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Abraham Accords Continue to Grow Despite Biden’s Policies

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While President Biden signed The Israel Relations Normalization Act of 2022 last month, the administration’s counter-productive actions in the Middle East, for example its pursuing of an Iran nuclear deal, not re-listing (after de-listing) the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, pursuing a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, meddling in Israeli-Palestinian property disputes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, pursuing a two-state solution, and coupling the Abraham Accords with a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict threaten to upend the Abraham Accords initiated by the Trump administration. Nonetheless, despite the administration’s negative efforts, March saw considerable growth in the Accords. A recent report by the Abraham Accords Peace Institute highlights some of those developments, discussed below.

Diplomacy

In diplomacy, in late March, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco convened in southern Israel for the Negev Summit. A week before that, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi hosted a trilateral summit with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, where they discussed Iran and cooperation on defense and energy. Israel also had its first diplomatic visit to Indonesia in 30 years, when Israeli Knesset members visited Bali’s International Parliamentary Union. [As stated previously, the Trump administration was on the verge of expanding the Abraham Accords to Indonesiabut were prevented from doing so once the administration’s term expired.] Singapore stated its intentions to open an embassy in Tel Aviv, following over 50 years of diplomatic relations with Israel. Israel also appointed its consul in Morocco.

Trade and Innovation

In trade and innovation, April began with the signing of a free trade agreement between Israel and the UAE, including customs, e-commerce, government procurement, and intellectual property rights. But there were many developments in trade and innovation in the month of March as well.

For example, Morocco hosted its first Israeli business delegation, featuring the Israel Manufacturers Association and the Israel Export Institute. Tel Aviv hosted the inaugural Morocco-Israel Business Forum.

The joint Israeli-Emirati venture capital fund Synaptech Capital launched, and it will focus on cyber-security, fintech, and smart city technologies, including others. Israeli VC firm OurCrowd also stated that it will open an AI R&D center in Abu Dhabi by June. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce hosted the “Dubai-Israel: Future Horizons Mission” forum featuring 200 meetings between Israeli and Emirati companies, while Israeli business leaders visited the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

And in energy, Israel Electric Corp and UAE’s Energroup agreed to join forces on blue and green hydrogen generation in Israel.

Aviation

In aviation, Morocco’s National Tourist Office and Israir established Tel Aviv to Marrakech flights twice a week, Royal Air Moroc began Tel Aviv-Casablanca direct flights and Royal Air Moroc and El Al Airlines established a codeshare agreement. Emirates Airlines also stated that it would begin its Dubai-Tel Aviv flights on June 23. These had been delayed due to COVID.  Israir will also begin Tel Aviv-Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt flights in April. Morocco and the Israel Aerospace Industries also signed an MOU in the field of aeronautics, including cooperation on 3D printing, cabin interiors, engine parts, and an engineering center.

Defense

In defense, senior Israeli and Moroccan defense officials signed an MOU for enhanced military cooperation.  The IDF’s chief of staff travelled to Bahrain to meet with top military brass in his first official visit. Kosovo’s defense minister also visited Israel to meet with Israel’s intelligence minister and to attend a cyber, defense and homeland security exhibition.

Cultural Exchange

Lots of progress was made in the field of cultural exchange this month as well. In Morocco, Casablanca and Rabat hosted concerts with Muslim-Jewish Andalusian music that included Israeli artists. The Moroccan city of Tangiers hosted the “Jewish Days of Tangiers” event which featured a tour of Jewish historical sites in the city and a concert featuring Jewish Andalusian music. Cultural ministers from Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco agreed to cooperate on cultural initiatives. Dubai hosted the first Trilateral Religious Coexistence Working Group which included Israel, the UAE and the United States. A library at the University of Haifa signed an academic cooperation agreement with the UAE’s National Library and Archives. This followed a visit of a delegation from the UAE’s National Archives to the National Library of Israel earlier that month.

Tourism

In tourism, Azerbaijan and Israel signed a tourism agreement, and Azerbaijan opened a tourism office in Israel. Morocco and Israel held a joint webinar called the Morocco Israel Investment Tourism Summit. Israel and the UAE also signed an MOU to recognize the driver’s licenses of each other’s country.

While the Abraham Accords continued to grow considerably last month, they continue to be at considerable risk from a host of Biden administration policies. By continuing to appease Iran and the Palestinians, the Biden administration risks estranging Israel and aligned Arab states from the United States, and from each other. Only by standing firm against Iran and Palestinian nationalism can the Biden administration truly strengthen the Abraham Accords.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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1 Comment

  1. Stephane

    May 2, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    What PRESIDENT TRUMP started made so much sense in the eyes of the world leaders, that they ,ON THEIR OWN, are duplicating, amplifying, and making it more powerful day after day. Against the wishes of the saves under biden the senile fool!
    The world realized that PRESIDENT TRUMP was building the USA back to a position of strength above all the petty disturbances of the less than intelligent DEMON RATS with a global agenda and the likes of the TRAITORS like obama, biden, soros and the other socialist/communist imbeciles who plan a NWO!

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China

REPORT: China uses psychiatric institutions to suppress dissent

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China has a vast network of psychiatric institutions that it uses to suppress dissent, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. The report compiled data found on 99 victims involved in 144 instances on involuntary hospitalizations in 109 institutions from 2015 through 2021. Of the 99 victims in the report, 80 were petitioners [i.e., those who file complaints against officials] and 14 were activists.

But this is hardly a new phenomenon. “China’s regime has been torturing, maiming, and killing dissidents and others in psychiatric facilities for seven decades,” said Gordon G. Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China and The Great U.S.-China Tech War. “The only way to end the horrific abuse is to end the rule of the Communist Party.”

The report detailed especially harsh treatments, which include: forced medication (in 77 percent of cases), physical restraints on the bed (60 percent), beatings by staff or other patients (25 percent) and electroshock therapy (14 percent). Otherwise normally healthy people were given anti-psychotic and psychotropic medications, causing severe side effects like memory loss, insomnia and tremors. Electroshock therapy was often administered to the victims as they were fully conscious, rather than under anesthesia in small doses as would be clinically appropriate for certain patients.  According to the report, “[Electroshock therapy] without anesthesia is not only unimaginably painful and frightening for the patient but carries serious side effects, including the risk of bone fractures, joint dislocation, muscle tears, disruption of the heart beat and lung damage.”

Family and friends are often used as weapons against the victims. They were not permitted to call or visit the victims in 76 percent of cases, which essentially makes these cases “enforced disappearances.” 11 percent of cases were committed with the assistance of family (either voluntarily or coerced by authorities). Family and friends who petition for the victim’s release are often faced with persecution, and involuntarily commitment themselves.

The peak of psychiatric detentions occurred from 2015 through 2016, which was around the same time as China’s “709 Crackdown” where the government persecuted hundreds of human rights lawyers.

Some of the detentions are rather draconian. As a petitioner who called for local authorities to investigate a robbery in his house, Zeng Jiping was detained for almost two years. For “live tweeting herself splashing paint over a portrait of Xi Jinping,” Dong Yaoqiong received 1 year, 4 months detention. Twenty-nine out of the 99 victims in the report were hospitalized more than once. In two-thirds of cases where data was known, the authorities did not perform a psychiatric evaluation, in direct violation of China’s Mental Health Law.

The report also gives the example of Andy Li, a member of the “Hong Kong 12” pro-democracy protestors, as falling victim to involuntary detention in Hong Kong’ Siu Lam Psychiatric Center in 2021. The report noted that, as Li’s family didn’t know about his detention, “Li’s cases appears to be a worrying sign that the political abuse of psychiatry practiced on the mainland is now being exported into Hong Kong…”

Those who are finally released from their involuntary committals face lasting physical and phycological pain, and stigma within their communities. People seeking damages for their treatment are often faced with doctors and attorneys who do not want to assist them for fear of retaliation from the government.

Conclusion

According to the report, China is using “peace and health asylums” and other healthcare institutions to “punish and remove activists and petitioners from society without the trouble of going through a trial.” While the report details various Chinese laws that are supposed to protect citizens from such involuntary hospitalizations, in reality Chinese authorities do not abide by these laws and the citizens are not protected. The policy of involuntary hospitalizations show the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party will go to suppress dissent.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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