Trump Hails 'Historic Peace Agreement' as UAE, Israel Agree to Normalize Ties


U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.

The announcement makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.

Trump tweeted a statement from the countries, acknowledging the deal. He then told reporters in the Oval Office that it was "a truly historic moment."

"Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates," he said.

The recognition grants a rare diplomatic win to Trump ahead of the November election as his efforts to see an end to the war in Afghanistan have yet to come to fruition while efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians have made no headway.

For Israel, the announcement comes after years of boasting by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his government enjoys closer ties to Arab nations than publicly acknowledged. Netanyahu has sought to build settlements on lands sought by the Palestinians and embraced a Trump proposal that would allow him to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank while granting Palestinians limited autonomy in other areas.

For the UAE, home to skyscraper-studded Dubai and the rolling, oil-rich sand dunes of Abu Dhabi, it further burnishes its international campaign to be seen as a beacon of tolerance in the Middle East despite being governed by autocratic rulers. It also puts the UAE out first in a regional recognition race among neighboring Gulf Arab states.

And for the Palestinians, who long have relied on Arab backing in their struggle for independence, the announcement marked both a win and setback. While Thursday's deal halts Israeli annexation plans, the Palestinians have repeatedly urged Arab governments not to normalize relations with Israel until a peace agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state is reached.

A joint statement from the U.S., the UAE and Israel was issued immediately after Trump's tweet. It said delegations would meet in the coming weeks to sign deals on direct flights, security, telecommunications, energy, tourism and health care. The two countries also will partner on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

"Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic societies and advanced economics will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations," said the statement by Trump, Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the day-to-day ruler of the UAE. It said the leaders had a three-way call discussing the deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the deal.

"This is a remarkable achievement for two of the world's most forward leaning, technologically advanced states, and reflects their shared regional vision of an economically integrated region," he said in a statement. "It also illustrates their commitment to confronting common threats, as small - but strong - nations."

He added: "Blessed are the peacemakers. Mabruk and Mazal Tov."

Netanyahu tweeted an Israeli flag with a short message in Hebrew: "Historic Day."

Among Arab nations, only Egypt and Jordan have active diplomatic ties with Israel. Egypt made a peace deal with Israel in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994. Mauritania recognized Israel in 1999, but later ended relations in 2009 over the Israel's war in Gaza at the time.

In addition to Trump, the main U.S. mediators for agreement were the president's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, special Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

The UAE is a U.S.-allied federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. Formed in 1971, the country like other Arab nations at the time did not recognize Israel over its occupation of land home to the Palestinians.

"Arab oil is not dearer than Arab blood," the UAE's founding ruler, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, once pronounced when agreeing to an oil boycott over U.S. military support to Israel in the 1973 Mideast war.

The UAE relied on white-collar Palestinians in creating its nation. Over time, it maintained its stance that Israel allow the creation of a Palestinian state on land it seized in the 1967 war.

But in recent years, ties between Gulf Arab nations and Israel have quietly grown, in part over their shared enmity of Iran and Lebanon's Hizbullah. Prince Mohammed also shares Israel's distrust of Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and the militant group Hamas that holds the Gaza Strip.

The UAE's state-run WAM news agency acknowledged the deal, framing it as not just a move that helps the UAE and Israel, but one that also carries benefits for the Palestinians.

It remains unclear what prompted Israel and the UAE to make the announcement now. In June, the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the U.S. warned in an Israeli newspaper op-ed that Israel's planned annexing the Jordan Valley and other parts of the occupied West Bank would "upend" Israel's efforts to improve ties with Arab nations.

The agreement gives Netanyahu a domestic boost at a time when Israel's shaky coalition government is plagued by infighting and facing the possibility of early elections in the coming months. Netanyahu has seen his popularity plummet as the country grapples with a renewed coronavirus outbreak and skyrocketing unemployment as the result of earlier lockdown measures.

Netanyahu also delivered a valuable diplomatic achievement to his good friend, Trump, ahead of U.S. elections.

Still, by dropping the annexation plan Netanyahu may be hedging his bets ahead of a possible change in the White House. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has made clear that he would oppose any moves by Israel to unilaterally redraw the Mideast map and annex lands sought by the Palestinians.

Netanyahu also risked criticism inside his own hard-line Likud Party, whose members strongly supported annexation. Netanyahu appears to be betting that Likud members - and the small, but influential settler movement - will agree the peace agreement delivers more benefits than unilateral annexation. Opinion polls have shown that annexation is not a high priority for the vast majority of the Israeli public.

Abandoning its annexation plan changes little on the ground. Israel already holds overall control of the West Bank and continues to expand its settlements there, while granting the Palestinians autonomy in a series of disconnected enclaves. Some 500,000 Israelis now live in the rapidly expanding West Bank settlements.

Next year, Israel will take part in the UAE's delayed Expo 2020, the world's fair being hosted by Dubai. A secret synagogue also draws practicing Jews in Dubai. The UAE also has announced plans to build the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, which will house a mosque, a church and a synagogue.

Israelis traveling with Western passports routinely enter the UAE without a problem, though one still can't make a phone call between the two countries. Israelis also work in Dubai's gold and diamond trade as well.

Emirati officials also have allowed Israeli officials to visit and the Israeli national anthem was played after an athlete won gold in an Abu Dhabi judo tournament. Israel also has a small mission representing its interests at the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi.

Comments 30
Thumb canadianleb 13 August 2020, 18:36

In order to achieve any kind of Government in Lebanon, we as Lebanese are going to be blackmailed into a peace agreement with Israel or it will be the status quo for ever. May God bless and help Lebanon!!!

Default-user-icon Alex (Guest) 13 August 2020, 18:53

Silly logic. It would be infinitely better to get from under the boot of Hezbollah and Iran and focus on the well-being of ordinary Lebanese.

Thumb s.o.s 13 August 2020, 18:50

Pipo never misses one, where are you, Phill?

Missing arturo 13 August 2020, 18:52

Can Lebanon be next?

Missing bigjohn 13 August 2020, 19:27

As the March 14 leaders said Lebanon will be last.

Thumb eli-g 13 August 2020, 19:06

and Lebanon will be last.Why? Just imagine the amount of tourism that will flock to these two countries Israel and Lebanon if the borders were open. Hell, imagine the amount of tourism from turkey through Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

Thumb tric.portugal 13 August 2020, 19:23

The Torahs are the greats alies of the expansion of the whaabism in the west!! They sell to the whaabis new York, Paris and London...

Missing bigjohn 13 August 2020, 19:33

Eli-g or Phillipo...There are no Jordanians or Egyptians going as tourists or anything else to Israel. They are boycotted by the NATIVES. There is no PEACE between the Arabs and Israel as long as Israel is an ethnic cleansing Apartheid State. Presently there is no war between them just like there were no war between White Apartheid South Africa and the black states surrounding Apartheid South Africa.

Missing arturo 13 August 2020, 20:21

You sound like someone who knows what is necessary to make peace between the Arabs and Israel. Are you involved in government? And if not how can you get involved in the peace process?

Default-user-icon Danny Brandt (Guest) 14 August 2020, 10:36

Bigjohn: How many Jews living in Arabian countries? they were all kicked out and their property was stollen by the Arabian government: Lebanon, where are your Jews? Syria, Egypt, Libya, Alger, Yemmen Saudi Arabia. Where are your Jews? so who is keeping apartheid? Lebano, your Palestinian living in camps for 72 years, what civil rights do they have? can they work? free travel, keep property? Who is Apartheid state Mr. Bigjohn. The toungue has no bone sir.

Missing bigjohn 14 August 2020, 10:50

Arturo, the only way to achieve peace is right of return of Palestinian refugees, end of racist Zionism .Otherwise it would be a crime against humanity.

Missing bigjohn 13 August 2020, 19:35

The King of the UAE is following the footsteps of the King (shah) of Iran.

Thumb roflmfao 13 August 2020, 21:15

Dude.. bigjohn.. petitfour..grandmarnier.. your learned bigness are WRONG.. The King of the UAE is following IN the footsteps of.. the King Japan.. the Emperor of Monaco.. the Tsar of Tahiti.. the Ayatollah of Luxembourg.. the King of Kensington.. the Admiral-General of Wadiya.. the Fuhrer of the USSR.. the Prince of Bel-Air.. .but NOT I repeat NOT..the Shah of Iran... Because that last on is actually real...

Missing leucistic9724 13 August 2020, 19:41

What a great day! I wish Lebanon will follow. There is no future to Lebanon without a peace agreement with Israel. Period.

Missing bigjohn 13 August 2020, 19:42

Why do despots think that aligning with hated foreign governments will save their regime? Did it help King Farouk, the King of Iraq in 1958, the Shah of Iran or more recently Mubarak? Regimes come and go, but the NATIVES stay.

Thumb lebnanfirst 14 August 2020, 08:24

@bigjohn, these ARE the NATIVES out on the street expressing their despair. They are our young, educated and free spirited sins and daughters refusing to immigrate and still clinging to a Lebanon where they can live, work and enjoy life with DIGNITY.

Missing bigjohn 13 August 2020, 19:55

The fact that it was announced in Washington tells you that the UAE has sold its sovereignty to trump and the US. The rulers of the UAE are now on the side of the Israeli occupation. This will inflame the Arab world with the NATIVES and whatever power(s) who will help them against the Israeli OCCUPATION and their Arab collaborators.

Missing bigjohn 13 August 2020, 20:04

This is a gift to Iran

Missing levant 14 August 2020, 02:08

That's right bigjohn, the iranian propaganda machine will feebly attempt to turn this into a psychological'win' for them. I guess the illiterate of dahyie will fall for it. If that's what will help you get through this difficult time you go right ahead and think that. Idiot.

Thumb lebnanfirst 14 August 2020, 08:26

The fact is Iran is retreating and being cut down to size by world powers including the Russians. In chess terms, Iran has two choices, surrender or checkmate. No stalemate is on the table.
You know it and so do they.

Missing bigjohn 14 August 2020, 09:47

Iran is retreating temporarily, but not surrendering. The Natives are not surrendering. This what happens when people follow collaborationist leaders. Before signing the Oslo accords, the majority of the countries of the world called Israel a racist state in the UN. Most countries did not have diplomatic relations with this ethnic cleansing Apartheid Zionist entity including Spain, India, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, the Vatican, ETC. The Oslo accords allowed Israel to build colonial civilian settlements and continue the occupation.

Missing bigjohn 14 August 2020, 10:00

The collaborationist leaders will be gone, but not the natives. Even without the right of return Their population in Palestine are growing and by now they are the majority. Is the west going to accept a minority Jewish apartheid state? The persons of color in the US are going to be a majority in the US. They along with the young people will not accept an Israeli Apartheid state. Palestinians people will never accept a 2 state solution that is separate and unequal, which is Apartheid. So justice is delayed, but in the long run it is not denied.

Thumb eli-g 13 August 2020, 20:30

I am not Philipo bigjohn,I am a proud American Lebanese. the tourists i am talking about are non-arabs flocking to the middle east to spend their money for you, your family and your country men to reap the benefit. I myself do not like Trump but a peace between Israel and Lebanon is a must for Lebanon to prosper. As long as we have "war" with Israel Lebanon will always be a pawn for all use. I have been reading your comment for years, you need to abondon your dreams and have new ones. we are in the 21st century for Gods sake.

Missing bigjohn 14 August 2020, 10:23

So the 21st century is the century that supports Apartheid for god’s sake? Even though the poor African black states were too week to fight South Africa they demanded an end to white minority rule and did NOT have relations with Apartheid South Africa. If you are Lebanese you would not even ask the question as you would know that ALL M8, m14and independent leaders said that there will NOT be Relations with Israel because we elect the leaders and we oppose Apartheid.

Default-user-icon Danny Brandt (Guest) 14 August 2020, 10:40

You keep repeating yourself like a robot with a brain washed as a good Iranian. even the bible sais, when a fool keeps quiet, you might think he is clever. but you keep spreading your lies and incitement. good propaganda machine. Israel is here and will stay despite brainless people like you.

Missing phillipo 14 August 2020, 16:55

Bigjohn I have been following your comments for quite a long time and I think that it is about time that I responded to your inaccuracies.
Minorities in important positions in Israel, Supreme Court 1 out of 12 judges, Diplomatic Service - 10's (including 1 Ambassador), Members of Parliament - 15 out of 120, Lawyers 1000's, Doctors 1000's (including a hospital administrator), Footballers in the National Team - 6, Nurses 10,000's, Army & Police Officers 100's, Judges, Solders, Police, Teachers, University Students, etc etc - too many to count.
And that you call Apartheid? In all the Moslem countries (here I exclude Lebanon) how many minority people are allowed to fill these positions?

Missing lebonknees4peace 13 August 2020, 22:41

If only we established the same agreement our land would prosper. Why can’t we be next?

Missing levant 14 August 2020, 01:45

Thank you Mr Trump! onward and forward for the rest of the Arab world!

Missing levant 14 August 2020, 02:04

Now where is that bottle of Moet?......

Missing bigjohn 14 August 2020, 10:31

Why don’t you teach peace to the criminal ethnic cleansing racist Zionist settlers. No Justice. No peace. Have you been watching the news against racism in America and western countries.