With Trump's help, Israel, UAE strike deal to normalize relations
In a surprise announcement on Thursday, US President Donald Trump said that Israel and UAE have struck a historic peace deal to normalize diplomatic relations. With this UAE has become the third Arab nation after Egypt and Jordan to declare active ties with Israel. The countries released a joint statement confirming the deal, which they said would bolster peace in the Middle East.
First, a bit about UAE and Israel's ties
UAE, formed in 1971, much like other Arab nations never recognized Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, that it has seized after the 1967 war. In 1973, when the US gave military support to Israel, UAE's founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan announced an oil boycott to the US, claiming that, "Arab oil is not dearer than Arab blood." But over decades, the equations changed.
For Arab World, Iran is a bigger threat than Israel
Now, Arab countries, who have for long shunned Israel, are tackling a bigger adversary — Iran. By attempting to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel, UAE had paved the path for other nations to follow suit. The deal also helps UAE position itself globally as a "beacon of tolerance" in the Middle East. And for Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu, whose government is plagued by infighting, this agreement gives a confidence boost.
So what does this deal promise?
As part of the deal, Israel will halt, for now, the annexation of occupied land on West Bank, sought by Palestinians for a "future state." But the plan "remains on table," AlJazeera reports. Moreover, the countries will also work towards establishing reciprocal embassies. Delegates from both countries will meet in the next few weeks to sign agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, and security.
Trump, whose special call brokered the deal, "won" too
Trump told reporters at Oval Office on Thursday that his "special call" with Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed helped in reaching the agreement. The US President, who is facing re-election in November, said that the process of reaching the agreement wasn't without hiccups, but the differences were ironed. Facing much criticism back home, Trump now has a new feat to flaunt
A small diplomatic win for Trump
To note, Trump's efforts to end the war in Afghanistan haven't yielded many results; neither was he able to make much headway in Israel-Palestine's peace relations. Therefore, this deal, in which his son-in-law Jared Kushner played a pivotal role, would help him earn much-needed political points. He revealed the deal is called "Abraham Accord," reportedly to honor the father of three faiths.
As three countries celebrated, Palestine felt cheated
While leaders of all three nations involved in the deal celebrated, Palestine saw it as "betrayal." Though the deal halts annexation, Palestine doesn't want the Arab world to openly engage with Israel until they are granted independence. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said UAE has now "come out in open" about its secret dealings with Israel.
"May you never be sold out by your 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