by WorldTribune Staff, August 13, 2020
U.S. President Donald Trump brokered a historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations, the White House announced on Thursday.
The agreement was sealed in a phone call on Thursday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
Under the agreement, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it has been discussing annexing, senior White House officials told Reuters.
Trump said, “This deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure and prosperous Middle East. Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead …. and normalize relations with Israel.”
“We are already discussing this with other nations, very powerful, very good nations that want to see peace in the Middle East so you will probably see others of these,” Trump added. “Things are happening that I can’t talk about, but they’re extremely positive.”
Brian Hook, the U.S. State Department’s lead official on Iran, said the agreement amounted to a “nightmare” for Iran in its efforts against Israel in the region.
Michael Singh, Managing Director at the Washington Institute, noted in a tweet that “At least some credit for the Israel-UAE breakthrough should go to Iran, which through its policies in the region has done more to bring U.S. allies together than anyone else.”
Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, tweeted: “A major diplomatic development. The UAE recognizes that Iran–not Israel–is the threat to regional peace and security. What say you Saudi Arabia?”
Tim Murtaugh, Director of Communications for Trump’s re-election campaign, tweeted: “Just yesterday Joe Biden claimed we’ve alienated our allies. Today @realDonaldTrump brokered a peace agreement between Israel & the UAE. Truly historic news. POTUS stands by our allies while Biden sent cash to Iran & imperiled Israel with Iran nuclear deal. Quite a contrast.”
A joint statement issued by the three nations said the three leaders had “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”
Netanyahu, in his first comment on the deal, tweeted that it is “a historic day for the state of Israel.”
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince tweeted that the agreement had been reached and that it would halt further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.
“During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship,” he said.
The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency acknowledged the deal, framing it as not just a move that helps the UAE and Israel, but one that also carries benefits for the Palestinians. Top Emirati official Anwar Gargash said the move dealt a “death blow” to moves by Israel to annex Palestinian lands.
The Hamas terrorist organization, which controls the Gaza Strip, called the deal by the Emiratis “a stabbing in the back of our people.”
White House officials said Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz were deeply involved in negotiating the deal, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien.
Pompeo said in a statement: “This is a remarkable achievement for two of the world’s most forward leaning, technologically advanced states, and reflects their shared regional vision of an economically integrated region. It also illustrates their commitment to confronting common threats, as small — but strong — nations.
“The United States hopes that this brave step will be the first in a series of agreements that ends 72 years of hostilities in the region.”
Pompeo went on to say that “although the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and Jordan have not yet fulfilled their full potential, since the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1994 Wadi Arava Agreement, we have witnessed significant economic development in Egypt and Jordan, an unmistakable dividend of peace.
“Today’s normalization agreement between Israel and the Emirates holds similar potential and the promise for a better day for the entire region. The United States congratulates Israel and the Emirates for their important achievement. Blessed are the peacemakers. Mabruk and Mazal Tov.”
Delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said. The two countries are expected soon to exchange ambassadors and embassies.
The statement said that as “a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty” over areas of the West Bank that were envisioned in the U.S. peace plan unveiled by Trump in January.
The agreement envisions giving Muslims greater access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem by allowing them to fly from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, White House officials said.
The joint statement said the United Arab Emirates and Israel will immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of and the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus amid the pandemic.