Israeli parliament backs UAE, Bahrain normalization deals

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, arrives at the Israeli Knesset, or Parliament in Jerusalem ahead of the discussion of the peace treaty with the UAE, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. (AP)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wears a protective face mask as he arrives to attend a vote on the approval of the normalisation deal with the UAE at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem October 15, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 15 October 2020

Israeli parliament backs UAE, Bahrain normalization deals

  • A total of 80 lawmakers voted to approve the US-brokered agreements, with 13 against, members of Israel’s United Arab List party
  • The UAE in August became the first Arab nation to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, followed after by Bahrain

JERUSALEM: Israel’s parliament voted Thursday in favor of the normalization of ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain after a marathon debate with over 100 speeches lasting more than eight hours.
A total of 80 lawmakers voted to approve the US-brokered agreements, with 13 against, members of Israel’s United Arab List party.
“This historic agreement... will bring us closer to other countries in the region to sign other peace agreements,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said Israel had contact recently with another country in the region for the first time, but did not reveal its name.
The UAE in August became the first Arab nation to establish relations with Israel since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, followed after by Bahrain.
The US-brokered deals were formalized at the White House on September 15.
The Gulf agreements were condemned by the Palestinians as a “betrayal,” and broke with years of Arab League policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The US administration is trying to broker other deals between the Jewish state and other Arab nations.


Iran reports COVID-19 death every five minutes, hospitals struggle

Updated 31 min 57 sec ago

Iran reports COVID-19 death every five minutes, hospitals struggle

  • Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls

DUBAI: Hospitals in many Iranian provinces are running out of capacity to handle COVID-19 cases, health authorities say, with novel coronavirus now killing around 300 people a day or one person every five minutes.

Authorities have complained of poor social distancing, and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said the pandemic could cause 600 daily deaths in coming weeks if Iranians failed to respect health protocols in the Middle East’s hardest-affected country.

A caption that ran on state television news said an Iranian died of novel coronavirus every five minutes, a rate that corresponds to daily death tallies reported by the authorities of just above or below 300 over the past 20 days.

Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Sunday that 32,616 people had died of the disease and the number of confirmed cases had reached 568,896.

Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls. A report by the Iranian parliament’s research center in April suggested that the coronavirus tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

The report said that Iran’s official coronavirus figures were based only on the number of deaths in hospitals and those who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.

Schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Tehran have been closed since Oct. 3. As COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to hit record levels, the closure was extended until Nov. 20, state TV reported.

Officials said “extreme measures and limitations” will be imposed in at least 43 counties across the country for one week, where the infection rates have been alarming. TV reported that 21 one of Iran’s 31 provinces were on a coronavirus red alert.

Iran has blamed US sanctions for hampering Tehran’s efforts to tackle the outbreak. Washington, accusing Iran of “incompetent and deadly governance,” has refused to lift sanctions that were reimposed after 2018 when Trump exited Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers.