Israeli FM makes historic visit to UAE
BBC News reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s visit to the UAE is a landmark moment marking the deepening of ties between the two countries. It is also the first official engagement between the two countries since the May Gaza conflict. The report outlines the regional ambitions of both countries, what they have to gain from the historic normalisation agreement signed last year and what we may expect to see come out of the visit.
A video report from BBC News explores the lives of Gaza’s fishermen. The report notes that after May’s Gaza conflict “4,000 fishermen have returned to sea, but Israeli restrictions make survival difficult as their livelihood remains precarious”.
The Financial Times explores the gap Iran’s hard-line leaders must bridge between “the theocratic regime and Iranians’ aspirations”. The paper notes that the coming years will “define [Ayatollah] Khamenei’s legacy and determine whether the 82-year-old can narrow the gulf between the regime’s ideology and the aspirations of the country’s youthful population and shape the next chapter of the Islamic republic”.
The Independent reports that the British embassy in Dubai is facing backlash for flying a rainbow flag outside its building to celebrate Pride Month. Some on social media called the move “not acceptable” and “disrespectful” as the UAE is opposed to same-sex marriage.
The Guardian reports that Algeria’s coast guard has seized close to half a ton of cocaine after being alerted to suspicious items floating off the coast. While an investigation is ongoing, the coast guard announced that the cocaine was split up into 442 packages and spread out across six nautical miles off the country’s northwest coast.
Reuters reports that as the UN General Assembly remains undecided over its budget, its peacekeeping missions are preparing for a possible shutdown later this week. The UN’s peacekeeping missions, the majority of which are in the Middle East and Africa, were told to put together contingency plans in the event a UN budget is not adopted.
In the Israeli media, Kan Radio reports that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has departed Israel for a state visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he will inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai. Foreign Minister Lapid will meet with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, and with prominent businesspersons in the UAE. He will also visit the Israeli compound at the Expo fair, which will open in Dubai in a few months. In an interview to Kan Radio, Foreign Minister Director General Alon Ushpiz said that an economic cooperation agreement would be signed with the Emirates during the visit and that the sides would continue to discuss cooperation on health issues. This is the first visit by an Israeli minister to the Emirates since the peace agreements were signed last year.
Maariv and Haaretz write about the compromise plan that was reached between Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked over the Evyatar outpost in the West Bank. The plan entails Evyatar residents to leave the outpost by the end of this week, but the houses will remain in place. The Defence Ministry will establish a base on the site that would house an IDF company immediately, and in early August a new yeshiva would also be established on the site. In tandem, the Civil Administration will be instructed to complete within six months a survey of the land in order to ascertain if the outpost was built on private Palestinian land. If not, the Civil Administration will work to designate it state land, so that the outpost could be legalised. Not everyone in the government was comfortable with the plan. Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said yesterday: “This is an illegal outpost and it must be removed. This is not just Meretz’s position, we live in a state of law, and this is the law. The compromise on removing the residents is a first important step toward removing the outpost.”
Writing in Yediot Ahronot on the compromise plan, Nadav Eyal argues: “Several extraordinary things occurred here. First, the state’s willingness — and primarily the willingness of the responsible minister, Defense Minister Gantz — to legitimise an entirely unauthorised and illegal act of the kind that in the past would have ended in immediate eviction. As more time passed, the people on the outpost couldn’t believe their good luck. Not only had the state not evicted them but, as one involved person told us, ‘the government and the Civil Administration displayed understanding and even good will’. Simultaneously, thanks to a convergence of circumstances, Evyatar became a popular issue in the West Bank, among families and in the yeshivas; and a lot of people decided to make the most of the transitional period between the end of the Netanyahu government and whatever would come in its wake to establish a fact on the ground.”
Israel Hayom writes about the mounting challenges of the new government and the opposition over the looming expiration of an ordinance that denies Israeli citizenship or residency status to Palestinians who have wed Arab citizens of Israel. The papers argues that the ordinance presents the right-wing opposition with a dilemma: “should it help Naftali Bennett get that ordinance approved, or should it vote against legislation that it supports as a matter of principle. Benjamin Netanyahu knows that this is just the beginning. If he allows Bennett to grow accustomed to taking the Likud, the ultra-Orthodox and on the Religious Zionist Party for granted whenever a right-wing issue is on the agenda, this coalition will be able to endure for a long time. The way to shorten its term is by opposing it on every single matter that comes up.” Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to support the ordinance, which needs to be extended yearly, provided that the government agrees subsequently to vote in favour of a comprehensive bill to stop family unification. The coalition rejected that offer.
Walla News reports the Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that talks are being held with the White House in recent days to try to coordinate a first visit by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Washington to meet with President Joe Biden in July. An American source said that the phone call that Bennett received from President Biden within two hours of having been sworn into office was a testament of the president’s desire to work well with him.
Kan Radio reports that the Arrangements Committee convened last night and elected Labour MK Gilad Kariv as the chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. The acting chairperson of the Arrangements Committee, Yesh Atid MK Boaz Toporovsky, stopped the meeting when the legal adviser of the committee said that there could be no meeting of the committee at the same time that the Knesset plenum was in session.