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World reacts to 'historic' Israel-UAE deal

Front pages of UAE-based newspapers reflect Israel and the UAE's agreement to normalise relations [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 August, 2020

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Here is how the world reacted to the US-brokered deal which saw Israel and the UAE agreeing to normalise relations.

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Israel, UAE, US

Israel and the UAE agreed Thursday to normalise relations, a historic shift making the Gulf state only the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Here is how the world is reacting:

United States

"HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!" US President Donald Trump said on Twitter.

"Everybody said this would be impossible ... After 49 years Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalise their diplomatic relations," Trump later told reporters.

Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden called the UAE's move "a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship".

White House adviser Jared Kushner, who helped draw up Trump's controversial Middle East peace plan, described the deal as "an icebreaker" and voiced hopes of seeing "countries start to do the same".

Palestinians

The Palestinian leadership voiced its "strong rejection and condemnation" of the deal and announced it would withdraw its envoy from the UAE.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called the agreement an "aggression" against the Palestinian people and a "betrayal" of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as capital of their future state.

Hazem Qasem, spokesman for Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said the deal "does not serve the Palestinian cause", calling it "a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes".

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi wrote on Twitter: "May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen; may you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation; may you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones. May you never be sold out by your 'friends.'" 

Jordan

Jordan, which borders the West Bank and Israel, said the outcome of the agreement would depend on Israel's actions, including its stance on a two-state solution with the Palestinians. 

Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said: "the impact of the deal on peace efforts is linked to the actions Israel will take".

Oman 

Oman said it backed the normalisation of ties between the neighbouring UAE and Israel, and hoped the move would help achieve a lasting Middle East peace.

A foreign ministry spokesman expressed the sultanate's "support for the UAE’s decision regarding relations with Israel", according to a statement on Oman's official news agency.

Iran

Israel's arch-enemy Iran condemned the deal, saying the Palestinian people would "never forgive the normalising of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime and the complicity in its crimes."

The move was an act of "strategic stupidity from Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv which will undoubtedly strengthen the resistance axis in the region," the foreign ministry said.

Turkey

Ankara also condemned the deal as an act of treachery.

"While betraying the Palestinian cause to serve its narrow interests, the UAE is trying to present this as a kind of act of self-sacrifice for Palestine," the foreign ministry said.

"History and the conscience of the people living in the region will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour."

Libya

Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) condemned the move on Friday, echoing earlier statements from other countries describing normalisation as a "betrayal".

Speaking Al-Jazeera, Mohamed Amari Zayed, a member of the Libyan Presidential Council, said: "this is a betrayal of the UAE state that doesn't surprise. With its destructive role in Libya, Syria and Yemen, it is a natural result of the embargo imposed on Qatar, Palestine and the independent nations of the region."

Zayed also called the move "another stab in the back of the [Muslim] Ummah."

"The recent losses of the Islamic Ummah as a result of this policy of the UAE are much higher than the Zionist regime killed and displaced in the last 50 years," he added.

France

France welcomed the deal, stressing the suspension of Israel's plans to annex swathes of the occupied West Bank.

"The decision taken within this framework by the Israeli authorities to suspend the annexation of Palestinian territories is a positive step, which must become a definitive measure," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

Germany

Germany also welcomed the agreement, with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas saying he had congratulated his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi by phone on "this historic step".

The normalisation of ties between Israel and the UAE "is an important contribution to peace in the region," Maas said in a statement.

"We hope that this agreement will be the starting point for further positive developments in the region and that it will give fresh momentum to the Middle East peace process," he added.

United Nations

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he hoped the deal would help realise a two-state solution. 

"The secretary general (hopes) it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realise a two-state solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements," his spokesman said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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