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Netanyahu: `This Day is a Pivot of History' as Israel, UAE, Bahrain Sign Peace Deal

By World Israel News, JTA, VOA News & the Jerusalem Post On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain before a cheering crowd on the South Lawn of the White House. See https://youtu.be/nA_3uYGjIgM "We're here this afternoon to change the course of history," Trump said. "After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. In a few moments these three visionary leaders will sign the first two peace deals between Israel and the Arab states in more than a quarter century. In Israel's entire history there have been only two such agreements and now we have achieved two in a single month," the president said. "And there are more are to follow," he said, at which point cheers broke out. Details about the separate treaties were not disclosed until several hours after the signing, but they broadly normalize relations between the two Arab countries and Israel, including the opening of embassies in each of the nations for the first time. The UAE and Bahrain join Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab countries to have peace treaties with Israel. Trump signed the agreements along with Netanyahu of Israel and the foreign ministers of the two Arab nations, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE and Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Netanyahu said at the South Lawn ceremony that the agreements "will eventually expand to include other Arab states, and ultimately it can end the Arab- Israeli conflict once and for all," though he did not specifically mention the Palestinians. In conjunction with the agreement, the United States has reportedly assured the UAE that Israel would pause West Bank annexation efforts until at least 2024. The UAE wants to purchase F-35 advanced fighter jets from the United States, which has a legal obligation to maintain Israel's qualitative military edge. Israel has ordered 50 of the planes. Netanyahu has denied that he agreed to the sale in order to achieve the agreement and leading Democratic lawmakers have come out against the plan. "Today, we are already witnessing a change at the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world," the UAE's foreign minister said. As he spoke, rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel. Palestinian leaders have expressed outrage at the Arab countries for abandoning the Palestinians' fight for an independent state. The White House sent the agreements to reporters after 5 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday, several hours after the pacts were signed on the South Lawn of the White House. The deal with the United Arab Emirates, titled Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations, and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel, was longer and more detailed: four pages and a three-page annex outlining areas of cooperation. The Bahrain agreement, which the sides have just begun to negotiate, was one page and broader in its outlines.

Both documents outlined areas of security cooperation. The UAE and Israel "undertake to take the necessary steps to prevent any terrorist or hostile activities against each other on or from their respective territories as well as deny any support for such activities abroad or allow such support on or from their respective territories." The Bahrain agreement said Israel and that Gulf nation will come up with a security agreement in coming weeks. The agreements, brokered by the Trump administration, formalize existing security cooperation between Israel and the Gulf nations that has existed for years. The agreements also pledge cooperation in a range of nonmilitary areas, including trade, health care, energy, education and the environment. The agreement with the UAE calls for a "just, comprehensive, realistic and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," but stops short of calling for a Palestinian state. Netanyahu said that this occasion would have been unimaginable a short time ago. He lavished praise on Trump and his advisers for bring about this "enormous blessing" for Israel on the eve of the Jewish New Year and the promise of "the ultimate end of the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all." Peace between our peoples – not just their leaders – will benefit all our citizens, Netanyahu said. "Together we will combat the coronavirus and benefit the entire region and beyond. The prime minister concluded: "Let is pause for a moment and feel the pulse of history that will endure long after coronavirus is gone." For Palestinians, it is close to a nightmare. Although the UAE said it only signed the deal after Israel agreed to drop plans to annex close to a third of the West Bank, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh described the signing ceremony as a "black day that will be added to the Palestinian calendar of pain." Long-time negotiator Yossi Beilin said the deal could offer new opportunities for a deal with the Palestinians. "Four Arab countries, members of the Arab league are having peace with Israel, are having normal relations with Israel. So we are expecting these Arab countries to shuttle between Jerusalem and Ramallah, to talk to both sides, to see whether bridges can be built for whatever, whatever kind of an agreement, and there are different options for a permanent agreement, for an interim agreement. I believe in the idea of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation but of course it is not the only option." But as longtime Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat sees it, Israel and the UAE are forming a new military pact. "The Bahrain-American Israeli agreement to normalize relations is now part of a bigger package in the region. It's not about relations between countries. We are witnessing an alliance, a military alliance being created in the region, maybe they want to call it an Arab-Israeli NATO." As Netanyahu signed the peace agreements, terror factions in Gaza launched two rockets into southern Israel, injuring several civilians. Following the strike, the Israeli military announced that air defenses intercepted one of the projectiles. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all rocket fire emanating from the Gaza Strip, however, several other Islamic terror groups operate there, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which has taken credit for several recent rocket attacks. Hamas has ruled Gaza with an iron fist since it ran Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority out of the coastal enclave in 2007 during a bloody coup. Both the PA and Hamas condemned the Gulf States for establishing official diplomatic relations with Israel, claiming it was a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. Some Israeli analysts see it as Israel and the Gulf States sharing a common enemy: Iran. Gerald Steinberg is a former professor of political science at Bar Ilan University. "The fact that the small Gulf states that are very much the Arab Gulf states starting the UAE in particular, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, the Saudis themselves which are not a small state, but the threat of Iran is the glue that holds this all together. It's both a common interest but also the shared threat perceptions of a triumphalist Iran seeking nuclear weapons, and the United States, largely, in terms of military capabilities withdrawing from the region, that's the perception." Trump said that "Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors and work so strongly to cooperate as partners across a broad range of sectors, from tourism to trade to health care and security. Together, these agreements will serve as a foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something nobody thought was possible. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement. There will be other countries very, very soon that will follow these great leaders." Thanking Trump, the prime minister said, "You have unequivocally stood by Israel's side. You have boldly confronted the tyrants of Tehran. You're proposed a realistic vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and you have successfully brokered the historic peace that we are signing today. "To all of Israel's friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today, and those who will join us tomorrow I will say saalamu aleikum, peace unto thee," the prime minister said. "And you've already heard from the president that he's lining up more and more countries. This was unimaginable a few years ago but with resolve, determination, a fresh look at the way peace is done, this is being achieved." UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, spoke mainly in Arabic. "Today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world." He dedicated a significant portion of his speech to the Palestinians, saying that the accord will help the UAE to stand with the Palestinians in their quest for a state. He thanked Trump for "halting the annexation of Palestinian territory." The four leaders signed a declaration of peace in three languages: English, Hebrew and Arabic.

Tombstones Vandalized at 3 Jewish Cemeteries in Poland

By JTA

About 20 tombstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Zabrze in southern Poland, the third case of vandalism at a Polish Jewish cemetery this month. Dariusz Walerjanski, who has maintained the cemetery for 30 years, described what he said was an act of vandalism in a Facebook post on Sept. 11. In photos he posted online, several of the stones appeared to have broken. "After many years of peace and tolerance, and understanding for the place where the dead rest, an act of vandalism was committed. It's a rude act of stupidity. I can't find an answer for why someone planned and did it," he wrote, adding that the police are searching for the perpetrators. Last week, a 19th century tombstone at the Jewish cemetery in Tarnowskie Gory, near Krakow, was defaced with red spray paint. Earlier in the month, 10 tombstones were knocked down at the Jewish cemetery of Dobrodzien, some 80 miles northwest of Krakow. Some of them were broken. Poland has about 1,200 Jewish cemeteries. Some are owned by Jewish communities and others are municipally owned.

Merkel: Anti-Semitism Part of Germany's Reality

By World Israel News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that anti-Semitism in her country has never disappeared and that many Jews do not feel safe there. Merkel made her remarks at an event in Berlin marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Central Council of German Jews. "We can be glad of flourishing Jewish life," Merkel said, "but that is only one part of today's reality. The other part of today's reality is that many Jews don't feel safe and respected in our country, and it causes me great concern. It is a disgrace, and it shames me deeply, how racism and anti-Semitism are expressed in our country in these times," Merkel said. "Racism and anti-Semitism never disappeared, but for some time now they have become more visible and uninhibited." The chancellor's remarks have been echoed in recent years by other sources in Germany. The rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin, Yitzhak Ehrenberg, told a German news agency in May 2019 that he does not recommend Jews in Germany circulate outside wearing a kippah (skullcap) on their head in neighborhoods where there are Muslims. Ehrengerg's comments came in response after a warning issued by the government commissioner for anti-Semitism in Germany, Felix Klein, in which said that he could not claim that Jews are safe anytime and anywhere in Germany, especially when wearing a kippah. A year ago, the Jewish community in Germany was shocked following a shooting attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle. Stephan Balliet is currently on trial for murder and in court expressed no remorse for the attack while affirming his fundamental beliefs. At one point, he explained that he would not describe himself as a "Nazi" or a "fascist," but simply as an "anti-Semite." Balliet documented part of the attack using a helmet camera that captured him trying to break into a local synagogue by firing at the door. When he failed to gain entry to the synagogue he opened fire on nearby streets killing two passersby. In the self-made video, Balliet is heard saying "Jews are the root of all problems," and he is also heard cursing Jews and accusing them of being the source of all evil.

Israel Film Archive Website Gives Access to Historical Treasures

By the Jerusalem Post

Researchers, history buffs and movie lovers will rejoice at the news that the Israel Film Archive at the Jerusalem Cinematheque has launched a website (https://jfc.org.il/) that gives access to thousands of the films and clips in its collection. The launch of the site, which is available in both Hebrew and English, is the culmination of more than seven years of work to digitize the IFA's films. The vast majority of the material on the IFA site is free, with a few VOD options that require a onetime payment. The IFA was created by the late Jerusalem Cinematheque founder Lia van Leer, and it was originally composed of her own personal collection. It now features more than 30,000 items, two million meters of film and 4,500 hours which were filmed in Israel. The project cost $10 million and has a digital storage volume of about 6 petabytes (6 million gigabytes). As part of the project, the IFA, which is managed by Meir Russo, created an advanced film production laboratory and was able to save thousands of hours of brittle, disintegrating film. The site is arranged in two sections: the Historical View and the Artistic View, both of which contain treasures from every era. The collection includes films from the Israeli Film Service Collection, the Maccabi Movement Archive, the Yad Tabenkin Archive and the Yad Vashem Museum, as well as many clips donated by private citizens. There are an enormous number of film clips of great historical significance, as well as many that are just a lot of fun. These include Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, addressing a group of teens in 1954, the second Maccabiah in 1935, delegates being elected to the 20th Zionist Congress in 1920, a soccer match between Hapoel and a team from Vienna in 1937, Adolf Eichmann's sentencing in 1961, and a 1957 clip of the Nahal Troupe performing "Until 120" with Arik Einstein. The Artistic View includes feature films, shorts and documentaries from throughout Israel's history, which include Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz's To Take a Wife, Eytan Fox's Song of the Siren, Uri Zohar's Hole in the Moon and Saint Clara by Ari Folman and Ori Sivan. Dr. Noa Regev, the CEO of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and the IFA, said: "There is no doubt that the new platform will serve students, researchers, filmmakers, culture and history buffs, and anyone looking to locate cinematic materials from their private past."

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