“For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.”

Psalm 92:4 NIV

This is a historic week and cause for great rejoicing over what our God has done! Not just one, but two Arab countries signed normalization agreements, called the “Abraham Accords,” with Israel during a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday – the first such agreements in more than 25 years!

In addition, when the Arab League met last week, the members chose to side with peace over supporting the Palestinian Authority (PA) in their condemnation of the peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). And one of the most prominent Arab League members, Saudi Arabia, opened up its airspace for all eastward travel from Israel – not just travel to the UAE.

Unfortunately, not all the news concerning Israel is good. Both Israel and the PA are seeing record-levels of coronavirus infections. But unlike the cooperation seen earlier in the pandemic, the PA is not working with Israel to obtain permits for Gazans needing to receive medical treatment at hospitals in Israel. A solution seems to be in the works with the help of the United Nations and World Health Organization.

Here are the news stories with more detailed information about what I’ve shared so together we can both praise God for the good news and pray about the needs.

Netanyahu travels to Washington to sign historic peace deals with UAE and Bahrain

A ceremony took place on Tuesday at the White House for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sign declarations of normalization and peace with the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain.

Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Salman al-Khalifa and Netanyahu “agreed to the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

Netanyahu said, “This is a new era of peace. Peace in exchange for peace. Economy in exchange for economy. We have invested in peace for many years and now peace will invest in us. It will lead to very large investments in the Israeli economy, which is very important.”

The UAE and Bahrain will be Israel’s third and fourth Arab peace partners, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Palestinian political factions, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah and the Hamas terror group, vehemently oppose the normalization agreements. “The normalization agreements between Bahrain, the UAE, and the Zionist entity are not worth the paper they were written on,” a spokesman for the Hamas terror group that rules the Strip said. “Our people insists on continuing its struggle until it secures the return of all its rights.”

While the historic signing of the Abraham Accords were taking place at the White House, sirens sounded in southern Israel as rockets were fired out of Gaza, seemingly underlining Palestinian opposition to the accords, which they see as a “betrayal” of decades of Arab policy that isolated Israel in the absence of a Palestinian state.

Arab League rejects Palestinian resolution to condemn Israel-UAE peace deal

Even though Palestinian leaders won renewed support from Saudi Arabia for Palestinian statehood last week, they failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn the normalization deal between Israel and the UAE.

“Discussions regarding this point were serious. It was comprehensive and took some time. But it did not lead in the end to agreement about the draft communique that was proposed by the Palestinian side,” Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki told reporters, according to Haaretz.com, the online edition of Haaretz newspaper.

Most Arab states stopped paying dues towards Palestinian budget

Prior to last week’s 154th meeting of foreign ministers of Arab League member states, Saeb Erekat, Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee revealed that most Arab countries have stopped paying their dues towards the Palestinian budget.

This was reported by Al-Khaleej Online, an English-language newspaper published in Dubai, UAE, according to the Middle East Monitor, a not-for-profit press monitoring organization.

Saudi Arabia agrees to open airspace to Israel for all eastward travel

Last week, Saudi Arabia agreed to allow all eastbound flights from Israel to use its airspace.

“They agreed to open their airspace not just to flights from Israel to the UAE and back, but to all eastward travel,” Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said, adding that all Israel flights that ask for airspace permission will be granted it.

“That will save people a lot of time. That knocks down a barrier that's been up for 72 years.”

Israel to enter 3-week lockdown starting Friday due to resurgence of coronavirus cases

As new COVID-19 cases run as high as 4,000 a day, the Israeli government approved a 3-week nationwide lockdown over the upcoming Jewish holidays in an effort to contain the outbreak.

The lockdown begins at 2pm on Friday, just hours before the start of Rosh Hashanah and lasts through Simchat Torah on October 9.

Netanyahu said Israelis will be limited from traveling more than 50 meters (54 yards) from their home except for essential needs like food and medicine. Gatherings are allowed only up to 10 people inside, 20 people outside.

Schools will be closed starting Friday. Supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential businesses will be allowed to remain open. Restaurants will be closed except for delivery. Retail, tourist sites and other leisure activities will be closed. The airport will remain open.

Netanyahu acknowledged the “high price” for the public and the economy, caused by the lockdown measures, but said there was no choice, according to The Times of Israel.

New coronavirus cases increase in Gaza Strip

On Sunday the Gaza Strip recorded 100 new cases of COVID-19. The number of people infected with the virus in the Palestinian territory has increased 15-fold in nearly three weeks, according to YNet News.

The number of people in the Gaza Strip with COVID-19 outside quarantine centers is now 1,588, as reported by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. Hamas health officials say Gaza’s health infrastructure will not be able to treat more than 2,000 active cases.

UN steps in to handle medical transfers to allow Palestinian patients to receive needed treatment in Israel

The United Nations said it reached a temporary arrangement in which the World Health Organization will coordinate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to make sure Gazans who need medical treatment in Israel and West Bank hospitals can receive exit permits.

In late May, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the PA was absolved of all agreements and understandings with Israel. This was in response to Netanyahu announcing his desire to move forward with annexation in the West Bank. Since that time, the PA has largely ceased coordinating with Israel to issue permits to Gazans.

Apparently, this plan with the UN was initially announced in July but was stalled due to the PA not accepting the deal, according to The Times of Israel.

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Let us pray together

Please join me in praising God for the historic peace agreements and also pray with me for:

  • Additional Arab countries to seek peace with Israel, just as the UAE and Bahrain have done

  • The 3-week nationwide lockdown to decrease the number of coronavirus cases in Israel
  • Palestinian patients in need of medical care in Israel and the West Bank to be able to get needed permits and treatment
  • Jewish people to recognize it is their Messiah Jesus who is ultimately responsible for any peace in the Middle East and put their trust in Him

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