign a “historic Declaration of Peace” with Netanyahu.
    On Friday, Netanyahu said Bahrain’s decision marks a “new era of peace.”
    “For many long years, we invested in peace, and now peace will invest in us, will bring about truly major investments in Israel’s economy – and that is very important,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
    Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hend al-Otaiba congratulated Bahrain and Israel, saying it marked “another significant and historic achievement which will contribute enormously to the stability and prosperity of the region.”
    But Palestinians were dismayed, fearing the moves by the UAE and now Bahrain will weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
    A statement issued in the name of the Palestinian leadership condemned the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
    “The Palestinian leadership rejects this step taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain and calls on it to immediately retreat from it due to the great harm it causes to the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and joint Arab action,” the statement said.
    The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the Palestinian Ambassador to Bahrain was called back for consultations.
    In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Bahrain’s decision to normalize relations with Israel “represents a grave harm to the Palestinian cause, and it supports the occupation.”
    Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a special adviser on international affairs for the speaker of Iran’s parliament, called Bahrain’s decision a great betrayal to the Islamic cause and Palestinians.
    “The imprudent leaders in UAE, #Bahrain must not pave the way for the Zionist schemes,” the official tweeted.
EYES ON SAUDI
    The easing of relations with Israel is happening amid a backdrop of shared fears about the threat of Iran to the region.    The biggest question now is whether Saudi Arabia, one of the most influential countries in the Middle East and a close ally of the United States, will follow suit.
    The Trump administration has tried to coax other Sunni Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, to engage with Israel.    Riyadh has so far signaled it is not ready.
    The agreements are taking place as Republican Trump seeks a second term on Nov. 3, trailing Democratic candidate Joe Biden in several opinion polls.    Foreign policy has not figured prominently in the election campaign, but Trump is eager to present himself as a peacemaker even as he rattles sabers against Iran.
    Trump’s pro-Israel moves have been seen, in part, as an effort to bolster his appeal to evangelical Christian voters, an important segment of his political base.
    Zaha Hassan, a visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Bahrain’s move was “especially disturbing” to Palestinians.
    “This move could not happen without a Saudi green light,” she said.    “[Saudi] is under pressure to normalize, but cannot because of its position as the custodian of Islam’s holy places and the unpopularity of it on the street level."
    “Bahrain was offered up as a consolation that will keep Saudi Arabia in Trump’s good graces.”
    At the Arab League on Wednesday, the Palestinians sought but did not obtain a condemnation of the UAE-Israel accord from their fellow members.    They did secure renewed Saudi support, however, for their right to statehood.
    On Friday, the Saudi embassy in Washington did not respond to queries on whether its ambassador or another Saudi representative would attend Tuesday’s signing ceremony.
    Bahrain, a small island state, is home to the U.S. Navy’s regional headquarters.    Riyadh in 2011 sent troops to Bahrain to help quell an uprising and, alongside Kuwait and the UAE, in 2018 offered Bahrain a $10 billion economic bailout.
    Friday’s deal makes Bahrain the fourth Arab country to reach such an agreement with Israel since exchanging embassies with Egypt and Jordan decades ago.
    Last week, Bahrain said it would allow flights between Israel and the UAE to use its airspace.    This followed a Saudi decision to allow an Israeli commercial airliner to fly over it on the way to the UAE.
    The United States, Israel and the UAE have urged Palestinian leaders to re-engage with Israel.    Negotiations last broke down between Israelis and Palestinians in 2014, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to have political dealings with the Trump White House for more than two years, accusing it of pro-Israel bias.
    On Friday Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner told Reuters: “Everyone in the region is just down on the Palestinian leadership.    The Palestinian leadership keeps making their case less and less relevant by acting the way they are.”
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams, Alexander Cornwell, Lisa Barrington, Rami Ayyub, Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Matt Spetalnick and Nandita Bose; Editing by Nick Tattersall/ Stephen Farrell and Grant McCool)

9/11/2020 President Trump Announces Peace Agreement Between Bahrain, Israel by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    President Trump has announced a new peace agreement between Bahrain and Israel. On Twitter, the President wrote, “Our two great friends, Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain, agree to a peace deal, the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days.”
    He also released a joint statement, in which he confirmed both regions agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations.
    According to the statement, leaders from the two countries will meet in Washington next week to sign the historic peace accord.
    President Trump spoke more on the deal at the White House.
    “This is a truly historic day,” he stated.    “This is now the second peace agreement that we have announced in the last month.”
    He added, “I am very hopeful that there will be more to follow.”
    The President has said Bahrain and Israel will exchange embassies and ambassadors, begin direct flights between their countries, and launch cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors, including health, business, technology, security and agriculture.

9/12/2020 Palestinians Rally Against Bahrain-Israel Normalisation by Nidal al-Mughrabi
Palestinians burn pictures depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan,
Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Bahrain?s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and U.S. President Donald Trump during a
protest against Bahrain's move to normalize relations with Israel, in the central Gaza Strip September 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinians in Gaza burnt pictures of Israeli, U.S., Bahraini and United Arab Emirates leaders on Saturday in protest over the two Gulf countries’ moves to normalize ties with Israel.
    Bahrain on Friday joined the UAE in agreeing to normalize relations with Israel, a move forged partly through shared fears of Iran but one that could leave the Palestinians further isolated.
    The Gaza protest, attended by a few dozen, was organized by the ruling Islamist group Hamas.
    “We have to fight the virus of normalization and block all its paths before it succeeds, to prevent it from spreading,” said Hamas official Maher al-Holy.
    Demonstrators set fire to pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nayhan.
    While the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain hail the diplomatic moves as a major step toward Middle East peace and stability, the Palestinians see it as a betrayal.
    They fear a weakening of a longstanding pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
    Despite a deep political rift going back to 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority has limited rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and his Hamas rivals have been united against the Gulf states’ move.
    In the West Bank, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said the diplomatic push will not achieve peace if the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved first.
    “The Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalize relations is now part of a bigger package in the region, it isn’t about peace, it is not about relations between countries.    We are witnessing an alliance, a military alliance being created in the region,” Erekat told Reuters.
    Iran meanwhile said on Saturday that Bahrain’s move meant it would be complicit in Israeli policies that threatened regional security, Iranian state TV reported.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Additional reporting by Adel Abu Nemeh in Jericho; Writing by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Frances Kerry)
[WELL THEY ARE LIKE CHILDREN THROWING A TANTRUM BECAUSE THEY DID NOT GET THEIR WAY.].

9/13/2020 Once An American Foe, Now A Friend: OPEC Turns 60 by Alex Lawler
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump,
at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout
via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – In 1973, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries brought the U.S. economy to its knees.    Now, the cartel created 60 years ago is more likely to do Washington’s bidding.
    Since Saudi Arabia and other Arab OPEC members imposed their famous oil embargo as retribution for U.S. support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War, shifts in global politics and a surge in America’s oil production have tamed the group.
    OPEC’s most hawkish members, Iran and Venezuela, have been sidelined by U.S. sanctions while its kingpin, Saudi Arabia, has shown it would rather appease Washington than risk losing U.S. support, current and former OPEC officials say.
    While OPEC as a bloc resisted U.S. pressure to lower oil prices for decades, notably in 2011 during the uprising against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, its record over the past three years has largely been one of capitulation, these officials say.
    Founded in Baghdad on Sept. 14, 1960 to counter the power of seven U.S. and British oil companies, OPEC has repeatedly yielded to pressure from Washington to pump more oil since U.S. President Donald Trump took office at the start of 2017.
    Trump has regularly called for lower gasoline prices to help U.S. consumers.

9/13/2020 Hungary Says It Will Be Only EU Country To Send Minister To Israel-UAE Accord Signing
FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto attends a news conference at the
Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
    BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony on Tuesday in Washington for the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal, his spokesman said on Sunday.
    “At the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump, as the only European Union minister, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will also attend … the signing ceremony in the White House on Tuesday,” Mate Paczolay told Hungarian news agency MTI.
    Under the accord, which Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank.    The agreement also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.
    Trump, who is heading into the homestretch of his presidential re-election campaign, announced the accord last month.    On Friday, he said Bahrain would join the agreement.
    Major European powers like France and the UK welcomed the Israel-UAE deal, as did the European Union executive, which said it was good for regional stability.
    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose anti-immigrant rhetoric and erosion of democratic standards in the media, judiciary and academia have often sparked criticism in the EU, was an early and avid supporter of Trump.
    “Since the White House prepared the agenda for stabilising the region, this has been the second development to prove that this is the best peace plan thus far and promises to bring peace in the Middle East at last,” Szijjarto wrote on Facebook on Saturday.
    “The U.S. President thus deserves gratitude,” he said, adding praise for Israeli, UAE and Bahraini leaders.
    Szijjarto will also hold talks with Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser, Jared Kushner, the minister’s spokesman said.
(Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Peter Cooney)

9/14/2020 Bahraini, Israeli Defence Ministers Hold First Phone Call
FILE PHOTOT: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting of the new government at the
Chagall Hall in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem May 24, 2020. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The defence ministers of Bahrain and Israel held their first publicly acknowledged phone call on Monday since their countries agreed to normalise ties.
    Bahraini state news agency BNA and a spokeswoman for Israel’s defence ministry said Bahrain’s minister of defence affairs, Abdulla bin Hassan Al-Nuaimi, and Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz had spoken as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates prepare to sign agreements with Israel in Washington on Tuesday.
    The ministers discussed the importance of the agreement for regional stability and “common expectations for establishing a close partnership between the two defence ministries,” the BNA statement said.
    Gantz invited the Bahraini minister to make an official visit to Israel, and the two agreed to continue their dialogue, a statement from Gantz’s office said.
    Earlier on Monday, BNA said Bahrain’s industry and trade minister and Israel’s regional cooperation minister had spoken by phone and discussed trade, industry and tourism cooperation between the two countries.
    Normalization will “positively impact both countries’ economies,” BNA said.
(Reporting by Maher Chmeytelli and Dan Williams, Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Toby Chopra and Timothy Heritage)

9/15/2020 At Historic White House Event, UAE And Bahrain To Move Toward Normal Ties With Israel by Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick
FILE PHOTO: A man rides a scooter near the flags of the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Israel and
Bahrain as they flutter along a road in Netanya, Israel September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday will become the latest Arab states to break a longstanding taboo when they sign agreements toward normalizing relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.
    U.S. President Donald Trump will host the White House ceremony at noon EDT (1600 GMT), capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s decades-old dispute with the Palestinians.
    At the U.S.-brokered ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.
    The deals make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalize ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
    The back-to-back agreements, which have drawn bitter condemnation from the Palestinians, mark an improbable diplomatic victory for Trump.     He has spent his presidency forecasting deals on such intractable problems as North Korea’s nuclear program only to find actual achievements elusive.
    Trump is up for re-election on Nov. 3 and the accords could help him shore up support among pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters, an important part of his political base.
    Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together reflects their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles.    Iran has been critical of both deals.
    “Instead of focusing on past conflicts, people are now focused on creating a vibrant future filled with endless possibilities,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a statement late on Monday.    Kushner helped negotiate the agreements and is trying to persuade more Gulf countries to strike similar accords with Israel.
    One target of White House appeals is Oman, whose leader spoke with Trump last week.
    Another is Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf Arab power.    So far the Saudis, whose king is custodian of Islam’s holiest sites and rules the world’s largest oil exporter, have signaled they are not ready.
NETANYAHU UNDER PRESSURE
    Although a diplomatic win for Netanyahu, the signing ceremony takes place while he faces criticism at home of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that has led to frequent street protests.
    Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and describes his trial as a leftist political witch-hunt aimed at unseating a popular right-wing leader.
    Netanyahu signaled on Monday that Israel’s deals with the two Gulf Arab states may still be works in progress.
    A senior Trump administration official said that the documents were complete or nearly finished, that Israel would sign separate agreements with each of the Gulf states and that then the United States would join all three in signing a common document known as the Abraham Accords.    But the official declined to provide specifics.
    In a nod to the coronavirus that has hit the United States and the world, the White House is encouraging but not requiring the participants to wear masks.    Though the mood of the ceremony is expected to be warm, it will be up to the leaders whether they want to shake hands, the official told reporters.
    Frustrated by the Palestinians’ refusal to take part in Trump’s Middle East peace initiative, the White House has sought to bypass them in hopes they will see the deals with the UAE and Bahrain as incentives, even leverage, for peace talks.
    The accords have left the Palestinians feeling abandoned by some of their closest traditional Arab allies.
    The Palestinian leadership, which has long accused Trump of pro-Israel bias, has denounced the Arab rapprochement with Israel as a betrayal of their cause, even though Netanyahu agreed, in return for normalization with the UAE, to suspend a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
    Palestinians view the new agreements as weakening a longstanding pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
    Though negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians last broke down in 2014, some Gulf Arab states and several other Arab countries have long had quiet, informal contacts with Israel.
(Reporting By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick, additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Howard Goller)

9/15/2020 As Arab Gulf Starts Opening To Israel, Palestinians Face A Reckoning by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Palestinians pray next to a mock coffin of Arab League during a protest against normalizing ties with Israel,
in Kafr Qaddum town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s rapprochement with Gulf Arab states has left the Palestinians feeling abandoned by traditional allies and clutching an old playbook in a rapidly changing Middle East, analysts and critics say.
    As the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain prepare to sign normalization accords with Israel at a White House ceremony on Tuesday, Palestinian leaders face calls to overhaul their strategy to avoid becoming marginalized in a region where Israel and most Sunni Arab regimes share a fear of Iran.
    The Palestinian approach to securing freedom from Israeli occupation has for years relied on a longstanding pan-Arab position that called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and Gaza and Israel’s acceptance of Palestinian statehood, in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
    But the Palestinians last week failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks.
    Tuesday’s ceremony, hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump, will be “a black day in the history of Arab nations,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday.
    Shtayyeh said the Palestinians are now discussing whether to “adjust Palestine’s relationship with the Arab League.”
    But critics say the proposed move is too little too late, with President Mahmoud Abbas facing mounting criticism for their increasingly isolated position.
    “There is very little indication that the (Palestinian) leadership is contemplating a break from its approach,” Tareq Baconi, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, told Reuters.
    The Palestinians’ strategy centers on holding Israel to account in international legal tribunals, and trying to break the United States’ dominance over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Baconi said.
    “Arab and European support in that strategy is crucial, but it is questionable that the Palestinians will be able to secure either to the level required to ensure a just peace.”
TWO-STATE SOLUTION
    Despite signs of shifting Arab support, Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the underlying Palestinian strategy for achieving a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza would not change.
    “To stay on the grounds of international law, international legality, to seek peace based on ending Israeli occupation and a two-state solution … we cannot depart from these squares,” he told Reuters.
    While conceding difficulties faced by a Palestinian leadership under Israeli occupation, analysts nevertheless say Abbas does have some options.
    After years of in-fighting between the two main Palestinian factions, Abbas’s Fatah and Islamist Hamas, long-overdue elections would refresh the president and parliament’s mandate and boost their leverage abroad by increasing their legitimacy at home, analysts say.
    “We need to … rebuild the PLO’s institutions from the ground up and cement relations between Palestinians here and in the diaspora,” Gaza analyst Talal Okal said.
    Over six million diaspora Palestinians, he said, “can influence the communities they live in so the Palestinian cause has a place on the agendas of their host governments.”
TRUMP BOYCOTT
    One area where Abbas has widespread public support – 70% in recent polls – is his two-year boycott of the Trump administration, which he accuses of pro-Israel bias over its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and endorsement of Israel’s West Bank settlements.
    Frustrated by the Palestinians’ refusal to take part in Trump-led talks, the White House has sought to bypass Abbas and his team, apparently hoping they will see the deals with the UAE and Bahrain as incentives to return to negotiations.
    For more than two years Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has tried sidestepping Abbas to appeal to Palestinians directly, telling Al-Quds newspaper in 2018: “The world has moved forward while you have been left behind.    Don’t allow your grandfather’s conflict to determine your children’s future.”
    That has had little apparent success.    And the Palestinian leadership at first engaged with the Trump administration.    Until, said Erekat, they concluded that “these people want to dictate a solution, not negotiate a solution … they’re the ones who are departing from international law.”
    Dennis Ross, who served as a Middle East adviser under Republican and Democratic administrations, had cautionary words for both sides.
    While the Gulf deals served notice that Palestinians “don’t have a veto on normalization as regional dynamics shift” the Israelis, he said, “cannot wish the Palestinians away — and standing pat also means increasing the risk of one state for two peoples.”
GRAPHIC: Trump’s Middle East peace plan map – https://graphics.reuters.com/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN/0100B5B73B0/ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-PLAN.jpg
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Adel Abu Nemeh in Jericho and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Stephen Farrell, William Maclean)

9/15/2020 After UAE And Bahrain Deals, Is Saudi Arabia Softening Its Stance On Israel? by Marwa Rashad and Aziz El Yaakoubi
FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman escorts White House senior advisor
Jared Kushner and his wife White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump at the Global Center for Combatting Extremist
Ideology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. Picture taken May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) – When one of Saudi Arabia’s leading clerics called this month for Muslims to avoid “passionate emotions and fiery enthusiasm” towards Jews, it was a marked change in tone for someone who has shed tears preaching about Palestine in the past.
    The sermon by Abdulrahman al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, broadcast on Saudi state television on Sept. 5, came three weeks after the United Arab Emirates agreed a historic deal to normalise relations with Israel and days before the Gulf state of Bahrain, a close Saudi ally, followed suit.
    Sudais, who in past sermons prayed for Palestinians to have victory over the “invader and aggressor” Jews, spoke about how the Prophet Mohammad was good to his Jewish neighbour and argued the best way to persuade Jews to convert to Islam was to “treat them well.”
    While Saudi Arabia is not expected to follow the example of its Gulf allies any time soon, Sudais’ remarks could be a clue to how the kingdom approaches the sensitive subject of warming to Israel – a once inconceivable prospect.    Appointed by the king, he is one of the country’s most influential figures, reflecting the views of its conservative religious establishment as well as the Royal Court.
    The dramatic agreements with the UAE and Bahrain were a coup for Israel and U.S. President Donald Trump who is portraying himself as a peacemaker ahead of November elections.
    But the big diplomatic prize for an Israel deal would be Saudi Arabia, whose king is the Custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, and rules the world’s largest oil exporter.
    Marc Owen Jones, an academic from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, said the UAE and Bahrain’s normalization has allowed Saudi Arabia to test public opinion, but a formal deal with Israel would be a “large task” for the kingdom.
    “Giving the Saudis a ‘nudge’ via an influential imam is obviously one step in trying to test the public reaction and to encourage the notion of normalisation,” Jones added.
    In Washington, a State Department official said the United States was encouraged by warming ties between Israel and Gulf Arab countries, viewed this trend as a positive development and “we are engaging to build on it.”
    There was no immediate response to a request by Reuters for comment from the Saudi government’s media office.
    Sudais’ plea to shun intense feelings is a far cry from his past when he wept dozens of times while praying for Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque – Islam’s third-holiest site.
    The Sept. 5 sermon drew a mixed reaction, with some Saudis defending him as simply communicating the teachings of Islam.    Others on Twitter, mostly Saudis abroad and apparently critical of the government, called it “the normalisation sermon.”
    Ali al-Suliman, one of several Saudis interviewed at one of Riyadh’s malls by Reuters TV, said in reaction to the Bahrain deal that normalisation with Israel by other Gulf states or in the wider Middle East was hard to get used to, as “Israel is an occupying nation and drove Palestinians out of their homes.”
MUTUAL FEAR OF IRAN
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de-facto ruler often referred to as MbS, has promised to promote interfaith dialogue as part of his domestic reform. The young prince previously stated that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land on condition of a peace agreement that assures stability for all sides.
    Saudi Arabia and Israel’s mutual fear of Iran may be a key driver for the development of ties.
    There have been other signs that Saudi Arabia, one of the most influential countries in the Middle East, is preparing its people to eventually warm to Israel.
    A period drama, “Umm Haroun” that aired during Ramadan in April on Saudi-controlled MBC television, a time when viewership typically spikes, centred around the trials of a Jewish midwife.
    The fictional series was about a multi-religious community in an unspecified Gulf Arab state in the 1930s to 1950s.
    The show drew criticism from the Palestinian Hamas group, saying it portrayed Jews in a sympathetic light.
    At the time, MBC said that the show was the top-rated Gulf drama in Saudi Arabia in Ramadan.    The show’s writers, both Bahraini, told Reuters it had no political message.
    But experts and diplomats said it was another indication of shifting public discourse on Israel.
    Earlier this year, Mohammed al-Aissa, a former Saudi minister and the general secretary of the Muslim World League, visited Auschwitz.    In June, he took part in a conference organised by the American Jewish Committee, where he called for a world without “Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
    “Certainly, MbS is intent on moderating state-sanctioned messages shared by the clerical establishment and part of that will likely work towards justifying any future deal with Israel, which would have seemed unthinkable before,” said Neil Quilliam, associate fellow with Chatham House.
ISOLATED PALESTINIANS
    Normalisation between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, which will be signed at the White House on Tuesday, has further isolated the Palestinians.
    Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has not directly addressed Israel’s deals with the UAE and Bahrain, but said it remains committed to peace on the basis of the long-standing Arab Peace Initiative.
    How, or whether, the kingdom would seek to exchange normalisation for a deal on those terms remains unclear.
    That initiative offers normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territories captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    However, in another eye-catching gesture of goodwill, the kingdom has allowed Israel-UAE flights to use its airspace.    Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has a close relationship with MbS, praised the move last week.
    A diplomat in the Gulf said that for Saudi Arabia, the issue is more related to what he called its religious position as the leader of the Muslim world, and that a formal deal with Israel would take time and is unlikely to happen while King Salman is still in power.
    “Any normalisation by Saudi will open doors for Iran, Qatar and Turkey to call for internationalising the two holy mosques,” he said, referring to periodic calls by critics of Riyadh to have Mecca and Medina placed under international supervision.
(Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia, Alexander Cornwell in Dubai and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; editing by Maha El Dahan, Michael Georgy and William Maclean)

9/15/2020 Battle Of The Battlements – Jerusalem Walls Used As Political Canvas by Stephen Farrell
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is depicted on a banner hung on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City August 20, 2020.
The writing in Arabic reads, "The rightful owner Is stronger than all the capitals. We call upon the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates
to revert to the inclusive Arab and Islamic position and to withdraw from the shameful agreement, and not to participate in making
the American Deal of the Century pass. Jerusalem's wounds are not to be treated with the salt from your capitals." REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The ramparts of Jerusalem, built for battle, were commandeered for a messaging war between Israelis and Palestinians in the build-up to Israel’s normalisation deals with two Gulf Arab states.
    During the White House signing ceremony Israel projected flags of Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. onto the Old City walls as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood alongside President Donald Trump in Washington hailing what he called “historic” peace agreements.
    But the same walls, built in the 16th century by Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, were also used by Palestinians to proclaim their opposition to deals that they see as a betrayal by their fellow Arabs.
    A week after the Israel-Emirates deal was announced, Palestinians draped a black banner of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the wall near Damascus Gate with the accompanying headline “The rightful owner
    It continued: “We call upon the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to revert to the inclusive Arab and Islamic position and to withdraw from the shameful agreement.”
    Jerusalem, claimed by both sides for their capital, lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Israel views all of Jerusalem, including the walled Old City that it captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as its “eternal and indivisible” capital.
    But Palestinians want East Jerusalem – including the Old City – to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

9/16/2020 Gaza Rockets, Israeli Air Strikes Accompany Israel-Gulf Pacts
Smoke and flame are seen following an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Militants in Gaza launched rockets into Israel and Israeli aircraft hit targets in the Palestinian enclave in an explosive backdrop to the signing of pacts for formal ties between Israel and two Gulf Arab countries.
    The Israeli military said it launched about 10 air strikes in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza early on Wednesday and that 15 rockets had been fired from the territory at Israeli communities near the border, where sirens sounded before dawn.
    On Tuesday, a rocket from Gaza struck the coastal Israeli city of Ashdod, wounding two people, at the same time as Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements at the White House to establish diplomatic relations.
    “I’m not surprised that the Palestinian terrorists fired at Israel precisely during this historic ceremony,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before his flight returning to Israel.
    “They want to turn back the peace.    In that, they will not succeed,” he told reporters.    “We will strike at all those who raise a hand to harm us, and we will reach out to all those who extend the hand of peace to us.”
    Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, view the U.S.-brokered deals as a betrayal of their cause.
    No casualties were reported on either side of the Israel-Gaza frontier.    The military said eight of the rockets launched on Wednesday were intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system.
    In a statement, the military said targets in Gaza included a weapons and explosives manufacturing factory and a compound used by Hamas for training and rocket experiments.
    Without naming specific factions, the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza said that in response to the air strikes, the “resistance” fired rocket salvoes at Israel.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

9/15/2020 In Break With Past, UAE And Bahrain Sign U.S.-Brokered Deals With Israel by Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick
U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his
wife Sara at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements on Tuesday to normalize ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo, in a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.
    U.S. President Donald Trump hosted the White House ceremony, capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians.
    In front of a crowd of several hundred people on the White House lawn, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed accords with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.
    The deals, denounced by the Palestinians, make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalize relations since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
    Meeting Netanyahu earlier in the Oval Office, Trump said, “We’ll have at least five or six countries coming along very quickly” to forge their own accords with Israel.    But he did not name any of the nations involved in such talks.
    Speaking from the White House balcony, Trump said: “We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history.”
Flags of the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain were in abundance. Most people in the crowd did not wear masks.
    Trump called the deals “a major stride in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity” and declared that the three Middle East countries “are going to work together, they are friends.”
    The back-to-back agreements mark an improbable diplomatic victory for Trump.    He has spent his presidency forecasting deals on such intractable problems as North Korea’s nuclear program only to find achievements elusive.
    Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together reflects their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles. Iran criticized both deals.
    All three of the Middle East leaders hailed the agreements and Trump’s role in glowing terms, with Netanyahu saying it gave hope to “all the people of Abraham.”
    But the UAE and Bahraini officials both sought to reassure the Palestinians that their countries were not abandoning them or their quest for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite the Palestinian leadership having decried the deals as a betrayal of their cause.
    In a sign that regional strife is sure to continue while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved, Palestinian militants fired rockets from Gaza into Israel during the ceremony, the Israeli military said.
    Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said paramedics treated two men for light injuries from flying glass in Ashdod, and four others suffered shock.
TRUMP’S EVANGELICAL SUPPORT
    With Trump up for re-election on Nov. 3, the accords could help shore up support among pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters, an important part of his political base.
    Speaking to Fox News hours before the ceremony, Trump predicted the Palestinians would eventually forge peace with Israel or else be “left out in the cold.”
    One target of White House appeals is Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf Arab power. So far the Saudis, whose king is custodian of Islam’s holiest sites and rules the world’s largest oil exporter, have signaled they are not ready, though their quiet acquiescence to the agreements was seen as crucial.
    Another target is Oman, whose leader spoke with Trump last week.    Oman sent its ambassador to Tuesday’s ceremony, a senior U.S. official said. No Saudi representative attended.
    Meeting the Emirati foreign minister before the ceremony, Trump thanked the UAE for being first in the Gulf to agree to ties with Israel and left little doubt the Iran issue was overhanging the event.
    Trump predicted that Iran, under heavy U.S. sanctions, would want to reach a deal with Washington, which has been trying to get it to renegotiate an international nuclear accord.    Tehran shows no sign of budging.
NETANYAHU UNDER PRESSURE
    Although a diplomatic win for Netanyahu, the ceremony took place while he faces criticism at home of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that have led to frequent street protests.
    Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and describes his trial as a leftist political witch-hunt aimed at unseating a popular right-wing leader.
    In a nod to the coronavirus, the White House encouraged but did not require participants to wear masks.    It was left to the leaders whether to shake hands, and they did not do so in public.
    Some differences remain despite warming ties.    Trump said on Tuesday he would have no problem selling advanced stealth F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, which for years has sought to obtain them. Israel, which has the F-35, objects to such a sale.
    Frustrated by the Palestinians’ refusal to take part in Trump’s Middle East peace initiative, the White House has sought to bypass them in hopes they will see the deals with the UAE and Bahrain as incentives, even leverage, for peace talks.
    The Palestinian leadership has long accused Trump of pro-Israel bias and denounced the Arab rapprochement with Israel, even though Netanyahu agreed, in return for normalization with the UAE, to suspend a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
    Although Israeli-Palestinian negotiations broke down in 2014, some Gulf Arab states and several other Arab countries have long had quiet, informal contacts with Israel.
(Reporting By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick, additional reporting by Dan Williams, Aziz El Yakoubi and Maha El Dahan; Editing by Howard Goller)

9/15/2020 ‘This Is Peace In The Middle East Without Blood All Over The Sand,’ Says President Trump On Abraham Accords by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump, center, with from left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during the Abraham Accords signing
ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    President Trump touted his brokered peace agreement for several Middle East countries Tuesday, while welcoming the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    During an Oval Office sit-down, the President gifted Netanyahu the key to the White House.    He then told the prime minister, “this is peace in the Middle East without blood all over the sand.”
    Before the signing ceremony, President Trump honored the leaders for making this peace deal a reality.
    “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” he stated.    “Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity.”
    The world leaders then signed the historic Abraham Accords, normalizing relations for the first time between Israel and two Arab states in a quarter century.
    White House senior advisor Jared Kushner said we are already starting to see the beginning of the end of the Israel-Arab conflict.    During an interview Tuesday, he said the normalization of relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain shows the President is bringing people together.
    Kushner also noted President Trump’s push for peace in the Middle East has been very well received in the region.    He went on to suggest a resolution to the territorial dispute between Israel and Palestine will eventually be reached.
    “With regards to the Palestinians, I think with time that will come, but what you are doing now is you’re bring people together,” stated the White House senior advisor.
    Kushner also said President Trump doesn’t chase deals, but rather makes deals when they are ready.

9/17/2020 In U.S. Ally Bahrain, Israel Deal Rallies A Weakened Opposition by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Lisa Barrington
FILE PHOTO: Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister
Abdullah bin Zayed display their copies of signed agreements while U.S. President Donald Trump looks on as they participate in the
signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors, in a strategic realignment
of Middle Eastern countries against Iran, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain may have won international praise for following in the United Arab Emirates’ footsteps and establishing ties with Israel, but the dramatic move by the close U.S. ally could stir a new wave of opposition at home.
    While the deal will enable Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim monarchy to win more support from Western and regional partners, it risks deepening political tensions and may energise a long demoralised opposition led by the Shi’ite majority.
    Bahrain, host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and other international naval operations, was the only Gulf Arab state to witness a sizeable pro-democracy uprising in the 2011 “Arab Spring,” which it quashed with Saudi and Emirati help.
    Low-level dissent has continued, periodically flaring into rock-throwing skirmishes and crude bomb and shooting attacks, putting the kingdom on the frontline of a region-wide tussle for influence between Iran and its Sunni rival Saudi Arabia.
    The government has used an array of powers to quell the unrest: Arrests, security raids, revoking of citizenship and bans on opposition parties and newspapers have helped reduce the risk of big popular protests.
    But anger has boiled anew since the deal was announced on Friday.
    Sporadic street protests have taken place each night since the accord, which the government says supports “peace between Bahrain and Israel.”    The authorities avoid the contested term “normalisation,” which to some suggests entrenching Israel’s diplomatic and military superiority over Palestinians.
    “I am Bahraini and the Bahraini regime does not represent me,” read one protest banner, shared on social media.
    “Normalisation is treason,” read others.
    Asked to comment on opposition to the deal, including opposition allegations that the government has limited the scope of parliamentary debate, a government spokesperson said freedom of opinion and expression are protected by the constitution and the government continued to uphold them robustly.
    “The historic diversity of Bahrain has shaped a society that embraces coexistence and tolerance.    These principles are vital to securing lasting regional stability and peace, and underpin the declaration of peace signed by the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Israel,” the spokesman said in a statement to Reuters.
SHI’ITE CLERIC
    Speaking largely from abroad, opposition figures rejected the deal. Bahrain’s top Shi’ite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim called, from exile in Iran, for the region’s people to resist.
    Manama accuses Shi’ite Muslim Iran of seeking to subvert Bahrain.    The government denies repressing the opposition and says it is protecting national security from groups it calls terrorists backed by Iran.    Tehran denies it backs subversion.
    Analysts say despite the surge in popular anger, the deal may have strengthened the government, since traditional allies are more likely to turn a blind eye to any further crackdown.
    “The move will garner Bahrain some credit in Washington, which could reduce the already limited pressure Manama faces on its domestic policies from the U.S.,” said Graham Griffiths, associate direct at Control Risks.
    Bahrain’s interior minister said shortly after the announcement that the deal with Israel protects Bahrain’s interests amid what he called the danger from Iran.
    The island nation has long been heavily dependent on close ally Saudi Arabia, and was bailed out financially in 2018 with a $10 billion aid package from Saudi, the UAE and Kuwait.
    “Bahrain is squarely focused on its critical ties with the United States and with its Gulf allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.    These political dependencies condition immediate Bahraini alignment with the leadership in Abu Dhabi and Washington on this critical issue,” said Kristin Smith Diwan of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
STATE-SANCTIONED CAUSE
    Opposition figures say that a week before the agreement was announced, the government prepared for opposition to it by amending a law to further control parliament.    A royal decree, announced on Sept. 3, ordered both houses of parliament to limit daily speaker numbers and banned criticism, blame or “accusations that harm the country’s interests.”
    “Eroding parliament’s power has been ongoing since 2011 and the last royal decree has actually signed its death certificate,” said Ali Alaswad, a former lawmaker of the main Shi’ite opposition group al-Wefaq, now in exile.
    Defending Palestinian rights has been a state-sanctioned cause uniting Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims in Bahrain for decades, and its accord with Israel has left some in a tricky position.
    Founded in 2002 and with an office in the capital Manama, the Bahraini Society Against Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy said it was taken unawares.
    “Some social media influencers started to accuse us of intolerance and called on the government to dissolve our organisation,” said a founding member, declining to be named.
    “The accord with Israel was a complete surprise for us,” he said.
    Both UAE and Bahraini officials have sought to reassure the Palestinians their countries are not abandoning their quest for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza, despite Palestinian leaders having decried the deals as a betrayal of their cause.
    Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani told state media on Sept. 11 that Bahrain supported the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a proposal under which normalisation with Israel would entail full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Lisa Barrington; editing by Maha El Dahan, William Maclean)

9/17/2020 Israel, Bahrain Tourism Ministers Speak, Discuss Joint Ventures With UAE
FILE PHOTO: Bahrain's Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister, Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani speaks
during the Gateway Gulf at Manama, Bahrain May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
    JERUSALEM/DUBAI (Reuters) – The tourism ministers of Israel and Bahrain held a first publicly acknowledged phone call on Thursday and discussed possible ventures including three-way travel packages involving the United Arab Emirates, an Israeli statement said.
    The conversation between Israel’s Asaf Zamir and Bahrain’s Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani followed a White House ceremony on Tuesday at which their countries pledged to establish relations. The UAE and Israel also formalised ties at the same event.
    In an interview with a local Emirati newspaper, Zamir said he hopes tourism between Israel and the UAE could start early next year.
    “Agreements to do with visas and tourism are at an advanced stage, and the two sides are expected to reach a deal soon,” al-Ittihad newspaper quoted the Israeli minister as saying on Thursday.
    Emirates Flight Catering also said earlier it had signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a dedicated production facility, Kosher Arabia, for kosher food at its premises in the UAE with production beginning in January.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Maha El Dahan; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

9/17/2020 Israelis Celebrate Deal With Bahrain And United Arab Emirates by OAN Newsroom
Tel Aviv City Hall is lit up with the words for peace in Hebrew, Arabic and English in honor of the recognition agreements Israel will be signing with
the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Citizens of Israel recently expressed their appreciation for the historic peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.    On Wednesday, Jerusalem residents stated they hope this will lead to lasting peace in the region.
    The three Middle Eastern countries signed the deal in Washington earlier this week, officially formalizing their diplomatic relationship.     The deal was reached through their common opposition to Iran amid its recent actions in the region.
    Locals are hopeful this is just the beginning of a series of changes to come in the region.
    “That will hopefully send a message throughout the region that many of these other countries and groups that thought they could just use violence for the last 70 years to somehow dislodge Israel will understand they are living in a whole new world order,” explained one Jerusalem resident.    “Hopefully, this will bring a lot more good times to come.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan react on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords
during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    The Trump administration helped broker the deal, which is the latest in a series of peace negotiations in the Middle East.

9/18/2020 White House Says Five More Countries Seriously Considering Israel Deals
FILE PHOTO: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks to reporters during a news
briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
    MOSINEE, Wis. (Reuters) – White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Thursday that five more countries are seriously considering striking a normalization deal with Israel after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed accords this week.
    Meadows, speaking to reporters on Air Force One on the flight that carried President Donald Trump to a campaign rally in Wisconsin, would not identify the five nations.
    But he said three were in the region.    He would not comment further.
    Trump has spoken optimistically about more countries agreeing to a normalization of relations with Israel following the UAE and Bahrain deals.
    One possibility is Oman, whose ambassador attended the White House ceremony on Tuesday.    Trump predicted on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia would eventually agree to a deal.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney)

9/21/2020 Bahrain King Says Accord With Israel Not Directed Against Any Country
FILE PHOTO: Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa attends during the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 40th Summit
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 10, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain’s move to establish ties with Israel was not directed against any entity or power but aimed to bring about a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said on Monday.
    The king, in a cabinet statement reported by state news agency BNA, reaffirmed Bahrain’s support for the Palestinians and for an Arab peace initiative drawn up in 2002 that offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to normalise ties with Israel but without a resolution of Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians, in a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.
    The accord called for “full diplomatic relations” but avoided the term normalization.
    “Tolerance and co-existence define our true Bahraini identity…Our steps towards peace and prosperity are not directed against any entity or power, rather they are in everyone’s interest and aim for good neighbourliness,” King Hamad said, quoted by BNA.
    Sporadic street protests have broken out in Bahrain since it signed the accord with Israel earlier this month.
    Bahrain was the only Gulf Arab state to witness a sizeable pro-democracy uprising in 2011, which it quashed with Saudi and Emirati help.     The Sunni-ruled country accuses Shi’ite Muslim Iran of backing subversion, a charge Iran denies.
(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

9/21/2020 Palestinians Arrest Supporters Of Abbas Rival Based In UAE
FILE PHOTO: Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah security chief, gestures in his office
in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer
    RAMALLAH, West Bank/GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian security forces arrested over half a dozen supporters of an exiled Palestinian politician who some have accused of involvement in the United Arab Emirates deal to forge ties with Israel, a spokesman for his faction said.
    Mohammed Dahlan has lived in the UAE since being driven out of the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 2011 after a bitter row with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political party Fatah, of which Dahlan is a member.
    The Gulf Arab country’s deal to establish diplomatic relations with Israel has angered Palestinians and stirred widespread speculation that Dahlan played a role.
    Dahlan’s faction has criticised Arab countries forming relations with Israel before its conflict with the Palestinians is resolved, though he has not outright denied involvement.
    On Monday, seven members of Dahlan’s faction were arrested by security forces from Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA), which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, according to Dahlan faction spokesman Imad Mohsen, who called the arrests “politically motivated.”
    The arrests were carried out in the West Bank and included Haytham al-Halabi and Salim Abu Safia, both senior members of Dahlan’s faction, a statement from the group said.
    In a statement, the Palestinian security forces said they had detained Halabi from a village near the West Bank city of Nablus as part of “a continuation of efforts to impose security and order.”
    The statement did not mention any other arrests.
    The PA’s interior ministry declined comment.
    A former Gaza security chief, Dahlan has long been floated as a potential successor to Abbas.    He has cultivated close ties with UAE leaders since his exile.
    The UAE and fellow Gulf Arab state Bahrain signed normalisation agreements with Israel at the White House last week in a ceremony hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump.
    The deals were the first such accommodations between Arab countries and Israel in more than 20 years, and were forged partly through shared fears of Iran.
    Palestinians have called the moves a betrayal, fearing they would weaken a longstanding pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of a Palestinian state in return for normal relations with Israel.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Howard Goller)

9/22/2020 Exclusive: U.S. Eyes December Agreement On F-35 Jets With UAE by Mike Stone
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Air Force F-35 flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for
Israeli air force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and the United Arab Emirates hope to have an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Gulf state in place by December, as the Trump administration studies how to structure a deal without running afoul of Israel.
    Sources close to the negotiations said the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec. 2.
    Any deal must satisfy decades of agreement with Israel that states any U.S. weapons sold to the region must not impair Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” guaranteeing U.S. weapons furnished to Israel are “superior in capability” to those sold to its neighbors.
    With that in mind Washington is studying ways to make the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 more visible to Israeli radar systems, two sources said.    Reuters could not determine if this would be done by changing the jet or providing Israel with better radar, among other possibilities.
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was due to meet his U.S. counterpart Mark Esper in Washington on Tuesday.
    The UAE embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.    The White House declined to comment.
    A Pentagon spokeswoman told Reuters, “as a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress.”
    Michael Biton, minister in the Defence Ministry of Israel, said on Israel’s Army Radio that if the UAE buys F-35s it would be possible to “preserve the relative defensive advantage” of Israel’s military.
    Once a letter of agreement is signed, a fine may be levied against any party that terminates the deal.    Several political and regulatory hurdles must be cleared before the sale may be completed and Capitol Hill aides cautioned a deal may not be possible this year.
    Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, told reporters in August that in general, the United States aims to complete a letter of agreement for new F-35 sales in about six months.
    Because of the qualitative military edge restriction, the Lockheed Martin-made F-35 has been denied to Arab states, while Israel has about 24 jets.
    The United Arab Emirates, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the stealthy jets and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal made when they agreed to normalize relations with Israel.
    Sources familiar with the negotiations said a working idea was for Israeli air defenses to be able to detect the UAE F-35s with technology that effectively defeats the stealth capabilities of the jets.
    F-35 fighter jets sold to the United Arab Emirates could also be built in a way that ensures the same planes owned by Israel outperform any others sold in the region, defense experts say.
    Washington already demands that any F-35 sold to foreign governments cannot match the performance of U.S. jets, said both a congressional staffer and a source familiar with past sales.
    The F-35’s technical sophistication is tied to its mission systems and processing power and “it’s the computing power that allows you to sell a higher tech jet to Israel than to the UAE,” said Doug Birkey, executive director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Washington.
    “When foreign pilots are in training in the U.S. they type a code into a user interface as they board the jet, the code will pull a different jet for each pilot based on legal permissions,” Birkey said.
    Either way, actual delivery of new jets is years away.    Poland, the most recent F-35 customer, purchased 32 of the jets in January, but will not receive its first delivery until 2024.
(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, with additional reporting from Patricia Zengerle; editing by Chris Sanders and Howard Goller)

9/25/2020 Palestinian Leader Calls For U.N.-Led Peace Conference Early Next Year
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a virtual meeting with Palestinian factions over Israel and the United Arab
Emirates' deal to normalise ties, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 3, 2020. Alaa Badarneh/Pool via REUTERS
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene an international conference early next year to launch “a genuine peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians.
    Abbas urged Guterres to work with the Middle East Quartet of mediators – the United States, Russia, the European Union and the U.N. – and the U.N. Security Council on a conference “with full authority and with the participation of all concerned parties, early next year, to engage in a genuine peace process.”
    The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.    Palestinian leaders rejected a peace proposal unveiled in January by U.S. President Donald Trump, in which Washington would recognize Jewish settlements in occupied territory as part of Israel.
    “There will be no peace, no security, no stability and no coexistence in our region while this occupation continues and a just, comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine, the core of the conflict, remains denied,” Abbas told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in a video pre-recorded due to COVID-19.
    He said the Palestinians remained committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, drawn up by Saudi Arabia, in which Arab nations offered to normalize ties with Israel in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.
    The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements last week to establish ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo.    The Palestinians denounced the move.
    Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, in his debut speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, said the Arab Peace Initiative is the basis for a “comprehensive and just solution,” but also said he supported U.S. peace efforts. He stopped short of endorsing the recent U.S.-brokered agreements.
    Saudi Arabia has quietly acquiesced to the deals but has signaled it is not ready to take similar action.
(This story corrects date of Arab Peace Initiative to 2002)
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Ali Sawafta and Nidal Al Mughrabi; Editing by Dan Grebler)
[As I have said Abbas with the Palestinians is going to force the United Nations, European Union and Russia to get into this deal which I think will being the He out to make a peace deal with the Arabs and United States in the near future to get the prophecy in process .].

9/25/2020 King Of Bahrain Praises UAE-Israeli Peace Deal In UN Address by OAN Newsroom
In this image made from UNTV video, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, of Bahrain, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played
during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday Sept. 24, 2020, at UN headquarters. (UNTV via AP)
    The King of Bahrain praised the recent peace accord with Israel and the United Arab Emirates.    During his United Nations address Thursday, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said President Trump is advancing security and stability in the region.
    The Bahraini King suggested the deal will end hostilities in the Middle East and said the normalization of relations with Israel will make regional affairs more civilized, peaceful and constructive.
    Bahrain became the first third-party Arab nation to join the Israeli-Emirati deal, which was signed earlier this month.    King Khalifa also noted that the deal will establish fair and comprehensive peace.
    “This peace is the best guarantee for the future of all peoples of the region,” he stated.    “The courageous step of the brotherly United Arab Emirates to rekindle hope in achieving peace and stability in the region is a successful and commendable step.”
    The Bahraini King also gave his support for a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem while suggesting lengthy talks could be up ahead.

9/26/2020 Palestinian President Abbas Calls On UN To Lead Peace Talks With Israel by OAN Newsroom
In this image made from UNTV video, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during
the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at UN headquarters, in New York. (UNTV via AP)
    On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he’s seeking a “genuine peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians.    In an address to the United Nations General Assembly this week, he called on the UN to lead future peace talks.
    His decision to ask for the UN’s assistance came as a rejection of President Trump’s proposal to end the conflict.    He has claimed that deal favored Israel.
    The foreign leader went on to say peace talks should aim to end the occupation, grant Palestinians their freedom and establish East Jerusalem as the capital of their own state.
    “You should all know that there can be no peace, no security, no stability or coexistence in our region without an end to the occupation, without a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question, which is at the heart of the conflict,” stated President Abbas.
    Palestinians also recently rejected decisions by two Arab nations to normalize ties with Israel, which they called a “violation of lasting peace.”

10/2/2020 Europe Key To Middle East Peace Process After Abraham Accord, Pompeo Says
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends the Mining, Agriculture, and Construction (MAC) Protocol Signing
Ceremony, at Villa San Sebastiano, in Rome, Italy, October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/Pool
    ROME (Reuters) – European countries have a fundamental role in supporting the Middle East peace process after the signing of the so-called Abraham Accord, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview on Friday.
    “I believe that European leaders have a strategic role…(also in) stemming and rejecting the Islamic Republic of Iran, which still is the greatest force of destabilisation in the entire Middle Eastern region,” Pompeo told Italian daily La Repubblica.
    He added that he hoped Palestinians would join the United States, committing to serious negotiations with Israel.
    “(The Palestinians) must commit to dialogue,” Pompeo said, when asked what was needed to do so, given that the Palestinian Authority considered the agreements void.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

10/5/2020 Palestinian Business Leader Hopes UAE, Bahrain Will Press Israel To Stop Settlements by Rami Ayyub
Bashar Masri, a prominent Palestinian businessman and founder of Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city
in the West Bank, poses during an interview with Reuters in Rawabi, October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Rami Ayyub
    RAWABI, West Bank (Reuters) – A top Palestinian business executive said on Monday that new Gulf Arab ties with Israel, condemned by Palestinian leaders, could also be an opportunity to apply fresh pressure to halt Jewish settlement in occupied land.
    Bashar Masri, a Palestinian-American who runs two of the Palestinians’ largest holding companies, said the Palestinians must find a way to turn agreements Israel struck last month with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain into “a positive thing for us.”
    Under the U.S.-brokered diplomatic push, Israel agreed to suspend plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
    Palestinian leaders have called Arab agreements to normalise relations with Israel a blow to their quest for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war.
    Masri, 59, said the Palestinian message to the UAE and Bahrain should now be: “Hey, why don’t you pressure Israel, who you’re talking to, to stop the settlements?.”
    “I hope they can turn these agreements to pressure Israel into concessions for the Palestinians,” he said.
    But Masri, chairman of Massar International, told Reuters he was uncertain that halting settlement expansion in the West Bank would be a priority for Gulf Arab states that agreed to official ties with Israel in part over shared concern over Iran.
    Most countries view the settlements that Israel has built on occupied land as illegal. Israel disputes this.
    Israel has hailed ties with the UAE and Bahrain as a major business opportunity, and Masri said Palestinian enterprises would not be inherently opposed to accepting investment from the two Gulf nations.
    Massar International oversees and manages more than 30 subsidiaries and investments in finance, tech, agriculture, media and real estate, including Rawabi, the first planned Palestinian city in the West Bank.
    Masri said that now that emotions over the deals have calmed down – “we burned the flags” – Palestinians have “no choice but to be optimistic.”
    “Our enemies want us to give up hope.    If we give up hope, they have exactly what they want, and there will be no Palestine, and no Palestinian people,” he said.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Peter Graff)

10/6/2020 UAE Foreign Minister Emphasizes Return Of Hope To Palestinians And Israelis To Work For Two-State Solution: WAM
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan speaks during a news conference with his
Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (not pictured) following their
historic meeting at Villa Borsig in Berlin, Germany, October 6, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool
    CAIRO (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister said on Tuesday, in a joint statement with Israeli and German counterparts, that the most important thing that must be emphasized today is the return of hope to Palestinians and Israelis to work for a two-state solution, UAE state news agency (WAM) reported.
    Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said he also discussed with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Berlin cooperation in the energy field, WAM said.
    The foreign ministers met in Germany on Tuesday to discuss further steps in normalizing relations after signing an agreement last month in Washington to normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship.
(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Alaa Swilam; Editing by Leslie Adler)

10/8/2020 Israel’s Parliament To Ratify UAE Deal On Monday, Netanyahu Says
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties, between Israel and
the United Arab Emirates, during a news conference at the prime minster office in Jerusalem, August 13, 2020. Abir Sultan /Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that he will bring diplomatic accords with the United Arab Emirates before the Israeli parliament on Oct. 12.
    Israel and the UAE signed agreements in Washington in September to normalize diplomatic ties and to forge a broad new relationship.
    Netanyahu said he intends to get cabinet and parliamentary ratification for the deal, which marks a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Toby Chopra)

10/8/2020 Kuwait’s New Crown Prince Pledges Commitment To Democracy And Peace by Ahmed Hagagy
Kuwait parliament members and ministers attend a session to approve the appointment of Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad
as Kuwait's crown prince in Kuwait City, Kuwait October 8, 2020. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee
    KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait’s new Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah took the oath of office in parliament on Thursday, pledging the Gulf Arab state’s commitment to democracy and peace and calling on Kuwaitis to shun divisions.
    The assembly unanimously endorsed the octogenarian Sheikh Meshal for the role in what has been a smooth succession that retained power firmly within the ruling family’s oldest ranks following last week’s death of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad.
    New ruler Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad, 83, assumed power last Wednesday in the U.S.-allied OPEC member state as it faces a liquidity crunch caused by low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic against the backdrop of continued tensions between larger neighbours Saudi Arabia and Iran.
    Sheikh Meshal, addressing parliament, said Kuwait would uphold its regional and international commitments and “its path of peace and democratic approach,”
    He pledged to “raise the banner of popular participation and promote a tolerant spirit that shuns division.”
    Diplomats and analysts say that due to Sheikh Nawaf’s low-key style and age, he may delegate a larger portion of responsibilities to Sheikh Meshal, a forceful figure who had been deputy head of the National Guard since 2004 and before that headed State Security for 13 years, shunning public-facing roles.
    The succession is not expected to alter oil policy or a foreign policy shaped by Sheikh Sabah that defended Arab unity and balanced ties with Saudi Arabia, Iran and former occupier Iraq.     Sheikh Meshal’s rise stands in contrast to some other Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia, where ruling families are starting to give top jobs to younger princes.
    Sheikh Nawaf and Sheikh Meshal, both brothers of the late ruler, are expected to focus on domestic issues as the country prepares for parliamentary elections this year and the government tries to shore up its finances.
    Frequent clashes between the hand-picked cabinet, in which ruling family members hold most senior posts, and the assembly have led to successive government reshuffles and dissolution of parliament, hindering investment and economic reforms.
    “We face a challenging period … which does not allow for divisions, and maintaining national unity is a serious and joint responsibility,” Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid said in parliament on Thursday.
(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy and Maher Chmaytelli, Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Raissa Kasolowsky)

10/10/2020 Palestinian President Meets World Jewish Congress Head
FILE PHOTO: World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder visits the former Nazi German concentration and
extermination camp Auschwitz II-Birkenau, near Oswiecim, Poland, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder in the West Bank on Saturday, a Palestinian minister said, following a call by Lauder for Palestinians to revive peace talks with Israel.
    Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh revealed the meeting in a Twitter posting but gave no details.
    Lauder, a U.S. businessman who also met Abbas a year ago in New York, attended the Sept. 15 White House signing ceremony of an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to forge formal ties.
    He told Saudi newspaper Arab News on Sept. 16 that he hoped the accord would bring the Palestinians and Israel back to peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.
    The World Jewish Congress said in a statement that Lauder met the Palestinian leader on Saturday “for a private visit at Abbas’ invitation, to discuss a range of issues regarding Palestine and the Middle Eastz.”
    In Washington, a person familiar with the matter said Lauder’s visit was not coordinated with or on behalf of the Trump administration but was in a strictly private capacity.
    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The Palestinians have cut off diplomatic ties with the Trump administration, which they have long accused of pro-Israel bias, and spurned the Gulf states’ diplomatic moves with Israel.
    A Palestinian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Lauder was not carrying a message from the White House.    A second Palestinian source said Abbas discussed the call he made at the United Nations last month for a U.N.-led peace conference early next year.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by John Stonestreet and Aurora Ellis)

10/12/2020 Israeli Cabinet Approves UAE Deal, Netanyahu Says Will Meet Its Leader by Jeffrey Heller and Rami Ayyub
A combination picture shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem
June 28, 2020, and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan attending a news conference at the
Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 12, 2019. Pictures taken June 28, 2020 and June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (L)/Hannibal Hanschke
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s cabinet approved a normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates on Monday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince had spoken and agreed to meet soon.
    The U.S.-brokered “treaty of peace” establishing full relations with the Gulf Arab country broke new diplomatic ground in the region, where concern over Iran is high, even as Palestinians condemned the pact as betrayal of their quest for statehood in Israeli-occupied land.
    Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s de facto leader, tweeted on Monday that he and Netanyahu had discussed strengthening bilateral ties and the prospects for peace in the area.
    In an official statement that coincided with an Israeli cabinet vote approving the Sept. 15 agreement with the UAE, Netanyahu said he and Sheikh Mohammed would meet soon, without specifying a date.
    “At the weekend, I spoke with my friend, the crown prince … and invited him to visit Israel,” Netanyahu said.    “He invited me to visit Abu Dhabi.    But first, we will see a UAE delegation here and another one of our delegations will go there.”
    A source familiar with plans for the delegations’ visits said Israeli representatives accompanied by U.S. officials will fly to Bahrain on Oct. 18 and travel on to the UAE the next day before returning to Israel with a UAE team on Oct. 20.
    Commenting on his conversation with Sheikh Mohammed, Netanyahu said: “We spoke about cooperation that we are promoting in investment, tourism, energy, technology and other spheres.”
    In a sign of burgeoning Israel-UAE cooperation, a ship from the UAE docked on Monday at Israel’s port of Haifa, carrying a cargo of 15 containers along a shipping line between India, the UAE, Israel and the United States.
    While the normalisation accord has already inspired commercial deal-making with the Gulf’s trade, finance, tourism and travel hub, Israeli officials have objected to the UAE’s potential purchase of U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter jets in a separate side deal.
    Israel is the only Middle East country flying the advanced warplane and has voiced concern its supply to other nations in the region could jeopardise its military edge.
    Israel has also said it would oppose any sale of the plane to Qatar, whose Iran links trouble Israel, after a Reuters report that Doha had submitted a formal request to Washington to buy the Lockheed Martin Corp. stealth jet.
    Israeli cabinet approval of the accord with the UAE opened the way for Israel’s parliament to ratify it, in a vote likely to be held later this week.
    In the UAE, the federal cabinet must still approve the accord, following which the government would issue a decree.
    Israel and Bahrain, which signed a “declaration of peace” at the White House ceremony last month, are still discussing details of a full accord.
(Additional reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Dan Williams; Editing by Kevin Liffey, William Maclean)

10/14/2020 Israel Approves First New Settler Homes Since Suspending Annexation
FILE PHOTO: A view shows Palestinian houses in the village of Wadi Fukin as the Jewish settlement of Beitar Illit
is seen in the background, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel approved more than 1,300 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday in the first such go-ahead since it suspended annexation plans in the territory.
    The decision drew an angry response from Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
    “We urge the international community to intervene immediately to stop this settlement madness, which destroys any chance for a genuine peace process,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
    The construction could help mute criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from settler leaders, who are traditional allies.
    They had bristled at the annexation suspension that helped pave the way for last month’s deals to forge diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
    Israel’s West Bank Civil Administration planning committee gave final approval for building 1,313 housing units in several settlements, it said in a statement.    Plans for another 853 units were advanced but have not yet been given final approval.
    A statement from Beit El settlement said 350 new housing units would be built there.    It hailed the committee’s decision as “a tremendous achievement for Beit El.”
    The forum, which last held such a hearing eight months ago, was due to reconvene on Thursday to advance additional projects in settlements, its publicly available agenda showed.
    Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watchdog, said that in total the committee was set to move forward with projects comprising more than 4,000 new settler homes.
    Most countries view settlements Israel has built in territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal and as an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.    The United States and Israel dispute this.
    Israel cites historical and biblical links to the West Bank and around 450,000 of its settlers live there, among 3 million Palestinians.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Mike Collett-White)

10/18/2020 Israel Sends Treaty Delegation To Bahrain With Trump Aides by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: National flags of Bahrain, UAE, Israel and the U.S. are projected on
the walls of Jerusalem's Old city September 15, 2020. REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel is due to send delegates to Bahrain on Sunday to formalise nascent relations and broaden Gulf cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic bonanza.
    Bahrain followed the United Arab Emirates in agreeing last month to normalise ties with Israel, stunning Palestinians who had demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
    The breakthrough, overseen by U.S. President Donald Trump, is a foreign policy flourish ahead of his reelection bid next month. For the U.S. allies, it is a chance to close ranks more overtly on Iran.
    Sunday’s delegation, led by Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, will be accompanied by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, whose office said the mission seeks “expanded economic cooperation” among Israel, Bahrain and UAE.
    An official involved in the visit said Israel and Bahrain would sign a communique upgrading their relationship: from the declaration of intent delivered at a White House ceremony on Sept. 15 to a formal establishment of ties.
    The delegates travel to Manama on El Al flight 973, a nod to Bahrain’s telephone code.    The Israeli airliner will overfly Saudi Arabia, an accommodation by the Gulf powerhouse that has so far resisted U.S. appeals to normalise ties with Israel.
    Mnuchin and another senior Trump aide, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, will continue on Monday to UAE, whose accord with Israel has uncorked bilateral commerce.    On Tuesday, the U.S. dignitaries will accompany the UAE’s first delegation to Israel.
    Though less oil-rich than UAE, Bahrain – host to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet – has geo-strategic significance.
    Ruled by a Sunni Muslim monarchy, it was the only Gulf Arab state to experience a sizeable pro-democracy uprising, led by the Shi’ite majority population, in the 2011 “Arab Spring.”
    The Israel deal drew anger among Bahrainis at home and abroad.    Manama has said the deal protects its interests from Iran. [nL8N2GE0RA]
    A Sept. 13 report by Israel’s Intelligence Ministry saw potential for defence cooperation with Bahrain, describing it as threatened by “Shiite political sedition, directed by Iran and its proxies.”
    Israel could also help Bahrain with renewable energy, food security and banking and finance technologies, it said.
(Reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

10/18/2020 Senior PLO Official Erekat Taken To Hospital After COVID-19 Condition Worsens by Ali Sawafta
FILE PHOTO: Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with
foreign diplomats, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    JERICHO, West Bank (Reuters) – Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Israel on     Sunday for treatment of a worsening case of COVID-19, the Palestine Liberation Organization said.
    Witnesses said Erekat, 65, was on a stretcher when he was placed inside an Israeli ambulance outside his home in Jericho, in the occupied West Bank.    Erekat, who is also secretary-general of the PLO, disclosed on Oct. 8 that he had contracted coronavirus.
    He was rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.
    There is heightened concern over Erekat’s vulnerability to the illness because he underwent a lung transplant in the United States in 2017.
    “Following his contraction of COVID-19, and due to the chronic health problems he faces in the respiratory system, Dr. Erekat’s condition now requires medical attention in a hospital,” the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said in a statement.
    The initial statement said he would be treated at a hospital in Tel Aviv, but the PLO later said he was taken to the hospital in Jerusalem.
    A member of Fatah, the most powerful faction within the PLO, Erekat has been one of the most high-profile faces of the Palestinian leadership for decades, especially to international audiences.
    Erekat is one of the most senior advisers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and also served in top positions under Abbas’ predecessor, Yasser Arafat.
    His negotiating days date back to the earliest public negotiations with Israel in 1991 at the Madrid Conference during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, when Erekat was part of the PLO team.
    A proponent of a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Erekat has been a leading Palestinian voice in opposing Israel’s settlement policy in territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Adel Abu Nimeh and Rami Ayyub; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Frances Kerry)

10/18/2020 Israel, UAE To Sign Agreement For 28 Weekly Flights, Ministry Says
FILE PHOTO: The Israeli flag carrier El Al's airliner carrying Israeli and U.S. delegates approaches to land at Abu Dhabi
International Airport, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. Ministry of Presidential Affairs/WAM/Handout via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates will a sign a deal on Tuesday to allow 28 weekly commercial flights between Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Israel’s Transportation Ministry said on Sunday.
    The agreement, which also allows unlimited charter flights to a smaller airport in southern Israel and 10 weekly cargo flights, comes after Israel and UAE agreed to normalize relations.
    The aviation deal will be signed at Ben Gurion airport and flights are expected to begin within weeks, the ministry said.
(Reporting by Tova Cohen and Ari Rabinovitch)

10/18/2020 Israel, UAE Agree Deal To Boost Investment In Each Other’s Economies by Steven Scheer
FILE PHOTO: Emirati and Israeli flags fly upon the arrival of Israeli and U.S. delegates at Abu Dhabi
International Airport, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have reached a bilateral agreement that will give incentives and protection to investors who make investments in each other’s countries, both finance ministries said on Sunday.
    The agreement is one of the first between the UAE and Israel after they agreed to normalise relations in August.
    It is also the first such agreement Israel has forged with an Arab country and will become the 37th such treaty for Israel, with the 36 others mainly Western countries.    The last was signed with Japan in 2017.
    The UAE has signed 99 investment protection treaties and this one with Israel would strengthen economic ties, encourage competition and increase the attractiveness of investments between the two countries, UAE Finance Ministry Undersecretary Younis Haji Al Khoori said in a statement.
    Under the deal, which still needs to be signed by both finance ministers, investors would be protected from arbitrary changes in regulation and political situations and they will be able to transfer funds out of country if needed — a framework the Israeli ministry said would put investors’ minds at ease.
    The UAE finance ministry said the agreement would protect investments from non-commercial risks such as “nationalisation, confiscation, judicial seizures, freezing assets, establishing licensed investments, and transferring profits and revenues in convertible currencies.”
    Israeli Finance Ministry chief economist Shira Greenberg said the agreement would benefit the private sector while promoting competition in the Israeli economy.
    Last week, the UAE and Israel reached a preliminary agreement on a separate deal that would avoid double taxation.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Addititional reporting by Davide Barbuscia. Editing by Jane Merriman)

10/18/2020 Israel, U.S. Delegates Board Flight To Formalize Diplomacy With Bahrain by OAN Newsroom
Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, left, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin disembark from an Israeli
flag carrier El Al airliner on their arrival in Muharraq, Bahrain, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)
    Israeli and U.S. delegates boarded the first commercial flight from Israel to Bahrain this weekend.
    While speaking to reporters on Sunday, delegates stated they were excited to travel to Bahrain.    There, they will formalize diplomatic ties between Bahrain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
    Officials will take part in the first ever “Abraham Accords Business Summit,” which was named after the historic peace deal brokered through President Trump last month.
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin voiced his excitement and appreciation for the agreements shortly before boarding the plane to Bahrain.
    “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be here to take the first commercial flight to Bahrain,” he stated.    “I especially want to thank the prime minister and the king for their bold leadership, and for President Trump bringing this all together for this incredible day.”
From left, Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, U.S. Treasury Secretary
Steve Mnuchin, and U.S. Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, deliver statements before boarding Israeli flag carrier El Al
plane to Bahrain, at Ben Gurion airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)
    Delegates from each side will discuss economic expansion, culture and technology in an effort to establish peace between the countries.
    Mnuchin and other U.S. officials will travel to the UAE after the meeting, where they will join the country’s first delegation to Israel.

10/20/2020 UAE Government Delegation Heads To Israel For First Official Visit
A man rides a scooter near the flags of the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain
as they flutter along a road in Netanya, Israel September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The first ever official United Arab Emirates delegation to Israel took off on Tuesday as the two countries look to broaden cooperation after normalising ties last month under a U.S.-brokered accord, forged largely over shared fears of Iran.
    An Etihad Airways plane carrying Emirati government officials, with U.S. dignitaries accompanying them, left the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, headed to Ben-Gurion Airport, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.
Israeli officials said the visit would be restricted to the airport due to coronavirus concerns.
    The UAE and fellow Gulf state Bahrain in September became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to sign deals to establish formal ties with Israel, a move that Washington and its allies have said would foster regional peace and stability but which has been rejected by the Palestinians.
    The Emirati delegation is led by Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq al-Mari and Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Humaid al-Tayer, a UAE foreign ministry spokeswoman tweeted.
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Middle East envoy Ari Berkowitz are joining them on the trip, after having accompanied an Israeli delegation to Bahrain on Sunday for a signing ceremony to formalise ties.
    Israel and the UAE have already signed several commercial deals since mid-August, when they first announced they would establish full relations.
    Israeli officials said the two sides were expected to sign a mutual visa-exemption agreement – Israel’s first with an Arab country.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington, Dan Williams and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Andrew Heavens and John Stonestreet)

10/21/2020 Secy. Pompeo Addresses First U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently stressed the strategic importance of the relationship between the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates as well as the two countries’ ongoing efforts to promote greater regional stability in the Middle East.
    He addressed this during remarks at the virtual inauguration of the first U.S.-UAE strategic dialogue on Tuesday.    Pompeo opened his message by taking a moment to celebrate the landmark deal recently brokered by President Trump and underlining its promise for the future of the region.
    “‘During the Trump administration, the United States and the United Arab Emirates relationship has grown deeper and broader than at any point before,” stated the U.S. official.    “I think having this dialogue is evidence of that.”
    The strategic dialogue introduces a new framework of binational cooperation aimed at creating a guideline for progress across different areas of vital importance to long-term goals of regional development and stabilization.
    While speaking on this, Pompeo declared himself optimistic over the prospects raised by increased cooperation between the U.S. and regional powers as well as by the Trump administration’s continued efforts to heal historic rifts between Arab states and Israel.    He also reasserted America’s dedication to support Middle Eastern states committed to promoting democratic ideals and individual freedoms.
    “Today’s MOU will build on those hopes in eight key areas of partnership: politics, defense, law enforcement and border security, intelligence and counterterrorism, human rights, economics, cultural and academics, and space,” announced the secretary.
    “I am confident that the United States and the UAE’s strategic partnership across every one of these dimensions will grow in the years to come.”
    The secretary of state also highlighted how increased cooperation between the U.S., Israel and Arab nations will enable the region to better contain the expansionist ambitions and mounting aggression of Iran’s totalitarian regime.
    Pompeo pointed out the Trump administration has already, through its increased focus on Middle Eastern diplomacy, taken several strides to counter Iranian attempts at regional destabilization.
    “And we stand together on the international stage to counter the greatest destructive force in the Middle East: the Iranian regime,” he stated.    “I want to personally thank the UAE for its support of our maximum pressure campaign, which has denied Tehran access to weapons valued at more than $70 billion.”

10/21/2020 Israeli Delegation Travels To Sudan To Discuss Normalisation: Israeli Radio Kan
FILE PHOTO: An Israeli flag and an American flag fly at Abu Dhabi International Airport before the arrival
of Israeli and U.S. officials, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christoper Pike
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli delegation made a rare visit to Sudan on Wednesday to discuss normalising ties, Israeli public broadcaster Kan radio said, as a minister predicted a possible diplomatic breakthrough between the two countries.
    Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Israel’s Channel 13 News that he believed Israel was “very close to normalising ties with Sudan.”
    Kan radio gave no further details about the discussions held in Khartoum.    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office and the Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment when asked about prospects for a breakthrough with Sudan.
    In a foreign-policy flourish ahead of his re-election bid, top aides to U.S. President Donald Trump this week escorted Israeli delegates to Bahrain and UAE delegates to Israel, cementing Israel’s new, U.S.-brokered relations with the Gulf states.
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the United States had begun the process of removing Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism and was also working “diligently” to get Khartoum to recognise Israel.
    Pompeo stopped short of saying Sudan’s removal would be linked to whether it would agree to normalise relations with Israel.    Sudanese sources have not indicated so far that normalisation talks were far advanced.
    Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis said that the United States would announce another deal establishing ties between Israel and an Arab or Muslim country before the U.S. election.
    “I have a reasonable basis to believe that the announcement will come before Nov. 3 – that, if you’ll permit me, is what I understand from my sources,” Akunis told Israel’s Army Radio.
    Akunis said several countries were candidates to normalise relations with Israel.    He did not name these, saying that it was “customary” to let the first official word come from Washington.
    But U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman did not indicate any imminent diplomatic breakthrough.
    “More nations that are in the Arab League will normalise and make peace with Israel, I have no doubt, it is a certainty.    How many, in what order, I think everyone is just going to have to wait and see,” he told a conference hosted by Israel Hayom newspaper and the Kohelet Policy Forum think-tank.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Dan Williams; Editing by Peter Graff, Alex Richardson and Kim Coghill)

10/23/2020 Israel Won’t Oppose U.S. Sale Of F-35 To UAE by Dan Williams and Mike Stone
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties, between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,
during a news conference at the prime minster office in Jerusalem, August 13, 2020. Abir Sultan /Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel will not oppose U.S. sales of “specific weapons systems” to the United Arab Emirates, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Friday, in an apparent reference to the F-35 warplanes sought by Abu Dhabi.
    Under a principle of preserving Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” the United States consults with it on proposed sales of advanced arms to other countries in the region.
    Israel has reiterated a need to maintain its military superiority even since forging official ties with the UAE and its fellow Gulf Arab state Bahrain under deals brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump last month.
    Washington agreed to consider allowing the UAE to buy F-35 stealth jets in a side deal to a normalisation agreement between Israel and the UAE.
    Gantz reached agreements in Washington this week with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper that he and Netanyahu, in a joint statement, said would significantly upgrade Israel’s military capabilities.
    “Since the U.S. is upgrading Israel’s military capability and is maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, Israel will not oppose the sale of these systems to the UAE,” they said.
    The Israeli statement did not mention the F-35 explicitly.
    But it added that the Trump administration had informed Israel – which uses the F-35 – of its plan to notify Congress that it intends to provide certain weapons systems to the UAE.
    The removal of Israeli opposition clears one important hurdle to U.S. congressional approval of F-35 sales to the UAE.
    Israel enjoys broad support in Congress and if Israel stood in the way of the deals it would be nearly impossible for them to advance.
    The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees, whose members have criticised the UAE’s role in civilian deaths in Yemen, have the right to review and block weapons sales under an informal review process.
    U.S. lawmakers have tried to rein in the Trump administration’s plans for arms sales to UAE and Saudi Arabia over concerns over their involvement in the war in Yemen.
    Past measures to block arms sales passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support, but failed to get enough Republican backing to override Trump’s vetoes.
(Additional reporting and writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

10/23/2020 Sudan Becomes Third Arab State To Set Aside Hostilities With Israel This Year by Matt Spetalnick, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason
FILE PHOTO: Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) address
the media at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 14, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel and Sudan agreed on Friday to take steps to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Khartoum the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.
    U.S. President Donald Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior U.S. officials said.
    Trump’s decision this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord with Israel, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.
    Netanyahu hailed it as a “new era” for the region, but the Palestinian leadership, watching as more of their Arab brethren appear to give their quest for statehood a lower priority, called it a “new stab in the back.”
    “The leaders agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations,” according to a joint statement issued by the three countries that also promised U.S. help for Khartoum to secure international debt relief.
    Israel and Sudan plan to begin by opening economic and trade links, with an initial focus on agriculture, the joint statement said. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said such issues as formal establishment of diplomatic ties would be resolved later.
    Trump touted the deal to reporters in the Oval Office with the Israeli and Sudanese leaders on the line in a three-way phone call, saying at least five other countries wanted to follow suit and normalize relations with Israel.
    “Do you think ‘Sleepy Joe’ could have made this deal?” Trump asked Netanyahu, using the president’s pejorative nickname for Biden a day after their final, rancorous debate of the 2020 presidential campaign. “Somehow I don’t think so.”
Netanyahu, reliant on bipartisan support for Israel in Washington, responded haltingly: "Well, Mr. President, one thing I can tell you, is, um, uh, we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America."
    Trump’s aides view his pro-Israel policies as appealing to Christian evangelical voters, who are among his biggest supporters.
    Trump insisted the Palestinians also “are wanting to do something” but offered no proof.    Palestinian leaders have condemned recent Arab overtures to Israel as a betrayal of their nationalist cause and have refused to engage with the Trump administration, seeing it as heavily biased in favor of Israel.
    “No one has the right to speak in the name of the Palestinian people and in the name of the Palestinian cause,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement.
DROPPING SUDAN FROM TERRORISM LIST
    Trump announced on Monday he would take Sudan off the terrorism list once it had deposited $335 million it had pledged to pay in compensation.    Khartoum has since placed the funds in a special escrow account for victims of al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
    The White House called Trump’s intention to remove Sudan from the terrorism list a “pivotal turning point” for Khartoum, which is seeking to emerge from decades of isolation.
    Trump’s aides have been pressing Sudan to normalize ties with Israel after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to agree to formal links with Israel, forged largely through shared fears of Iran.
    The military and civilian leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel. A sticking point in the negotiations was Sudan’s insistence that any announcement of Khartoum’s delisting from the terrorism designation not be explicitly linked to relations with Israel.
    The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with broader normalization, and that may not be a quick progress given sensitivities and civilian-military differences.
    Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wrote on Twitter that he welcomed U.S.-backed efforts by Sudan and Israel to normalize relations, saying he valued “all efforts aimed at establishing regional peace and stability.”
    Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
    The new agreement was negotiated on the U.S. side by Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security aide Miguel Correa.
    Kushner called the normalization deals the start of a “paradigm shift” in the Middle East.    He said Sudan’s decision was symbolically significant because it was in Khartoum in 1967 that the Arab League decided not to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
    Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates to its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir and has made it difficult for its transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing.
    Many in Sudan say the designation, imposed in 1993 because Washington believed Bashir was supporting militant groups, has become outdated since he was removed last year.
    U.S. congressional legislation is needed to shield Khartoum from future legal claims over past attacks to ensure the flow of payments to the embassy bombing victims and their families.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz in Khartoum, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Ahmed Tolba and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller)

10/23/2020 U.S., Sudan Press For Amicable Solution Over Ethiopia Dam Dispute
FILE PHOTO: Sudan's Prime Minister in the transitional government Abdalla Hamdok addresses people as they celebrate
the first anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir, at the
Friendship Hall in Khartoum, Sudan December 25, 2019. REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Friday called for an agreement to be reached over the dam dispute with Ethiopia and Egypt.
    “We hope to reach an amicable solution soon,” Hamdok said, speaking by phone with Trump following Sudan and Israel’s announcement to normalize ties.
    Trump, who held the call in front of reporters at the White House, said he had also told Egypt the same thing, saying it was a dangerous situation and that Cairo could end up “blowing up that dam.”
    Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been at odds over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), and Trump on Friday said he had brokered an agreement to resolve the issue but that Ethiopia had broken the pact, forcing him to cut funds.
    “I had a deal done for them and then unfortunately Ethiopia broke the deal, which they should not have done. It was a big mistake,” Trump said.    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to the agreement … You can’t blame Egypt for being a little upset.”
    Trump urged Hamdok to get Ethiopia to agree come accept the deal to resolve the water dispute.
    “I’m telling Egypt the same thing,” Trump added.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Idrees Ali; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

10/23/2020 Trump Tells Congress He Will Rescind Sudan’s Status As State Sponsor Of Terrorism
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during the third and final presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee
Joe Biden at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/Pool
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has told the U.S. Congress he will rescind Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, the White House said on Friday, after Sudan transferred $335 million into an account for victims and their families.
    “President Donald J. Trump has informed Congress of his intent to formally rescind Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” the White House said in a statement.    “This follows on Sudan’s recent agreement to resolve certain claims of United States victims of terror and their families.”
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

10/23/2020 Erdogan Says Turkey Tested Russian S-400s, Shrugs Off U.S. Objections
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference during a visit to
Moscow, Russia, March 5, 2020. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Friday that Turkey had been testing the S-400 air defence systems that it bought from Russia and said U.S. objections on the issue did not matter.
    Washington says Ankara’s purchase of the Russian systems compromises NATO defences, and has threatened sanctions.    An apparent firing test of S-400s test last week prompted a furious response from the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
    “(The tests) have been and are being conducted.    The United States’ stance absolutely does not concern us.    If we are not going to test these capabilities at our disposal, then what are we going to do?” Erdogan told reporters.
    The two NATO allies have long been at odds over the S-400s and Washington reacted last year by suspending Turkey from its F-35 jet programme.    Turkish officials have said the systems will not be integrated into NATO’s defence infrastructure.
    Turkey signed the S-400 deal with Russia in 2017. Deliveries of the first four missile batteries, worth $2.5 billion, began in July last year.
    Erdogan said Turkey will continue testing military equipment including light, medium and heavy weapons, including many bought from the United States.
    “It seems that the gentlemen (in the U.S.) are especially bothered that this is a weapon belonging to Russia.    We are determined, we are continuing on our path as always,” he said.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Daren Butler and Andrew Heavens)

10/24/2020 Israeli Envoys Will Travel To Sudan For Normalisation Deal, Netanyahu Says
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) development
in Israel at his office in Jerusalem September 13, 2020. Yoav Dudkevitch/Yedioth Ahronoth/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli delegation will travel to Sudan in coming days after the two countries agreed to take steps to normalise ties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.
    The agreement, brokered with the help of the United States and announced on Friday, made Sudan the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the last two months.
    “An Israeli delegation will leave to Sudan in the coming days to complete the agreement,” Netanyahu said at a news conference.
    It was unclear, however, how long it will take for an accord to be completed. The military and civilian leaders of Sudan’s transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel.
    The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with a broader, formal normalisation, and that may not be a quick process given the sensitivities and civilian-military differences.    It is unclear when the assembly will be created.
    U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3, trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.
    Trump sealed the Israel-Sudan agreement in a phone call with Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in which he said: “Do you think ‘Sleepy Joe’ could have made this deal?
    Netanyahu, reliant on bipartisan support for Israel in Washington, responded haltingly: “Well, Mr. President, one thing I can tell you, is … we appreciate the help for peace from anyone in America.”
    Asked at Saturday’s news conference whether he was embarrassed by Trump’s question, Netanyahu said: “It is very difficult to embarrass me,” and stressed he was grateful to Trump for his policy toward Israel.    “I hope this policy will continue.    I don’t want to make any prophecies about the election results.”
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by David Holmes)

10/24/2020 Israel Set To Permit US Warplanes Sale To UAE by OAN Newsroom
An F-35 fighter plane flies over the White House. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
    President Trump’s normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates has continued to produce results.
    On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not oppose the sale of “certain weapons systems” to the UAE.    This is likely referring to the F-35 fighter planes Abu Dhabi has been seeking for several years.
US President Donald Trump speaks with F-35 fighter plane pilot Lt Col Jason Curtis as he tours Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona where he is for a
“Make America Great” rally on October 19, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
    The announcement came shortly after Defense Minister Benny Gantz and U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed an agreement allowing Israel to acquire advanced weapons and upgrade its military.
    However, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committees do have the right to review and block such sales.

10/25/2020 Qatar Might Get F-35s Despite Israel’s Objections, Israeli Minister Says by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: An F-35 pilot prepares for take off from the Vermont Air National Guard Base with the flag of the United States, before a flyover in
South Burlington, Vermont, U.S. May 22, 2020. Picture taken May 22, 2020. U.S. Air National Guard/Miss Julie M. Shea/Handout via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday that a U.S. sale of advanced F-35 warplanes to Qatar could be possible despite Israel’s objections to such a deal given the Gulf state’s links to Iran and Palestinian Hamas.
    “I have no doubt that if they (Qatar) want it and are willing to pay, sooner or later they will get it,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who sits in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Ynet TV.
    “This is a supposition that we must take into account,” he said, arguing that the U.S. administration “ultimately looks out for American interests,” especially in the face of rival stealth jets on offer from Russia and China.
    Reuters reported on Oct. 7 that gas-rich Qatar had submitted a formal request to buy the F-35, a Lockheed Martin plane that has so far been supplied only to Israel in the region.    Israel, with which Washington consults on such sales, said it would be opposed.
    Emphasizing that this position would not change, a spokesman for Steinitz said in a follow-up statement to Reuters that should such a sale go ahead, Israel would demand “appropriate compensation” – an apparent reference to U.S. defence assistance.
    U.S. officials have been open to selling the F-35 to the United Arab Emirates after it and Bahrain normalised relations with Israel on Sept. 15.    But they have been tight-lipped on Qatar’s bid to buy the jet.
    Successive U.S. administrations have sought to preserve Israeli military superiority in the region.    Steinitz noted, however, that there had been past U.S. sales of advanced aircraft to Arab countries over Israeli objections.
    Israel initially voiced misgivings about the UAE getting F-35s.    The Netanyahu government dropped these on Friday after Defence Minister Benny Gantz returned from Washington with new U.S. security guarantees for Israel.     There has been speculation in Israeli media that the Trump administration could hold out the F-35 as an inducement for Qatar to normalise ties with Israel.    Qatar has ruled out such a diplomatic move without a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Frances Kerry)

10/25/2020 Israeli Cabinet Approves Bahrain Accord, Parliament Vote Pending
FILE PHOTO: The national flags of Bahrain, Israel and America, flutter in near the Israeli flag carrier El Al plane
that will fly an Israeli delegation, accompanied by U.S. aides, to Bahrain to formalise relations and broaden Gulf cooperation,
at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel October 18, 2020. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Sunday approved Israel’s normalisation accord with Bahrain, which now awaits parliamentary ratification, a cabinet statement said.
    The accord, signed at a White House ceremony on Sept. 15 where the United Arab Emirates also established formal ties with Israel, was unanimously approved by Netanyahu’s cabinet, minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Army Radio.
    Bahrain’s cabinet approved the accord on Oct. 19.
    An Israeli parliamentary spokesman said a date had yet to be set for a plenum vote on the accord with Bahrain.    Israel and the UAE ratified their bilateral accord earlier this month.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Catherine Evans and Raissa Kasolowsky)

10/27/2020 Trump Supporters In Israel Participate In Car Convoy To Jerusalem by OAN Newsroom
US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement
of Trump’s Middle East peace plan. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Dozens of people in Israel have shown their support for President Trump’s re-election.    On Tuesday, American-Israelis living abroad participated in a car convoy which made its way to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
    Trump supporters were seen honking their horns, waving the American flag and carrying pro-Trump banners.    The President has had a major influence in Israel as he recognized Jerusalem as the nation’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there.
Women pose for a picture next to an inauguration plaque during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA/AFP
    The country has many American-Israeli citizens who are registered voters in key battleground states and their vote could be a deciding factor in the election.

10/28/2020 Ahead Of U.S. Poll, Trump Ends A U.S. Restriction Applying To Israeli Settlements
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attend a special ceremony to sign an extension
of the Israel-U.S. scientific cooperation agreement in “Judea, Samaria” (the biblical names for the West Bank) and the Golan Heights,
at Ariel University in the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank October 28, 2020. Emil Salman/Pool via REUTERS
    ARIEL, West Bank (Reuters) – The Trump administration lifted a decades-old ban on Wednesday that had prohibited U.S. taxpayer funding for Israeli scientific research conducted in Jewish settlements in occupied territory, drawing Palestinian condemnation.
    With Tuesday’s U.S. election approaching, President Donald Trump’s move was praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and could resonate with evangelical Christian voters who support Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
    The West Bank settlement of Ariel, the site of an Israeli university, was chosen as the venue for a ceremony opening a new avenue of U.S. scientific cooperation with Israeli researchers.
    Palestinians, who seek the West Bank for a future state, said the move made Washington complicit in what they termed Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise.
    In Ariel, Netanyahu and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, revised three agreements reached between 1972 and 1977, enabling researchers in settlements to apply for U.S. government funds.    They also signed a new scientific and technology cooperation accord.
    Under the now-lifted prohibition, research money for Israelis could not be distributed in areas such as the West Bank that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.    Most countries view permanent settlements on such land as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, though Israel disputes this.
    “The Trump vision … opens Judea and Samaria to academic, commercial and scientific engagement with the United States,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony in Ariel, using biblical names for West Bank territory.
    “This is an important victory against all those who seek to delegitimise everything Israeli beyond the 1967 lines.”
    Friedman said $1.4 billion had been invested by three U.S.-Israeli research cooperation funds since 1972.
    A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said lifting of the funding ban represented “American participation in the occupation of Palestinian lands
    The Trump administration last year effectively backed Israel’s right to build West Bank settlements by abandoning a long-held U.S. position that they were “inconsistent with international law.”
    At the ceremony, Netanyahu again praised Trump for his “successful approach to bringing peace to our region,” citing U.S.-brokered deals for diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab states.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Peter Graff)

10/29/2020 U.S. To Allow Jerusalem-Born Americans To List Israel As Birthplace, Pompeo Says by Jeffrey Hellerbr>
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department
in Washington, DC, U.S. October 21, 2020. Nicholas Kamm/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Americans born in Jerusalem will now be able to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday, in a nod to Washington’s recognition of the contested city as Israel’s capital.
    It was the latest in a string of pro-Israel policy shifts by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration ahead of his re-election bid next week.
    Five years ago, when former President Barack Obama was in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that would have let Jerusalem-born Americans list Israel on their passports as their country of birth, saying it unlawfully encroached on presidential powers to set foreign policy.
    The status of Jerusalem, a city holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians, is among the tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2017,     Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.    Most countries do not.
    Pompeo said the decision to allow Jerusalem-born U.S. citizens to choose to enter Israel or Jerusalem as their birthplace was “consistent” with Trump’s 2017 proclamation.
    The Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as capital of the future state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza, cried foul.
    Trump “is trying to write off Palestinian rights,” Wasel Abu Youssef of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation told Reuters, accusing the U.S. president of trying to “encourage Evangelists and Jewish Americans to step up voting for him.”
    On Wednesday, the Trump administration lifted a ban on U.S. taxpayer funding for scientific research conducted by Israel in its West Bank settlements.
    Trump envoys have also helped establish ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – countries that had formally shunned the country in solidarity with the Palestinians.
    “Normalisation moves by some Arab countries have led to the weakening of Arab ranks,” Abu Wasel added.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

10/29/2020 White House Moves Forward With Sale Of 50 F-35 Jets To UAE: Sources by Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle
FILE PHOTO: Two U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets are about to receive fuel mid-air from a KC-135 refueling plane over
Norway en route to a joint training exercise with Norway's growing fleet of F-35 jets August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Andrea Shalal
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration notified Congress it intends to sell 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates for about $10 billion, sources said on Thursday, setting up a potential showdown with lawmakers over the deal.
    The United States and the UAE aim to have a letter of agreement for the F-35 jets in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec. 2, Reuters reported in September.
    The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees, whose members have criticized the UAE’s role in civilian deaths in Yemen, have the right to review, and block, weapons sales under an informal review process.
    Israel initially balked at the prospective sale but last year dropped its opposition after what it described as U.S. guarantees that Israeli military superiority would be preserved.
    Any deal must satisfy a longstanding agreement with Israel that any U.S. weapons sold in the region must not impair Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” guaranteeing U.S. weapons furnished to Israel are “superior in capability” to those sold to its neighbors.
    “We all face a common threat,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an apparent allusion to Iran, told reporters on Thursday when asked about reports of the impending UAE jet sale.
    “But with that said, it was important that the (Israeli) defense establishment received this clear American undertaking to preserve our qualitative military edge,” added Netanyahu, who earlier on Thursday hosted visiting Pentagon chief Mark Esper.
    Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, confirmed that an informal notification was sent to Congress on Thursday.    “As Congress reviews this sale, it must be clear that changes to the status quo will not put Israel’s military advantage at risk,” he said.
    The sources said the Trump administration aims to send formal notifications for the deal in the coming days.    Once formally notified, Congress can choose to pass legislation to block the sale.
    Typically the informal notification process for complex deals like the F-35 sale is 40 days, but the Trump administration is cutting it to just a few days to meet the goal of a UAE National Day signing ceremony, the sources said.
    “Rushing these sales is not in anyone’s interest,” Engel warned in his statement.
    The UAE, one of Washington’s closest Middle East allies, has long expressed interest in acquiring the stealthy F-35 jets and was promised a chance to buy them in a side deal when it agreed to normalize relations with Israel.
    Because of the qualitative military edge restriction, in the past the F-35 has been denied to Arab states, while Israel has about 24 of the jets.
(Reporting by Mike Stone and Patricia Zengerle in Washington, D.C. and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by David Gregorio, Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

10/31/2020 Israel Hails News Dominican Republic May Move Embassy To Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: A Christian worshipper holds a baby as he walks in the plaza of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as Israel began easing
a second nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Jerusalem's Old City October 18, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Saturday welcomed a declaration by the Dominican Republic that the Caribbean country may consider moving its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
    The Dominican Republic’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday it was evaluating the step at the request of the local Jewish community, noting that its embassy in Israel had been in Jerusalem until 1980.
    Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi praised the Dominican Republic and expressed gratitude to his Dominican counterpart Roberto Alvarez Gil for considering it.
    “I thanked him during our phone call yesterday for this important decision and for the many years of friendship between our two countries,” Ashkenazi said on Twitter.
    The announcement came just two months into a new Dominican administration led by President Luis Abinader, the grandson of Lebanese immigrants.    Since taking power, Abinader has described as “very special” the country’s relationship with the United States, the Dominican Republic’s main trade partner.
    Coming just a few days before a U.S. presidential election, the Dominican declaration followed on the heels of other Latin American countries that have recently moved their embassy to Jerusalem or are considering it.
    U.S. President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election on Tuesday, enraged the Palestinians and angered many world leaders by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in late 2017, and the U.S. embassy moved there the following year.
    Guatemala moved its embassy to Jerusalem soon afterwards, and Honduras has said it aims to do the same by the end of 2020. Brazil is also mulling the move.
    Jerusalem’s status has been one of the thorniest issues in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of a future state.    Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it annexed after the 1967 war, as its capital.
(Reporting by Mayaan Lubell in Jerusalem and Ezequiel Abiu Lopez in Santo Domingo; Editing by Dave Graham and Daniel Wallis)

11/5/2020 Israel Razes Most Of Palestinian Bedouin Village In West Bank On U.S. Election Day by Ali Sawafta
A Palestinian woman walks in Khirbet Humsah in Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    JORDAN VALLEY, West Bank (Reuters) – Israel has demolished most of a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank, displacing 73 Palestinians – including 41 children – in the largest such demolition in years, residents and a United Nations official said.
    Tented homes, animal shelters, latrines and solar panels were among the structures destroyed in the village of Khirbet Humsah on Tuesday, according to the U.N. official.
    Israel’s military liaison agency with the Palestinians, COGAT, confirmed that a demolition had been carried out against what it said were illegal structures.
    By Thursday morning the residents had already moved back to the site, using tents donated by Palestinian aid groups, according to a Reuters witness.
    The remains of the demolished village lay across the hillsides, with just two of the original homes still standing some distance from the others.
    “They want to expel us from the area so that settlers can live in our place, but we will not leave from here,” said resident Harbi Abu Kabsh, referring to the roughly 430,000 Israeli settlers who live alongside three million Palestinians in the West Bank, which Israel captured in a 1967 war.
    COGAT on Wednesday issued a statement saying that an “enforcement activity” had been carried out by Israeli forces “against 7 tents and 8 pens which were illegally constructed, in a firing range located in the Jordan Valley.”
    Israel often cites a lack of building permits in demolishing Palestinian structures in the West Bank.
    Yvonne Helle, a humanitarian coordinator for the United Nations in the Palestinian territories, said that relief agencies had visited Khirbet Humsah and recorded 76 demolished structures, “more than in any other single demolition in the past decade.”
    Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the structures included 18 tents and sheds.
    Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh accused Israel of timing the demolition for election day in the United States, when the world was distracted.
    He wrote on Twitter: “As the attention is focused on #USElection2020, Israel chose this evening to commit another crime/cover it up: to demolish 70 Palestinian structures, incl. homes.”
    A COGAT spokesman on Thursday had no immediate comment on Shtayyeh’s claim.    But its statement on Wednesday said: “The enforcement was carried out in accordance with the authorities and procedures, and subject to operational considerations.”
    Some 689 structures have been demolished across the West Bank and East Jerusalem so far this year, leaving 869 Palestinians homeless, according to the United Nations.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

11/7/2020 Trump Administration Advances $10 Billion Defense Sale To UAE – Source by Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone
FILE PHOTO: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister
Abdullah bin Zayed display their copies of signed agreements as they participate in the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords,
normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors, in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern
countries against Iran, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department sent Congress an informal notification of plans to sell $10 billion of defense equipment, including precision-guided munitions, non-precision bombs and missiles to the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. congressional aide said on Friday.
    The informal notification about the ordnance, which was sent to lawmakers late on Thursday, came just after President Donald Trump’s administration informed Congress it planned to sell sophisticated armed aerial drones to the UAE, news first reported by Reuters.
    The ordnance sale was first reported by CNN.
    A State Department spokesman declined comment, saying its policy was not to confirm or comment on proposed defense sales until Congress is formally notified.
    Both of the recent informal notifications came on the heels of last week’s notification of a potential sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Middle East country.
    Trump brokered a deal in September in which the UAE forged official ties with Israel.
    The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees – whose members have criticized UAE’s role in civilian deaths in Yemen’s civil war – review major weapons sales under an informal process before State sends its formal notification to the legislative branch.br>     Any deal the United States makes to sell weapons in the Middle East must satisfy decades of agreement with Israel that the U.S.-made equipment must not impair Israel’s “qualitative military edge,” guaranteeing U.S. weapons furnished to Israel are “superior in capability” to those sold to its neighbors.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

11/10/2020 Israeli Parliament Approves Deal Establishing Ties With Bahrain
The flags of Israel and Bahrain flutter along a road in Netanya, Israel September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s parliament on Tuesday approved a U.S.-brokered deal establishing formal relations with Bahrain, by a vote of 62 lawmakers in favour and 14 opposed.
    The Middle East countries signed a joint communique on Oct. 18 to formalise their nascent ties.    Bahrain is one of three Arab countries – along with the United Arab Emirates and Sudan – to set aside hostilities with Israel in recent months.
    Israel’s deals with Gulf Arab states Bahrain and the UAE were forged in part over shared fears of Iran.    But they angered the Palestinians, who have long demanded statehood before any such regional rapprochement.
    “The Knesset (parliament) plenum approved the joint announcement regarding the establishment of diplomatic relations, peace and friendship between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain,” a Knesset spokesman said in a statement.
    Speaking at parliament ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted more regional countries would move to open relations with Israel.
    “(The) buds of normalisation are already out there, waiting to blossom.    If we pursue the policy I crafted, I am convinced that the flowering will be witnessed in the open,” Netanyahu said.
(Reporting by Dan Williams and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Alison Williams, Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

11/10/2020 Israel To Send First Delegation To Sudan On Sunday To Firm Up Normalisation – Source
A bird flies over the convergence between the White Nile river and Blue Nile river in Khartoum, Sudan, February 17, 2020.
REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "BENSEMRA NILE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel plans to send its first delegation to Sudan on Sunday to firm up the countries’ U.S.-brokered announcement on Oct. 23 that they would normalise relations, a source briefed on the provisional itinerary said.
    The source, who declined to be identified by name or nationality, spoke to Reuters on Tuesday.    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, which has spearheaded outreach to Khartoum, had no immediate comment.    Nor did Sudanese officials.
    Sudan followed the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in agreeing to establish formal ties with Israel under a diplomatic drive dubbed “The Abraham Accords” by the Trump administration.
    The administration’s decision last month to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of terrorism sponsors helped pave the way.
    Israel and Sudan have said they planned to begin by opening economic and trade links, with an initial focus on agriculture.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alex Richardson)

11/18/2020 Palestinians To Restart Diplomatic Relations With Israel by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a new coronavirus lab at Ben-Gurion International
Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool via AP)
    Israel and the Palestinian Authority are set to renew their diplomatic relationship, which is a small victory in one of the most contentious conflicts in the Middle East.
    Officials within the Palestinian Authority confirmed Tuesday they had received a letter from the Israeli government promising to abide by all former signed agreements between the two parties.
    “In my opinion, this letter, which some would consider what I am saying as an exaggeration, but whoever reads history would understand the importance of this letter,” stated Hussein al-Sheikh, Civil Affairs Minister for the Palestinian Authority.    “This is the first letter to be sent in all of (Benjamin) Netanyahu’s era.”
    Relations were suspended in May after Israel announced a plan to annex portions of the West Bank.
    “There is an historical opportunity that there wasn’t since 1948 to apply sovereignty wisely,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “And as a political step and a sovereign step of the State of Israel in Judea and Samaria, it’s a big opportunity and we won’t let it pass.”
    While the conflict between Palestinians and Israel has been a constant since the official formation of Israel in 1948, the two have maintained diplomatic relations over recent years in the hopes of establishing some sort of peace agreement.
    The decision to resume ties will likely mean the Palestinian Authority will begin accepting the nearly $900 million in tax transfers the Israeli government has been trying to pay.
    “We will resume contacts with the Israelis on financial issues, on health issues, on political issues, on anything that Israel is ready for,” noted Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.    “The most important thing is that now Israel is saying that they are ready to commit themselves to the signed agreements.”
    An Israeli official has confirmed negotiations are set to begin as soon as possible and noted the parties are “very close” to renewing their relationship.

11/18/2020 Israel, Bahrain Cement New Ties With Pledges Of Embassies And Visas by Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: The flags of Israel and Bahrain flutter along a road in Netanya, Israel September 14, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Bahrain and Israel said on Wednesday they would open embassies, establish online visa systems and launch weekly flights between the countries soon, in a broadened cooperation promoted by Washington as an economic boon and means of isolating Iran.
    On the first official visit by Bahraini officials to Israel, the Gulf kingdom’s foreign minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, said a Sept. 15 deal normalising relations spelled “a warm peace that will deliver clear benefits to our peoples.”
    The United Arab Emirates, which has also normalised ties with Israel, sent a delegation last month that did not leave Ben Gurion Airport in what was described as a coronavirus precaution.
    The Bahraini envoys went on to Jerusalem, which Israel, with U.S. backing, considers its capital.    Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem for a state, have been outraged by the Arab countries’ engagement with Israel while their own goals are unmet.
    In a possible sign of a rethink, a senior Palestinian official told Reuters that Palestinian ambassadors would return to Abu Dhabi and Manama after having been recalled in protest.
    Al-Zayani’s trip coincided with a visit to Israel by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who hailed the regional rapprochement brokered by the Trump administration as it presses sanctions against Iran.
    The normalisation deals “tell malign actors like the Islamic Republic of Iran that their influence in the region is waning and that they are ever more isolated and shall forever be until they change their direction,” Pompeo said alongside his Bahraini counterpart and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Al-Zayani announced that, as of Dec. 1, Bahrainis and Israelis will be able to apply online for entry visas. He also submitted a request to open a Bahraini embassy in Israel and said an Israeli embassy had been approved for Manama.
    Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Askenazi, who is due to visit Manama next month, said he hoped opening ceremonies for the embassies would be held by the end of 2020.
    The Bahraini delegation travelled on Gulf Air flight GF972 – a reference to Israel’s telephone country code – in what was the airline’s first flight to Tel Aviv.    Al-Zayani predicted 14 such flights weekly starting next year, as well as flights to the smaller     Israeli destinations of Haifa and Eilat.
    Sudan followed Bahrain and UAE in announcing last month it would move towards ties with Israel.    Further such developments appear unlikely before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office.    Israel was due to send a first delegation to Sudan on Sunday, officials told Reuters, but the trip was postponed over what they described as logistical issues.
    Speaking on Israel’s Army Radio, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said a commitment towards a tough policy on Iran by Biden would determine whether other countries would opt for normalisation deals with Israel.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Barrington, Dan Williams, Ali Sawafta and Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Robert Birsel, Gareth Jones, Timothy Heritage and Tom Brown)

11/18/2020 U.S. Senators Seek To Stop Trump’s $23 Billion In Arms Sales To UAE
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone sits in a hanger at Amari Air Base, Estonia, July 1, 2020. U.S. unmanned aircraft
are deployed in Estonia to support NATO's intelligence gathering missions in the Baltics. REUTERS/Janis Laizans/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three U.S. senators on Wednesday said they would introduce legislation seeking to halt the Trump administration’s effort to sell more than $23 billion of drones and other weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates, a showdown with the president two months before he is due to leave office.
Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Rand Paul announced they would introduce four separate resolutions of disapproval of President Donald Trump’s plan to sell more than $23 billion worth of Reaper drones and other munitions, F-35 fighter aircraft and air-to-air missiles to the UAE.
    The lawmakers said the Trump administration, seeking to rush the sale of the sophisticated weaponry, circumvented the normal congressional review process.    They said the State and Defense Departments also refused to respond to inquiries about how the administration would deal with national security risks associated with the proposed sales.     The weaponry involved includes the world’s most advanced fighter jet, more than 14,000 deadly bombs and munitions and the second-largest sale of U.S. drones to a single country, the senators said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Diane Craft and Tom Brown)
[DON'T WORRY RAND PAUL IF THE UAE TRIES TO USE THEM AGAINST ISRAEL GOD WILL INTERVENE.].

11/19/2020 Pompeo, On Visit To Israel, Says He Will Go To Golan Heights
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on as he delivers joint statements with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during their meeting in Jerusalem November 18, 2020. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would visit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Thursday, marking the Trump administration’s break with previous U.S. policy on the strategic plateau.
    Washington in 2019 recognised Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the parts of the Golan that Israel captured from Syria in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognised by the United Nations and most of the international community.
    “Today I’ll have the chance to visit the Golan Heights. The simple recognition of this as part of Israel, too, was a decision President Trump made that is historically important and simply a recognition of reality,” Pompeo said in Jerusalem.
    Israel says the Golan – which overlooks northern Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan – is a bulwark against Syria and Iranian forces based there.    On Wednesday, Israel launched air raids against what it called a wide range of Syrian and Iraniantargets in Syria in retaliation for what it said was an attempted bomb attack.
    Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said of the proposed Golan visit: “Pompeo’s visit to occupied land is an active partnership in this occupation.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Pompeo and Trump for their Middle East policy.
    Pompeo, who announced new U.S. sanctions on Iran while in Israel, said Washington would also step up action against pro-Palestinian efforts to isolate Israel economically and diplomatically.
    I want you to know that we will immediately take steps to identify organisations that engage in hateful BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) conduct and withdraw U.S. government support,” he said during their meeting in Jerusalem.
    “We will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” Pompeo said.    Supporters of BDS dispute that designation, saying they are against all forms of racism.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Timothy Heritage)

11/23/2020 Netanyahu Met Saudi Crown Prince, Pompeo In Saudi Arabia On Sunday – Israeli Media by Dan Williams
A combination picture shows Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Osaka, Japan June 29, 2019
and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem February 9, 2020. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin
via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY and REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly flew to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israel’s Kan public radio and Army Radio said on Monday.
    If confirmed, it would be the first publicly acknowledged trip by an Israeli leader to ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, which has traditionally championed the Palestinian cause and shunned all official contacts with Israel.
    As U.S. President Donald Trump’s term winds down, Pompeo has been trying to coax the Gulf powerhouse to follow its neighbours, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in establishing formal relations with Israel.
    Netanyahu’s office and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem had no immediate comment on the reports.
    Saudi state media made no mention of any visit by Netanyahu, and the Saudi government’s media office did not immediately respond to Reuters queries.
    The rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf states is built largely on shared concerns about Iran – and, potentially, about whether U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will review Washington’s regional policies.
FLIGHT TRACKING DATA
    Netanyahu was joined on his Saudi trip by Mossad director Joseph (Yossi) Cohen, who has spearheaded discreet diplomatic outreach to Gulf Arab states, said the Israeli media reports, quoting unidentified Israeli officials.
    Riyadh has so far declined to normalise ties with Israel.    But since August it has allowed Israeli airliners to overfly Saudi territory to newly available Gulf destinations and Asia.
    Avi Scharf of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper published aviation tracking data showing that a business jet had made a brief trip from Tel Aviv to Neom, on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, where bin Salman and Pompeo had a scheduled meeting on Sunday.
    More publicly closing ranks with the Saudi crown prince could help the conservative Netanyahu burnish his statesman credentials as he faces domestic challenges, including a trial on corruption charges, which he denies, and a feud with centrist coalition partner Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister.
    “Gantz does politics while the prime minister makes peace,” Netanyahu spokesman Topaz Luk tweeted.
    Asked on Saturday whether Riyadh had changed its position on Israel, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said the kingdom had supported complete normalisation of ties “for a long time,” but on condition that Israel and the Palestinians reach “a permanent and full peace deal.”
(Additional reporting by Maha El Dahan, Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Gareth Jones)

11/2482020 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu To Visit Bahrain To Discuss Peace by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a a joint statement with U.S. Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, Pool)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will visit Bahrain soon to continue peace talks.        In a nationwide address Tuesday, he announced his intent to visit the country in the coming months, following a phone call with the region’s leader.
    Bahrain has followed the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel, following the historic peace deals brokered by the Trump administration.    The move hopes to bring in several different countries, including Sudan and Oman.
Netanyahu said both countries are excited for the opportunity to bring peace to their respective regions.
    “I just spoke with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, this was our second conversation…it was very friendly,” he stated.    “Both of us are very moved by the fact that we can bring peace to our peoples and our countries in a very short time.”
    Israel notably ratified its deal to normalize relations with Bahrain this month, which will increase trade and tourism in each country.

12/4/2020 Secy. Pompeo Speaks On Middle East Security At IISS Manama Dialogue by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media prior to meeting with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser
Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah at the State Department, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Washington. (Saul Loeb/Pool via AP)
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave remarks at the IISS Manama dialogue in Bahrain.    He delivered the opening virtual address on the dialogue Friday.
    The annual event is aimed at encouraging debate about the Middle East’s most pressing security challenges and attracts policy makers from all over the world.
    Pompeo touted the U.S.’s role in fostering peace in the region, specifically their efforts in mitigating the threat posed by ISIS and Iran.    He also noted U.S. efforts to encourage other countries to pursue peace and security on their own as well.
    Pompeo went on to thank America’s allies for their assistance in U.S. efforts.    Moving forward, the secretary noted he’s confident nations in the Middle East will do what is right for a secure region and what is right for their people.

12/4/2020 Israel Signs Deal With Moderna To Triple Vaccine Doses To Country by OAN Newsroom
Medical personnel wearing protective equipment work in the intensive care ward for COVID-19 patients
at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Israel recently announced a new contract with Moderna to triple the amount of coronavirus vaccines sent to the country.    The country will now reportedly receive an additional 4 million doses, upping the original shipment from 2 million doses to 6 million. This would be enough to vaccinate 3 million people.
    Moderna’s vaccine is currently under review in Israel with the first doses expected to arrive early next year.    On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is “pleased to announce the deal.”    He made the following remarks on the matter:
    “This gives us hope.    We see the light at the end of the tunnel.    Until then we need to follow the rules.    Our mission is to bring vaccines.    Your mission is to follow the rules.    If we do this, we are going to win.    Together we will defeat the coronavirus.”
    Israel’s health minister called the new contract “great news for Israeli citizens and the economy.”
    Moderna said it’s ramping up its global manufacturing to be able to deliver around 500 million doses per year beginning in 2021.

12/4/2020 Officials In Middle East Praise Trump Admin. Over Progress In Ending Gulf Crisis by OAN Newsroom
Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamad Bin Abdel Rahman Al-Thani delivers a speech during the opening session of the peace talks
between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha on September 12, 2020. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)
    U.S. allies in the Middle East continue to praise the Trump administration for helping foster peace in the region.
    In a virtual diplomatic conference Friday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said significant steps were made in resolving its three-year dispute with Qatar.    The official attributed the process of normalizing diplomatic ties to President Trump.
    Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE cut ties with Qatar in 2017.    Saudi Arabia is now hopeful all countries involved in the Arab-Gulf dispute will reach a final agreement soon.
    Kuwait’s foreign minister echoed a similar message.
    “As part of the reconciliation efforts led by his majesty Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah said.    “And in continuation of the efforts by his majesty Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait and U.S. President Donald Trump to solve the crisis, fruitful discussions have taken place recently in which all sides expressed their keenness for Gulf and Arab unity and stability.”
    Qatar’s foreign minister told leaders that efforts are underway to resolve the Gulf crisis just days after White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner visited the region.
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner participates in a press briefing. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

12/5/2020 Saudi Arabia Says Resolution Of Gulf Dispute Seems Within Reach by Ghaida Ghantous and Crispian Balmer
FILE PHOTO: Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani is seen during
talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents in Doha, Qatar, September 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem al Omari/File Photo
    DUBAI/ROME (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Friday a resolution to a bitter dispute with Qatar seemed "reach” after     Kuwait announced progress towards ending a row that Washington says hampers a united Gulf front against Iran.
    The United States and Kuwait have worked to end the dispute, during which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017.
    U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner had held talks in Doha on Wednesday following a visit to Saudi Arabia.
    “We have made significant progress in the last few days thanks to the continuing efforts of Kuwait but also thanks to strong support from President Trump,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told a Rome conference via videolink.
    “We hope this progress can lead to a final agreement which looks within reach and I can say I am somewhat optimistic that we are close to finalising an agreement between all the nations in the dispute.”
    A source in Washington familiar with the discussions said a tentative deal had been reached by the parties and that it could be signed in a few weeks.
    “They’re working towards taking what’s an agreement in principle and getting it actually signed,” the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
    Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Friday welcomed the developments, state-run news agency KUNA said.
    It quoted him as saying “this agreement has shown that all concerned parties are keen on retaining the pan-Gulf and the pan-Arab solidarity, unity, and stability.”
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking remotely at a Bahrain summit on Friday, said the United States was “very hopeful” that the dispute would be resolved.
    All countries involved are U.S. allies. Qatar hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base, Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host U.S. troops.
    Washington has been pushing for reopening Gulf airspace for Qatari aircraft as a first step, diplomats and sources have said.
    The boycotting nations accuse Doha of supporting terrorism.    Qatar denies the charges and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.
‘AN IMPERATIVE STEP’
    Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah, said earlier on Friday that fruitful discussion had taken place recently “in which all sides expressed their keenness for Gulf and Arab unity and stability, and to reach a final agreement that realises lasting solidarity.”
    In a Twitter post, Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, welcomed the Kuwaiti statement as “an imperative step” towards resolving the rift.
    United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is encouraged by the Kuwait statement and hopes all countries involved work together to formally resolve their differences, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
    Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a Twitter post said he hoped Gulf reconciliation “contributes to stability and political and economic development for all peoples of our region.”
    The Qatari minister earlier told the Rome conference that Doha hoped “things will move in the right direction” but that any resolution should be based on mutual respect for sovereignty, including in foreign policy.
    Doha had been set 13 demands, ranging from closing Al Jazeera television and shuttering a Turkish base to cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading ties with Iran, which shares a significant gas field with Qatar.
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai, Crispian Balmer in Rome, Ahmed Hagagy in Kuwait, Alaa Swilam and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Humeyra Pamuk and Steve Holland in Washington and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis)

12/8/2020 UAE Official Lauds Efforts To Strengthen Gulf Unity
FILE PHOTO: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, speaks
at an event at Chatham House in London, Britain July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates appreciates efforts by Kuwait and the United States to strengthen Gulf Arab unity, a senior Emirati official said on Tuesday in a reference to a row with Qatar that Washington says hampers a united Gulf front against Iran.
    Kuwait and Saudi Arabia said last Friday that progress had been made towards resolving the dispute that has seen Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt sever diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar since mid-2017.
    In the first public comment by the UAE on the matter, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash in a Twitter post also praised Riyadh’s “good endeavours on behalf of the four states” and said the UAE looked forward to a “successful” Gulf Arab summit, which is due to take place this month.
    Qatar’s emir has not attended the annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) since 2017 although his premier was present at last year’s gathering, that made no public mention of the dispute.
    All countries involved are U.S. allies.    Qatar hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base, Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host U.S. troops.
    Kuwait and Saudi Arabia did not provide specific details on the progress, but a source in Washington, which along with Kuwait has worked to end the rift, told Reuters a tentative deal was reached by the parties and that it could be signed in a few weeks.
    An Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday that Cairo hoped the efforts would result in a “comprehensive solution that addresses all causes behind the crisis and guarantees serious and strict commitment.”
    The boycotting nations accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism. Qatar, which denies the charge, says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty and that any resolution should be based on mutual respect.
    Doha had been set 13 demands, ranging from closing Al Jazeera television and shuttering a Turkish base to cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading ties with Iran.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Dubai and Mahmoud Mourad in Cairo; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Gareth Jones)

12/9/2020 Senior PLO Official Ashrawi To Resign, Calls For Palestinian Political Reforms
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian legislator and activist Hanan Ashrawi attends the first International Conference Of Council
for Arab and International Relations in Kuwait City February 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee/File Photo
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Veteran Palestinian negotiator and women’s rights advocate Hanan Ashrawi said on Wednesday she would quit her senior post in the Palestine Liberation Organization at the end of 2020, and called for political reforms.
    Ashrawi, 74, did not give a reason for her resignation in a statement announcing the move.    But she said that the PLO’s Executive Committee, on which she served, had been marginalised “and [excluded] from decision-making.”
    The 15-member committee, the most senior body of the PLO, is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and is not often convened by the 85-year-old leader.
    “The Palestinian political system needs renewal and reinvigoration with the inclusion of youth, women and additional qualified professionals,” Ashrawi said in her statement.
    “I believe it is time to carry out the required reform and to activate the PLO in a manner that restores its standing and role.”
    Ashrawi said she had tendered her resignation to Abbas, who also heads the Palestinian Authority (PA) that administers limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank under interim peace deals with Israel.
    Ashrawi said Abbas deferred a decision on whether to accept her resignation to the PLO’s Central Council.
    Critics accuse Abbas of allowing Palestinian political institutions to stagnate.    There have been no presidential or parliamentary elections for the PA for more than a decade.
    Her negotiating days date back to the earliest public, U.S.-mediated talks with Israel in 1991 at the Madrid Conference, where as PLO spokeswoman she articulated the Palestinian quest for statehood to the world.
    Following the signing of the Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993, Ashrawi served in the cabinet of the newly-formed Palestinian Authority.
    A champion of women’s rights, Ashrawi was the first woman elected to the Executive Committee in 2009.    She was re-elected to the group in 2018 and has headed its Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub, Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

12/9/2020 Trump Issues Formal Threat To Veto Effort To Block Massive UAE Arms Sales by Patricia Zengerle
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a campaign event with U.S. Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler
at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia, U.S., December 5, 2020. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump issued a formal threat on Wednesday to veto congressional efforts to block his plans for $23 billion in military sales to the United Arab Emirates.
    The Senate is due to vote on resolutions of disapproval of the sales later on Wednesday.
    In its policy statement, the White House said the sales directly support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by “enabling the UAE to deter increasing Iranian aggressive behavior and threats” in the wake of its recent peace deal with Israel.
    The veto threat was expected.    The administration told Congress on Nov. 10 that it had approved the vast sale to the UAE of products from     General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp.    The deal includes up to 50 F-35s, the world’s most advanced fighter jet; more than 14,000 bombs and munitions; and the second-largest sale of U.S. drones to a single country.
    U.S. law requires congressional review of major arms deals, and lets senators force votes on resolutions of disapproval.
    But to become effective, the resolutions must pass the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House of Representatives, and garner two-thirds majorities in both chambers to survive Trump’s veto.
    Critics said the Trump administration, seeking to rush the sales as it brokered a peace deal between the UAE and Israel, provided too little information, including about safeguards to ensure the weapons not end up in the wrong hands.
    Some lawmakers are also worried that they might violate the U.S. guarantee that Israel will retain a military advantage over other countries in the region.    But Israel, which enjoys strong support in Congress, has said it does not object to the sales.
    Past measures to block Trump’s arms deals have passed the House and Senate, but failed to garner enough support to override his vetoes.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

12/10/2020 U.S. Senate Backs Massive Arms Sales To UAE After Trump Veto Threat by Patricia Zengerle
FILE PHOTO: An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for
Israeli Air Force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel, December 27, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An effort to stop President Donald Trump’s high-tech weapons deals with the United Arab Emirates fell short on Wednesday in the U.S. Senate as Trump’s fellow Republicans opposed resolutions of disapproval seeking to block the sale of drones and advanced F-35 fighter jets.
    The Senate voted 50-46 and 49-47, mostly along party lines, to stop consideration of the resolutions, killing them at least until President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
    Biden, a Democrat, is expected to review the sales.
    Early on Wednesday, the Trump administration had issued a formal notice of its intention to veto the measures if they passed the Senate and House of Representatives.
    The White House said the sales support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by “enabling the UAE to deter increasing Iranian aggressive behavior and threats” in the wake of its recent peace deal with Israel.
    Backers of the sale also described the UAE as an important U.S. partner in the Middle East.
    The two weapons packages are a major component of a planned $23 billion sale of high-tech armaments to the UAE.    Opponents said the transactions were being rushed through, without sufficient assurances that the equipment would not fall into the wrong hands or fuel instability in the Middle East.
    Some U.S. lawmakers also criticized the UAE for its involvement in the war in Yemen, a conflict considered one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
    The administration told Congress in November it had approved the massive sale to the UAE of products from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp.
    Some lawmakers also worried that the weapons transfers might violate U.S. guarantees that Israel will retain a military advantage in the region.    But Israel, which enjoys strong support in Congress, has said it does not object to the sales.
    Accusing Trump of cutting short or sidestepping Congress’ typical review of major weapons sales, lawmakers have tried repeatedly during Trump’s four-year presidency to block his plans for arms sales.
    None of the efforts succeeded, either dying in the Republican-led Senate or, if passed, failing to win the two-thirds majorities in the Senate and House to override Trump’s vetoes.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

12/11/2020 Analysis: Washington’s Western Sahara Pledge The Ultimate Prize For Morocco by Angus McDowall
FILE PHOTO: A Polisario fighter sits on a rock at a forward base on the outskirts
of Tifariti, Western Sahara, September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo
    TUNIS (Reuters) – Morocco’s decision to normalise ties with Israel has handed Rabat its biggest step yet towards the prize it values most – global recognition of its claim to Western Sahara.
    Washington’s support for Moroccan sovereignty over the desert territory represents the biggest policy concession the United States has made so far in its quest to win Arab recognition of Israel.
    For King Mohammed VI, that has trumped any fears of angering Moroccans who back Palestinian rights or harming his image as “defender of the faithful” among conservative Muslims by making peace with an Israeli state that has annexed East Jerusalem.
    In a news conference to announce the decision in a royal proclamation, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita warned that “those who criticise this deal are against Morocco’s sovereignty over Sahara”
    How far that admonition was necessary is uncertain.
    “This news came as a shock to me and to the Moroccan people.    We strongly reject it,” said Khalid Soufiani, a pro-Palestinian activist.
    However, while Islamist and pan-Arab parties have opposed normalising ties with Israel, others including Berber rights activists have supported it.
    “Restoring ties with Israel is good news that serves Morocco’s supreme interests,” said Munir Kejji, an activist for the Amazigh Berber people.
    The deal comes at a key moment in the long-frozen conflict in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front independence movement, which erupted again last month after three decades of truce.
    The U.S. move seems unlikely to lead other Western states – or the United Nations – to abandon their own longstanding position calling for a referendum to resolve the dispute.    The U.N. said its stance was unchanged.
    However, it adds momentum to a diplomatic campaign by Rabat that had already gathered steam this year and has so far led 17 African and Arab states to open consulates in Western Sahara.
POLISARIO VOWS TO FIGHT ON
    The Polisario, which pulled out of a 1991 ceasefire deal last month following a border incident involving its supporters and Moroccan troops, said its guerrilla struggle would continue.
    Three decades on from that truce, Morocco’s military has grown its strength and technological capabilities with U.S. help.    It is currently negotiating the purchase of new drones with Washington.
    Though the Polisario has announced constant bombardment of Moroccan frontier defences deep in the desert since quitting the truce, neither side has reported any deaths from fighting.
    Peace with Israel may be a smaller step for Morocco than for some other Arab states.
    Morocco is the ancestral home of nearly 1 million Israeli Jews and Bourita said 70,000 Israelis visited the kingdom last year alone.    It opened a liaison office in Israel in 1994, but closed it in 2002 during the second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
    Still, after rumours earlier this year that Morocco would agree a deal with Israel, Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani, head of the moderate Islamist PJD party, said Rabat rejected “any normalisation of ties with the Zionist entity.”
    King Mohammed sought to sweeten the pill by saying in his proclamation that he still backs a two state solution and regards Jerusalem as a sacred city for three religions.
    But in agreeing Thursday’s deal, he is betting that nationalist fervour over Western Sahara carries more weight than popular support for the Palestinian cause.
(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Additional reporting by Ahmed El Jechtimi in Rabat; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

12/11/2020 Turkey Rejects ‘Biased And Illegal’ EU Approach At Summit
FILE PHOTO: European Union (L) and Turkish flags fly outside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
    ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey rejects the European Union’s “biased and illegal” approach at its summit this week and calls on the bloc to act as an honest broker in an ongoing dispute in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
    EU leaders agreed on Thursday to prepare limited sanctions on Turkish individuals over an energy exploration dispute with Greece and Cyprus, postponing any harsher steps until March as countries sparred over how to handle Ankara.
    In a statement, the ministry said a proposed conference with all eastern Mediterranean countries was an opportunity to tackle maritime issues in the region, adding that Ankara was ready for talks with Greece without any pre-conditions.    It called on the EU to act “with principles, strategically and with reason.”
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)

12/10/2020 President Trump Announces Another Historic Middle East Peace Deal With Israel, Morocco by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senate Republican candidates, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., at Valdosta Regional Airport, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Valdosta, Ga. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    President Trump has continued his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.    He recently announced an agreement between Israel and Morocco.
On Thursday, the President tweeted that he signed a proclamation to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
    The move came in exchange for Morocco’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel.    The countries will now resume official contacts, grant direct and over flights as well as establish embassies on down the line.
    Morocco is the fourth country since August to strike a deal aimed at normalizing relations with Israel.
[SO TRUMP HAS GOTTEN 4 OF THE 12 ARAB NATIONS OF ISHMAEL TO JOIN THE ABRAHAM ACCORD WHICH COULD BE UNDER THREAT IF BIDEN BECOMES PRESIDENT BUT I DO NOT THINK THEY WILL SUCCEED BECAUSE THIS ACCORD IS BRINGING PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND IF THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN THEN THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL WILL NOT OCCUR.].

12/10/2020 Senate Blocks Effort To Stop Arms Sale To UAE by OAN Newsroom
File – Two F-35 jets fly over California. (Ben Margot / AP Photo)
    The Senate has rejected two measures attempting to block the Trump administration from completing an arms sale with the United Arab Emirates.
    The Senate voted to move forward with the arms sale Wednesday after President Trump issued a warning, stating he would veto congressional efforts to block the weapons transfer of $23 billion in arms.
    Last month, the Trump administration gave its formal approval to sell F-35 jets, armed drones and bombs to the UAE.    Congress was given a 30 day window to object.
    A group of senators led by Robert Menendez, Rand Paul and Chris Murphy quickly moved to create resolutions to block the sale while arguing the arms could be sold to China.
    Opponents also expressed concerns the sale would place Israel at a military disadvantage in the Middle East.    However, the sale is tied to the UAE’s normalization efforts with Israel as part of the historic peace accords brokered by the Trump administration.
    Additionally, supporters have said the move is necessary to enable the UAE’s stonewall efforts against Iran and terrorism in the area as the country has been a notable ally in these efforts.
    Once the sale is finalized, the UAE will become the first Arab nation to secure the F-35 jet, which is one of the most advanced in the world.

12/11/2020 As Israel And Moroccan Jews Celebrate New Ties, Others Are Critical by Ahmed Eljechtimi and Ari Rabinovitch
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman light the first Hanukkah at
the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City during the the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, December 10, 2020. Emil Salman/Pool via REUTERS
    RABAT/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and Moroccan Jews on Friday celebrated an agreement to normalise relations between the two countries, but the largest party in Morocco’s government faced internal wrangling over a move that some Moroccans regard as a betrayal of Palestinians.
    The U.S.-brokered deal – the fourth such “normalisation” announcement involving an Arab country and Israel in as many months – also drew criticism from Moscow.
    A core element of the deal brokered by President Donald Trump was U.S. recognition of Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over the Western Sahara.    A decades-old territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which seeks to establish an independent state.
    Russia’s foreign ministry said the U.S. decision to recognise Moroccan sovereignty was a breach of international law, the RIA news agency reported.
    Winning global support for its claim over Western Sahara is Morocco’s most important foreign policy goal.    It has also often pursued a more open stance towards Israel and Israelis of Moroccan descent than have other Arab states.
    Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said on Thursday that King Mohammed VI has pursued a U.S. shift in its Western Sahara policy for three years, forging close ties with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
    But while the king has the final say on foreign policy, the moderate Islamist PJD – which gained the most seats in a 2016 election – did not appear wholly united on the announcement about Israel.
    In a debate late on Thursday after the deal was announced, disagreements emerged among senior party leaders, according to one member who was present.    Nearly a full day later, on Friday, the party had still not commented on the deal, long after its main coalition partners had welcomed the move.
MOROCCAN JEWS
    Morocco was home to a large Jewish community before Israel was founded in 1948, and around 3,000 Jews still live there.
    Around 50,000 Israelis travel to Morocco each year to visit religious sites and other tourist attractions, but there are no direct flights and tourists undergo a lengthy process to obtain visas.
    Suzanne Harroch, a Moroccan Jewish singer from Rabat, said the new arrangement would bring her closer to her relatives in Israel.
    “The history of the Jews in Morocco dates back 3,000 years.    This history was intrerrupted, but now with this decision normalcy will be restored,” she said.
    Her sentiments were echoed by Israeli cabinet minister Miri Regev, whose parents were among the estimated 250,000 Jews who emigrated from Morocco to Israel.    She said older Israelis would now find it easier to go back.
    “They will visit with their grandchildren, their kids, they can be proud of the glorious heritage they brought with them,” Regev said.
    Israeli airliners said they plan to launch direct flights and tour operators expect a jump in demand for tourism.
    Davide Toledano, a businessman who heads Rabat’s small Jewish community, said he expected Israeli investment in Morocco’s agriculture and water sectors.
    Showing a photograph of himself with a former PJD head, he said relations between Moroccan Jews and Muslims were good.
    “We received congratulations from our Muslim brothers,” he added.
    But others said geopolitical considerations underlay the deal, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House in January.
    “Morocco made a calculation that their ability to win American recognition over the Western Sahara (was) likeliest in a Trump administration,” said David Makovsky, a former U.S. Middle East negotiator at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and official Palestinian media remained silent, but former Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi said Trump was “emboldening” Israel.
    “We all know that this is extremely irresponsible because it encourages power politics and the violations of international law everywhere,” she told Reuters.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi in Rabat and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Additional reporting by Angus McDowall, Stephen Farrell, Ali Sawafta, Zainah El-Haroun and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Frances Kerry)

12/11/2020 Exclusive-Trump Administration Moves Forward With $1 Billion Moroccan Arms Deal by Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone
FILE PHOTO: Sign at a General Atomics office complex is shown in Rancho Bernardo, California May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration moved forward with $1 billion in sales of drones and precision-guided weapons to Morocco on Friday, sending a notice to Congress about the potential deals, according to sources familiar with the notification.
    The deal includes four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made by privately-held General Atomics, and Hellfire, Paveway and JDAM precision-guided munitions made by Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, the sources said.
    Reuters was first to report on Thursday that Washington was negotiating the sale and would notify Congress shortly.br>     News of the deal came as the White House announced an agreement brokered with U.S. help for Morocco to normalize relations with Israel.
    Earlier this year the U.S. offered stealthy F-35 jet fighters to the United Arab Emirates in a side deal to the U.S.-brokered agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize relations.
    Congress is notified about major international weapons deals and given the opportunity to review them before they go through.    Under U.S. weapons export law, members of Congress can attempt to block such sales by offering resolutions of disapproval, but sources said that was not expected in this case.
    A deal with Morocco would be among the first drone sales after the Trump administration moved ahead with a plan to sell more drones to more countries by reinterpreting an international arms control agreement called the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
    This fall drone sales moved ahead to Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.    An effort to block the UAE sale failed in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Daniel Wallis)

12/12/2020 Israel And Bhutan Establish Diplomatic Relations by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi speaks during a news conference in front of the Liebermann
Villa at the Wannsee lake in Berlin, Germany, August 27, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/Pool/File Photo
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel established relations on Saturday with Bhutan, a majority-Buddhist nation neighbouring India, as it looks to continue to expand its diplomatic links internationally.
    Israel’s accord with the Himalayan country did not appear to be related to its budding ties under U.S.-sponsored accords with Arab and Muslim countries, though Israeli officials sought to portray it as evidence of its growing acceptance abroad.
    The agreement follows several years of secret contacts between Israel and Bhutan with the aim of establishing relations, Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
    “Israel’s circle of recognition is growing and expanding,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.    “The establishment of relations between us and the Kingdom of Bhutan will serve as another milestone in deepening Israel’s ties in Asia.”
    Bhutan relied on India for guidance on its foreign and defence policy until a friendship treaty was revised in 2007.    It maintains diplomatic relations with around 53 countries.
    A signing ceremony was held between the Israeli and Bhutanese ambassadors to India on Saturday at the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, a joint press release posted on the Bhutanese foreign ministry’s website said.
    “The establishment of diplomatic relations (will) create new avenues for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural sciences and other areas of mutual benefit,” it said.>br>     Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the agreement, adding there had been contacts with other countries which wanted to establish relations.
    Israel and Morocco on Thursday agreed to normalise ties in a deal brokered with U.S. help, making it the fourth Arab country after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mike Harrison and David Holmes)

12/12/2020 Algeria Rejects Trump’s Stance On Western Sahara
FILE PHOTO: A rocket is pictured near an earth wall that separates areas controlled by Morocco
and the Polisario Front in Western Sahara, Sept. 10, 2016. REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra/File Photo
    ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algeria on Saturday rejected a decision by outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, saying the step would undermine efforts to end the decades-long conflict over the desert territory.
    Trump’s administration said it was recognising Moroccan claims to Western Sahara as part of a deal under which Morocco agreed to normalise its relations with Israel.
    In Algiers, the Foreign Ministry said the U.S. decision “has no legal effect because it contradicts U.N. resolutions, especially U.N. Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara.”

12/15/2020 After 60 Years, East Jerusalem Palestinians Face Eviction Under Israeli Settler Rulings by Suheir Sheikh and Rami Ayyub
Palestinian Nabil Al-Kurd stands outside his home in east Jerusalem December 14, 2020. Picture taken December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – For Nabil al-Kurd, being forced out of the East Jerusalem home he has lived in since the 1950s would be a fate worse than death.
    But the 76-year-old and his wife and children are among dozens of Palestinians under threat of eviction from two districts of the disputed city, after an Israeli court ruled their properties are built on land belonging to Jewish settlers.
    “This is my motherland.    All my memories are in this house,” Kurd told Reuters.    “I won’t leave unless it is to the cemetery.”
    The ownership claims against him and others in Sheikh Jarrah and a second neighbourhood, Batan al-Hawa, are a focal point of settler development plans in East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a war in 1967.
    Kurd was ordered evicted in October, within 30 days.
    He has appealed to the Jerusalem District court, though Hagit Ofran, project coordinator for Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, says he has little chance of overturning the ruling.
    That same court has this year upheld several settler claims, based on 19th- and early 20th-century documents, drawing censure from the European Union, whose representative in Jerusalem says 77 Palestinians are at risk of forced transfer.
CITY AT THE HEART OF CONFLICT
    The status of Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Palestinians want the capital of their would-be state to be East Jerusalem, and most countries regard settlements that Israel has built there as illegal.
    Israel disputes this, citing biblical and historical links to the territory, as well as security needs and legal arguments.     Many of the Palestinians facing eviction were refugees like Kurd or their descendants, who came to the area more than half a century ago, Peace Now said.
    The settlers in Kurd’s case bought the land from two Jewish associations that claimed to have purchased it at the end of the 19th century, the group said.
    A lawyer who represented the settlers claiming Kurd’s property declined to speak with Reuters.
    Peace Now says some 14 families have been evicted from Batan al-Hawa since 2015 and 16 from Sheikh Jarrah since the late 1990s in such cases.
    Evictions are typically stayed while appeals are heard, and some of the residents have appealed their cases to Israel’s Supreme Court, but Kurd’s family is taking no chances.
    “My family has prepared luggage of the important things we need so that if they come in any second, we will be ready,” said daughter Muna al-Kurd.
    “…We have a camera at the house, four cameras that show the street, and dad stays up until two to three in the morning just watching if they are coming to evacuate us.”
(Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and John Stonestreet)

12/15/2020 Israel Signals Openness To Future Joint Missile Defence With Gulf Partners by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands near the Iron Dome interceptor system during a tour of a missile
boat as part of his visit to a navy base in Haifa, Israel, February 12, 2019. Jack Guez/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel could be open to future cooperation on missile defence with Gulf Arab states that share its concerns about Iran, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday.
    But Moshe Patel, who heads the Israeli Missile Defence Organisation that is part of the Defence Ministry, said it was still premature to pursue any such deals. He said Washington’s approval would be needed if Israeli systems developed with U.S. technology were involved.
    “Things can be done, maybe in the future,” Patel told reporters when asked whether any of the systems might be offered to Israel’s new partners in the Gulf, or synchronised with comparable systems there.
    “From an engineering point of view, of course there is a lot of advantage.    That information can be shared, like sensors that can be deployed in both countries because we have the same enemies.”
    Jitters about Iran were a driver of a U.S.-brokered pact on Sept. 15 formalising relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for the first time.    Saudi Arabia has encouraged the rapprochement, while holding off on having its own bilateral ties with Israel for now.
    Prior to those deals, a senior Israeli official had told Reuters there would be no coordination on missile defence with Gulf countries.
    Patel’s briefing was called to announce what he said was the successful live test of a multi-tiered Israeli missile defence system that could hit targets flying at different altitudes – and allow for any targets initially missed to be re-engaged.
    The lowest tier is made up of the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor, which Israel said had also shot down cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
    The U.S. Army has received one Iron Dome battery from Israel, with another one on order, Patel said.
    Israel imbricates Iron Dome with the mid-range interceptor David’s Sling, and with the Arrow system, which shoots down ballistic missiles – including in space.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

12/21/2020 Kushner Leads U.S. Delegation To Israel by OAN Newsroom
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, left, listened as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
spoke during a news conference in Jerusalem, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he led a U.S. delegation to the Jewish State.     As part of his stop in the nation on Monday, Kushner and Netanyahu participated in a tree planting ceremony in Jerusalem.
    On Tuesday, Kushner will accompany Israel’s national security adviser during a meeting with the King of Morocco.    This meeting comes as Israel continues to normalize ties with the African nation.
    Kushner said that regional transformation has officially begun in the Middle East.
    First Israel made peace with the United Arab Emirates, then with the Kingdom of Bahrain, then Kosovo and Serbia, then Sudan and just recently Morocco,” he explained.    “We must continue to write new and exciting chapters and not revert to old thinking and failed ideas.    The world is now changing fast and for the better.”
    Kushner said that President Trump’s bold decisions, like moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, have led to a spike in peace deals in the Middle East.

12/22/2020 Morocco Hosts Israeli Envoys, Kushner To Hammer Out New Ties by Ahmed Eljechtimi
Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and U.S. White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner
arrive in Rabat, Morocco December 22, 2020. U.S. Embassy in Morocco/Handout via REUTERS
    RABAT (Reuters) – Israeli envoys arrived in Morocco on Tuesday to meet its king and hammer out an upgrade of ties that was forged by the White House in a parting foreign policy push by U.S. President Donald Trump.
    Led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, the Israeli delegation was accompanied by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and architect of pan-Arab rapprochement with Israel.
    They took El Al Israel Airlines in the first direct flight by a commercial plane from Tel Aviv to Rabat.    Both countries anticipate a surge in tourism aboard such connections, mainly among the hundreds of thousands of Israelis of Moroccan descent.
    Morocco followed the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in moving toward normal relations with Israel.    Palestinians have censured the U.S.-brokered deals, seeing a betrayal of a long-standing demand that Israel first meet their statehood goals.
    As the Trump administration has sought to isolate Iran, the deals have been sweetened with promises of business opportunities or economic aid.    Israel’s new partners have also enjoyed bilateral benefits from Washington – in Rabat’s case, U.S. recognition of its sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
    “This type of agreement (with Israel) will help have a better interaction between communities and people,” Moroccan Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui told I24 television.
    During the visit, Ben-Shabbat and Kushner will see Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, Israeli officials said.    Moroccan and Israeli officials are also scheduled to sign accords on linking up aviation and financial systems, on visas and water management.
    The delegates’ plane, painted with the Hebrew, Arabic and English words for “peace” and a Maghreb good-luck talisman, had a low-key reception at Rabat airport.    Moroccan officials describe their deal with Israel as a restoration of mid-level ties that Rabat cooled in 2000 in solidarity with Palestinians.
    Israel and Morocco now plan to reopen mutual “liaison offices.”    Israel hopes these will be upgraded to embassies.
    Asked if the countries might establish full diplomatic relations before Trump steps down next month, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Ynet TV: “My understanding is that the likelihood is not high.”
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Heinrich)

12/22/2020 Envoy From Israel Arrives In Morocco To Sign U.S. Brokered Deal by OAN Newsroom
    The first flight from Israel to Morocco arrived just two weeks after the countries normalized relations.    A jet carrying an envoy, including White House advisor Jared Kushner and Ambassador David Friedman, landed in Morocco on Tuesday.
    This comes as Israel looks to seal a normalization deal with the northern African nation.    Besides normalization, officials said the deal involved agreements on health, tourism and agriculture among other issues.    Officials expect a surge in tourism between the two countries by Israelis of Moroccan decent.
    During the trip, the U.S. representatives are expected to meet with the king of Morocco and sign accords linking to the two nations.
    “With this morning’s inaugural flight by El Al Airlines nonstop from Tel Aviv to Rabat, Israel ushers in its normalization with a sixth Arab country,” stated Ambassador Friedman.    “And four, in the last four months.”
    The deal comes as Israel has agreed to several U.S.-brokered peace deals in the past year as part of the largely successful Abraham accords, which have greatly reshaped relations in the Middle East.
    Since August, the Trump administration has brokered agreements to establish diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and now Morocco.
    A day prior to the trip, Kushner thanked Moroccan King Mohammed VI for working with the Trump administration to reshape the region.
    “This will bring about a whole new set of opportunities for Northern Africa and the entire Middle East as this new Middle East moves forward,” stated the White House advisor.    “I hope that all countries will focus on pursuing common interests for the benefits of their citizens instead of being held back by stale thinking and old conflicts.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also praised the U.S. for helping to establish tranquility between Israel and other Arab countries.

12/23/2020 Right-Wing Challenge To Netanyahu Builds Ahead Of Israeli Election by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with member of the Knesset for Likud Zeev Elkin as they attend
the swearing-in ceremony of the 22nd Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A right-wing challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a March Israeli election gained momentum on Wednesday with the defection of a long-time ally to an upstart rival party.
    In a letter announcing his resignation from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and parliament, Zeev Elkin, a minister in successive Netanyahu governments, accused Israel’s longest-serving prime minister of putting his own interests ahead of those of the country.
    “I can’t ask Israelis to vote for you (Netanyahu) and to be satisfied that you are not putting your personal interests ahead of theirs,” Elkin said in a speech broadcast live by Israeli television channels.
    The election will be Israel’s fourth in two years, and comes as Netanyahu faces criticism over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and battles corruption allegations, which he denies.
    Elkin will join a new party led by fellow former Likud legislator Gideon Saar, who earlier this month announced a breakaway bid aimed at defeating Netanyahu. Saar announced Elkin’s move to his party in a tweet, though Elkin made no mention of it in his speech.
    The defections pose a new challenge to Netanyahu ahead of a March 23 snap election.    Parliament’s failure to pass a national budget on Tuesday triggered the early ballot.
    Until his resignation, Elkin served as Israel’s minister of higher education and water resources.    Born in Ukraine, Elkin is fluent in Russian and has long served as Netanyahu’s interpreter and adviser in strategic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
    Earlier on Wednesday, Sharren Heskel, a junior Likud lawmaker, also announced she was defecting to Saar’s new party, writing in a Facebook post that Netanyahu’s government “has lost the moral mandate to continue to govern.”
(Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Howard Goller)

12/26/2020 Netanyahu Expects Ties Visit By Morocco To Israel Next Week
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to Likud party MKs at the
Knesset (Israel's parliament) in Jerusalem, December 2, 2020. Yonatan Sindel/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A delegation from Morocco will travel to Israel in the coming week to advance newly-normalized relations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.
    Netanyahu on Friday spoke with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and invited him to visit.    An Israeli delegation travelled to Morocco on Tuesday and the countries plan to reopen mutual liaison offices and to launch direct commercial flights.
    “We agreed that the Moroccan delegation will come here at the start of the week in order to advance it all,” Netanyahu said in a video he posted on Twitter, in which he described his conversation with the king.
    A spokesman for the Moroccan government could not be reached for comment.    A diplomatic source speaking on condition of anonymity said the timing and composition of the delegation has not been determined yet.
    Morocco has followed the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in moving to normalize relations with Israel.    Palestinians have censured the U.S.-brokered deals, seeing a betrayal of a long-standing demand that Israel first meet their demand for statehood.
    Israel’s new partners have also enjoyed bilateral benefits from Washington – in Rabat’s case, U.S. recognition of its sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
    Moroccan officials describe their deal with Israel as a restoration of mid-level ties that Rabat cooled in 2000 in solidarity with Palestinians.
    The king has reiterated his position in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and highlighted the monarchy’s “close ties” with Morocco’s Jewish community.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Additional reporting by Ahmed El Jechtimi in Rabat; editing by John Stonestreet)

12/26/2020 Israel Expecting Moroccan Delegation Amid New Relations by OAN Newsroom
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a press conference in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a delegation from Morocco will be flying into the country next week.
    Netanyahu confirmed the measure Saturday as they plan to strengthen new relations between the two countries.
    This comes a day after Netanyahu invited Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to visit the Jewish state.
    “Yesterday I had a historical call with Morocco’s King, Mohammed VI,” Netanyahu said.    “We agreed that the Moroccan delegation will come here at the start of the week in order to advance it all. Opening of offices, advancing to embassies, direct flights from Israel to Morocco back and forth.”
    Morocco follows the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Bahrain in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.

12/27/2020 Gulf Arab Ministers Discuss Steps To Resolve Diplomatic Dispute
FILE PHOTO: Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) arrive, ahead of an annual leaders summit
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2019. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
    DUBAI (Reuters) -Gulf Arab foreign ministers held a virtual meeting on Sunday ahead of a summit to discuss steps towards ending a diplomatic row that has undermined regional stability and thwarted Washington’s efforts to form a united front against Iran.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of backing “terrorist” groups.    Doha denies the charge and accuses its neighbours of seeking to curtail its sovereignty.
    However, Riyadh has pushed for a resolution of the dispute as it seeks to soften criticism from U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged to take a firmer stance with the kingdom than his predecessor.
    Bahrain said in a statement that the virtual meeting it hosted on Sunday of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will prepare the ground for the 41st session of the GCC Summit which will be held on Jan. 5.
    Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain attended the meeting, state media reported.    Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi represented Qatar, the Foreign ministry said in a statement.
    It was unclear if an agreement has been secured.
    “Talks have been going on an eventual agreement but it is still work in progress,” a Gulf official told Reuters.
    Sources have said they expected an agreement to be reached by the summit that could result in a set of principles for negotiations or a more concrete move involving reopening airspace to Qatar.
    But Qatar has told Kuwait and the United States, the two mediators in the dispute, that any resolution should be based on mutual respect, including of foreign policy.
    Doha had been set 13 demands, ranging from closing Al Jazeera television and shuttering a Turkish base to cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading ties with Iran.
    Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said this month that a resolution to the dispute with Qatar seemed “within reach” after Kuwait announced progress towards ending the row.
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Jason Neely and David Clarke)
[The above efforts of the GCC Summit have come about because of the Abraham Accord and will lead to resolve the Palestinan-Israel issues so it is in the works and hopefully if the Biden administration actually comes in and could cause issues.].

    This page created on 1/1/2020 and updated on 12/31/2020.

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