Israel, UAE normalised diplomatic relations, Bahrain and Oman next

nathanyahu and oman UAE
Photo: Reuters

Israel and the UAE have normalised diplomatic relations as an attempt to create peace in the Middle East.

The normalisation agreement, announced on Thursday evening, was brokered by US President Donald Trump.

The agreement stipulated that Israel would suspend its planned annexation of parts of the West Bank in exchange for diplomatic relations with the UAE.

President Reuven Rivlin announcement on social media that he had invited bin Zayed to visit Jerusalem.

“I am hopeful that the agreement between our countries will help build and strengthen the trust between us and the peoples of the region, bring economic benefit and regional stability,” Rivlin tweeted, saying he had sent an official invitation letter.

Israel’s intelligence minister has said that Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf countries to follow the UAE in formalising ties with Israel

Oman’s foreign minister Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah spoke to his Israeli counterpart on Monday, vowing to continue regional dialogue to advance normalisation with Israel (AFP/File

Oman has supported the UAE-Israel deal reached on Thursday. Bin Abdullah said Oman supported a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” and that negotiations on an Israel-Palestine peace process needed to resume

According to a statement, the two ministers discussed the “need to strengthen relations”, the UAE-Israel deal, as well as other developments in the region.

“I expect more countries will be joining us in the peace circle,” Netanyahu told cabinet ministers on Sunday, according to a statement from his office.

“This is a historic change which advances peace with the Arab world and will eventually advance a real, sober and secure peace with the Palestinians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu also told reporters at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport that Israel was preparing for direct flights to the UAE, going through Saudi airspace, as part of the normalisation deal.

However, he gave no time frame for the opening of an air link with the Gulf Arab country.

“We are currently working on enabling direct flights, over Saudi Arabia, between Tel Aviv and Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Netanyahu told reporters, estimating flight time at “about three hours, just like to Rome”.

Netanyahu added that he saw “tremendous scope for bilateral tourism and gigantic scope for investment” with the UAE.

A delegation from Israel is expected to travel to the UAE within weeks to work out the modalities of normalised relations, but any swift opening of a commercial air route could be complicated by restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said a recent deal with the United Arab Emirates did not mean Tel Aviv would relinquish control of large swathes of the occupied West Bank. His controversial statement comes as Israeli officials are pushing forward with Emirati relations, as an official invitation to Jerusalem was extended to the de facto Emirati head of state, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

The deal has been condemned by Palestinians from across the political spectrum as an act of “treason” and “betrayal”, and triggered a wave of protests in the occupied Palestinian territories to reject the deal. 

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement condemned the deal between Israel and the UAE to normalise ties as a betrayal of Islam and Arabs, saying it was done as a favour to United States President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the “courageous decision” by the UAE to normalise ties with Israel.

“I salute the courageous decision of the United Arab Emirates and hope that it will contribute to the establishment of a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Macron said on Twitter.


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