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Israel, UAE and Bahrain sign diplomatic agreement at White House

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have signed agreements to normalise relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.

United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday hosted a White House ceremony capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to normalise ties without a resolution of Israel’s decades-old conflict with the Palestinians, who have condemned the agreements.

At the US-brokered event, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed 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 normalise ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

“The people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel to be fomented as an excuse for radicalism or extremism,” Trump said at the White House ceremony.

“And they’ll no longer allow the great destiny of their region to be denied.”

“This peace will eventually expand to include other Arab states. And ultimately, it can end the Arab-Israeli conflict, once and for all,” Netanyahu said.

Ammar Hijazi, assistant minister of multilateral affairs for the Palestinian Authority, said the signing of the accords was “a sad day”.

“The only path for peace for the Palestinians is ending this brutal Israeli occupation and granting the Palestinians their inalienable rights for self-determination. Without that there is no path to peace in the region,” Hijazi told Al Jazeera.

Hijazi called the White House signing ceremony a “photo op” that “only crowns Israel as the policeman of the region” and paves the way for more US weapons sales to the region.

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 programme only to find actual achievements elusive.

Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together may be their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles. Iran has been critical of both deals. Fellow Gulf state Qatar has ruled out normalising ties with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

With Trump up for re-election on November 3, the accords could help shore up support among pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters in the US, an important part of his political base.

Speaking to Fox News hours before the ceremony, Trump said he expected more Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel and predicted the Palestinians would eventually join as well or else be “left out in the cold”.

One target of White House appeals is Saudi Arabia, the biggest Gulf Arab power. So far, the Saudis, whose king is custodian of Islam’s holiest sites and governs the world’s largest oil exporter, have signalled they are not ready.

Another target is Oman, whose leader spoke with Trump last week. Qatar’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Lolwah al-Khater, told Bloomberg on Monday normalising relations with Isreal “can’t be the answer” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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

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

Israel signed separate agreements with each of the Gulf states and the US joined all three in signing a common document known as the Abraham Accords, which the White House described as a “declaration of peace”.

The Israel-Bahrain deal would involve an exchange of embassies, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, told the Reuters news agency.

Four versions of the agreements were signed, one in English, another in Hebrew and two in Arabic.

Some differences remain despite warming ties. Trump said on Tuesday he would have no problem selling advanced stealth F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, which has long sought to obtain them. But Israel, which has the F-35, has made it clear it still objects to such a sale.

Frustrated by the Palestinians’ refusal to take part in Trump’s Middle East peace initiative, the White House has sought to bypass them in hopes they will see the deals with the UAE and Bahrain as incentives, even leverage, for peace talks.

Prompted by the “normalisation” of ties between Arab states and Israel, fractured Palestinian political factions are working diligently in multilateral talks to restore unity and mend the division between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in negotiations far more promising than previous efforts.

The Palestinian leadership, which has long accused Trump of pro-Israel bias, has denounced the Arab rapprochement with Israel as a betrayal of their cause.

In return for a normalisation with the UAE, Netanyahu agreed to suspend a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians view the new agreements as weakening a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

Though negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians last broke down in 2014, some Gulf Arab states and several other Arab countries have long had quiet, informal contacts with Israel.

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ഭൂകമ്പം ഫിജിയെ പിടിച്ചുകുലുക്കി, റിക്ടർ സ്കെയിലിൽ 6.0 രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനം

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സുവ: ദ്വീപ് രാജ്യമായ ഫിജിയിൽ ഭൂചലനം. റിക്ടർ സ്‌കെയിലിൽ 6.0 തീവ്രത രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനത്തിൽ നാശനഷ്ടങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായതായി റിപ്പോർട്ടില്ല. 398 കിലോമീറ്റർ ആഴത്തിൽ പ്രകമ്പനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടതായി യുഎസ് ഭൗമശാസ്ത്ര കേന്ദ്രം അറിയിച്ചു. ലെവൂക്ക നഗരത്തിന് 340 കിലോമീറ്റർ കിഴക്ക് മാറിയായിരുന്നു പ്രകമ്പനം. പ്രാദേശിക സമയം രാവിലെ 11.35 ഓടെയായിരുന്നു ഭൂചലനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടത്. സുനാമി മുന്നറിയിപ്പുകളൊന്നും നൽകിയിട്ടില്ലെന്ന് അധികൃതർ അറിയിച്ചു. ഭൂചലനം ഉണ്ടായ വിവരം ജർമ്മൻ ജിയോസയൻസ് റിസർച്ച് സെന്ററും സ്ഥിരീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്.

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Archaeologists discover rare 2,000-y-o oil lamp in Jerusalem’s City of David on Pilgrimage Road

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The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a rare oil lamp, with its wick still preserved, from under the foundation of a building erected on Jerusalem’s famed Pilgrimage Road soon after the destruction of the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago.

The IAA researchers believe the bronze lamp, shaped like a grotesque face cut in half and estimated to be from the late first century or the early second century CE, was put in the foundation of the building in Jerusalem’s City of David for good fortune, The Times of Israel reported.

“This half of a lamp, and in fact half a face, which was discovered in the City of David, is a very rare object, with only a few discovered in the whole world, and is the first of its kind to be discovered in Jerusalem,” Yuval Baruch of the IAA was quoted as saying.

“It is possible that the importance of the building, and the need to bless its activity with luck by burying a foundation deposit, was due to its proximity to the Siloam Pool, which was also used in the Roman period as the central source of water within the city,” IAA archaeologist Ari Levy told The Jerusalem Post.

Speaking to Haaretz, Levy explained, “Foundation deposits, in general, go back to the dim reaches of antiquity. It was accepted in construction in general, to bring luck and symbolic defense of the building — and to cast fear and awe on attackers. Its significance was highly symbolic, not functional.”

Haaretz said the lamp featured a goaty male half-face complete with (half a) satyr’s beard and a horned forehead.

Only one other such lamp has ever been found in an archaeological context — and that was in Budapest, according to Levy.

Experts believe that Pilgrimage Road, where the building had been erected, is the path ancient Jews walked to reach the Temple Mount three times a year — in the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

“The street was built during the period of Governor Pontius Pilates,” Levy said. “It was inaugurated around the year 30 CE and it was used for about 40 years until the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.”

Baruch added: “Decorated bronze oil lamps were discovered throughout the Roman Empire. For the most part, such oil lamps stood on stylish candelabras or were hung on a chain. Collections around the world contain thousands of these bronze lamps, many of which were made in intricate shapes, indicating the artistic freedom that Roman metal artists possessed.”
Sources:Christian Post

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