(JTA) — Saudi Arabia has taken significant steps this week toward better relations with two countries that see each other as sworn enemies: Israel and Iran.
On Thursday, the kingdom set terms for what it would need from the United States as a price for normalizing relations with Israel: a security agreement of some kind with the United States, a civilian nuclear program and decreased restrictions on U.S. arms sales.
Then, on Friday, Saudi officials signed an agreement with Iran, brokered by China in Beijing, that restores diplomatic ties between the two countries. Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional rivals that have competed for influence across the Middle East, and that have taken opposing sides in Yemen’s long-running civil war. The two states ceased diplomatic relations in 2016. Now, they have pledged to reopen embassies in each other’s countries within two months.
The two developments have created a complex picture for Israel, whose prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly sought a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia. Establishing full relations with Saudi Arabia would add the powerful country to the list of Arab states that have signed normalization deals with Israel in recent years under a framework called the Abraham Accords.
The Biden administration has also said it would like to add more Arab countries to the accords. If Saudi Arabia and Israel did establish full ties, it would be a milestone in Arab-Israeli relations, which have historically been hostile.
Part of Israel’s rationale for normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia is that the relationship would allow the two countries to better confront Iran’s ambitions, including its nuclear program. But Saudi Arabia’s public thaw in relations with Iran complicates that picture. Included in the reestablishment of Saudi-Iranian ties is the revival of a security cooperation pact, according to The New York Times.
Saudi Arabia’s publicizing a list of demands in exchange for normalization with Israel isn’t its first foray into trying to facilitate a diplomatic agreement with the state, whose nearest border is only about 150 miles from Saudi Arabia’s border with Jordan. More than two decades ago, a Saudi-led peace plan promised full relations between Israel and the Arab world in exchange for full Israeli withdrawal from all territories it captured in the 1967 Six Day War, the establishment of a Palestinian state and “a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.” Israel has not viewed the proposal as a basis for negotiations, and Saudi Arabia has previously said it wouldn’t establish full ties with Israel before a Palestinian state is established.
Netanyahu does not appear to have commented directly on either the Saudi list of demands or the kingdom’s restored relations with Iran. But in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica yesterday, published before the Saudi terms were announced, Netanyahu said Arab states “can see we share a strategic interest” and added that “they see our technology and innovation and understand the opportunity it represents for the entire region.”
“Riyadh has released many statements,” he added, referring to a Saudi commitment not to normalize relations with Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state. “But naturally I believe that the peace agreement between us and the Saudis will lead to an agreement with the Palestinians, provided they agree to recognize the existence of Israel.”
On Friday, the Israeli news website Walla quoted an “Israeli official” who spoke about the Saudi-Iran agreement to the reporters accompanying Netanyahu on a visit to Italy. The anonymous official blamed the agreement on the “weakness” of the United States and the previous Israeli government.
“There was a feeling of American and Israeli weakness, and so Saudi Arabia turned to different horizons,” the official said, according to Walla. “It was clear where they were going.”
Yair Lapid, Netanyahu’s immediate predecessor and the leader of Israel’s parliamentary opposition, criticized Netanyahu over the Saudi-Iran agreement.
“The agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a total and dangerous failure of the foreign policy of the Israeli government,” he tweeted. “It’s a collapse of the regional wall of defense that we began to build against Iran.”
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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