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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Trump announces 'historic peace agreement' between Israel, UAE

Trump told reporters more 'breakthroughs' between Israel and its Arab neighbors were expected [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 August, 2020

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Israeli and UAE delegations will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of reciprocal embassies.
US President Donald Trump, in a surprise announcement, said Thursday that Israel and the United Arab Emirates had reached a peace agreement, immediately drawing loud criticism and rejection from Palestinian officials.

The official normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel is a "HUGE breakthrough" Trump tweeted, calling it a "Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends."

Speaking to reporters later, Trump suggested that more diplomatic 'breakthroughs' between Israel and its Muslim neighbors in the region were expected.

"Things are happening that I can't talk about," he said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailed it as "a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East."

"The United States hopes that this brave step will be the first in a series of agreements that ends 72 years of hostilities in the region," Pompeo said.

In a joint statement, Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said they had spoken on Thursday "and agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates."

Israeli and UAE delegations are set to meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of reciprocal embassies, they said.

Read also: Israeli defence firms sign deal with UAE tech company on coronavirus research

"At the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President's Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip's Islamist leaders Hamas rejected the agreement, saying it did not serve the Palestinian cause.

"The agreement with the UAE is a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes," Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem told AFP

For Palestinians, who have long relied on Arab backing in their struggle for independence, the announcement marks both a win and setback.

While Thursday's deal may halts Israeli annexation plans, the Palestinians have repeatedly urged Arab governments not to normalise relations with Israel until a peace agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state is reached.

"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."

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