Lockdown tightens; Israel and US seek new peace deals: Israel Update
September 25, 2020
US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said on Wednesday that a peace deal between Israel and another Arab state could be imminent. In addition to Sudan—Oman and Morocco are likely candidates to sign a deal with Israel in the near future. Craft framed the current normalization effort as a counter to the Iranian regime. “Obviously, we would welcome for Saudi Arabia to be next, but what’s important is that we focus on the agreement, and we do not allow [Iran] to exploit the goodwill of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, or Israel,” Craft said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to end the de facto freeze on settler housing approvals by convening the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria. It is expected that the council’s agenda would involve the advancement or approval of plans for 5,000 settler homes. The council is under the purview of Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, but earlier this month Gantz said he had been prevented from convening the council by Netanyahu, who has the final say on settler construction. The move comes in the aftermath of a Channel 12 poll showing Netanyahu’s Likud party had dropped to 29 mandates—down from the 36 it received in the March elections.