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    Middle East Tag

    The Palestinians are "deeply pained" to witness the flight carrying the first official Israeli delegation to the United Arab Emirates following the last month's historic peace agreement brokered by President Donald Trump, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said. "It pains us to see an Israeli plane land in the United Arab Emirates," he complained, as the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the UAE landed at the Abu Dhabi airport on Monday.

    Iran is "scaling back" on terrorist activities in the Middle East due to coronavirus outbreak, the Israel Defense Forces indicated on Monday. "There are countries who have gotten it way worse than us with this corona[virus] story, and as a result their activities are at a slower pace," IDF Spokesman Hidai Zilberman told reporters without naming Iran.

    Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, Palestinian leadership has decided to thwart U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan by inciting mass protests, media reports suggest. "Palestinian officials warned over the weekend that US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace, which is expected to be announced on Tuesday, would spark a new wave of mass protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," the Jerusalem Post reported.

    Israel is heading for a third election in eleven months after repeated rounds of negotiations failed to yield a coalition government. In consecutive elections, which took place in April and September, neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party nor the opposition Blue and White alliance managed to secure a majority in a 120-seat Knesset, Israel's parliament.

    The climate cult group known as Extinction Rebellion is now taking its city-shutdown antics to the Middle East.
    Off-shoots of the group that advocates peaceful protest as a way to pile on pressure to curb global warming are sprouting from Beirut to Doha, as activists in the oil-rich region want governments to ditch fossil fuels for renewable energy sources.

    Top Palestinian business leaders are following the lead of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and refusing to attend next month's economic workshop in Bahrain, The New York Times reported Monday. The report noted the objections of several prominent Palestinian businessmen. Their primary complaint echoed that of the PA: economic incentives cannot replace the necessary political elements of the peace process, the ending of the Israeli occupation.

    Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman sat down with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times and offered up some very choice words for Iran's leader:
    Iran’s “supreme leader is the new Hitler of the Middle East,” said M.B.S. “But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East.” What matters most, though, is what Saudi Arabia does at home to build its strength and economy.

    In what amounts to a significant policy shift, Indian public sector companies are bidding for Israeli offshore oil and gas fields. A consortium led by India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is seeking drilling rights in 24 offshore blocks in Israel’s Mediterranean waters, Indian and Israeli newspapers reported on Wednesday. Last month, India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan indicated his country's intention to bid for Israeli oil-and-gas blocks. According to Israeli media reports, a high-ranking Indian delegation visited Israel in September "to discuss taking part in the tender for blocks in the Mediterranean Sea and Israeli officials said they were pleased with the visit."
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