Israel UAE peace agreement: US President announces historic peace deal, Israel to suspend West Bank annexation

Israel UAE peace agreement: The President of the United States, Donald Trump helped broker a historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on August 13, 2020. 

The joints statement released by US President Donald Trump, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi read that the new peace agreement will lead to full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel. 

pic.twitter.com/GjE7vZd3SA https://t.co/1Bcbpr1D9d

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2020

Under the new peace deal, Israel has agreed to suspend its plans to annex parts of the West Bank. According to US President Donald, the deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous the Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the agreement saying that a new era has opened between Israel and the Arab world. The UAE has become the third Arab country to open relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

יום היסטורי 🇮🇱 https://t.co/4mD6DzoTvE

— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) August 13, 2020

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince also tweeted announcing the significant agreement. He stated that the agreement was reached to stop further annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.

During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.

— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) August 13, 2020

Joint Statement: Key Highlights 

Under the new peace agreement, delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in the upcoming weeks to sign bilateral agreements to enhance cooperation in various sectors including direct flights, healthcare, environment, energy, security, investments, tourism, technology, telecommunications, culture, the establishment of reciprocal embassies and other areas of mutual benefit. 

Joint Statement of the United States, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates pic.twitter.com/oVyjLxf0jd

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2020

Israel suspends West Bank annexation plan

Under the historic diplomatic breakthrough, Israel has agreed to suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the US President’s vision for peace and focus on expanding its ties with other Arab countries. The US, the UAE and Israel agreed to work together to achieve more of such diplomatic breakthroughs.
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The US and Israel recalled UAE’s presence on January 28, 2020 when President Trump had presented his Vision for Peace and expressed their appreciation for UAE’s supportive statements. All the three parties further agreed to continue their work regarding the same to achieve a just, comprehensive and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Jerusalem’s holy sites to remain open for all

As outlined in the Vision for Peace, all Muslims who come in peace will be allowed to visit and pray at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. All of the other holy sites in the city will also remain open for peaceful worshippers of all faiths. 

Coronavirus Vaccine Cooperation

The UAE and Israel will immediately accelerate cooperation regarding coronavirus treatment and the development of coronavirus vaccine. The joint statement read that these joint efforts will help save Muslim, Christian and Jewish lives throughout the region. 

Strategic Agenda for Middle East

The normalisation of relations between UAE and Israel will bring two of America’s most reliable regional partners together. Both the nations will join the US in launching a ‘Strategic Agenda for the Middle East’ to expand diplomatic, trade, security and cooperation. The UAE and Israel share a similar outlook as the US regarding the threats and opportunities in the Middle East Region. 

Significance 

The historic peace agreement has paved the way for the formal establishment of relations between the UAE and Israel. The UAE has now formally recognised Israel as a state. This marks the official beginning of direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic and advanced economies. 

The move is expected to help transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and helping build closer people-to-people connections. It is also expected to lead to better lives for the people of UAE, Israel and the entire region. 

Palestine calls deal a betrayal of its cause 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced the UAE, Israeli and US trilateral accord. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Abbas, reading out a statement said that the deal was a "betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause."

Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee member said that the peace deal was equivalent to being "sold out" by "friends".

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." https://t.co/CBaNl1QQqx

— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) August 13, 2020

Israel-UAE Relations: Background

Prior to the signing of the historic peace deal, the UAE did not officially recognize Israel. The nation along with other Arab nations have been supporters of the Palestinian cause in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 

Hence, the UAE did not allow Israeli citizens or those suspected of being Israeli citizens entry into the UAE. Only third party nationals with Israeli stamps or visas in their passports were allowed entry. There are no direct flights as well between the UAE and Israel. All flights had to stopover in a third neutral country like Jordan. Further, no Israeli aircraft was allowed to enter the airspace of the United Arab Emirates. 

Though Israel had not imposed such restrictions, the UAE had barred its citizens from visiting Israel and its aircraft also from entering the nation. The restrictions were further tightened by the UAE after the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 19, 2010. His killing had led the UAE to call for the arrest of Meir Dagan, director of Israel's Mossad. Israel neither confirmed or denied any involvement in the killing. 

Who was Mahmoud al-Mabhouh?

Al-Mabhouh was the co-founder of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which is a military wing of Hamas. He was wanted by the Israeli government for the kidnapping and murder of two Israeli soldiers in 1989 and purchase or arms from Iran for use in Gaza.

COVID blurs rivalry lines 

In June 2020, UAE’s Etihad Airlines landed at Ben Gurion Airport, the main international airport of Israel, carrying a shipment of medical supplies to assist the Palestinians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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