Daily US Times: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel, capping years of discreet contacts between the two countries in technology and commerce.
On Thursday, the so-called “Abraham Agreement” was announced by United States President Donald Trump. The deal secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agreed to “delay” the annexation as part of the deal with the UAE, while addressing reporters later in Tel Aviv, but the plans remain “on the table”.
The UAE is also the third Arab nation to reach such a deal with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.
Here is how other nations and the various stakeholders in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reacted to the Israel-UAE deal:
The deal surprised the Palestinian leadership. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the accord in a statement issued by his spokesman.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Abbas, said: “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the UAE, Israeli and US trilateral, surprising announcement.”
Reading from a statement outside Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Abu Rudeineh said the deal was a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause.”
Hanan Ashrawi, an outspoken member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said the UAE’s announcement was the equivalent of being “sold out” by “friends”. Mr Ashrawi has also served in various leadership positions in Palestine,
Hamas rejected the deal establishing formal ties between Israel and the UAE in exchange for Israel dropping its plans to annex land in the occupied West Bank. Hamas said it did not serve the cause of the Palestinians.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement: “This agreement does absolutely not serve the Palestinian cause, it rather serves the Zionist narrative. This agreement encourages the occupation [by Israel] to continue its denial of the rights of our Palestinian people, and even to continue its crimes against our people.”
“What is required is to support the legitimate struggle of our people against the occupation and not to establish agreements with this occupier, and any annexation we will face by a Palestinian confrontation that is supported by the Arabs and internationally, and not by signing normalisation agreements with them [Israel].”
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, defended the deal. He said Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Mohammed bin Zayed decision to normalise ties with Israel reflected “badly needed realism”.
In a series of tweets, Mr Gargash said: “While the peace decision remains basically a Palestinian-Israeli one, the bold initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed has allowed, by banishing the spectre of annexing Palestinian lands, more time for peace opportunities through the two-state solution.”
He said developing normal ties in return for this is a realistic approach forwarded by the Emirates.
“The successful decision is to take and give. This has been achieved,” he added.
Jordan said that the Israel-UAE deal could push forward stalled peace negotiations if it succeeds in prodding Israel to accept a Palestinian state on land that Israel had occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement on state media: “If Israel dealt with it as an incentive to end occupation … it will move the region towards a just peace.”
Safadi said Israel’s failure to do this would only threaten the security of the region as a whole and deepen the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict.
Safadi said the negotiations must be followed by Israel ending any unilateral moves to annex territory in the occupied West Bank that “obstruct peace prospects and violate Palestinian rights”.
Safadi added: “The region is at a crossroads … continued occupation and denial of the Palestinian peoples’ legitimate rights won’t bring peace or security.”
Jewish settler groups
The deal between the UAE and Israel angered right-wing Israeli settlers who want to annex the West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that while he had promised to apply Israeli sovereignty to areas, including Jewish settlements, in the territory, which Palestinians seek for a future state, he had made clear he first needed a green light from Washington.