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Israel, UAE and Bahrain Sign US-Brokered Normalisation Deals

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 16 September 2020

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President Trump is poised to win an unlikely diplomatic coup by bringing the UAE and Bahrain into normalised diplomatic relations with Israel after Palestinians rejected the Trump administration's proposed peace deal [Saul Loeb/AFP]

Palestinians condemn deals as 'sad day'.

Political, Security // BLUF: US President Donald Trump has hosted the leaders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Israel at the White House to formally sign agreements for the normalisation of ties between the three Middle East nations, in a US-brokered deal.

UAE and Bahrain are the third and fourth countries respectively to take such steps to normalise ties, with Egypt doing so in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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

(See Point 2 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 16 September 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. CANADA, UNITED STATES - Security (Health): U.S.-Canada border shutdown likely to extend through November, Ottawa cool to more exemptions, sources say

FYSA: The United States and Canada are likely to extend border restrictions until at least the end of November as coronavirus cases spike in some states, according to well-placed Washington and Ottawa sources. The sources also said Canadian officials were showing little enthusiasm for suggestions from U.S. authorities about relaxing some of the measures in the near term. The month-long ban, which does not cover trade or travel by air, was first imposed in March and has been rolled over several times. The current range of restrictions runs out on Sept. 21. "The thinking is that this is probably going to have to extend through at least until American Thanksgiving (Nov. 26)," said one source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. Canadian officials, especially those in provinces bordering the United States, insist the restrictions must remain. (Duluth News Tribune. See link in heading for further reading)

2. UNITED STATES, ISRAEL, BAHRAIN, UAE - Security, Political: Israel, UAE and Bahrain sign US-brokered normalisation deals

FYSA: 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. (Al Jazeera. See link in heading for further reading)

3. SPAIN - Economic (Travel): International travel fell 65% in first half, could take four years to recover, U.N. tourism body says

FYSA: International tourist arrivals plunged 65% in the first half of 2020 compared to last year, data from the World Tourism Organization showed on Tuesday, translating into an estimated $460 billion loss in export revenues. Just over half of destinations eased travel restrictions by early September but a return to 2019 levels of tourism could take between two to four years, according to the Madrid-based United Nations’ tourism body. “Safe and responsible international travel is now possible in many parts of the world, and it is imperative that governments work closely with the private sector to get global tourism moving again,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. A total of 440 million international arrivals were lost between January and June this year, with Asia and the Pacific the hardest-hit region at 72% less tourists than last year. Europe saw a 66% drop in arrivals, compared to a 57% decline in Africa and the Middle East and 55% in the Americas. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

4. MOZAMBIQUE - Security: Army to investigate 'horrific killing' video

FYSA: The authorities in Mozambique have promised to investigate a video showing people dressed in army uniforms beating and killing a naked woman in the restive gas-rich Cabo Delgado province. The defence ministry condemned the footage as "horrifying" and vowed to "ascertain their authenticity". Rights groups have also condemned the killing. Mozambique has been battling an Islamist militant group in the north for three years. Its army has been accused of human rights ab uses as it tries to put down the insurgency. The government denies the accusations. The two-minute-long clip of the killing was shared by several rights groups on Monday. In it a group of men wearing army uniform surround a woman, one hits her in the head and body with a stick several times before others shoot. They can be heard saying in Portuguese "kill her on the side of the road", Reuters news agency reports. The men can also be heard shouting "you're from al-Shabab", the AFP news agency reports, referring to the jihadist group that has led a growing insurgency against the government since 2017. "The FDS [Defence and Security Forces] reiterate that they do not agree with any barbaric act that substantiates the violation of human rights," the Mozambique army said in a statement. Zenaida Machado, from the New York-based group Human Rights Watch, called for an investigation saying such acts, if committed by soldiers, sowed distrust in the population and strengthened insurgents' narrative. "It's the worst case of betrayal," she said, adding that frightened people should not run from insurgents only to find themselves in danger from those supposed to keep them safe. (BBC. See link in heading for further reading)

5. HONG KONG - Political, Security: Two dozen Hong Kong activists appear in court over banned Tiananmen vigil

FYSA: Two dozen Hong Kong pro-democracy activists appeared in court on Tuesday to hear charges of participating in an illegal assembly over a June 4 vigil commemorating the crackdown on protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. It was the first time the vigil had been banned in semiautonomous Hong Kong, with police citing coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings as the reason for not granting permission. Still, tens of thousands of people lit candles across the city in what was largely a peaceful event, bar a brief skirmish with riot police in one neighbourhood. “We insist that condemning the Tiananmen massacre is no crime,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, who organises the annual vigil in Hong Kong and is among those facing charges, before entering the court. “We will continue the struggle.” The 26 activists facing charges included Joshua Wong, media tycoon Jimmy Lai and Nathan Law, who left Hong Kong after China imposed a sweeping national security law on the Asian financial hub in June. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

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