Israel, UAE take historic step to normalise ties, West Bank annexations put on hold
DUBAI/JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (UAE/ISRAEL/US) – In a historic move, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday that both nations will normalise diplomatic relations and forge new deals. The new move is likely to remould Middle East politics.
The new accord was brokered by US President Donald Trump and Israel has agreed to put on hold its plan to annex areas of the occupied West Bank. The new treaty has also shored up opposition to regional power Iran and the three countries view Tehran as the main threat to the Middle East.
Israel had inked peace pacts with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. But the UAE and other Arab countries did not recognise Israel and had no diplomatic or economic ties until now. UAE has become the first Gulf country to strike a deal with Israel.
Diplomats from the three countries hailed the new deal and termed it a breakthrough toward peace. But Palestinian leaders were caught off guard and denounced it as a “stab in the back”.
A joint statement said President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed had “agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates”.
It will allow both countries “to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” it said.
Both countries will soon exchange ambassadors and embassies and a signing ceremony is slated to be held at the White House.
“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, the statement said.
Known as the Abraham Accord, the new agreement will give Trump a major foreign policy accomplishment as he seeks re-election. At the White House, Trump said similar deals are being discussed with other countries in the region.
Trump said the agreement unites “two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region” and represents “a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure and prosperous Middle East.”
On the other hand, the UAE said it would strongly support the Palestinian people, who aspire to have an independent state in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The deal will boost the ratings of Netanyahu, who is on trial for alleged corruption and his popularity was hit over the manner in which he handled the pandemic.
He said on TV that the deal would lead to “full and formal peace” with the UAE and expressed hope that other countries in the region would follow its example.
“It’s an incomparably exciting moment, a historic moment for peace in the Middle East,” Netanyahu added.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, rejected the accord.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field