Israel and UAE announce normalisation of relations with US help

Under the deal, Israel will suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it had been discussing annexing.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a “historic” deal that is expected to lead to “full normalisation of relations” between the two Middle Eastern nations in an agreement that United States President Donald Trump helped broker.

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Under the agreement, Israel on Thursday agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to Palestinian areas of the occupied West Bank that it had been discussing annexing.

The deal was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the US that accelerated recently, White House officials told the Reuters news agency.

A joint statement was tweeted out Thursday by Trump, that spelled out some the issues that had been agreed.

The agreement came after a phone call on Thursday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

The UAE becomes only the third Arab nation to have active ties with Israel and the first Gulf Arab state to do so. 

“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the statement said.

USA-UAE-Israel announcement

The joint statement lays out some of the issues agreed between the UAE and Israel in the normalisation deal

Trump hailed the agreement as a first step, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office.

“Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

But the move was slammed by senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi on Twitter. 

“Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi wrote on Twitter. She also said the UAE has come forward with its “secret dealings/normalization with Israel”.

Delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other “areas of mutual benefit,” the statement said.

It said the the UAE “will immediately expand and accelerate cooperation” for coronavirus treatment and to develop a vaccine.

The deal will lead the way for the US, UAE and Israel to “launch a Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade and security cooperation,” the joint statement said, citing that the three countries have a similar outlook on the threats and opportunities in the region.