Sudan, Oman Postpone Normalising Ties with Israel Until After US Elections
A look at continuing discussions of relationships between nations, requests for releases of aid funding, and more news in this week’s bulletin.
Image:Omani ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmad bin Hilal Albusaidi attends a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) in Jeddah on February 3, 2020, to address US President Donald Trump's Middle East plan. (Amer Hilabi/AFP via Getty Images)
Sudan, Oman postpone normalising ties with Israel until after US elections Middle East Monitor
“An Israeli newspaper has reported that Sudan and Oman have postponed normalising ties with Israel until after the US elections, Rai Al-Youm reported on Friday (October 2). Reporting Israeli newspaper Maariv, Rai Al-Youm disclosed that the two Arab countries would not offer their ‘precious gifts’ to US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the US elections. According to Maariv, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba confirmed that Sudan and Oman are not rushing towards diplomatic ties with Israel. This came despite repeated optimistic Israeli remarks about the possible normalisation deals that could be reached with these countries, according to Al-Otaiba. Meanwhile, Maariv’s reporter Gideon Kotz claimed that the speech of Oman’s foreign minister at the United Nations General Assembly, through which he reiterated the Palestinian right to have an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, toned down Israel’s enthusiasm regarding normalisation.”
Image: Omani ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmad bin Hilal Albusaidi attends a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) in Jeddah on February 3, 2020, to address US President Donald Trump's Middle East plan. (Amer Hilabi/AFP via Getty Images)
Bipartisan bill proposed to give Israel veto on US arms sales to Middle East Times of Israel
“A bipartisan bill introduced in the House of Representatives would enhance protections for Israel’s qualitative military edge to include an effective Israeli veto on US arms sales to the Middle East. The bill ‘would require the President to consult with the Israeli government to ensure [qualitative military edge] concerns are settled’ when it comes to arms sales to Middle Eastern countries, said the news release Friday announcing its introduction the previous day. The release came from the office of the bill’s lead sponsor, Illinois Democrat Rep. Brad Schneider. Existing law already guarantees Israel a qualitative military edge in the Middle East, but Congress — not Israel — is the arbiter of whether an arms sale meets QME standards.”
Image: In this August 5, 2019, photo released by the US Air Force, an F-35 fighter jet pilot and crew prepare for a mission at Al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. (Staff Sgt. Chris Thornbury/US Air Force via AP)
UNSC members: Israeli-Palestinian talks must be based on pre-1967 lines Jerusalem Post
“United Nations Security Council members Tuesday (September 29) pushed back at US President Donald Trump’s peace plan by calling for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks based on the pre-1967 lines, even as they lauded the normalization deals he brokered between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. ‘We remain convinced that sustainable peace, security and stability in the Middle East cannot be reached without a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions,’ four European Union nations that are also Security Council members said. Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany issued the statement right after Tuesday’s monthly Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Norway and Ireland – incoming council members as of January 2021, both EU nations – also supported the statement.”
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Affirms The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Petition to UN Experts to Hold Turkey Accountable for Violating Cultural and Religious Rights: CMEP affirms the recent petition to the United Nations by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which seeks to “hold the Republic of Turkey accountable for its deliberate policies to erase the cultural heritage of Orthodox Christians.”
Over the summer, CMEP updated our policy positions moving from 13 to 12. The changes reflect our ongoing commitment to working toward a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel and Palestine and conflicts throughout the Middle East. In light of the ongoing threat of formal annexation of large parts of the West Bank, CMEP explicitly affirmed our opposition to unilateral annexation as part of our policy positions.
In early October, our executive director was interviewed by Pat McMahon on his podcast, The God Show. Mention of CMEP and a discussion about peace between Israelis and Palestinians was a featured element of the interview discussing "what happens when people go beyond hashtag activism?"
Israel to Approve 2,500 New Settlement Homes, After 8-month Lull in Council's Meetings Haaretz
“The Civil Administration’s supreme planning council, the Israeli body that approves planning and construction in West Bank settlements, is set to convene on Sunday in order to give final approval for the construction of 2,500 housing units. The planning council will be convening for the first time in eight months. In addition, 2,000 other units will be moved forward to the stages in which objections may be filed. Some of the units to be advanced or approved will obtain retroactive approval of illegally built structures, while others will block any expansion of adjacent Palestinian villages or towns. In the settlement of Shiloh, north of Ramallah, 141 units are expected to be approved. These will be built to the north of the settlement, between the villages of Jalud and Qaryut. The heads of these two local councils, represented by attorney Shlomo Zecharya, voiced their objection to the planned construction.”
Image: File photo: A neighborhood under construction in the West Bank in 2017. (Olivier Fitoussi)
UAE, U.S. and Israel to Develop Joint Energy Strategy, Say Ministers Haaretz
“The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will develop a joint strategy for greater coordination in the energy sector and look to solve energy challenges facing the Palestinians, the energy ministers said in a statement. The statement, carried on the UAE's state news agency WAM, said the three countries would work together on renewable energy, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas resources, and related technology, as well as water desalination technology. The UAE and Bahrain in September became the first Arab states in a quarter century to establish formal ties with Israel in U.S.-brokered accords which the Palestinians have rejected."
Image: Two men, one in Israel and the other in the United Arab Emirates,wear protective face masks bearing the American, Israeli and Emirati flags, August 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/ Reuters)
Palestinian officials aim to pressure EU to reverse NGO funding ban Jerusalem Post
“Palestinian Foreign Ministry officials have convened with representatives of Palestinian factions, civilian organizations and prisoners organizations to discuss ways to remove terror organizations from the European Union's lists of restrictive measures. The listing is significant because the EU cannot pay out funds to NGOs who have ties to the terror groups on the lists, or who refuse to sign. According to a statement on the official news site of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the meeting, chaired by Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee Dr. Saeb Erekat, focused on the need to preserve a relationship with the EU while rejecting the terrorist label attached to the factions and the need to comply with that designation to access the funding.”
Image: Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat gestures as he speaks to the media in Ramallah, July 1, 2019. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)
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.