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Netanyahu flies to Washington to sign deals as Israeli lockdown weaves | Israel



Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to divert the attention of the Israeli public from a recently announced three-week shutdown to a White House ceremony formalizing the recent diplomatic breakthroughs with two Arab states.

Netanyahu is hosted by his close ally Donald Trump and will on Tuesday sign agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates that, while lacking full peace agreements, allow the countries to establish open business, direct flights and diplomatic relations.

“We now have two historic peace agreements with two Arab countries that were established in one month,”

; Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting on Sunday before traveling to the United States. “We are on the threshold of a new era.”

Israel has only made peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan in the past, and the US mediated messages have been seen as the materialization of a growing closeness between Israel and some Arab states, mainly due to a common hostility towards Iran. Israeli media speculated that other nations such as Morocco and Oman could also make deals. The plane that Netanyahu flew to DC was painted with the word peace in Arabic, English and Hebrew.

However, the recent agreements have also been rejected as plays. Neither the Gulf Monarchy has ever been at war with Israel, and both had already established extensive informal ties.

Writing in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper deeply critical of Netanyahu, journalist Chemi Shalev said the country and its two Gulf partners “just come out of the closet with the secret strategic ties they have maintained for years.”

Trump and Netanyahu, he argued, “artificially inflate the importance of the agreements and lift them to historic breakthroughs to aggrandize themselves, improve their polls and draw attention away from their monumental failures in the fight against coronavirus, war against the rule of law and efforts to erode the democracy of their country. It’s a shameless propaganda trick, that’s all. ”

For Palestinians under Israeli occupation who have long relied on Arab support in their struggle for independence, development is also seen as a setback in their attempts to increase international pressure on Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Tuesday would be a “black day” and “added to the Palestinian pain calendar”.

Meanwhile, the announcement of another shutdown in Israel has left the country stunned, fearing that three weeks of closed businesses and restricting people to their homes could ruin their livelihoods. Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for corruption allegations, which he denies, has encountered weekly protests that have been fueled by people claiming he abused the pandemic.

Anger is rising around whether the 70-year-old leader reopened the country too soon and too soon after a previous spring lockdown. Now the country is in a deep recession and faces restrictions that the Ministry of Finance estimates will cost 6.5 billion. SEC. (£ 1.46 billion).

“It was Netanyahu who sent the young people to hang out and drink after the ‘success’ of the previous lockdown,” Yehuda Sharoni wrote in the Maariv newspaper on Monday. “But if we put the question of putting the blame aside, that’s an annoying question. , whether the business sector, which barely survived the first shutdown, is able to recover this time from the decision to shut down and stand on its own two feet – or whether this is a death blow. ”

With infections rising to 4,000 a day, Netanyahu said Sunday night that hospitals “raised the red flag” and that a lockdown was crucial. A major concern Monday morning in Israel, however, was whether the time frame was open.

The director general of the Ministry of Health, Chezy Levy, speculated that the easing of the nationwide lockdown would occur when the daily coronavirus infections dropped to 1,000 a day, but acknowledged that the final criteria have not yet been set.

“We would like to get to 500 cases a day, but it is clear that at this point it will not happen,” Levy told Kan station.

More than 3,100 people were diagnosed with the virus on Sunday.


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