Trump said he hoped more countries would “follow the lead of the United Arab Emirates.”
President Donald Trump said in a surprise announcement on Thursday that Israel and the United Arab Emirates had agreed to normalize relations and that, as part of the deal, Israel would not annex part of the West Bank that it currently holds.
“Israel and the United Arab Emirates will completely normalize their diplomatic relations,”; Trump said, surrounded by aides in the Oval Office. “They will exchange embassies and ambassadors and initiate cooperation across a wide and wide range of areas including tourism, education, health, commerce and security.”
In a joint statement, Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE ruler, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that “historic diplomatic breakthroughs will promote peace in the Middle East.” . “
Delegations from Israel and the UAE “will meet in the coming weeks to conclude bilateral agreements on investment, travel, direct flight, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, health, and literature. cooperation, environment, the establishment of the reciprocal embassy and other mutually beneficial fields, “the leaders said in the statement issued Thursday morning.
“Now that the ice is broken, I hope there will be more Arab and Muslim countries under the lead of the United Arab Emirates,” Trump said.
While the president hailed the deal as a “peace deal”, the UAE stopped using that term and instead emphasized the fact that Israel has committed not to annex parts of the West Bank. Netanyahu has contemplated doing so in recent months, using the White House peace proposal earlier this year to back up the move – which has been condemned by the world.
In his first comment on the deal, Crown Prince Mohammed wrote on Twitter that “an agreement is reached to prevent Israel from annexing further Palestinian territories.”
“The UAE and Israel also agree to cooperate and establish a roadmap towards establishing bilateral relations,” the crown prince added.
Israel has formal diplomatic relations with only two other Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively.
But it has also cooperated in recent years with Gulf Arab states, including the UAE – unofficially – largely on security issues related to what they see as a common adversary. Iran.
In a joint statement Thursday, the leaders said Israel and the UAE will “immediately expand and accelerate cooperation related to the treatment and development of a vaccine against coronavirus.”
At the White House, Trump called the agreement “history” and said it would be called the Abrahamic Treaty, which the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, explained was meant to signal “unifying potential” among people. Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
“I want it to be called the Donald J. Trump Treaty, but I don’t think the press will understand that,” Trump said with laughter from his aides. “So I didn’t do that.”
Asked if he supports Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands, Trump said “we’re talking to Israel about that right now” without giving details.