Two-state solution, Mideast peace at stake in US election: Activists

Two-state solution, Mideast peace at stake in US election: Activists
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colo., February 20, 2020, and Joe Biden at a rally in Los Angeles, Calif., March 3, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 08 October 2020

Two-state solution, Mideast peace at stake in US election: Activists

Two-state solution, Mideast peace at stake in US election: Activists
  • Ed Gabriel said Biden is “the last chance” for the two-state solution, and for giving Palestinians a stronger negotiating footing with Israel
  • Dalia Al-Aqidi questioned the failures of past Democratic administrations to deliver on their promises of peace, while Trump has delivered results

CHICAGO: The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Middle East peace in general, are at stake for Arab Americans in the Nov. 3 election battle between US President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, activists for each side argued on Wednesday.

Ed Gabriel, former US ambassador to Morocco and a spokesman for the organization Arabs for Biden, and Republican activist and Trump supporter Dalia Al-Aqidi were both guests on “The Ray Hanania Show,” broadcast in Detroit on the US Arab Radio Network.

They said Arab Americans will help define which way the US moves forward in the Middle East.

 

 

Gabriel said Biden is “the last chance” for the two-state solution, and for giving Palestinians a stronger negotiating footing with Israel.

“We’re hanging by a thread on a two-state solution,” Gabriel said during the live radio show, which is sponsored by Arab News. “I think he can get us there because of the trust and confidence he has. One thing I learned in diplomacy: If you don’t have the trust and confidence of both sides, you’re in trouble … Joe has got that.”

Watch: The Ray Hanania Show with guests Ed Gabriel and Dalia Al-Aqidi.

Gabriel said in such matters, Biden is “very close in personality and approach” to former President Bill Clinton. “Biden has balance, he’s trusted by both sides and he can bring them together,” Gabriel added.

 

 

Noting that American Arabs and Muslims tend to be conservative socially and politically, Al-Aqidi questioned the failures of past Democratic administrations to deliver on their promises of peace, while Trump has delivered results.

“We just witnessed the most important two deals between two Middle Eastern countries (the UAE and Bahrain) and Israel … More to come,” she said.

“It’s one of the best things to have happened to the Middle East in 40 years. This is step one to a more peaceful region.”

Al-Aqidi said Arab Americans can play a role in supporting policies that keep threats from extremists such as Hezbollah and Iran in check.

“Let us not forget that in the Middle East, there’s a huge threat from the Iranian regime and from Turkey as well,” she added.

“It’s the right time now for people in the Middle East to live in peace. That’s what President Trump did, which many presidents failed in this aspect.”

 

 

Gabriel said a Biden administration would be “tough” on Iran and Hezbollah. “We’re going to go beyond a nuclear deal with Iran to look at missile technology and their proxies in the region that foment terrorism,” he added.

“But … this is America. We don’t lead with our guns. We should be leading with our values. Joe Biden leads with his values. As Joe would say, inshallah.”

Gabriel criticized Trump for ostracizing not only the Palestinians during his Middle East peace efforts, but also American Arabs and Muslims.

Biden “produced a six-page Arab-American policy paper which you can go online and read — six pages of how this future administration would deal with Arab Americans on domestic and foreign policies,” Gabriel said.

 

 

“We have dozens of meetings every month with all kinds of sub-groups of the Arab-American population. We’re listening and we’re changing. We’re always one email away from Joe Biden … It comes from his heart,” he added.

“Last week in the (presidential) debate, he looked at Trump in the eyes, and when Trump gave one of his comments Joe said ‘inshallah.’ And Joe said that for a reason … He has been across the table from Arab leaders … He has a warmth about him that’s very Arab.”

The broadcast is available on the Arab News Facebook page, where the interviews were streamed live.


Lebanon approves law to import vaccines as coronavirus hits new record

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)
Updated 26 min 17 sec ago

Lebanon approves law to import vaccines as coronavirus hits new record

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a legislative session, as Lebanon's parliament approved a law that paves the way for the government to ink deals for coronavirus vaccinations, at UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon January 15, 2021. (Reuters)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved a draft law allowing imports of coronavirus vaccines as the tiny nation hit a new record in case numbers Friday and more hospitals reported they were at full capacity.
The new daily toll of 6,154 cases and 44 deaths came on the second day of a nationwide 11-day curfew that the government and doctors hope will reign in the dramatic surge of the virus.
Lebanon, a country of about 6 million people, has witnessed a sharp increase of cases in recent weeks, after some 80,000 expatriates flew in to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
During the holiday season, restrictions were eased to encourage spending by expatriates amid a suffocating economic and financial crisis, the worst in Lebanon’s modern history.
On Friday, the American University Medical Center, one of Lebanon’s largest and most prestigious hospitals, said in a statement that its health care workers were overwhelmed. The hospital’s ICUs and regular coronavirus units have reached full capacity and so did the emergency room, it said.
“We are unable to find beds for even the most critical patients,” the hospital said, urging people in Lebanon to help by taking extreme precautionary measures to “overcome the catastrophe we are facing.”
Mazen El-Sayed, an associated professor in the department of emergency medicine, described the situation as “tragic,” anticipating that the next two weeks would be even more dire.
In southern Lebanon, the Ragheb Harb Hospital also said that its COVID-19 units were now. “We are working beyond our capacity. The situation is very dangerous,” the hospital said in a statement.
The curfew, which began Thursday, is the strictest measure Lebanon has taken since the start of the pandemic. But many have expressed concern the measures have come too late — many hospitals have already reached maximum capacity for coronavirus patients, some have run out of beds, oxygen tanks and ventilators while others have halted elective surgeries.
Lebanon was able to contain the virus in its early stages but the numbers started climbing after measures were eased in early July and following the massive deadly blast at Beirut’s port in August.
Following bureaucratic delays, the country now is putting hopes on vaccines that are expected to start arriving next month.
Parliament’s approval opens the way for imports of vaccines from around the world, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan, who is hospitalized with the coronavirus, had said that once the draft law is approved, the first deliveries of vaccines should start arriving in February.
Lebanon has reserved 2.7 million doses of vaccines from multiple international companies and 2.1 million to be provided by Pfizer, Diab’s office says.
Lebanon has registered nearly 243,000 coronavirus cases and some 1,825 confirmed deaths.