P.A. to renew relations with Israel; Second Israeli to space: Israel Update


November 20, 2020


The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Tuesday said it has decided to renew its relations with Israel, including security coordination, after receiving assurances that Israel would abide by past signed agreements with the Palestinians. Relations between the two sides were severed six months ago, amid Israel’s plans for unilateral West Bank annexation—a move that has since been suspended. The PA's decision to resume ties with Israel received harsh criticism from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, which have both had increasingly strained relationships with the PA. Some aspects of the PA’s coordination with Israel—particularly security coordination—are controversial among many Palestinians.


The US government will take action against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and groups that support it, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said Thursday during a press conference in Jerusalem. Pompeo, who was forceful and direct, compared the BDS movement to "cancer" and restated the "ironclad" US commitment to Israel's security: "During the Trump administration, America stands with Israel like never before." The announcement came amidst Pompeo’s historic visit to Israel, during which he became the first top American diplomat to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Pompeo also made a stop at the Golan Heights, the first trip to the contested territory since Washington recognized Israeli sovereignty over the plateau last year.


Israel and Bahrain will open embassies soon, their foreign ministers said on Wednesday, as the two countries look to broaden cooperation. On a first official visit by Bahraini officials to Israel, the Gulf kingdom's foreign minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, said his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, would visit Manama in December. Israeli and Bahrani officials signed several memoranda of understanding in October in Manama covering trade, air services, telecommunications, finance, banking and agriculture. 


62-year-old Eytan Stibbe is set to be just the second Israeli to go to space, and the first since the late Ilan Ramon, who was a close friend to Stibbe. The former fighter pilot is expected to launch at the end of 2021, on an historic scientific mission to the International Space Station. Among his goals will be to create advancements for Israeli technologies through scientific experiments in space. “This is a day of national joy, and great pride,” said President Reuven Rivlin. “An Israeli pilot with a blue-and-white flag embroidered on his shoulder will prove once again, as we have been showing here for 72 years, that even the sky isn’t our limit.”



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Shabbat Shalom, 


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


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