In Stunning Move, UAE and Israel Announce Diplomatic Ties; Halt to West Bank Annexation

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The announcement – slammed by Palestinian officials self-serving – makes UAE the first Gulf Arab state to establish full diplomatic ties and the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.

WASHINGTON DC – The UAE and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state, a decision slammed by Palestine’s officials and its resistance movement as self-serving.

“During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, the de-facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed said on Twitter after the surprise announcement by the US president in a tweet.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also on the social media platform, said the normalisation of relations marked “a historic day”.

Israel had no diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab countries until now.

Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas were all quick to condemn UAE’s decision, accusing the Gulf state of “stabbing” Palestinians in the back.

Investment, tourism, security

A joint statement issued by Israel, the UAE and the United States issued in Washington hailed the accord as a “historic diplomatic breakthrough” that would advance peace in the Middle East.

It said the three nations had “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”

Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates would meet in coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.

In Washington, senior White House officials said that under the deal, Israel had agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it had been discussing annexing.

Palestinian official slams deal

With the UAE-Israel agreement, Abu Dhabi has disregarded its national, religious, humanitarian duties toward the Palestinian cause, Fatah said in a statement.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi accused UAE of using the Palestinian as “fig leaf” to normalise ties with Israel.

Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the executive committee of the PLO, said on Twitter: “The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel. Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!”

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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