Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a historic deal on Thursday that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two states, a move that reshapes the political landscape of the Middle East.
Under the agreement, which the Trump administration helped broker, Israel has agreed to suspend plans to annex part of the occupied West Bank.
The deal also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the US view as the main threat in the conflict-ridden region.
The two states will exchange embassies and ambassadors and meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues.
The agreement was sealed in a phone call on Thursday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
In a statement, the crown prince stressed that the agreement would stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories, which Israel has said was waiting for approval from Washington.
But Netanyahu in a speech later on Thursday said annexing parts of the West Bank – territory Palestinians seek for their own state – was still on the table, and that the Trump administration asked Israel to “temporarily” suspend doing so in order that Thursday’s peace deal be reached.
When asked by a reporter how long is “temporary”, Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who worked on the deal, said this: “Somewhere between a long time and a short time – that’s what temporary means.”
Trump told reporters similar deals are being discussed with other countries in the region.
“And I think you’ll be seeing some very exciting things, including ultimately with the Palestinians, I think that’s going to be happening at some point”, he added.
The agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accord, gives Trump a foreign policy success as he seeks re-election in November.
(Source: London Reuters)