UAE and Israel’s agreement to normalise ties: What we know so far

President Donald Trump, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, second from right, and others applaud in the Oval Office at the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Washington/ Image source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Israel and the United Arab Emirates struck a historic agreement that would see full normalisation of relations in return for Israel agreeing to suspend its annexation of occupied West Bank territory, the land sought by the Palestinians for their future state. The deal makes UAE the first Gulf country to do so and only the third Arab Nation to have full diplomatic ties with Israel along with Egypt which signed an agreement with Israel in 1979 and Jordan which signed a treaty in 1994.

A historic agreement

President Donald Trump of the United States tweeted on Thursday the joint statement issued by UAE and Israel. He also added that it was a historic peace agreement between two great friends of the United States. President Trump also said that the deal would allow greater cooperation between the two countries on issues of investment, security, trade, energy and healthcare. A joint statement that was issued Immediately after the President’s tweet said that the parties from both sides would meet soon to sign deals to allow direct passenger flights, open embassies etc. The two countries will also be partners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu called it a historic evening. Prince Mohammed of UAE briefed about the annexation suspension in a statement.

Israel Election
Image: NYT

If the deal is signed between the two States it will make UAE only the third Arab country after Egypt and Jordan to have full diplomatic ties with Israel. It is expected that other Arab countries will follow UAE in having an alliance with Israel against their common enemy Iran. What is also important it is that Prime Minister of Israel’s annexation plan would be put on hold. Mr Trump told the reporters in a press briefing at the Oval Office that the deal is significant for establishing peace and stability in the Middle East. He further added that he expected other Arab countries to follow the example of the UAE. Israel’s Intelligence Minister said on Sunday that Bahrain and Oman can be next in the line to follow UAE in formalising ties with Israel. He further said that other such agreements will come with other Muslim countries in Africa and Gulf countries. In light of the agreement brokered by the USA, the spokesperson at Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava said that India welcomes the move and is committed to maintaining peace in West Asia and both UAE and Israel are strategic partners of India. He further said that India extends support to the Palestinian cause and looks forward to a two-state solution.

The agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel invited criticism from Israelis as well as Palestinians. Some political allies hurled acquisition at PM Netanyahu for giving up his annexation plan so easily while Palestinians felt abandoned by an Arab Nation with uncertainty looming large for them even though the annexation plan was put to hold. Ahmad Majdalini, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s Executive Committee said that it was a black day in the history of Palestine.

US President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

A breakthrough for President Trump

The agreement was also important to President Trump as it gave him the much-needed break especially after he was criticized for being non-responsive after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic and his ratings have plummeted vis a vis his rival Joe Biden of the Democratic Party with less than 3 months to go for the US presidential elections. He and his son-in-law and a senior advisor, Jared Kushner played the decisive role in helping to strike an agreement between UAE and Israel. Israel and UAE maintained a secret relationship and the idea of giving the relationship a formal name came only a year ago. It became open that UAE and Israel are interested in cementing a relationship after 6 weeks of indirect talks through Jared Kushner which ultimately culminated in a direct talk between Mr Trump, The Crown Prince of UAE Mohammed bin Zayed and Mr Netanyahu.

To much of Israeli Prime Minister’s happiness, President Trump already had an unveiled the DEAL OF THE CENTURY for peace between Palestine and Israel. The deal aimed at giving the whole of Jerusalem and most of the west bank to Israel. President Trump wanted Palestinians to accept that Israel will occupy 90% of their land. The chief architect of the plan was no one other than the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner whose father is a close friend of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both the UAE and Israel are happy to thank President Trump. The President plans to stage a celebration in White House soon.

Israeli and United Arab Emirates flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya, on August 16, 2020/ Image source: JACK GUEZ / AFP

Conclusion

The deal although a historic one between two of the important countries of Middle East Israel and UAE will definitely have repercussions for  Palestinians as such who feel abandoned by this move. Palestinian leaders have for long resisted any ties between UAE and Israel for the fear that it would legitimize the illegal occupation. Which direction will the Israel-Palestine conflict take in the next few months will be important to see with the upcoming US presidential elections scheduled for 3rd November 2020. Unlike the incumbent, Joe Biden although elated with the announcement of the accord between Israel and UAE, reminded the players that he was opposed to annexation. The normalisation of ties between UAE and Israel will be beneficial  to the Middle East as such as it is expected that the region will be transformed with a rise in economic growth

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Airina Kumar

Airina Kumar is a Former Journalism Intern at The Kootneeti's North America Desk

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