Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday addressed the historic deal between his country and the United Arab Emirates, calling it “the greatest advancement towards peace between Israel and the Arab world in the last 26 years.”
The deal between the two nations was brokered largely by President Trump and is expected to lead to a “full normalization” of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations. Under the agreement, which was announced by Trump, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it had discussed annexing.
The deal will eventually lead to Israel and the UAE signing bilateral agreements on investment, technology, security and tourism as well as set up embassies and allow direct flights between the two countries. If all goes accordingly, the agreement would make the UAE the third nation to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. Egypt signed a peace agreement in 1979, while Jordan signed one in 1994.
“I have the great privilege to make the 3rd peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, UAE,” Netanyahu said, adding that the agreement “shows huge change in status of Israel in Middle East. After decades of Israel seen as an enemy, today many many countries see Israel as a strategic ally for stability advancement and for peace.”
He predicted “other Arab and Muslim countries will join our circle of peace.”
The deal, at least for the moment, seems to put Netanyahu’s controversial annexation plans on ice. Some have warned that the move could trigger a domestic backlash against the prime minister.
While Yamina leader Naftali Bennett praised the normalization, saying “relations between the two countries are no longer held hostage by Palestinain recalcitrance,” he took Netanyahu to task for suspending “once-in-century” sovereignty plans.
“It is tragic that Netanyahu did not seize the moment and didn’t have the courage to apply sovereignty to a centimeter of the Land of Israel, but sovereignty over the parts of our homeland will come from somewhere else,” Bennett said.
Thursday’s deal was finalized during a call between Trump, Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Trump tweeted.