President Trump announced a preliminary peace agreement Thursday between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. This historic step makes the Persian Gulf state only the third Arab country to currently have diplomatic relations with the Jewish nation. This deal temporarily suspends Israel’s controversial plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
The two nations have agreed to normalize relations, allowing travel, commerce and, eventually, the opening of diplomatic offices. Representatives of both countries will meet soon to begin signing agreements, a joint statement said.
Arab leaders had privately warned Trump that they could not agree to future economic or diplomatic ties with Israel if Israel took over land now considered Palestinian.
“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!” Trump tweeted.
Speaking in the Oval Office, the president said the United States is a party to the agreement, helping to get the two countries talking as part of the Middle East peace effort led by his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.The United States was also part of efforts to normalize Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan, decades ago. At a previously unannounced session in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters that the atmosphere between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and bin Zayed during the secret negotiations leading up to the announcement “was like love.” Israel’s West Bank annexation stalls, for now, amid pandemic and political distractions.—Agencies