UAE, Israel reach ‘historic deal’ to normalize relations

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Updated 14 August 2020

UAE, Israel reach ‘historic deal’ to normalize relations

  • Abu Dhabi Crown Prince says agreement will stop the further annexation of Palestinian land
  • Donald Trump brokered the deal and hailed it as a 'huge breakthrough'

DUBAI: The UAE and Israel have reached a historic deal that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The agreement, brokered by US President Donald Trump, means Israel has suspended plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. 

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Full text of joint statement on UAE and Israel normalizing ties

World reacts to UAE's opening diplomatic ties with Israel

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A joint statement from the UAE, Israel and the US said: "This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region."

The agreement was reached after talks between Trump, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Sheikh Mohammed said the agreement would stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory.

“During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” he said. “The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.”

Netanyahu said it was “a historic day” and that the deal would lead to a “full and formal peace” with the UAE.

“It’s an incomparably exciting moment, a historic moment for peace in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said in a televised address.

 

 

The deal means the UAE would become the third Arab country to have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

The statement said Israel would suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in Trump’s peace plan for the region and focus on expanding ties with other Arab and Muslim countries. 

It said efforts would continue to achieve an “enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates are confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible, and will work together to achieve this goal,” the statement said.

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Delegations from Israel and the UAE would meet in the coming weeks to sign agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security and telecommunications among others.

They would also discuss establishing embassies.

“Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations,” the statement said.

 

 

Palestinian officials reacted angrily to the agreement, with President Mahmoud Abbas ordering the Palestinian ambassador to the UAE to return home.

“The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the UAE, Israeli and US trilateral, surprising, announcement,” said Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

But other Arab countries welcomed the step.  

Egypt, which along with Jordan, already has full diplomatic relations with Israel, said the deal would halt Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said this would help bring “peace” to the Middle East.

 

 

“This historic step will contribute to strengthening stability and peace in the region,” Bahrain’s government said.

Speaking in the White House, Trump said similar deals were being discussed with other countries in the region. He said a signing ceremony with delegates from either side would be held in Washington in the coming weeks.

"Everybody said this would be impossible," Trump said. "After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize their diplomatic relations. They exchange embassies and ambassadors and begin cooperation across the border.”

*With Agencies


Domestic workers in Qatar pushed to 'breaking point' by overwork, abuse - Amnesty

Updated 21 October 2020

Domestic workers in Qatar pushed to 'breaking point' by overwork, abuse - Amnesty

  • Report documented instances of regular beatings suffered by 15 of the women, with 40 saying they had been slapped, spat at or had their hair pulled
  • Eighty-seven of the 105 surveyed said their passports had been confiscated by their employers, preventing them from returning home

LONDON: Female migrant workers in Qatar regularly suffer extreme abuse and are frequently overworked, according to a report published on Tuesday by Amnesty International.

The report, which surveyed the experiences of 105 female migrant domestic workers in the Gulf state, said some were forced to work excessive hours, were not paid properly, were denied food, and suffered severe physical mistreatment at the hands of employers, including sexual assault.

It documented instances of regular beatings suffered by 15 of the women, with 40 saying they had been slapped, spat at or had their hair pulled. Most were frequently insulted; one said she had been treated “like a dog” by her employer. 

Another said her employer had threatened to cut out her tongue and kill her. “I am only a (maid), I cannot do anything,” she told Amnesty.

Eighty-seven of the 105 said their passports had been confiscated by their employers, preventing them from returning home, and they were offered no protection by Qatari authorities.

Ninety of the women interviewed said they worked for over 14 hours per day, and half said 18-hour days were normal — double the standard hours stipulated in their contracts. Many had never received days off.

Five of the women surveyed by Amnesty said they have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of employers or their family members, with one adding that she had witnessed the son of her employer raping another domestic worker.

She and her colleague were offered money by the employer to keep quiet. When they went to the police instead, she said, they were accused of making the story up.

Qatar is thought to have around 173,000 migrant domestic workers and as many as 2.7 foreign workers overall, making up nearly 90 percent of the country’s population, with most coming from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Qatar has been dogged by allegations of systematic mistreatment of such workers, including denying them the right to set up unions, or to return home without their employer’s permission for years.

International focus has been drawn to the way the country has treated migrant laborers since Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Problems persist, including late or non-payment of wages, inadequate housing and exploitative behavior by employers.

Despite moves to bring in such functions as a minimum wage and the 2017 Domestic Workers Law, which ostensibly guaranteed rights on issues such as working hours, breaks, days off and holidays, most measures are not enforced and migrant domestic workers in particular have been left behind, Amnesty said.

“The women we spoke to were resilient and independent — they had left their homes and traveled halfway across the world. Instead of being isolated and silenced, these women should be given a voice so they can advocate for their rights,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty’s head of economic and social justice.

“Domestic workers told us they were working an average of 16 hours a day, every day of the week, far more than the law allows. Almost all had their passport confiscated by their employers, and others described not getting their salaries and being subjected to vicious insults and assaults,” he added.

“The overall picture is of a system which continues to allow employers to treat domestic workers not as human beings, but as possessions. Despite efforts to reform labor laws, Qatar is still failing the most vulnerable women in the country.”

A Qatari government statement said allegations raised by the report will be investigated to ensure “all guilty parties” are held to account.

“If proven to be true, the allegations made by the individuals interviewed … constitute serious violations of Qatari law and must be dealt with accordingly,” the statement added.