President Trump says the United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties in return for abandoning Jared Kushner’s ‘Deal of the Century’ and halting the Israeli annexation of occupied land in the West Bank sought by the Palestinians for their future state. Palestinians have repeatedly urged Arab governments not to normalize relations with Israel until a peace agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state is reached. Netanyahu says he has “delayed” West Bank annexation plans, but those plans remain “on the table”. 500,000 Israelis now live in the rapidly expanding West Bank settlements.
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the Israeli annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
The announcement makes the UAE only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel, after Egypt and Jordan, and, in with it, Israel forgoes plans to annex occupied West Bank territory in order to focus on improving its relationship with the rest of the Arab world.
In a surprise announcement, Trump tweeted a statement from the countries, acknowledging the deal.
‘This is very important. This is a big event,’ Trump said in a hastily scheduled Oval Office announcement. ‘This is a truly historic moment. Not since the Israel/Jordan peace treaty was signed more than 25 years ago has so much progress been made towards peace in the Middle East. By uniting two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region – something which said could not be done – this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East. Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead.’
The recognition grants a rare diplomatic win to Trump ahead of the November election as his efforts to see an end to the war in Afghanistan have yet to come to fruition while efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians have made no headway.
But Thursday’s announcement – while a win for the White House – is a departure from the ‘deal of a century’ Trump’s administration unveiled in January – a plan put together by Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, who President Trump tasked with peace in the Middle East.
It consisted of a two-state solution, in which the future Palestinian state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza, connected by a combination of above-ground roads and tunnels.
Kushner joined President Trump in the Oval Office for the announcement.
‘What happened was here we were able to achieve results others were not able to achieve and it will advance the region and the whole world. I would like to say to the people of the region – Muslims, Jews, Christians – that this does give hope that the problems of the past do not condemn you to a future with conflict,’ Kushner said.
President Trump said there would be a signing ceremony at the White House in ‘the next few weeks.’
‘It was like in love,’ Trump said of his calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. ‘ Tremendous relationship built up over the last year. Before that it was very tense, as everything in the Middle East is, very tense. It is a very tense place. It is becoming less tense.’
For Israel, Thursday’s announcement comes after years of boasting by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his government enjoys closer ties to Arab nations than publicly acknowledged.
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