In a landmark agreement, US President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United Arab Emirates 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, reported AP.
With this announcement, the UAE became the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties with Israel. Under the deal, Israel would suspend its plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank. The UAE’s official news agency Wam on Thursday shared a joint statement from the United States, Israel and the UAE, reported AP.
While the announcement gives Donald Trump a rare diplomatic victory ahead of the November election, neither has his efforts to bring the war in Afghanistan to an end materialised, nor has his efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians made any headway.
<p “width=420″ lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) August 13, 2020
It remains unclear what prompted Israel and the UAE to make the announcement now.
After the announcement, Trump told reporters at a media briefing that more diplomatic breakthroughs between Israel and its Muslim neighbors in the region were expected, reported AFP.
“Things are happening that I can’t talk about,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, dubbed the development “a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East”, reported AFP.
Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called the agreement a historic step to bridge the deep divides of the Middle East. The former vice president 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.”
Here is how the world reacted:
Historic day for Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the US-brokered deal between UAE and Israel represented a “historic day” for his country.
“I will make a special announcement at 8 p.m. (1700 GMT) with more details about this historic day for the State of Israel,” Netanyahu tweeted.
UAE-Israel deal does not serve Palestinian case: Hamas
Palestinian Islamist political organisation Hamas slammed the announcement saying the deal “does not serve Palestinian cause”, reported AFP.
Win for diplomacy: UAE ambassador to Washington
UAE ambassador to Washington said that the landmark peace deal with Israel is a ‘win for diplomacy’ and hailed it as a ‘significant advance’ in Arab-Israeli relations, reported AFP.
Egypt President Abdel Fatah Elsisi praises deal
In a tweet today, Abdel Fatah Elsisi praised the US-brokered peace deal and said on Twitter that he followed the statement with “great interest” and appreciated the deal.
<p “width=420″ lang=”ar” dir=”rtl”>تابعت بإهتمام و تقدير بالغ البيان المشترك الثلاثي بين الولايات المتحدة الامريكية و دولة الامارات العربية الشقيقة وإسرائيل حول الاتفاق علي ايقاف ضم إسرائيل للاراضي الفلسطينية ..١/٢— Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsisiOfficial) August 13, 2020
Iran, Turkey lash out at UAE over agreement with Israel
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the deal a “dagger that was unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims.” Turkey, on its part, said the peoples of the region “will never forget and will never forgive this hypocritical behaviour” by the UAE.
The UAE, which has never fought Israel and has quietly been improving ties for years, said the agreement put a hold on Israel’s plans to unilaterally annex parts of the occupied West Bank, which the Palestinians view as the heartland of their future state.
But the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the UAE had no authority to negotiate with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians or “to make concessions on matters vital to Palestine.” (AP)
China welcomes Israel-UAE accord to establish diplomatic ties
China on Friday welcomed the historic UAE-Israel deal to establish full diplomatic relations that would see Israel halt the controversial annexation of parts of the West Bank, saying it is “pleased” to see measures aimed at de-escalating tensions in the Middle East, reported PTI.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a media briefing said, “China noted the relevant rapports including the contents that Israel suspends the annexations of Palestinian territory and its commitment to reach a comprehensive fair and lasting agreement to the Palestinian issue.”
“China is pleased to see measures that will deescalate tensions among the middle east countries and contribute the regional peace and stability. We hope the relevant parties can take concrete actions so that the Palestinian issue can return to the equal footed dialogue and negotiations,” he told PTI.
(With inputs from AFP, AP, PTI, Reuters)
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