Published: Tue, September 15, 2020

Israel, UAE, Bahrain sign historic Trump-brokered accords

Israel, UAE, Bahrain sign historic Trump-brokered accords

Under the agreement, Israel agreed to temporarily suspend plans to annex occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank. For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a USA president will host a signing ceremony between Israelis and Arabs at the White House, billing it as an "historic breakthrough" in a region long known for its stubborn conflicts. The bilateral agreements formalize the normalization of the Jewish state's already thawing relations with the two Arab nations in line with their common opposition to Iran and its aggression in the region. Gen. Tamir Yadai, prior to the briefing, says he did not expect that there would be a large-scale outbreak of violence by Palestinians in response to the normalization agreements with the UAE and Bahrain.

Palestinian leaders have repeatedly asked Arab countries to withhold establishing ties with Israel until a mutual peace is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump has said that five additional Middle Eastern countries are close to establishing formal relations with Israel following normalisation deals brokered with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

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

He notes that while normalizing ties with faraway countries was undoubtedly a good thing, it was "also important to make peace with our neighbors" and calls for renewing diplomatic efforts with the Palestinians.

Israel, Bahrain and the UAE are expected to sign a trilateral document, in addition to the bilateral agreements. A protest rally was scheduled in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, to oppose Tuesday's signing. The poll, carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, was carried out September 9-12 and surveyed 1,270 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Gantz refuses to comment on the specific ways his ministry was proposing that the USA could offset the damage - with some combination of restricting the UAE's use of the F-35 in some way or selling even more powerful weaponry to Israel - but said that this will be an ongoing discussion for the coming months. Trump said on Tuesday he would have no problem selling advanced stealth F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, which has long sought to obtain them.

Meanwhile, a politically vulnerable Netanyahu is facing questions about appearing at such a large event just days after he announced a new nationwide lockdown to fight a surge in coronavirus cases that will impose severe restrictions on movement and gatherings.

The UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Tuesday his country's decision to normalise relations with Israel had "broken the psychological barrier" and was "the way forward" for the region.

"MORE countries to follow!" he added.

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