AL QAEDA’S SECOND IN COMMAND KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan claimed Sunday it killed a top Al Qaeda propagandist on an FBI most-wanted list during an operation in the country’s east, showing the militant group’s continued presence there as U.S. forces work to withdraw from America’s longest-running war amid continued bloodshed.
The reported death of Husam Abd al-Rauf, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhsin al-Masri, follows weeks of violence, including a suicide bombing by the Islamic State group Saturday at an education center near Kabul that killed 24 people. Meanwhile, the Afghan government continues to fight Taliban militants even as peace talks in Qatar between the two sides take place for the first time. The violence and al-Rauf’s reported killing threatens the face-to-face peace talks and risks plunging this nation beset by decades of war into further instability. It also complicates America’s efforts to withdraw, 19 years after it led an invasion targeting the Taliban for hosting Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks. (Fox / VFI News)
SUDAN ANNOUNCES TIES WITH ISRAEL: A joint US-Israel-Sudan statement has announced that Sudan and Israel’s leaders “have agreed to the normalization of relations…and to the end the state of belligerence between their nations,” as well as economic and trade ties.
Delegations from Israel and Sudan are expected to meet in the coming weeks to negotiate cooperation agreements. Agriculture will be one of the major focuses of the new ties, as Sudan has large swaths of unused arable land and hopes Israeli agri-tech will help improve its economic situation. The statement also mentions that the delegations will discuss “migration issues,” as thousands of Sudanese migrants have moved to Israel in the past 15 years. Asked if repatriation of migrants, which Netanyahu has sought over the past decade, was on the table, an Israeli official said “the issue is still ahead of us.” Sudanese nationals illegally entering Israel could not be deported previously because of the humanitarian situation in their country and because Israel did not have ties with Sudan. (JPost / VFI News)
ISRAEL TO SEND $5 MILLION OF WHEAT TO SUDAN: Israel will send $5 million worth of wheat to Sudan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office said Sunday, just days after an announcement that the two countries have agreed to normalize relations.
“We are looking forward to a warm peace and are sending $5 million worth of wheat immediately to our new friends in Sudan,” Netanyahu’s office said on Twitter. Sudan has embarked on a rocky transition under a joint civilian-military administration since the April 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir, but it has struggled with severe economic woes, including a sharp depreciation of the Sudanese pound and skyrocketing consumer prices. A tripling of the bread price late in 2018 was the initial trigger for street protests against Bashir that led to his ouster. The northeast African country consumes two million tons of wheat annually, according to official figures, relying heavily on imports. (INN / VFI News)
PALESTINIANS CONDEMN ISRAEL-SUDAN ACCORD: The Palestinian Authority said on Friday that it “condemns and rejects” the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel.
A statement by the PA presidency in Ramallah said that normalization with Israel violates the Arab summit resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The statement was published hours after the announcement that Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalize their relations. Previous statements by the PA condemned the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for agreeing to establish relations with Israel, drawing sharp criticism from the two Gulf states. Friday’s statement by the PA, however, did not accuse Sudan of betraying the Palestinians or stabbing the Palestinian people in the back, as was the case with the UAE and Bahrain. (JPost / VFI News)
ALBANIA TO HOST FIRST-EVER BALKANS FORUM AGAINST ANTISEMITISM: The Albania parliament announced it would host the first-ever Balkans Forum Against Antisemitism, bringing officials and lawmakers from the region and beyond together to make a unified front to fight antisemitism.
Taking place online on October 28 at 4:00 p.m. CET (11:00 a.m. EST), the event will include a wide range of notable figures from across the world. Speaking ahead of the landmark event, Combat Antisemitism Movement director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa said that: “There is simply no place for antisemitism, racism or hatred in modern, open and decent societies. The Balkans Forum Against Antisemitism is designed to establish clear steps which will help make this a reality across the region.” The announcement comes days after Albania officially adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, becoming the first Muslim-majority nation to do so. (JPost / VFI News)
SURVEY: 83% OF ISRAELIS EXPECTING 3RD COVID-19 CLOSURE: The vast majority (83%) of Israelis are convinced that the country is on its way to a third coronavirus lockdown, according to a new survey published over the weekend.
The survey found that the majority of Israelis (56%) said they do not trust the government’s handling of the pandemic. A similar number (55%) said that the government’s efforts were “less good” than in most other countries around the world. As a result, 56% of Israelis say they are living with stress and anxiety. The survey found that most worrying for Israelis is expected economic damage (32%) – less than one-third of the public (31%) has continued to work as before the pandemic. Everyone else was either laid off (9%), sent on furlough (17%), or has started working mostly from home (21%). Some 28% of Israelis say getting sick with the virus is their top worry, although two-thirds said they were afraid of getting sick in general. A quarter of Israelis personally know someone who died from the disease. (JPost /VFI News)
BAHRAIN TO COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM, ANTI-ZIONISM: Elan Carr, the United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, signed a historic agreement with Bahrain’s ‘King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence’. The agreement aims at fighting Antisemitism together “in the Middle East and beyond.”
Carr noted on Twitter that Bahrain is the first state ever in the Arab world to agree to combat what the agreement defined as “all forms of anti-Semitism”, including anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tweeted: “Thank you to His Majesty King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and The King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence for signing an agreement on combatting anti-Semitism with the U.S. Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.” “We’re proud to have a strong partner in Bahrain as we aim to eradicate anti-Semitism and promote peace,” Pompeo concluded. (INN / VFI News)
U OF ILLINOIS STUDENTS FACED ANTISEMITIC HARASSMENT: A complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleges that Jewish students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign “faced an unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment.”
A Friday statement announcing the complaint said that Jewish and pro-Israel students in the past five years “have been subjected to an alarming increase in anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism” and that the university did not take adequate action. The complaint was prepared by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP on behalf of Jewish students at the university. It was done in consultation with the Jewish United Fund, and Hillel International. A summary of the complaint, originally filed in March, detailed a number of incidents where swastikas were found on campus and Jewish buildings and ritual items were vandalized. It also included events that displayed virulent anti-Israel rhetoric, which it said made campus inhospitable for Jewish and pro-Israel students. (INN / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff