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Israeli Official: Both Sides 'Excited' over Historic Peace Ceremony

By Israel Hayom,, YnetNews & the Jerusalem Post On Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to sign historic normalization deals with two Arab countries. However, an Israeli official on his entourage told Israel Hayom the language of the documents will remain under wraps for the time being. "There is a great deal of sensitivity regarding the ceremony and the texts that will be signed in the White House on Tuesday, and therefore we cannot divulge details on the content, for now," the official said, adding that the two agreements are very different. "The documents that are to be signed with the UAE will comprise a peace treaty because the peace declaration was already released a month ago; with Bahrain, the document will be a peace declaration," the official said. A White House official said on Monday night that White House personnel will be encouraging participants of the Israel-Bahrain-UAE deal-signing ceremony to wear protective masks but won't be enforcing them to do so, according to a report by Walla. "The ceremony will take place in an open lawn, and we will maintain social distancing as much as possible," the official told reporters. Meanwhile, the Israeli official said that while the event will include talks between Israel, the US, Bahrain and the UAE, the talks on how it would unfold were still ongoing. "There has never been a case in which two countries sign a peace agreement with Israel simultaneously, so this is exciting for both sides, but there are many sensitivities involved and that is why we are not releasing details," the official said. The official stressed that the peace agreements signed on Tuesday will depart from the treaties that established relations between Israel and Jordan and between Israel and Egypt, because "in this case, the agreements don't end the state of war between two countries." A source in the Israeli delegation to Washington has refused to comment on the content of the agreement and claims that it will only be revealed after it is signed. "There is sensitivity here because there are four different players involved, so the details will not come out ahead of time. There will be two signatures - one on a peace agreement with the Emirates - and the other on a statement of intent with Bahrain," the source said. He added that there is no problem with the details of the agreement being brought to the governments of the signatories. "The usual procedure is to first sign it and then bring the agreement to the government for approval and then to the Knesset. The two documents mention diverse areas of cooperation. In the Emirates, this is a peace agreement, but the normalization agreements are still under discussion so they will become a kind of appendix to the agreement," the source said. The source refused to answer whether the establishment of a Palestinian state or a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria are included in the accords. A meeting between Netanyahu and President Donald Trump has been scheduled to take place before the signing ceremony.

Israel Deal Protects Bahrain's Interests amid Iran Threat, Minister Says

By YnetNews

Bahrain's interior minister said on Monday that normalizing ties with Israel protects Bahrain's interests and strengthens its strategic partnership with the United States, amid an ongoing threat from Iran. "It is not an abandonment of the Palestinian cause... it is to strengthen Bahrainis' security and their economic stability," minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said in a statement. Bahrain on Friday said it would normalize relations with Israel, following the path of the UAE who declared it would do the same a month ago, in moves forged partly through shared fears of Iran. "Iran has chosen to behave in a dominating way in several forms and has become a constant danger that harms our internal security," Khalifa said. The small Gulf state of Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, is ruled by the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family. The government often accuses Iran, ruled by a Shi'ite Muslim leadership, of seeking to subvert Bahrain. Bahrain has suffered ongoing unrest since a failed uprising in 2011. It is also striving to bring down its deficit. Bahrain and Israel's defense ministers held their first publicly acknowledged phone call on Monday, and another pair of ministers separately discussed commercial possibilities between the two countries.

Palestinians Condemn Bahrain's Rapprochement with Israel as 'Betrayal'

By Israel Hayom

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas on Friday condemned the Israeli-Bahraini peace deal as another "stab in the back" by an Arab state and an act of "aggression" against the Palestinians. The agreement "is a betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian issue," Ramallah's government said in a statement. The PA's Foreign Ministry announced it was immediately recalling its ambassador to Bahrain for consultations in protest of Manama's decision to normalize ties with Israel. Hamas, the terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, said it was an "act of aggression" that dealt "serious prejudice" to the Palestinian cause. Veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi said, "If you really wish to 'advance the cause of peace, dignity, and economic opportunity for the Palestinian people' how about ending Israel's ruthless occupation and its theft of our land and resources? Coercing Arabs to normalize [ties] with Israel will not bring you peace or dignity." Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, a special adviser on international affairs to the speaker of Iran's parliament, called the agreement a great betrayal to the Islamic cause and Palestinians. "The imprudent leaders in UAE and Bahrain must not pave the way for the Zionist schemes. They should learn lessons from history. Tomorrow is late! The US lifeline has worn out for years" he tweeted. Ankara also strongly condemned the peace deal. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the move "deals a fresh blow to efforts to defend the Palestinian cause," adding that "it will further encourage Israel to continue illegitimate practices towards Palestine and its efforts to make the occupation of Palestinian lands permanent."

UAE Now has Qatar in its Rear-View Mirror

By Prof. Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom, Commentary) The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, later joined by Bahrain, is an important and even historic achievement for Israel. Alongside the diplomatic, economic and security benefits the treaty is expected to provide, it also evidences the ability to break the glass ceiling, that artificial obstacle imposed by the Palestinian question on Israel's path to peace with the Arab world. First and foremost, however, the treaty brings wonderful tidings for the UAE and can turn it into a leader in the Persian Gulf. More than that, though, it can make it a key and influential player throughout the Arab world. The daring and courage displayed by the UAE, which not only dropped the jaws of experts and pundits and catapulted it ahead of far larger countries – are not just a testament to its strength but to the calculated risk it took that panned out nicely and transformed the tiny Gulf state into a rising power that will only spread its sphere of influence in the coming years. Peace with Israel is no longer a contemptible necessity foisted upon Arab states, which they then neglect so as not to antagonize public opinion in their countries. The peace treaty between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain as well tells us that peace has become a source of pride, not to mention a winning card Arab states play to solidify and bolster their status. The UAE, over the past two decades, has blossomed into a leading economic hub in the Gulf. That's not enough, however, because in the Arab world, and the Persian Gulf in particular, money alone can't buy durability. If money doesn't come with military and diplomatic clout, a country will be at the mercy of its neighbors. And with "friendly" neighbors such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq at the time, and Iran of today, one doesn't need enemies. In previous decades it was Qatar that sought the crown. It invited American forces to its territory, launched the Arab world's first global satellite network, Al Jazeera, and finally, also cultivated relations with Israel. Qatar, however, lost its momentum and fell behind due to a series of wrong decisions – namely exchanging innovation and modernity and it ties with Israel for radical Islam. Qatar's rulers mistakenly believed that extremism and enmity toward Israel would preserve its influence in the region, but the exact opposite occurred. Qatar squandered its status in the Gulf and wider Arab world. Only Israel unwisely grants it's a sliver of legitimacy by allowing it to play the role of mediator with Hamas. It appears that the UAE and Bahrain peace deals are an excellent opportunity to return Qatar to its natural place and keep it locked down and isolated as a kingdom of terror and radicalism. Either way, the UAE has overtaken Qatar and Kuwait, which with typical ingratitude refuse to help the US bring stability to the region and peace between Israel and the Arabs. Qatar is "out" – the UAE is "in." And this is just the beginning. With this peace treaty, Israel not only gains an ally, but also a powerful strategic partner with an increasingly prominent role in the Arab world. (Eyal Zisser is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.)

Israel Sentences Jewish Extremist to 3 Life Terms

By VOA News
In Israel, a Jewish extremist who was convicted of three counts of murder for throwing a firebomb that killed three members of a Palestinian family has been sentenced to three life terms in prison. It is rare that convicted Jewish extremists receive such a long sentence, but the judges — in their ruling — said that 26-year-old Amiram Ben Uliel acted out of racist ideology and that he has never expressed remorse. Ben Uliel had an accomplice who was a minor at the time. He will be sentenced in the coming days. Ben Uliel's lawyer, Asher Ohayon, has alleged that his client was tortured while interrogated and that the verdict will be appealed to Israel's Supreme Court. The lawyer called the verdict a legal mistake and says he hopes it will be changed. ? The firebomb attack five years ago in the West Bank village of Duma was one of the most brutal Jewish terror attacks in recent years and contributed to a wave of Israeli-Palestinian tension. Israeli politicians, however, condemned the attack, which claimed the lives of Saad and Riham Dawabshe and their 18-month-old son, Ali. Only one person survived — a five-year-old named Ahmed. Ahmed's grandfather Hussein, who is rearing the boy, said the verdict will not bring back the dead. He said the court's decision will not return anything to Ahmed. The grandfather said he just does not want another child to go through the trauma that the boy experienced. Ayman Odeh, an Israeli Arab member of the Knesset, or parliament, described the sentence as "partial justice for the murdered and for young [Ahmed], who survived that horrible night." Ben Uliel's lawyer, Asher Ohayon, has alleged that his client was tortured while interrogated and that the verdict will be appealed to Israel's Supreme Court. The lawyer called the verdict a legal mistake and says he hopes it will be changed. ?

Bette Midler Shines as an Angry Jew in HBO's `Coastal Elites'


HBO debuted playwright Paul Rudnick's "socially distanced satire" film "Coastal Elites" on Saturday — and the star of the show is Bette Midler, whose Jewish character symbolizes the divide between America's liberal cities and its heartland. The film is built on five remotely filmed monologues from characters based in either New York or Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic. Midler plays Miriam Nessler, a retired New York City school teacher who may be the quintessential coastal elite. And one who is unapologetically Jewish, who also gets arrested for taking a red Make America Great Again hat off of a pedestrian on the street and running away with it. "He's wearing jeans and a windbreaker, and the hat — the red hat. You know the one. The MAGA hat. In New York City, two blocks from the Public Theater," Nessler says of the hat-wearer. "It's like me going to Nebraska, wearing a yarmulke, waving a rainbow flag while reading a book!" Despite her words, Nessler doesn't quite look down at the rest of the country. But the truth is that she is by self-definition "a liberal Jewish woman. On the census, where it says religion, I don't put down Jewish. I put down the New York Times." To clarify, the print edition. "Reading the Times online is like having sex with a robot. It's cleaner and faster, but you can tell the difference. New York Times online is for gentiles," Nessler says.

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