Israel and a UN Resolution on Settlements
Politico and other news outlets are reporting that the US avoided having to veto a resolution at the UN Security Council that would have condemned Israel for settlements expansion in the West Bank. Israel’s current government recently reaffirmed its plans to expand settlements.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was apparently sponsoring the resolution, which would have not only condemned Israel, but required the halting of settlement expansion plans. News reports indicate, however, that the US brokered an agreement between the UAE and Israel to agree to a six-month freeze in unilateral action on settlements, and also that the Security Council will consider a watered down resolution on this matter that is not legally-binding.
The hope of the US is that it can help negotiate a broader agreement between Palestinians and Israel’s government on future settlements, while at the same time avoiding confrontation in the Security Council on this matter. The US is seeking to maintain UAE support against Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Maritime Agreement with Lebanon on Gas Drilling
Israel and Lebanon finalized its agreement (October 28) addressing maritime access issues to offshore gas fields. Under the agreement, boundary lines were clarified so that Israel will have secured access to the Karish field while Lebanon will have the ability to securely access to the Qana field.
Israel already has substantial drilling operations in the Mediterranean Sea, while Lebanon currently does not. Lebanon will share some portion of drilling profits with Israel in the Qana field, as a portion of the field is in Israeli territory.
The countries had been disputing the ownership boundary of the Karish field, which undermined the ability of Israel to start gas drilling operations given potential security risks, though they had promised such operations would begin irrespective of the dispute.
Funding for Missile Defense
The House FY 2023 Defense appropriations bill proposes $200 million to “fully support” Israeli cooperative procurement programs that includes Iron Dome, David's Sling, and Arrow 3, the same level of authority provided in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act for these programs. The proposed House bill also includes $300 million for the Israeli cooperative research and development programs. A Senate version of FY 2023 Defense appropriations is currently under development.
Final FY 2022 Federal appropriations provided $1 billion for Iron Dome, as well as "full funding" of the U.S.-Israel security assistance agreement.
Iraq Vote to Criminalize Relations with Israel
The Iraqi parliament passed (May 26, 2022) legislation that criminalizes any form of normalized relations with Israel. The leader of this effort in parliament Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sar’s “Sairoon” parliamentary block, a group that secured the largest number of seats in last year’s Iraq parliament elections.
The legislation apparently stipulates that any Iraqi who visits Israel will be sentenced to life imprisonment, and those who establish any political, economic, or cultural relations with Israeli institutions, even through social media networks, will be sentenced to death. Language of the legislation forbids any and all communication with the "Zionist entity" and the promotion of any "Zionist or masonic" ideas, principles or behaviors, by any public or secret means, including at conferences and gatherings, in publications, or through social media.
The United States issued a statement condemning the vote and expressed strong support for Israel.
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This website of the State Department provides the base Abraham Accords declaration setting forth principles pertaining to peace and religious tolerance within the Middle East, particularly as related to Israel. The site also includes individual related nation agreements, as well as joint agreements with Israel.
Status: The original agreements were signed in 2020 between Israel/UAE and Irael/Bahrain. There are currently 4 agreements tied to the Accords.