Interior Minister Aryeh Deri: Synagogues must remain open on Yom Kippur – Inside Israel

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri

Knesset Spokesperson

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who stated yesterday that he would only support the closure of synagogues if demonstrations were significantly restricted, clarified today that he believes the synagogues should remain open on Yom Kippur regardless of any other restrictions that are imposed by the government.

“Synagogues must be allowed to remain open on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year,” he wrote on Twitter this morning. “They can operate according to the ‘purple tag’ restricted outline that was already agreed upon in government, just as businesses are permitted to do. Alongside this, we are busy trying to prepare a great many additional places where prayers can be held all over the country, in order to enable people to pray outdoors [on Yom Kippur],” he noted.

Deri conceded that synagogues could be closed for the remainder of the lockdown period: “During the rest of the lockdown, if the Health Ministry objects to people gathering in enclosed spaces, we will all pray outdoors,” he wrote, adding that, “and of course, during the lockdown, anyone who wants to attend a protest will do so only in the vicinity of his home. It has to be made clear that the same law applies to both synagogues and protests.”

The government’s coronavirus cabinet is due to convene later today to reach final decisions on restrictions to be applied to synagogues, demonstrations, and the economy during the coming weeks of the lockdown. An hours-long meeting yesterday failed to achieve consensus on the key issues of Yom Kippur prayers and left-wing demonstrations outside the Prime Minister’s Residence.

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UAE and Bahrain sign diplomatic deals with Israel at White House

Washington

Israel on Tuesday signed historic diplomatic pacts with two Gulf Arab states at a White House ceremony that President Donald Trump declared will mark the “dawn of a new Middle East,” casting himself as an international peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.

The bilateral agreements formalize the normalization of Israel’s already thawing relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in line with their common opposition to Iran. But the agreements do not address the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, who view the pacts as a stab in the back from their fellow Arabs and a betrayal of their cause for a Palestinian state.

Hundreds of people massed on the sun-washed South Lawn to witness the signing of agreements in a festive atmosphere little marked by the coronavirus pandemic. Attendees did not practice social distancing and most guests didn’t wear masks.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Mr. Trump said from a balcony overlooking the South Lawn. “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the day “is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace.”

Neither Mr. Netanyahu nor Mr. Trump mentioned the Palestinians in their remarks, but both the UAE and Bahraini foreign ministers spoke of the importance of creating a Palestinian state.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, even thanked Mr. Netanyahu for “halting the annexation” of West Bank land claimed by the Palestinians in exchange for Emirati recognition. Mr. Netanyahu, however, has insisted that Israel has only suspended its plans to annex West Bank settlements.

“Today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East – a change that will send hope around the world,” Mr. Al Nahyan said.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani said Bahrain would stand with the Palestinians. “Today is a truly historic occasion,” he said. “A moment for hope and opportunity.”

But in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants fired two rockets into Israel, apparently meant to coincide with the ceremony. The Israeli military said the rockets were fired from Gaza and one was intercepted by air defenses. Earlier in the day, Palestinian activists held small demonstrations in the West Bank and in Gaza, where they trampled and set fire to pictures of Mr. Trump, Mr. Netanyahu, and the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain.

Israel and the United States hope the agreements can usher in a major shift in the region should other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, follow suit. That could have implications for Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Until now, Israel has had peace deals only with Egypt and Jordan.

Other Arab countries believed to be close to recognizing Israel include Oman, Sudan, and Morocco.

“We are very down the road with about five different countries,” Mr. Trump told reporters before the ceremony.

Many longtime Mideast analysts and former officials, among

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In break with past, UAE and Bahrain forge ties with Israel at White House

By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements on Tuesday to establish formal ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states in a quarter century to break a longstanding taboo, in a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump hosted the White House ceremony, capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians.

In front of a crowd of several hundred people on the White House lawn, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed accords with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

The deals, denounced by the Palestinians, make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps toward normalizing relations since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Meeting Netanyahu earlier in the Oval Office, Trump said, “We’ll have at least five or six countries coming along very quickly” to forge their own accords with Israel.

Later Trump told reporters a third Gulf Arab state, Saudi Arabia, would strike an agreement with Israel “at the right time.” The Saudi cabinet stressed in a statement the need for a “just and comprehensive solution” to the Palestinian issue.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest Gulf Arab power. Its king is custodian of Islam’s holiest sites and rules the world’s largest oil exporter. Despite its own reluctance, the kingdom’s quiet acquiescence to the agreements was seen as crucial.

‘CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY’

The ceremony provided Trump with valuable imagery as he tries to hold on to power in a Nov. 3 presidential election. Flags of the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain were in abundance.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said from the White House balcony.

Trump called the deals “a major stride in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity” and declared that the three Middle East countries “are going to work together, they are friends.”

The back-to-back agreements mark an improbable diplomatic victory for Trump. He has spent his presidency forecasting deals on such intractable problems as North Korea’s nuclear program only to find achievements elusive.

Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together reflects their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles. Iran criticized both deals.

All three of the Middle East leaders hailed the agreements and Trump’s role in glowing terms, with Netanyahu saying it gave hope to “all the people of Abraham.”

But the UAE and Bahraini officials both sought to reassure the Palestinians that their countries were not abandoning them or their quest for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite the Palestinian leadership having decried the deals as a betrayal of their cause.

In a sign that regional strife is sure to continue while the Israeli-Palestinian

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Trump Hosts Israel, U.A.E. and Bahrain at White House Signing Ceremony

WASHINGTON — Proclaiming that “there’s going to be peace in the Middle East,” President Trump hosted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the foreign ministers of United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House on Tuesday for the formal signing of new diplomatic accords between them.

The ceremony took place on the White House’s South Lawn marking an agreement that has become a focal point of the president’s foreign policy message in the closing weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Although the details remain unknown, the agreements, known as the Abraham Accords, will normalize diplomatic relations between Israel and U.A.E. and Bahrain, including the establishment of the first embassies in one another’s countries. Israel and the U.A.E. recently announced the start of the first commercial flights between them. Until now, Israel had normal relations with only two other Arab states, Jordan and Egypt.

The staging of the event seemed designed to invoke the scene 25 years ago in the same location, when President Bill Clinton brokered an agreement — and iconic handshake — between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

But many analysts of the region, while affording Mr. Trump credit for helping to broker the agreement — work spearheaded by his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner — called the talk of peace overblown. They note that Israel has long been moving into a de facto alliance with the Persian Gulf’s Sunni Arab states, largely in common cause against Shiite Iran.

“It’s not conflict resolution and it’s not peace — this is a business deal,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group sharply critical of Mr. Netanyahu. “It’s very, very clear that there are aligned interests between Israel and these countries — military, security, diplomatic, economic — and those interests have been there for two decades.”

“This formalizes that, but it shouldn’t be overplayed as resolving a core conflict for Israel with its neighbors,” he added. Israel’s decades-old conflict with the Palestinians, he said, “remains unaddressed with this agreement.”

Meeting with Mr. Netanyahu in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump presented Mr. Netanyahu with a large golden key embedded in a wooden box that he described as “a key to the White House, a key to our country.”

“You have the key to the hearts of the people of Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu replied.

“This is peace in the Middle East without blood all over the sand,” Mr. Trump added.

Speaking on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, Mr. Trump boasted that Tuesday’s event was just the beginning of grander things to come.

“We have many others going to be coming in over a short period of time,” Mr. Trump said. “And the Palestinians will ultimately come in too. You’re going to have peace in the Middle East.”

But during Tuesday’s ceremony the Palestinians seemed an afterthought, going unmentioned in the official remarks of Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu.

Palestinian leaders, however, show no sign

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Israel, Arab states set to sign Trump-brokered deals in White House ceremony

Israel will officially sign deals to normalize ties with the Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday that were brokered by President Donald Trump in what is described as a diplomatic breakthrough.

The agreements — called the Abraham Accords — will be signed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani during a ceremony at the White House.

“Instead of focusing on past conflicts, people are now focused on creating a vibrant future filled with endless possibilities,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who helped negotiate the agreements, said in a statement late Monday.

The UAE and Bahrain are the third and fourth Arab states to normalize ties with Israel despite the country not having reached a resolution to the entrenched dispute with the Palestinians.

The last peace treaties with Israel were signed by Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The new agreements will see Israel suspend its claim of sovereignty over areas outlined in the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan.

While marking a diplomatic victory for Trump ahead of November’s presidential election, the agreements have outraged Palestinians, sparking protests across the region.

Clerics hold signs and the Palestinian flag during a protest against normalizing ties with Israel in front of the Palestinian embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday.Khalid al-Mousily / Reuters

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the move, saying on Twitter that it erodes unity between Arab states.

“This day will be added to the calendar of Palestinian pain and the record of Arab fractures,” he said.

Critics warn the new deals also risk undermining the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which was proposed by Saudi Arabia and endorsed by the Arab League, which called for normalization of ties with Israel on the condition that Israeli forces were withdrawn from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

“Peace which does not include the realization of the rights of all Palestinians will be one without justice,” Shawan Jabarin, general director of the independent Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, said.

Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, center left, elbow bumps with an Emirati official as he leaves Abu Dhabi, Arab Emirates, on Sept. 1.Nir Elias / AP

Still, the deal is a positive development for the region, setting the stage for increased trade, tourism and diplomacy, Yossi Mekelberg, professor of international relations at Regent’s University London, told NBC News.

“This is a big moment, it’s an historic moment and we shouldn’t underestimate how important it is,” he said.

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The Gulf states could use the deal to push Israel toward more meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians, who had refused to take part in Trump’s Middle East peace initiative, Mekelberg added.

Israeli officials have previously said the country seeks to expand ties with other countries in

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Two Gulf nations will recognize Israel at the White House. Here’s what’s in it for all sides

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will join the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House to mark historic normalization agreements between Israel and the two Arab countries.



a man wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump said tomorrow he will announce the administration's much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


© Mark Wilson/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on January 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump said tomorrow he will announce the administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The last time such a ceremony took place in Washington was in 1994, when President Bill Clinton looked on as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordanian King Hussein signed a declaration that paved the way for a peace deal months later.

For Trump, the timing is crucial. Less than two months before an election in which he trails in the polls, normalization agreements between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain are major foreign policy achievements, even if the region was gradually moving towards these relationships regardless of who occupied the White House.

How did we get here?

For years, Israel has had covert relations with many of the Sunni Gulf states, driven in recent years by a mutual de facto alliance against Iran. Even so, the relations pre-date the Iran nuclear deal by more than a decade in some cases, as Gulf states looked to take advantage of Israel’s high-tech scene and Israel looked to secure its place in a turbulent Middle East.

Chief among these behind-the-scenes relations was the United Arab Emirates, with numerous public examples of the growing ties between the two states becoming more common. In late-2015, Israel opened a diplomatic-level mission to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi. In 2018, then-culture minister Miri Regev made a state visit to the Grand Mosque on the heels of an Israeli gold medal at a judo tournament in the Emirates. Israel was also invited to Expo 2020 Dubai, a world expo that has since been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.



a large building with White House in the background: The White House stands in Washington D.C., on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.


© Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg/Getty Images
The White House stands in Washington D.C., on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

Like the UAE, Bahrain also had covert ties with Israel stretching back years. In addition, Bahrain has a small but sustained Jewish community, with one of its members serving as the country’s ambassador to the United States from 2008-2013. The small Gulf kingdom also hosted the unveiling of the economic portion of the White House’s plan for Middle East peace, signaling a willingness to engage with the US — and subsequently Israel — on the issue, even at a time when no progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appears possible.

Crucially the UAE and Bahrain are also close allies of the US, with each country hosting a significant US military presence. The US Air Force has deployed F-35 fighter jets to an air base in Abu Dhabi, while the Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Central Command are based in Bahrain.

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At Historic White House Event, UAE and Bahrain to Move Toward Normal Ties With Israel | World News

By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday will become the latest Arab states to break a longstanding taboo when they sign agreements toward normalizing relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump will host the White House ceremony at noon EDT (1600 GMT), capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s decades-old dispute with the Palestinians.

At the U.S.-brokered ceremony, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

The deals make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalize ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The back-to-back agreements, which have drawn bitter condemnation from the Palestinians, mark an improbable diplomatic victory for Trump. He has spent his presidency forecasting deals on such intractable problems as North Korea’s nuclear program only to find actual achievements elusive.

Trump is up for re-election on Nov. 3 and the accords could help him shore up support among pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters, an important part of his political base.

Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together reflects their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles. Iran has been critical of both deals.

“Instead of focusing on past conflicts, people are now focused on creating a vibrant future filled with endless possibilities,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a statement late on Monday. Kushner helped negotiate the agreements and is trying to persuade more Gulf countries to strike similar accords with Israel.

One target of White House appeals is Oman, whose leader spoke with Trump last week.

Another is Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf Arab power. So far the Saudis, whose king is custodian of Islam’s holiest sites and rules the world’s largest oil exporter, have signaled they are not ready.

Although a diplomatic win for Netanyahu, the signing ceremony takes place while he faces criticism at home of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that has led to frequent street protests.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and describes his trial as a leftist political witch-hunt aimed at unseating a popular right-wing leader.

Netanyahu signaled on Monday that Israel’s deals with the two Gulf Arab states may still be works in progress.

A senior Trump administration official said that the documents were complete or nearly finished, that Israel would sign separate agreements with each of the Gulf states and that then the United States would join all three in signing a common document known as the Abraham Accords. But the official declined to provide specifics.

In a nod to the coronavirus that has hit the United States and the world, the White

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White House invites Democrats to signing ceremony with UAE, Israel, Bahrain

The White House has invited senior Democratic lawmakers to a ceremony where representatives from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will sign an agreement with Israel to normalize relations on Tuesday. 

A senior administration official told reporters Monday that a large number of Democrats were invited to the signing ceremony scheduled to take place on the White House South Lawn on Tuesday. The official said that at least some Democrats were expected to attend the ceremony, but did not offer any names. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCrowd aims ‘lock him up’ chant at Obama during Trump rally Nevada governor: Trump ‘taking reckless and selfish actions’ in holding rally Michigan lieutenant governor blasts Trump coronavirus response: He ‘is a liar who has killed people’ MORE helped broker a historic agreement between the UAE and Israel to normalize relations in August. Last week, Trump announced that Bahrain had also reached a deal with Israel to normalize relations. 

The parties will sign the agreement, dubbed the “Abraham Accords,” at the White House ceremony Tuesday, marking a notable diplomatic achievement for Trump. The agreement between the UAE and Israel received bipartisan acclaim when it was announced by the White House last month. 

The presence of Democrats at the ceremony will be a rare sight. The White House has previously declined to invite Democrats when the president has signed major legislation, like the president’s March signing of $2 trillion in coronavirus relief funding. Partisan tensions remain high in Washington as Republicans and Democrats spar over future coronavirus relief and the upcoming election.

The senior administration official said Monday that a few hundred individuals were expected to attend the outdoor ceremony on Tuesday, and that masks were recommended but not required amid the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the foreign delegations will be tested for COVID-19 prior to the ceremony. 

The senior administration official said all three parties will sign one document, the “Abraham Accords,” and that the parties would sign bilateral agreements with one another to cement the agreements. The official did not go into substantive detail about the content of the documents. 

The deal between the UAE and Israel represented a significant breakthrough in diplomatic relations between the two nations as the Trump administration works to facilitate cooperation between Arab nations and Israel. In a surprise announcement from the Oval Office on Friday, Trump announced that Bahrain and Israel would also normalize relations. 

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Israel deal protects Bahrain’s interests amid Iran threat, minister says

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain’s interior minister said on Monday that normalising 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 normalise 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, adding that it was wise to forestall dangers.

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.

Manama was bailed out in 2018 with a $10 billion aid package from wealthy Gulf neighbours to avoid a credit crunch. The International Monetary Fund has said it expects Bahrain’s fiscal deficit to jump to 15.7% of gross domestic product this year from 10.6% in 2019.

Bahrain and Israel’s defence ministers held their first publicly acknowledged phone call on Monday, and another pair of ministers separately discussed commercial possibilities between the two countries.

Reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Marwa Rashad; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis

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Trump to host Israel, UAE for historic signing ceremony at White House next week

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump-backed candidate wins NH GOP Senate primary to take on Shaheen Trump, supporters gather without masks in NC despite request from local GOP official Trump-backed candidate wins NH GOP primary to take on Pappas MORE will host representatives from Israel and the United Arab Emirates next week at the White House for a historic ceremony establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries, administration officials said on Wednesday. 

The ceremony will take place on Sept. 15, one month after the president announced the significant breakthrough in diplomatic relations between Israel and the Gulf nation, called the Abraham Accords. 

It also follows a number of important moves toward normalizing relations between countries in the region, including the first direct flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia granting permission for the aircraft to fly through its air space, a significant gesture signaling a public warming of relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem.

Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerUS brokers economic breakthrough for Serbia, Kosovo Karlie Kloss, a Kushner relative, to appear at Biden campaign event Melania Trump used private email account while in White House, ex-friend says MORE, who took the inaugural flight last week, said there’s a “tremendous sense of optimism in the Middle East.”

“I would say that it’s almost like we’ve unleashed an energy, positivity in the region that is really quite overwhelming,” he said in a briefing with reporters.

Kushner said Israel and the UAE will choose their own representatives to send to the signing ceremony and that the White House will invite both Democrats and Republicans to the event in a show of bipartisanship.

“We hope that Republicans, Democrats will come together to join us in this great celebration,” he said.

Kushner said officials are discussing a deal to sell F-35 stealth jet fighters to the UAE and that Trump is working with Israel to ensure its qualitative military edge (QME), a provision enshrined in U.S. law that is meant to ensure Jerusalem maintains military superiority in the face of any credible threats.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE has publicly opposed the sale of the F-35s despite condoning the sale in private, The New York Times reported last week, citing officials familiar with the negotiations. 

Kushner said the U.S. will work within the QME but that Abu Dhabi is a “great military partner” for America and is facing threats from Iran. 

“They’re right on the border with Iran and have real threats,” he said.

As part of the opening of relations between the UAE and Israel, Netanyahu agreed to “suspend” plans to annex territory in the West Bank that was identified in Trump’s proposed peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians unveiled in January, Prosperity to Peace.

Trump administration officials said at the time that Israel did not have to wait to annex territory identified in the plan but that it would put a freeze on land earmarked for a Palestinian state for

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