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May 21, 2021 @ 5:53 am
Here is today Foreign police in short: Cease-fire in Gaza holds up after 11 days of battle, South Korean President Moon Jae-in visit the White House and the G-20 World Health Summit launches in Rome.
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It’s only 10 hours, but a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas appears to be held after 11 days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket launches in the most intense fighting between the two sides since 2014.
Welcoming the ceasefire negotiated by Egypt on Thursday, US President Joe Biden mentionned his administration “will continue our silent and relentless diplomacy” to seek peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. Biden said he would work through the United Nations to provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Gaza, with funds going through the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, which the United States considers a terrorist group. Biden also pledged to rebuild Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which has largely countered the more than 4,000 rockets launched from Gaza.
Politically speaking, the leaders of Israel and Gaza have strengthened their own status. Hamas claimed to have received insurance on stopping the impending deportations of Palestinians in East Jerusalem under the ceasefire agreement (which Israel denies), underlining their claim to be the legitimate defenders of their people unlike their rivals in the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah. Hamas will need all the political goodwill at its disposal, as its military capabilities have likely been severely degraded.
For Benjamin Netanyahu, he has bought him more time as prime minister and sabotaged the chances of his rival, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, to form a government that could have removed him. If Israel holds its fifth election in two years, Netanyahu hopes voters will reward his hard line in Gaza and return to his Likud party after flirting with right-wing alternatives in the April election.
The human toll. Abstract political victories have been paid for by very real human losses. Gaza officials mentionned 232 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombs in the past 11 days, including 65 children. Twelve people in Israel, including two children, were killed by Hamas rockets. In Gaza, roughly 91,000 Palestinians have been displaced, the majority taking refuge in schools run by the UN.
Reconstitution. The destruction of Gaza will take years to rebuild, according to Matthias Schmele, Gaza director of UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees; 16,800 homes were damaged by the bombing, of which 1,000 were completely destroyed, according to Gaza Ministry of Housing. “The biggest pity of all of this is the trauma,” Schmele said. Foreign police, adding that mental health support must be part of any future investment. “Buildings you can rebuild. But people’s lives will not be easy.
What’s next for Biden? Elise Labott writes in Foreign police that instead of starting a new peace process, the Biden administration should apply its own democratic standards to the region. For Palestinians, “the time has come for the United States to stop dancing around the misery they face under Israeli occupation,” Labott writes, suggesting that the Biden administration should focus on the struggle. for an end to the blockade of Gaza while urging reforms (and elections). for the Palestinian leadership.
Regarding Israel, Biden should apply the same human rights standards as with other allies and “must end the impunity which has allowed discriminatory policies against Palestinians and made governance more difficult.” Palestinian in the occupied territories ”. In the short term, writes Labott, “the United States should push Israel to ensure equal protection under the law for all of its citizens, including rescinding the evictions from home in Sheikh Jarrah and curbing Israeli extremists.”
What we are tracking today
Moon Jae-in at the White House. South Korean President Moon Jae-in visits the White House today, only the second world leader (after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga) to meet Biden in person since taking office. North Korea is likely to be high on the agenda, as is access to vaccines as South Korea faces a supply shortage. The trip will likely be Moon’s last visit to the White House before his one-term presidency ends next year. As S. Nathan Park writes in Foreign police the meeting could be the “right time for White House Biden to herald a new era of the 68-year alliance” and to start treating South Korea as a full partner rather than “as one of the chess pieces facing North Korea. . “
Rohani says the case is near. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that the United States agreed to lift the sanctions on its oil, maritime and banking sectors, as he told a cabinet meeting that the remaining points discussed in indirect negotiations in Vienna were “minor issues”. Factions within Iranian politics appear to be struggling ahead of the June presidential election, as an unnamed Iranian official appeared to contradict Rouhani on state television. The official said the United States would not “completely” lift the sanctions and instead would be temporarily suspended “over a long period and in several stages.” Efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program are becoming increasingly urgent as a monitoring agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency expires today.
G-20 Health Summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are expected to speak today G-20 World Health Summit, hosted by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in Rome. The meeting is expected to result in the approval of a set of principles on preventing future pandemics as well as a commitment to fund the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 ACT-Accelerator, an initiative to scale up the access to tests, vaccines and therapies. The session is also likely to see a discussion on a proposed COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property waiver, currently before the World Trade Organization.
Europe freezes the deal with China. The European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority on Thursday in favour freeze the ratification of a new investment agreement with China. The move was another blow to the blow after Beijing sanctioned 10 MEPs in retaliation for Western sanctions over the treatment of its Uyghur population in Xinjiang. “With its sanctions, China has miscalculated. They should learn from their mistakes and rethink. Due to Chinese sanctions, the Comprehensive Investment Agreement has been put in the freezer, ”said Reinhard Butikofer, one of the members sanctioned by China.
Global minimum taxes. During OECD negotiations, the Biden administration agreed to a 15% global minimum tax on large multinationals, the Financial Times reports, a reduction in its previous claim of a minimum of 21 percent. This decision would apply to the profits generated in each country, whether or not it has a physical presence in the country. The measure is fiercely opposed by countries with low corporate tax rates like Ireland, which currently has a rate of 12.5%.
Democracy in Chad. The African Union has called for a democratic transition in Chad in the next 18 months in response to a military takeover following the death of President Idriss Déby in April. The junta has already set up a transitional civilian leadership and announced in April that it would hold elections within 18 months. On Thursday, the African Union said it “categorically rejects any form of extension of the transition period.”
A driver of a Japanese bullet train faces disciplinary measures after leaving the controls unattended for a bathroom break while the train and its 160 passengers traveled at over 90 miles an hour. The driver left the cockpit for a total of three minutes as an unqualified train driver remained behind. According to Central Japan Railway, the operator of the train line, the driver was experiencing abdominal pain and wanted to avoid delaying the train by having to stop at the next station. The conductor could have gotten away with the offense had the company not noticed an extremely rare event for Japanese Shinkansen trains: he was running a minute behind schedule.