“A new era begins in relations between Israel and the Arab world”
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“A new era begins in relations between Israel and the Arab world”

© Belga

“Today a new era begins in relations between Israel and the Arab world,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday evening, welcoming the historic peace deal and normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

“I had a trilateral discussion with US President Trump and Sheikh Ben Zayed (UAE) and we agreed to a full peace agreement with ambassadorial exchanges and trade, including direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, “Netanyahu said in a televised address.

“The Emirates are going to invest significant sums in Israel..this is an opening for peace in the region,” the Israeli Prime Minister added, welcoming a third peace agreement with an Arabic country after Egypt and Jordan.

“In 1979 (Menachem) Begin signed peace with Egypt, in 1994 (Yitzhak) Rabin signed with Jordan and I have the merit of signing in 2020 the third peace agreement with an Arab country. This is a real peace deal, not a slogan, ”Netanyahu said.

Earlier in the summer, Israel’s unity government between Mr. Netanyahu and his ex-political rival Benny Gantz was supposed to announce its strategy for the West Bank, with potential annexations of parts of the territory.

The Israeli government had planned to annex unilaterally up to 30 % of the occupied West Bank by 1 July. The deadline passed without anything happening because of lack of US support for such a drastic step. In fact, it was an attempt by Prime-Minister Netanyahu to deflect attention from his legal problems, the fight against the pandemic and the management of the economic crisis in the country.

This normalization will have the effect of “postponing” Israeli annexation plans, Netanyahu said.

The UAE agreed to normalising of relations with Israel to stop the annexation plans. Despite the agreement, Netanyahu insisted at a press conference “that there is no change in my plan to confer our sovereignty in Shomron and Yehuda (the Westbank) in coordination with the US.” That seems unlikely to happen now, especially if president Trump will lose the elections in November.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas immediately called an “emergency meeting” Thursday evening with Palestinian leadership to adopt its conclusion and next steps in face of the historic peace accord between Israel and the Emirates.

The normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates “does not serve the Palestinian cause” and constitutes a “blank cheque” for the continuation of the “occupation” by the Jewish state, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, denounced in reaction.

UN envoy to the Middle East, Nickoloy Mladenov, welcomed the agreement and tweeted that, “It stops Israeli annexation plans, which the UN has consistently called for. I hope it will create opportunities for Israeli and Palestinian re-engagement. The UN will work with all for dialogue, peace and stability.

The agreement alone will not bring peace to the Middle East. It still remains to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which requires good will and a willingness to compromises by both parties.

The Brussels Times

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