Israel, UAE Agree to Deal Normalizing Relations in Blow to Palestinians

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) reached a watershed deal establishing full diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is the third such deal struck by Israel with an Arab nation, following Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (in 1994). U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration helped broker the deal, which the White House announced as “the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.” Trump tweeted, “HUGE breakthrough today. Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!” Israel also agreed to suspend extending its sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria to help relations between Israel, the UAE, and other Arab nations. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Reported by The Jerusalem Post. Read more… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the deal as a “new era of Israeli relations with the Arab world.” Netanyahu said there would be a full exchange of embassies and ambassadors, as well as economic exchanges direct flights between the two nations. He stated that “Together, with our joint strengths, we can bring a great future for our peoples and our region.” He also said, “This is very important for our economy, the regional economy and our future.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s top advisor and son-in-law, opined that the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia were also inevitable. Although Saudi Arabia remained silent in the wake of the announcement, like Israel and the UAE, it shares a common enemy in Iran. Kushner said that a younger Saudi generation looked upon Israel in admiration, saying, “They see Israel as almost the Silicon Valley of the Middle East and they want to be connected to it as a trading partner, as a technology partner, as a security partner.” He also said that older generations were “still stuck in conflicts of the past,” and that it would take time for change to come about. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… In a separate interview, Kushner described Trump’s thinking on Middle East policy. “This really is a paradigm shift,” Kushner said. “And what President Trump has tried to do for the last three years is he recognizes that a lot of the approaches taken in the Middle East in the previous administrations just didn’t work and weren’t serving America’s interests. What he did was he tried to align the different countries in the region around their common interests, as opposed to focusing on historic grievances.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deal with the UAE will pave the way for treaties with more Arab states because it has removed the “Palestinian veto” on peace between Israel and the Arab world. Netanyahu made the announcement on August 30, the day before an U.S.-Israeli delegation including presidential advisor Jared Kushner was set to take the first ever Israeli commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi. U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien was also set to be aboard the flight. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… The delegation will “discuss civilian issues” first, Netanyahu says. “Additional issues, including security matters, will be discussed later,” the prime minister said. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… The UAE’s president formally issued a decree abolishing a law boycotting Israel and allowed trade and financial agreements between the two countries. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Oman backed the deal between Israel and the UAE, with Oman’s foreign ministry saying it hoped the deal would “contribute to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and in a manner that would serve the aspirations of the peoples of the region.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had an angry call with French President Emmanuel Macron about the agreement, telling the latter that no country had the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinians. Abbas tweeted that he told Macron “of my determination to work for peace in the Middle East,” and that the resumption of peace talks “remains a priority.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…Iran and Turkey blasted the deal, portraying it as a betrayal against Muslims and the Palestinians. Iran called the deal a “dagger that was unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims.” Turkish officials characterized the UAE role in the deal as “hypocritical behavior” that would never be forgotten or forgiven by the region’s people. Reported by Fox News. Read more… Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, condemned the deal, claiming the UAE had made a “huge mistake.” Echoing Iran’s foreign ministry, Rouhani called the deal a “betrayal of the will of the Palestinian people and the will of Muslims.” Rouhani warned the UAE, not to “invite Israel into this region, they will have a different agenda you may be treated in a different way to now.” He also said the UAE “have made a huge mistake and committed a treacherous act.” Reported by Fox News. Read more… The UAE’s foreign minister summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires to answer for Iran’s threats and belligerent statements toward the Gulf state after the announcement of the deal with Israel. The ministry said that Iran’s statements contained “unacceptable and inciting” threats against the UAE. Earlier, Iran’s chief of staff for its armed forces, Mohammad Bagheri, said Tehran’s approach to the UAE would change, and “If something happens in the Persian Gulf region and if our national security is damaged, however small, we will hold the UAE responsible for that and we will not tolerate it.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

The Israel-UAE deal may not be the only deal to normalize relations between Israel and other Arab countries. Israeli officials have disclosed that they are in advanced talks with Bahrain to normalize relations between the two countries. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Lebanon has also hinted at the possibility of peace talks with Israel. In an interview with France’s BFM-TV, Lebanese President Michel Aoun would not rule out negotiations, saying “it depends” and that “we have problems with Israel and we have to resolve them first.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… But Kuwaiti officials rejected the idea of normalizing ties with Israel, telling a local news outlet it had no interest in changing longstanding policies. In a statement Kuwaiti officials said, “The Kuwaiti position is consistent with its decades-old foreign policy approach in support of the Palestinian cause, as it is the premier Arab issue.” The statement also said that only “what the Palestinians accept” would be acceptable to Kuwait. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…

MSNBC and CNN offered little coverage to the deal, leading to accusations that networks were engaging in a pattern of downplaying news stories favorable to the Trump administration. Reported by Fox News. Read more… Dr. Qanta Ahmed, a Muslim scholar, criticized mainstream media for its treatment of the deal, saying it had reacted in a short-sighted way to a deal that could change the world over the next century. Appearing on Fox & Friends Weekend, Ahmed said, “It’s just very difficult to explain the scale of this. This is epic and historic.” Ahmed also said the deal would “end the game for the Islamist mothership, the Muslim Brotherhood” and put Iran on the defensive. Reported by Fox News. Read more… The deal is not a good omen for the Palestinian cause. According to a New York Times article, the deal has taken away a key incentive for peace. Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian mission to the U.K., says “This agreement is very damaging to the cause of peace because it takes away one of the key incentives for Israel to end its occupation – normalization with the Arab world. It basically tells Israel it can have peace with an Arab country in return for postponing illegal theft of Palestinian land.” The article suggests the deal may have traded one Palestinian nightmare—annexation of Palestinian land—for another nightmare—one of no longer being relevant. Reported by The New York Times. Read more…

The new deal between Israel and the UAE could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year Israel’s Economic Ministry reported. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… The fruits of normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE were immediately apparent, with telephone service between the two nations beginning a few days later. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… An Israeli poll a few days later showed that almost 80 percent of Israeli’s preferred normalization of relations with the UAE over West Bank annexation. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…