Israel, UAE, Bahrain Sign US Negotiated Standardization Agreements | News from Israel

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel as part of a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.

United States President Donald Trump held a White House ceremony on Tuesday ending a dramatic month when the United Arab Emirates, and then Bahrain, agreed to normalize relations without resolving the decades-old conflict between Israel and the United States. Palestinians, who condemned the agreements.

At the event hosted by the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed agreements with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

These agreements make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalize their relations since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

“The people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel to be fomented as an excuse for radicalism or extremism,” Trump said during the White House ceremony.

“And they will no longer allow them to deny the great destiny of their region”.

“This peace will eventually expand to include other Arab states. And ultimately, it can end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all, ”Netanyahu said.

Ammar Hijazi, deputy minister for multilateral affairs of the Palestinian Authority, said the signing of the agreements was “a sad day”.

“The only way to peace for the Palestinians is to end this brutal Israeli occupation and grant the Palestinians their inalienable rights of self-determination. Without it, there is no path to peace in the region, ”Hijazi told Al Jazeera.

Hijazi called the White House signing ceremony a “photo shoot” that “only makes Israel a policeman of the region” and paves the way for more US arms sales in the region.

The back-to-back deals mark an unlikely diplomatic victory for Trump. He has spent his presidency planning deals on issues as intractable as North Korea’s nuclear program to find elusive real achievements.

Bringing together Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain may be their common concern over Iran’s growing influence in the region and the development of ballistic missiles. Iran has criticized both agreements. Qatar, another Gulf state, has ruled out normalizing relations with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.

With Trump’s re-election on Nov. 3, the agreements could help build support for pro-Israel evangelical Christian voters in the United States, an important part of its political base.

Son-in-law and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, negotiated the deals with UAE officials at a meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE, August 31, 2020 [Ministry of Presidential Affairs/Handout via Reuters]

Speaking to Fox News hours before the ceremony, Trump said he expected more Arab countries to normalize their relations with Israel and predicted that the Palestinians would eventually join them or be “left for. account ”.

One of the targets of the White House calls is Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab power in the Gulf. So far, the Saudis, whose king is the guardian of Islam’s holiest sites and rules the world’s largest oil exporter, have signaled they are not ready.

Another target is Oman, whose leader spoke to Trump last week. Qatari Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwah al-Khater told Bloomberg on Monday that normalizing relations with Isreal “cannot be the answer” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu under internal pressure

Although it is a diplomatic victory for Netanyahu, the ceremony takes place as he faces criticism at home for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and corruption. breach of trust which led to frequent street protests.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and describes his trial as a leftist political witch hunt aimed at overthrowing a popular rightist leader.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in political trouble at home [Yoav Dudkevitch/AFP]

Israel signed separate agreements with each of the Gulf states, and the United States joined the three in signing a common document known as the Abrahamic Accord, which the White House described as a “declaration of peace.” “.

The Israel-Bahrain deal would involve an exchange of embassies, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner told Reuters news agency.

Four versions of the agreements were signed, one in English, another in Hebrew and two in Arabic.

Some differences remain despite the warming of links. Trump said on Tuesday he would have no problem selling advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets to the UAE, which has long sought them out. But Israel, which owns the F-35, has made it clear that it still opposes such a sale.

Frustrated by the Palestinians’ refusal to participate in Trump’s Middle East peace initiative, the White House has sought to bypass them in hopes of seeing the deals with the UAE and Bahrain as an incentive, if not a leverage, for peace talks.

Driven by the ‘normalization’ of ties between the Arab states and Israel, fractured Palestinian political factions are working diligently in multilateral talks to restore unity and mend the divide between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in much more promising negotiations than previous efforts.

Palestinian leaders, who have long accused Trump of pro-Israel bias, have denounced the Arab rapprochement with Israel as a betrayal of their cause.

In return for normalization with the UAE, Netanyahu agreed to suspend a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians burn photos depicting US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during a protest against Bahrain's transfer to norma

Palestinians in Gaza burning photos of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during a protest against Bahrain’s decision to normalize relations with Israel on September 12, 2020 [Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters]

Palestinians see the new agreements as a weakening of a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

Although negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians last broke down in 2014, some Gulf Arab states and several other Arab countries have long maintained calm and informal contacts with Israel.

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