The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has introduced a series of new stresses and factors in the US-China relationship. While the world has struggled to contain the pandemic and its tragic repercussions, the People’s Republic of China has used the outbreak to launch a global campaign of misinformation, further its economic coercion through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue military expansion efforts in the South China Sea.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas reacted to the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the swearing-in of the new government regarding the intention to annex territory in the West Bank with a declaration of disengagement from all agreements between the PLO and Israel and the United States, including the Oslo Accords and other subsequent agreements.
The current economic crisis in the Gulf states stems from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on both the local and global economies, including the sharp drop in oil prices.
The US administration, considers the appointment of Iraqi National Intelligence Service head Mustafa al-Kadhimi as Prime Minister of Iraq as an opportunity to reinforce the US hold in Iraq and counter Iran’s efforts to consolidate its influence there.
The Chinese global “donation drive” in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis has sparked criticism of Beijing in the international arena. United States and international elements claim that China is using “mask diplomacy” intentionally, to leverage its contributions for political purposes. Indeed, it appears that both Chinese corporations and the Chinese government are exploiting the opportunity created by the pandemic with shipments of donated aid, partly as a way of posing an alternative to the United States as a global leader.
The IDF withdrawal from Lebanon 20 years ago and the renewed deployment along the UN-recognized international border was a unilateral move by Israel, welcomed by the international community.
Turkey-Israel relations began to deteriorate before the flotilla incident on May 31, 2010, but this unprecedented event in the bilateral relationship significantly accelerated the decline. To be sure, the poor relations between the countries and the lack of high-level diplomatic relations in the past two years cannot be pinned only on the ramifications of the incident. Nonetheless, the ramifications of the seizure of the Marmara, the largest boat in the flotilla, remain prominent among the causes of the current deep suspicion between Ankara and Jerusalem. In recent weeks, there have been articles, mainly in the Turkish press, regarding attempts to thaw relations. It is doubtful whether these articles have a strong basis, but in any case, Ankara will likely respond harshly if there is any Israeli move toward annexing parts of the West Bank. The benefits of any effort to improve the relationship with Turkey would therefore be negligible and short-lived.
Hezbollah’s military capabilities, which have been built up over recent decades with the help of Iran, are the leading conventional threat facing Israel. Since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the organization’s capabilities have strengthened both quantitatively and qualitatively, and its rocket and missile arsenal has increased more than ten-fold.
This article highlights the need for the Palestinian leadership to make a counterproposal or present the reasons why it objects to President Trump’s peace vision, which was unveiled in January 2020. Even the most vehement Palestinian rejection of the plan may not stop the implementation of certain aspects of the vision – such as the possible annexation of the Jordan Valley, all Israeli settlements, and other parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the Palestinians, represented by the Palestinian Authority, to come forth with a proposal of their own regarding an acceptable peace agreement with Israel. Indeed, Palestinians can no longer afford to continue waging a “holy” war against President Trump. In fact, President Trump can be an invaluable ally for the Palestinians if he is approached differently and treated properly.
Not even a pandemic seems to be slowing down the world’s tech giants. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google may emerge as the winners of the COVID-19 crisis, but at what cost to our societies and democracies?