The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have signed historic diplomatic normalization deals with Israel at a ceremony at the White House. The agreements, details of which are still being negotiated, represent the first time in a quarter of a century that any Arab country has given diplomatic recognition to the Jewish State.
Israeli jets have launched airstrikes against Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip and Syria, killing two militants, in retaliation for several barrages of rocket attacks fired by the group into Israel. The intense violence erupted after an Islamic Jihad militant was shot dead while attempting to plant a bomb at the fence that separates Gaza and Israel, according to the Israeli military.
Palestinian-backed plans for a UN security council vote on Tuesday designed to show international opposition to Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan are expected to be shelved after the US and the UK raised separate objections to the draft text. In what was being seen as a key test of the diplomatic support for Trump’s “ultimate deal”, Tunisia, with Arab League and Palestinian support, had tabled a resolution saying it breached basic undertakings to the Palestinian people.
Leaders from around the world are reacting to US President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East plan, with some denouncing it as “aggressive” and “one-sided” and others saying the proposal initiative “could prove a positive step forward”. Palestinian leaders, who cut off all ties with Washington in late 2017 after Trump controversially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, immediately rejected the plan.
The first world chess tournament hosted by Saudi Arabia is entangled in controversy after Israeli competitors were barred from playing, and Qatari players withdrew after being banned from showing their flag. A spokesman for the Israeli Chess Federation, Lior Aizenberg, said, ‘The relationships between countries should not be part of international events such as championships.’
Israel has killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. The attack was carried out in targeted airstrikes in eastern Gaza on Tuesday. Militants responded to the killing of Baha Abu Al-Atta by firing rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv, in what is the most serious escalation of tensions in months.
The United States hopes to enlist allies over the next two weeks or so in a military coalition to safeguard strategic waters off Iran and Yemen, where Washington blames Iran and Iran-aligned fighters for attacks, the top U.S. general said on Tuesday. Under the plan, which has only been finalized in recent days, the United States would provide command ships and lead surveillance efforts for the military coalition.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Israel identified a ‘secret atomic warehouse’ in Tehran, Iran which contains nuclear and radioactive materials. Netanyahu made his claim at the UN General Assembly on Thursday and called for new sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu used satellite images of the supposed nuclear warehouse to support his claims.
The United States on Monday effectively backed Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade-old position that they were “inconsistent with international law,” a stance that may make Israeli-Palestinian peace even more elusive. The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The United States is preparing to send additional troops to the Middle East in response to mounting concerns over Iran, which Washington blames for attacks on oil tankers last week, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity. If confirmed, it would be in addition to the 1,500 troop increase announced last month in response to tanker attacks in May that it also blamed on Iran.