WASHINGTON President Donald Trump will serve as a witness Tuesday when the leaders of Israel and the two Gulf Arab nations sign agreements formalizing diplomatic relations at a ceremony in the White House South Gate.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will sign the agreements in front of 700 invited guests. The deal follows months of diplomatic intervention led by Trumps son-in-law Jared Kushner and his envoy for international negotiations, Avi Berkowitz.
Tuesday’s ceremony underlines a restructuring in the Middle East as Arab nations once committed to Palestinian statehood move away from that commitment to strengthen their ties with Israel. He will also show Trump’s close ties to Netanyahu and give the president a rare foreign policy victory ahead of the November election.
Netanyahu called the deal a massive turning point in Israel’s history as well as the history of the Middle East in a statement recorded by Washington on Monday.
It will have a major positive impact on all Israelis, he said. I promise you, from what I see here, that more places are on the way.
Trump and his bidders hope the deals will damage his credentials as a peacemaker with the presidential election less than two months away.
“With the US election approaching, it seems the administration felt the need to close a diplomatic victory. There has not been much in the last four years,” said Jon Alterman, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a non-partisan think tank. of foreign policy.
He said the biggest winner in the deal is the UAE because the Israelis will be “eager to make deals on the terms of the UAE” and the UAE has also improved its position with both Democrats and Republicans in Washington in a moment of deep polarization.
“The biggest losers are probably the Palestinians. They saw their weak negotiating hand with Israel and were relying on Arab solidarity to strengthen it,” Alterman wrote in a post published Tuesday. “It is unclear whether a weaker position will push the Palestinians towards greater or lesser reconciliation with Israel.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday’s progress marks the beginning of a wider shift in the Middle East.
For decades, U.S. policy “gave the Palestinians a veto” to block Arab countries “from engaging with the most important democracy in the Middle East,” above all, from trade to security cooperation, Pompeo said. But the Trump administration helped convince the UAE and other Arab countries that Iran posed the greatest threat in the region and that closer ties with Israel would isolate it in Tehran.
“This administration is taking a fundamentally different approach to creating an opportunity for increased stability in the Middle East and less risk for America,” Pompeo said at a forum hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank.
The text of the agreements has not been made public, but the pacts are expected to restore full diplomatic relations between Israel and the two Arab countries.
The senior administration official said Israeli officials would sign two separate agreements, one with the United Arab Emirates and another with Bahrain. The representatives of the three countries would then sign a joint agreement, which this official referred to as the Abrahamic Agreements. The official briefed reporters on the terms of anonymity.
Trump is scheduled to meet privately with Netanyahu at the Oval Office before the signing ceremony. He also plans to meet separately with the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
While officials said they would take care of the joint statements issued when the agreements were first announced, it remained unclear whether the agreements would require further action by the three governments or what binding obligations they would each make to implement.
As part of the deal with the UAE, Israel agreed to temporarily suspend its controversial plan to annex parts of the West Bank, land that Palestinians see as vital to their hopes for a future state.
A joint statement issued when the agreement with the UAE was announced last month said that, with the plan to annex Netanyahu banned, Israel would instead “focus its efforts now on expanding ties with the countries. in the Arab and Muslim world. “
The announcement of the agreement was followed by the first direct commercial flight between the two countries.
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Trump announced last week that Bahrain would also move to normalize relations with Israel. The Isle Kingdom is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and U.S. Naval Command
The only other Arab nations that have active diplomatic ties with Israel are Egypt and Jordan.
After the White House unveiled the UAE deal, questions arose as to whether the Trump administration had agreed to sell the country’s F-35 fighter jets as part of the deal.
Last month, UAE State Secretary for Foreign Affairs HE Anwar Gargash confirmed that the UAE is pursuing an F-35 deal with the Trump administration. But he said it was a long request and sidestepped questions about whether it was part of the Israel-UAE peace deal.
During an appearance on NBC News Today on Tuesday, Kouchner predicted that the deal would be the beginning of the end of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
We are seeing more countries saying we are tired of fighting, we want to move forward, he said. And we are seeing this beginning to unite in the Middle East.
Kouchner’s much-needed plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not gained any traction. Some critics see the deal with the UAE and Bahrain as an “abandonment” of the Palestinians.
“While the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states is in itself desirable, this abandonment of the Palestinians will not serve the interests of peace, nor the true interests of Israel,” said Jerome Segal, president of the Jewish Peace Lobby. a Maryland-based advocacy group said when the deal was announced.
“Unfortunately, this will underscore the narrative of the Israeli right wing, that any appearance of justice for the Palestinians can be ignored,” he said.
Winners and losers:Success in the UAE-Israel agreement is good news for everyone except the Palestinians
Contributed by: The Associated Press
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