Joe Biden is calling the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates “a historic step to bridge the deep divides of the Middle East.”
The former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee issued a statement on Thursday, calling the agreement that the UAE publicly recognize Israel “a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship” and a “critical recognition that Israel is a vibrant, integral part of the Middle East that is here to stay.”
Biden also said that West Bank annexation by Israel “would be a body blow to the cause of peace, which is why I oppose it now and would oppose it as president” if he’s elected when the U.S. votes in November. He said that as president, he’d seek to foster a two-state solution in the Middle East.
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Biden also said the accord shows “the role American democracy can play” and “builds on efforts of multiple administrations,” including President Barack Obama’s. But he did not mention the Trump White House by name.
Biden said he’d spent time with UAE leaders as vice president and “I am gratified by today’s announcement.”
The pro-Israel U.S. lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has issued a statement saying it greatly appreciates the efforts of President Donald Trump and his administration in facilitating the diplomatic move.
The influential lobbying group said in a statement that the United Arab Emirates “joins Egypt and Jordan in paving the path to peace through recognition and engagement rather than by seeking to isolate and boycott the Jewish state.”
AIPAC urged other Arab states and the Palestinians to follow the UAE’s lead and “end its boycott of Israel and America and return to the negotiating table.”
The statement came shortly after Trump said on Thursday that the UAE and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state. This makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.
Supporters of Israel’s now shelved plans to annex parts of the West Bank are slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “missed opportunity.”
Some moderate settlers have welcomed Thursday’s announcement that Israel is establishing diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates in exchange for dropping its annexation plans. But harder-line settlers say it wasn’t worth giving up on annexation for a peace deal.
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