Israel’s UN Envoy Insists West Bank Annexation ‘Not Off the Table’ A look at historic agreements, discussions between neighboring nations, and more news in this week’s bulletin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan arrive for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on October 1, 2017. (Amit Shabi/Pool/Flash90)
Israel’s UN envoy insists West Bank annexation ‘not off the table’ Jerusalem Post
“Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday (September 16) that plans to annex parts of the West Bank were still on the table, despite officials from the United States and United Arab Emirates indicating the move has been called off for the foreseeable future as part of the normalization deals Jerusalem signed this week with the UAE and Bahrain. Gilad Erdan, a former top member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party who is also set to take over as ambassador to the US, said that he had spoken to the premier about the matter. ‘The annexation is not off the table. It can be discussed again after the US elections,’ Erdan told Army Radio, referring to the November 3 vote in which US President Donald Trump faces Democrat Joe Biden.”
Image: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan arrive for a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on October 1, 2017. (Amit Shabi/Pool/Flash90)
UAE, Bahrain back Arab Peace Initiative after spurning it to ally with Israel Times of Israel
“Diplomats from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates insisted Tuesday (September 15) that their countries remained committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, hours before they were set to sign normalization agreements with Israel that would appear to undermine that 2002 accord. ‘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.”
Image: A demonstrator walks on pictures laid out on the ground depicting X-marks over the faces of Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during a protest against the United Arab Emirates' and Bahrain's decisions to normalize relations with Israel, in Gaza City on September 15, 2020. (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
Hungary will be only EU state to send minister to Israel-UAE deal signing Jerusalem Post
“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 (September 13). ‘At the invitation of US 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.”
Image: Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto attends a news conference at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Brazil October 8, 2019. (Adriano Machado/ Reuters)
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Beirut blast adds to women's money and health worries in Lebanon Jerusalem Post
“Almost six weeks after the Beirut port blast nearly blinded her in one eye, Kawthar Halabi has been unable to return to work as she is still having fragments of glass picked out of her flesh. After eight days in hospital, more than 50 stitches, eye surgery and with lingering trauma, the 31-year-old mother has been unable to return to her job at a chocolate factory, with money worries compounding those about her health. ‘I'm still going to doctors. I couldn't go back to work and then keep taking time off every couple of days, so I had to take a leave of absence,’ said Halabi, who was visiting her sister on Aug. 4 when the windows shattered, knocking her unconscious. ‘I wake up at night and cry in despair over the state of our country and all we lost,’ she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”
Image: Damaged Beirut Port area, August 17. (Alkis Konstantinidis/ Reuters)
Hamas-Hezbollah talks and Iran-Turkey cooperation come at a crucial time Middle East Monitor
“The recent meeting in Beirut between Hamas and Hezbollah leadership where the threats to the Palestinian cause and normalisation between Israel and Arab states were discussed is the latest sign that the two resistance movements have revived relations. The reconciliation between the Hamas and Hezbollah has been in the works over the past seven years, after falling out over the conflict which engulfed Syria in 2011, the once long-time allies finding themselves supporting opposing sides."
Image: Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh (3rd L) and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah (4th R) meet in Beirut, Lebanon on 6 September 2020. (Hezbollah Press Office / Handout - Anadolu Agency)
Israel approves 1,000 settlement units in occupied West Bank Middle East Monitor
“Israeli authorities approved 980 settlement units in the illegal Efrat settlement in occupied Bethlehem, reported Wafa news agency. Hasan Brijiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-apartheid activist, told Wafa that Israel announced its approval of the construction of 980 new settlement units. The activist said that this means Israel’s plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank will be implemented gradually, pointing out that vast areas of agricultural land will be seized as part of the expansion of the settlement. Earlier this year, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett approved 7,000 settlement units in the illegal Efrat settlement. Israeli NGO Peace Now, which follows settler activity in the occupied Palestinian territories, said: ‘This is a cynical move by a caretaker defense minister at the end of his mandate, while the nation is still reeling from the corona crisis, to advance a dangerous plan aimed at entrenching permanent Israeli domination in the southern West Bank and harming the prospect of a two-state solution.’”
Image: A picture taken on June 30, 2020 from the West Bank village of al-Khader near the biblical town of Bethlehem shows the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat. (HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)
CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.