A historic agreement
International | The U.S.-brokered Arab-Israeli deal represents a key victory for President Trump
by Mindy Belz
Posted 8/13/20, 05:41 pm
ISRAEL and the United Arab Emirates announced they are establishing full diplomatic ties in a U.S.-brokered agreement—the first Arab country to formalize a relationship with Israel in more than 25 years. The agreement is a key victory for President Donald Trump and represents dramatic changes in the Arab world, where shared concerns about Iran have overtaken traditional support for the Palestinians.
Under the agreement announced by Trump from the Oval Office, Israel has agreed to “delay” annexations in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed will commence bilateral agreements to exchange ambassadors and open their countries to tourism and trade.
LEBANON: World Food Program head David Beasley told me he missed the birth of his first grandchild to travel to Beirut, saying he’s worried about food shortages following the Aug. 4 explosion. Without help, Beasley said Beirut could run out of bread in weeks. Here’s my recap of Beirut’s apocalyptic moment.
Parliament on Thursday approved a two-week state of emergency in Beirut that gives the Lebanese army potentially sweeping powers.
IRAQ: Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi, who took office earlier this year, called for the return of Iraqi Christians, even though most of their homes and villages have not been restored following the 2017 ouster of ISIS. “Iraq is the country for everyone, and the Christians are the original children of the country, and there is no difference between the people of the same country, as everyone is a partner in building the future of Iraq.”
CHINA: The U.S. State Department designated the Confucius Institute a foreign mission of the Chinese government operating in the United States, saying it is “advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses.” The Beijing-funded institutes operate in 142 countries, a WORLD investigation found in 2018, with curriculum and policies prohibiting religious and academic freedom. Some major schools in the United States already have closed the programs. Elsewhere in the world, the Chinese-funded programs are too good to let go.
HONG KONG: Police arrested pro-democracy publisher Jimmy Lai on charges of “colluding with foreign forces” under the new national security law. The arrest and raid on Lai’s Apple Daily’s newsroom make up the highest-profile attack on the free press in Hong Kong since the law went into effect on June 30. But the presses ran anyway, with a front page showing police arresting Lai.
PAKISTAN: Authorities arrested Christian Sohail Masih on blasphemy charges for a Facebook post on the eating of sacrificial meat during Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday. A local mosque leader reported Masih, saying he was mocking the sacrifice, which is punishable under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws. Cases this year include Tahir Naseem, a U.S. citizen who was detained upon arrival in the country due to membership in the minority Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The group is considered heretical under the Pakistani Constitution and, during his blasphemy trial in a Pakistani court, Naseem was shot and killed.
THAILAND: Students in Bangkok are borrowing from pop culture to openly protest the outsized military influence seeking to mold Thai citizens to sacrifice anything to protect the monarchy, Buddhism, and the army. The youth revolts mark the first time in Thai history that non-elite members of society have publicly criticized the monarchy.
Here’s the face of schooling in COVID-era Bangkok.
I’M READING: Dead Wake by Erik Larson. Also, no Globe Trot next week. It will return on Aug. 24.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.