Israel and the two Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed U.S.-brokered agreements at the White House on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a peace treaty with the Emirates and a declaration of peace with Bahrain, which will follow the usual procedure of past international agreements and will be brought for the approval of the government and Knesset.
The historic signing ceremony was overseen by US President Donald Trump, while Netanyahu was joined by the UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayan.
The Israeli delegation did not include any representatives from Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party, though representatives from the Foreign Ministry, headed by senior Kahol Lavan member Gabi Ashkenazi, were responsible for drafting the agreements between the countries, Haaretz reported.
“The people of Israel pray for peace, pursue peace, seek peace,” Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz said, following the signing of the accords.
“The signing of the agreement is nothing less than a national holiday,” he said. “We have a duty to bring this spirit of reconciliation within us as well,” he added.
Benny Gantz has expressed frustration about being kept in the dark by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the deal with the UAE.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said: “The normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is a historic diplomatic breakthrough and a hopeful sign that progress in the Middle East is possible,” Emirates news agency WAM reported.
In a commentary published Tuesday by Wall Street Journal, Sheikh Abdullah said the progress on Palestinian statehood is also central.
“The UAE-Israel accord stopped annexation. The Palestinian leadership should use this moment to reorganize its approach and prepare to re-engage in productive discussions. As always, they will have the UAE’s full support, now carried with more weight directly to Israel. The pace and scope of normalization won’t be disconnected from progress on Palestinian statehood and rights,” he added.
The Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement, or the Abraham Accord, was agreed to by Israel and the United Arab Emirates on August 13, 2020. The UAE thus became the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to formally normalize its relationship with Israel, as well as the first Persian Gulf country to do so.
Concurrently, the US President also received at the White House Tuesday, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, on the occasion of his participation in the signing ceremony of the Declaration in Support of Peace between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Israel, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
Al-Zayani valued the efforts of the US President and his administration to achieve such a historic step that paved the way to establishing peace in the region. He also praised the bilateral cooperation in all areas and commended the role of the US in maintaining security and stability and combating terrorism in the region.