Top News from Israel/Palestine: September 15, 2020

What We’re Reading

Israel-UAE Normalization Deal

Netanyahu Set to Sign UAE, Bahrain Deals in Washington, but Details Still Kept Secret,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to sign on Tuesday agreements with two Gulf states in an official ceremony at the White House led by U.S. President Donald Trump, culminating a process of establishing full diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. At a later stage, more clauses will be added to the pact with the UAE concerning cooperation in various civic areas. The accord to be signed with Bahrain will be mostly declarative as it was announced only several days ago, which, according to Israeli senior officials, didn’t leave enough time to formulate a peace treaty. However, the officials say that such a treaty would be formulated later on. An American senior official said in a briefing to Israeli reporters overnight Monday that Israel will first sign similar agreement with the UAE and Bahrain, dubbed “the Abraham Accords,” adding that separate bilateral agreements with the two Gulf states will be signed later.”

With hours to go, secrecy surrounds White House signing of Israel-UAE deal,

“With just hours to go before the White House signing ceremony for Israel’s historic normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates and its peace declaration with Bahrain, there is a sense that the event is being conducted like a covert military operation.The White House has not released details on the ceremony and what it will look like and not even details of the order of events. What is known, however, is that the ceremony itself is not expected to be long but the guest list is.”

Trump says he has ‘absolutely no problem’ with selling F-35s to UAE,

“Hours before the signing of the Israel-UAE normalization deal, US President Donald Trump tells US media he would have “no problem” selling F-35 jets to the Emiratis.”

Largest banks in Israel, UAE sign cooperation agreement,

“Israel’s largest bank, Hapoalim, announced on Monday that it had signed an agreement with the biggest bank in Dubai ahead of the official establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Israel and the UAE signed a banking and finance memorandum of understanding earlier this month, paving the way for economic and business cooperation between the two countries. The two countries announced the normalization of relations on August 13.”

Netanyahu Forced to Get Minister's Approval to Sign UAE, Bahrain Deals,

“According to a news report on Israel’s Channel 12 confirmed by Haaretz, Netanyahu was forced to ask for a power of attorney from Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, after finding out he was not legally able to sign the agreement with the UAE and Bahrain.”

MK Nitzan Horowitz: 'Peace in exchange for relinquishing sovereignty and freezing construction',

“Meretz Chair claims he learned UAE agreement also includes Judea/Samaria construction freeze. Source close to Prime Minister denies.”

UAE, Bahrain back Arab Peace Initiative after spurning it to ally with Israel,

““The UAE today has not changed our political position, it remains the same. That position is in support of Palestinian rights to a viable, independent state and East Jerusalem that is their capital,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, told reporters during an online briefing. The Arab Peace Initiative remains the “cornerstone of our collective approach toward a two-state solution,” he added.”

A White House Ceremony Will Celebrate a Diplomatic Win and Campaign Gift,

“In substance, the agreements do not constitute the “peace” that Mr. Trump proclaims. They do not end a state of actual conflict but do create normalized relations — including travel and diplomatic contacts — between Jewish and Arab states that never fought one another and for several years have been de facto allies, particularly in alignment against Iran. But as proclaimed in new Trump campaign advertisements, they make up the heart of the president’s message on foreign policy as the 2020 campaign draws to a close: that for all his bellicose rhetoric and unpredictability, he is bringing new harmony to the chaotic Middle East. There is little doubt that Mr. Netanyahu and the leaders of the Emirates and Bahrain — presumably with the blessing of its powerful neighbor, Saudi Arabia — have an incentive to help Mr. Trump depict himself as an effective diplomat, something he has done without reservation…Analysts have also predicted for months that Mr. Netanyahu would make an appearance at Mr. Trump’s side during the closing weeks of the U.S. election campaign, both as a personal repayment to Mr. Trump for years of political support and to help ensure that his presidency and policies continue.”

After UAE and Bahrain deals, is Saudi Arabia softening its stance on Israel?,

“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…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.”

How Brutal UAE and Bahrain Autocrats Outplayed a Tired, Deluded Palestinian Leadership,

“Not that any Palestinian leader could have halted the normalization frenzy between the Gulf and Israel. But the feebleness, cynicism and fragmentation of the Palestinian leaders now in office have critically undermined any potential capacity to prevent, delay, engage with or respond meaningfully to the UAE and Bahrain’s groundbreaking groveling to Israel, and to Donald Trump…It’s been crystal clear for the last four years that Arab regimes have been moving towards normalization. While the PA has invested great efforts in deepening its relationships with European governments, it did far less to strengthen its relations with Arab countries in its own backyard – and even less to counter the race for normalization. Instead, PA officials assured us at every turn that its regional standing was superb, and that no Arab state would ever dare to break away from the long-standing consensus on the Arab Peace Initiative.”

Normalizing relations with the UAE does nothing to help fix Israel’s existential problems,

“Normalization with the UAE and Bahrain is great for the venture capitalists who will benefit from it, but does nothing to remedy Israel’s existential problem: its conflict with the Palestinians and the occupation that does so much damage.”

Behind Gulf Normalization With Israel: Lucrative U.S. Arms Deals,

““We’re seeing a … resurgence of the F-16 business,” Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President of Aeronautics Michele Evans said in an interview with Air Force Magazine last week. “We’re up to about 4,600 aircraft delivered and can see possibly getting up to 5,000.” Evans’ comments are interesting because these days her company is manufacturing some 70 F-16s for Slovakia, Bulgaria and Bahrain, the latter of which is due to sign a peace agreement with Israel on Tuesday.”

Palestinian Reaction

Palestinians stage 'day of uprising' against normalisation deal between Israel, UAE and Bahrain,

“A new civil society group representing various factions has called for “a day of popular uprising” on Tuesday to coincide with the signing of the deal. The group, called the United Palestinian Leadership for Popular Resistance (UPLPR), was formed following a meeting between leaders of all Palestinian political factions in the Lebanese capital Beirut last week. In its first statement, the group called for nationwide protests, named “the black day”, across Palestinian territories to demand the cancellation of the so-called “deal of the century” and Israeli occupation.  It also called for another day of protests, dubbed “day of mourning”, on Friday, during which black flags are to be raised to express rejection of the normalisation agreement.”

Palestinians rally in West Bank, Gaza against normalization with Israel,

“Hundreds of Palestinians protest against landmark Israeli normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, hours ahead of a signing ceremony at the White House. Clutching Palestinian flags and wearing blue face masks for protection against the novel coronavirus, demonstrators rally in the cities of Nablus and Hebron in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. A demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority, was scheduled for later on Tuesday.”

The Palestinian leadership is in a state of constant meeting to deal with the recent developments - official,

“He told Voice of Palestine radio that the next step of the leadership will be based on a united Palestinian position to defeat the normalization and annexation plans as well as the American so-called deal of the century. “The Palestinian leadership is in a state of constant meeting, and the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah Central Committees are in contact with the secretary generals of the factions to study the next steps in light of developments related to the normalization agreements with the occupation state,” said Abu Rudeineh.”

Gazans living on Emirates-funded estate rue normalization deal with Israel,

“Although a majority of Gaza’s two million population need humanitarian assistance, Sheikh Zayed City resident Maher Hmaida, 57, said that providing aid to Palestinians did not give the UAE the right to make peace with the country he calls his “enemy” – Israel.”

Open Letter: UAE and Bahrain’s Normalisation with Israel Incentivises Continued Colonisation of Palestine,

“The decision of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalise relations with Israel lay bare what has been clear to Palestinians for decades: Israel’s illegal acts of annexation and apartheid will not deter those in power from the pursuit of their own interests, to the detriment, if not damnation, of justice, accountability, and human rights in Palestine.”


Raising kids in Gaza was hard enough. Then came a lockdown within the lockdown.,

“It is beautiful to be a parent. But in Gaza it is also especially difficult. This has been true since Adam was born 10 years ago: It was two months before I even met him because Israel’s blockade of Gaza meant I couldn’t be with his mother, Ruba, when she gave birth in the West Bank, where her family lives. “Will I be able to shield him and give him a good life in besieged Gaza?” I wondered as I marveled at my tiny boy. In the decade since, the question has never gone away. The constant cycle of escalation between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that governs here, has meant frequent explosive nights and, twice, all-out war. Rockets. More recently, Hamas and other militant groups have launched incendiary balloons that cause fires in nearby Israeli communities and farms. Israel retaliates each night by blowing up Hamas facilities. It is the violent background of our lives.”

Occupation & De Facto Annexation

Court Orders Dozens of Palestinians Out of Jerusalem Homes to Make Way for Settlers,

“A Jerusalem court ordered last week, in two separate cases, the eviction of dozens of Palestinian residents from their homes in East Jerusalem. The beneficiaries will be settler associations who argued that the homes belonged to Jews before 1948. According to Israeli law, returning property from before the 1948 war is permitted for Jews only, while Palestinians are ineligible to reclaim property abandoned before 1948. In both cases, right-wing activists had been working to expel the residents since acquiring the land or took control of an Ottoman-era trust.”

Israeli Settler Gets 3 Life Sentences for Firebomb Attack on Family,

“An Israeli settler was sentenced Monday to three life terms in prison plus 20 years for killing a Palestinian couple and their young son in a firebomb attack on their home in July 2015. The attack on the Dawabsheh family in the northern West Bank village of Duma horrified Palestinians, who have long denounced what they see as Israel’s lax attitude toward settler violence.” Also See – “Jewish terrorist gets three life sentences for Duma attack” (Jerusalem Post)

Fundraiser for Jewish terrorist in Duma attack raises over NIS 500,000 in a day,

“An online fundraising appeal for a Jewish Israeli terrorist convicted of killing three members of a Palestinian family has raised over half a million shekels for his appeal in less than a day.”


Palestine could return to full lockdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases: Official,

“Ghassan Nemer, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said today that the country could return to a full lockdown due to a surge in the daily coronavirus infections, resulting from the failure of the public to adhere to the safety protocols. He told official Voice of Palestine radio that Palestine was facing “horrifying figures” and that the High Emergency Committee is dealing with all possible scenarios, but said for the time being the Committee will only recommend stricter implementation and control of the safety protocols.”

Daily infection rate surges to nearly 5,000 ahead of lockdown,

“The Health Ministry said Tuesday morning that the daily coronavirus infection rate had rocketed to nearly 5,000 a day earlier as the country prepared for the nationwide lockdown set to begin on Friday. According to the figures there were 4,973 positive tests for coronavirus the previous day, taking the number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 162,273.”

Second wave of virus ravages Israel's Arab population,

In a conversation with Al-Monitor, the Ministry of Health’s spokesman for the Arab sector, Dr. Zahi Said, explained, “Unlike during the first wave, the current situation in the Arab population does not bode well. Some 40% of coronavirus patients who are hospitalized and 30% of newly infected patients come from the Arab community. After investigating the matter, we discovered that the main cause of infection is weddings, while in mosques and other houses of worship, we found that the people in charge have been following the rules and guidelines. The problem with weddings is that there is no one to take charge or assume responsibility, as they have been taking place in the yards of private homes instead of event halls. During the first wave, people obeyed the instructions to the letter. And it should be remembered that wedding season in Arab society lasts mainly from June to October, explaining the outbreak in the second wave.”