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(BBC News) — Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a deal to normalize relations, with Israel agreeing to suspend its controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
In a surprise statement by US President Donald Trump, who helped broker the agreement, the countries called the accord “historic” and a breakthrough toward peace.
Until now Israel has had no diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab countries. But shared worries over Iran have led to unofficial contacts between them.
Palestinian leaders were reportedly taken by surprise. A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas said the deal amounted to “treason,” and the Palestinian ambassador to the UAE was being recalled.
President Trump called the deal between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “a truly historic moment.” It marks only the third Israel-Arab peace deal since Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, after Egypt (signed an accord in 1979) and Jordan (did in 1994).
[The ceremony took place on September 14; UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, son of the founder of UAE, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan represented the UAE at the White House.)
“Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates,” he told reporters in the Oval Office, saying there would be a signing ceremony at the White House in the coming weeks.
Earlier, in response to a President Trump’s tweeted announcement, Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote in Hebrew: “Historic day.”
In a TV address Mr. Netanyahu said he had “delayed” West Bank annexation plans, but those plans remain “on the table.” Annexation would make some West Bank areas officially part of Israel.
“There is no change in my plan to apply our sovereignty to Judea and Samaria [West Bank] in full co-ordination with the US. I’m committed to it. That hasn’t changed. I remind you that I was the one who put the issue of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria on the table. This issue remains on the table,” he said.
Mr. Netanyahu said Israel would co-operate with the UAE in developing a coronavirus vaccine, in energy, water, environmental protection and many other fields.
Analysts say the deal could mean a foreign policy victory for President Trump, who [is up for] re-election in November, and give a personal boost to Prime Minister Netanyahu….
The UAE’s ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, said the deal with Israel was “a win for diplomacy and for the region,” adding: “It is a significant advance in Arab-Israeli relations that lowers tensions and creates new energy for positive change.”…..Asked about Palestinian criticism of the UAE move, Anwar Gargash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs recognized that the region was very polarized and said he expected to hear “the usual noise.” “We agonised over this,” he said, but eventually decided “let’s do it.”
The joint statement says Israel will “focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” and that the US and UAE will work to achieve that goal.
The UAE and Israel will also join the US to launch a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East,” with the three leaders noting that they “share a similar outlook regarding the threats and opportunities in the region, as well as a shared commitment to promoting stability through diplomatic engagement, increased economic integration, and closer security co-ordination.” …..[On Sunday, Aug. 15, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” NBC Host Chuck Todd, no fan of Trump, started the conversation by acknowledging,
“From Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi, the praise has been pretty universal. Last week, President Trump announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates, also known as UAE, would establish full diplomatic relations, making the UAE only the third Arab state, after Egypt and Jordan, to officially recognize Israel. It was a significant achievement with broad implications for the Middle East”].
Published at BBC News on August 13, 2020. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the BBC.
Read “Joint Statement by the United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates” (August 13, 2020)
Read “Remarks by President Trump Announcing the Normalization of Relations Between Israel and the United Arab Emirates” (August 13, 2020)
NOTE to students: Read the “Background” and watch the videos under “Resources” before answering the questions.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. How did Palestinian leaders react to the news that the UAE had agreed to a peace deal with Israel?
3. In what areas will Israel and UAE cooperate?
4. President Trump noted that for years, diplomatic experts tried brokering a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel, but were not able to get Palestinian leaders to come to an agreement. He decided to take a new approach, and broker peace deals with Israel’s neighbors, expecting more to follow, as well as then the Palestinian Authority.
a) What do you think of this strategy to promote peace in the Middle East?
b) Why is this historic agreement between UAE and Israel seen as a foreign policy victory for President Trump?
5. Watch the clip below from the signing ceremony at the White House.
a) What is the tone of the UAE Foreign Minister’s speech?
b) How does this speech encourage you?
The first president of the UAE after the UAE became an independent country in 1971, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (father of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who signed the peace agreement with Israel), referred to Israel as “the enemy” of the Arab countries.
On August 13, 2020, Israel and the UAE signed an agreement mediated by U.S. President Donald Trump Under the peace deal, Israel and the UAE will establish full diplomatic relations, with the UAE becoming the third Arab state, besides Egypt and Jordan, to fully recognize Israel. As part of the deal, Israel agreed to suspend plans for the annexation of the Jordan Valley. Director of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, secretly visited UAE several times for over a year to broker the Abraham Accord.
The agreement was made official with a signing ceremony on September 15, 2020 at the White House in Washington, D.C. (from wikipedia)
Watch a WION report:
Watch a report:
Watch a Sept. 15 press conference President Trump held with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (brother of Abu Dabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan) before the signing ceremony:
Watch a Sept. 15 press conference President Trump held with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu before the signing ceremony:
Watch UAE Foreign Minister’s speech at the Sept. 15 signing ceremony:
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