VFI News September 1, 2020

UAE Repeals Israel Boycott Law

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced Saturday it had repealed legislation imposing a boycott of Israel after the two countries struck a US-brokered deal to normalize relations.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan issued a federal decree "abolishing the Federal Law No. 15 of 1972 regarding boycotting Israel and the penalties thereof," the official WAM news agency reported.

"It will be permissible to enter, exchange, or possess Israeli goods and products of all kinds in the UAE and trade in them."

The UAE will be the first Gulf state and only the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel—a move condemned by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as a betrayal.

As part of the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend planned annexations in Judea and Samaria, although Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly insisted the plans remained on the table.

The UAE's latest move comes ahead of the arrival of an Israeli-American delegation to Abu Dhabi on the first commercial flight from Israel on Monday. (INN / VFI News)

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. —Romans 12:18

Israel & UAE Banks Seek Partnership Amid Normalization

Israel's Bank Leumi has been negotiating a partnership with an unnamed bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a Calcalist report on Wednesday, citing Shmulik Arbel, First Executive Vice President and head of the corporate and commercial section of the bank.

The report comes amid the recent UAE-Israel normalization agreement that has opened both countries to relations in a variety of areas, from security collaboration to trade.

“We started negotiations over the past few days with one of the leading banks in Dubai, to form a partnership that would assist the clients of each of the banks,” Arbel added.

When asked about the significant business ties that can come from collaboration, Arbel told Calcalist “that in light of the current crisis, the importance of normalizing the relationship between Israel and the UAE becomes even greater," while also suggesting that the normalization agreement represents a highly important breakthrough in the regional status quo for Israel's economic interests. (JPost / VFI News)

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. —John 6:37

Ben-Gurion Airport Schedules First-Ever Commercial Flights to UAE

El Al will start offering the first direct commercial flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on Monday, August 31, according to Ben-Gurion airport's departures board.

The route is being operated by Israel's El Al, and the first flight will transport Israeli and US officials on the Boeing 737, chosen over the Dreamline 787, as the latter is not yet equipped with the Israel Aerospace Industries' Skyshield systems. As part of the security requirements, El Al was required to set up an aircraft with the protection system manufactured by IAI.

Shortly after the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel was announced last week, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that the deal included direct flights between the two countries, with the route passing through Saudi airspace.

Saudi authorities have yet to confirm this arrangement, although nor have they denied it. Unlike several other countries in the region, notably Iran and Qatar, Riyadh has not issued public criticism of the normalization agreement. (JPost / VFI News)

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. —Psalm 139:9-10

Israeli Flight to Pass Over Saudi Arabia En Route to Abu Dhabi

Saudi Arabia has permitted an El Al plane that will operate a flight to the United Arab Emirates on Monday to fly over the country's skies, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia does not yet have official relations with Israel.

A recent report stated the Saudis had agreed to allow the Israeli plane to pass over their skies due to the fact that senior American officials will be on board. Earlier this week it was reported that US President Donald Trump's son-in-law/advisor Jared Kushner would be on the first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi.

The report also stated Kushner plans to visit Israel, from where he will continue to the UAE, accompanied by a delegation of experts in Israel from various fields, including medicine, aviation and security, and a team from the White House.

Over the past few years, there have been rumors of rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, but Saudi officials have denied those reports. (INN / VFI News)

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. —Psalm 91:11

Moroccan PM Walks Back Anti-Israel Comments

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani on Tuesday appeared to walk back his comments in which he said his country would not normalize relations with Israel.

El Otmani told the French-language news site Le360 that his comments on the weekend in opposition to normalize ties with Israel were made in his capacity as leader of the Islamist PJD party, not as Prime Minister.

He added that he had just been reiterating a long-held position of his party and did not comment further on the matter. El Otmani’s comments followed the deal between the UAE and Israel to normalize ties.

Morocco and Israel announced the opening of bilateral liaison offices in 1994, but those offices were closed in 2000 due to the wave of violence known as the “Second Intifada”. Morocco supported the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) unilateral move to gain observer status at the United Nations in 2012.

Earlier this year it was reported that Israel and the US were discussing a deal that would see the US recognize Moroccan sovereignty in the Western Sahara and Morocco take steps to normalize relations with Israel. (INN / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you continue to sow peace among our current and former adversaries.”

German Intel: Iran Seeks Tech for WMDs

The domestic intelligence agency for the German state of Saarland added new weight to intelligence reports from its sister states, which previously confirmed the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought technology for weapons of mass destruction and missile carrier systems.

The intelligence report released last week was titled “Overview of the situation,” and addressed security threats faced last year by the small west-German state Saarland.

“Iran, Pakistan, and to a lesser extent Syria, made efforts to procure goods and know-how for the further development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems,” wrote the intelligence officials for the Saarland.

“Delivery system” is typically defined as the capability to launch missiles. Israel, the United States and many Gulf nations believe Iran’s regime seeks to develop nuclear weapons. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you frustrate the plans of those who would cause chaos and destruction in the world.”

IDF on High Alert Amid Fears of Hezbollah Attack

The IDF remained on high alert along the northern border with Lebanon over the weekend amid expectations that Hezbollah will continue trying to attack Israeli soldiers deployed nearby.

On Wednesday, Israeli attack helicopters and fighter jets struck posts belonging to Hezbollah along the border in response to sniper fire against IDF troops near Kibbutz Menara in the Upper Galilee.

It was the third failed attack by Hezbollah since the group’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed to avenge the death of one of his operatives, killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria in July.

The high alert continues as the UN Security Council (UNSC) decided Friday to extend the mandate of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon for another year, while slightly reducing its number of troops.

The council added several demands from the Lebanese government to allow UNIFIL to operate more efficiently due to American and Israeli efforts to strengthen the force's authority in the face of Hezbollah activity. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bless and protect your people, as they face the ongoing challenges of political unrest.”

Is Turkey Moving into Northern Lebanon?

According to a report on the pro-Saudi Al Arabiya website, officials in Lebanon are concerned at increased indications of Turkish efforts to build strength and influence in the country. The report quoted two sources in Lebanese intelligence, who mentioned recent Turkish efforts to bring weapons into northern Lebanon.

“We are pretty worried about what’s going on. The Turks are sending an incredible amount of weapons into the north,” the website quoted its source as saying.

These reports await confirmation, and Al Arabiya is of course a media source linked to Saudi Arabia—a state rival of Turkey’s. But the evidence for a broader Turkish effort to build influence and allies in Lebanon in recent months is considerable, and solid—as are the indications of a Turkish-controlled infrastructure emerging in Sunni northern Lebanon. Both fit with the broader pattern both of Turkish behavior and of broader regional realities. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you ensure that our global leaders learn from the mistakes of history—so that unjust aggression never goes unchecked.”