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TOP STORIES TODAY

Israel bombs Gaza after rocket fire as UAE, Bahrain sign deals (Al Jazeera)

"The Israeli military has carried out a series of air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip overnight on Wednesday, causing damage to property, Palestinian media reported."

"On Tuesday evening, at least two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, one of which was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system, while the other struck the coastal Israeli city of Ashdod, wounding two people."

"The normalisation moves by the UAE and Bahrain with Israel prompted demonstrations in the Palestinian territories on Tuesday. Clutching Palestinian flags and wearing blue face masks for protection against the coronavirus, demonstrators rallied in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Hebron, and in Gaza. Hundreds also took part in a demonstration in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority (PA)."

US congresswoman Betty McCollum receives award for Palestinian children advocacy (Mondoweiss)

"McCollum thanked American Muslims for Palestine for the 'Champion of Palestinian Rights Award' and accepted it on behalf of 'those who stand up to support human rights for children'"

McCollum, who has challenged the pro-Israel group AIPAC amid attempts to silence her, put forward a bill shedding light on Israel's imprisonment of Palestinian children, and says the imprisonment of those children "lacks basic and fundamental guarantees of due process". The bill, introduced last year, has been sitting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has picked up 24 co-sponsors.

As US President Donald Trump on Tuesday hosted the signing ceremonies of normalisation agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE, McCollum stressed that the Palestinians should decide their future. "Repression, economic stagnation, apartheid is a system that the Palestinian people endure every day, as a struggle under Israeli military occupation," McCollum said on Tuesday.

Israel expects $500m in deals with Bahrain and UAE (The Financial Times)

"Israel expects to seal deals worth about $500m after Tuesday’s historic agreements to normalise ties with the UAE and Bahrain come into force."

"Ofir Akunis, Israel’s minister of regional co-operation, said the accords would expand into bilateral trade and investments reaching 'billions of dollars for each side'. 'The main idea here is peace to prosperity,' Mr Akunis told the Financial Times. 'We want bilateral economic relationships with the UAE and Bahrain to build a new Middle East.'"

"The Israeli ministry of regional co-operation will offer the country’s expertise in water desalination and recycling, as well as related technologies around agriculture, as a high priority for Gulf states suffering from water and food insecurity"

"Bilateral research deals between Israeli and Gulf scientists will be another focus, said Mr Akunis. On Sunday, two higher education bodies in the UAE and Israel signed an agreement to work together on artificial intelligence, the first such collaboration between research institutions."

"Mr Akunis added that any future normalisation of relations with Saudi Arabia could lay the groundwork for plans to build a railroad to integrate Israel into Middle Eastern economies. The rail network would link the port of Haifa in Israel with the UAE and Bahrain via Saudi Arabia and Jordan."

Press release: Motion passes at TUC Congress 2020 opposing Israel’s annexation plans (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)

Britain's Trade Union Congress passes a motion for the first time in its history identifying Israel as a state practising apartheid:

"Today the TUC has voted in favour of a motion put forward by Unite the Union which opposes the current Israeli government’s plans to annex up to 30% of the West Bank. The motion, which passed today, identifies annexation as “another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid” and has been welcomed by representatives of Palestinian civil society."

"Through the passing of the motion, congress resolves to “fully support and play an active role in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s actions to build a broad coalition against the proposed Israeli annexation” as well as to send a letter to the prime minister calling for sanctions on Israel until it reverses its annexation plans, ends its occupation and the siege on Gaza, and allows Palestinian refugees their legal right to return to their land."

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