Israel and the UAE have restored diplomatic ties after inking a deal with the US that will see Tel Aviv temporarily shelve its annexation of the West Bank and Jordan Valley to focus on improving relations with its neighbors.
At US President Donald Trump’s request, Israel has agreed to suspend its plans to officially engulf large areas of the Palestinian territories and instead focus on “expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” according to a joint statement released by the three countries on Thursday.
Trump announced the “HUGE breakthrough” on Thursday following a phone call with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and the UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed.
Joint Statement of the United States, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates pic.twitter.com/oVyjLxf0jd
Israel and the UAE will work together on developing a coronavirus vaccine, the statement continued, adding that the two nations would also work with the US to “launch a Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade and security cooperation.”
#Breaking| #WhiteHouse: Peace deal sealed in a phone call between #Trump, #Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Zayed pic.twitter.com/YKsVl3yMyN
The move represents a surprising reversal of the Netanyahu government’s land-grabbing election rhetoric, which had set the international community on edge given the less-than-legal status of Israel’s occupation of the areas it planned to annex.
The UAE is the first Gulf nation to officially normalize relations with Israel, though Saudi Arabia has long been on cozy terms with the Jewish state.
Emirati and Israeli officials will meet in the near future to sign bilateral agreements on technology, investment, security, travel, energy, culture, healthcare, and the environment, among other issues, as well as to discuss establishing mutual embassies.
Trump told reporters the agreement will also give Muslims greater access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and hinted that “other nations – very powerful, very good nations” were planning to follow the UAE’s example.
The conversation with Netanyahu and bin Zayed “was like love,” Trump continued.
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