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US: Trump’s Israeli-UAE agreement condemned

14th Aug 2020
US: Trump’s Israeli-UAE agreement condemned

By Michael Hernandez

 

WASHINGTON (AA):- Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to normalize relations, US President Donald Trump said Thursday, in a move that forestalls Israel’s plans to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank. The move was condemned by the Palestinians as a “blow to peace” and an “aggression on the Palestinian people”.

“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!” Trump said on Twitter.

A joint statement from the US, UAE and Israel said the “breakthrough” will promote “peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders,” referring to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As part of the deal, Israel will “suspend” plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank “and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” according to the statement.

“The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates are confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible and will work together to achieve this goal,” it added.

The annexation suspension, however, is not permanent and is instead “temporary,” David Friedman, Trump’s envoy to Israel, told reporters at the White House.

“It’s off the table now, but it’s not off the table permanently,” he said, noting that there has been no request to Tel Aviv to make the suspension longstanding.

The development marks only the third time an Arab nation has opened full diplomatic relations with Israel, and the Emirates is now the first Gulf Arab state to do so. Other Arab nations to normalize ties with Israel are Egypt and Jordan.

As part of their agreement, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv will “immediately expand and accelerate cooperation” on development of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the joint statement said the US, UAE and Israel will join to “launch a Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade, and security cooperation.”

“Along with the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates 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 coordination,” it said.

After announcing the breakthrough, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that it is a “truly historic moment,” calling the pact the “Abraham Accord.”

“Not since the Israel-Jordan peace treaty was signed more than 25 years ago has so much progress been made towards peace in the Middle East,” he said. “Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead.”

Trump said Washington is “already discussing this with other nations,” without disclosing their identities.

The agreement was condemned by Palestinians and other Muslim countries.

The Palestinian leadership declared its rejection in toto of the US-brokered Israeli-Emirati deal on establishing full normalization of relations between the Israeli occupation and the United Arab Emirates, describing the deal as an aggression on the Palestinian people.

In an official statement broadcast this night on Palestine TV by Nabil Abu Rudeinah, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leadership considered this step as a “blow to the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Arab and Islamic summits, as well as an aggression against the Palestinian people.”

“The Palestinian leadership rejects what the United Arab Emirates has done and considers it a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause. This deal is a de facto recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said the leadership, as it demanded the UAE to immediately withdraw from this “disgraceful” declaration.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke by phone Thursday with Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh following the announcement of a normalization deal between the UAE and Israel.

Haniyeh stressed support for the Palestinian leadership and Abbas in rejecting the US, UAE and Israeli tripartite announcement.

“A position that expresses our Palestinian people, we are all with the president who adheres to the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Haniyeh said, according to a statement by Palestine’s WAFA news agency.

“Haniyeh went to reject all unilateral declarations and decisions that seek to obliterate Palestinian rights and violate international resolutions,” the statement said.

The agreement is a form of betrayal, said a top Libyan official.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera TV, Mohamed Amari Zayed, a member of the Libyan Presidential Council, said “this is a betrayal of the UAE state that doesn’t surprise. With its destructive role in Libya, Syria and Yemen, it is a natural result of the embargo imposed on Qatar, Palestine and the independent nations of the region.”

Turkey on Friday slammed the recent deal between the UAE and Israel and said it ignores the willpower of Palestine.

“The UAE, which is pursuing secret ambitions over a US plan that is stillborn and null and void, ignores the willpower of Palestine,” read a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Expressing support to the people and the administration of Palestine on their reactions against the recent deal, Turkey also expressed serious concerns over the UAE aiming to unilaterally abolish the Arab Peace Plan.

“With that being the case, there is no credibility in presenting the trilateral declaration as a support to the Palestinian cause,” the communique read.

“The UAE, which is pursuing secret ambitions over a US plan that is stillborn and null and void, ignores the willpower of Palestine,” read a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE is a “strategic mistake,” the top foreign policy advisor to Iran’s parliament speaker said late Thursday, in the first reaction from an Iranian government official to the news.

In a series of tweets, Hossein Amirabdollahian criticized the deal reached between the two sides.

The UAE’s move to normalize ties with “fake, criminal Israel” will not serve the purpose of “peace and security” but will only serve the interests of Israel — committing “crimes,” said Amirabdollahian.

“Abu Dhabi’s behavior has no justification, turning [its] back on the Palestine cause. With that strategic mistake, the UAE will be engulfed in Zionist fire,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UN and Oman have supported theagreement.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric welcomed the announcement of an agreement Thursday by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations, saying it will create an opportunity to promote peace in the Middle East.

He said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes the agreement, “hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations.”

The president will host the Israeli and Emirati leaders at the White House for a formal signing ceremony, which he said would “probably” take place within three weeks.

Oman voiced support for UAE’s move to normalize ties with Israel according to Oman’s official news agency.

Oman hoped the accord would contribute to a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace in the Middle East.

The statement by a foreign ministry spokesman, carried by state news agency ONA, called the UAE-Israel agreement “historic”, reported Reuters.

UK welcomed the  UAE-Israel agreement as an “historic step”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “This is an historic step which sees the normalisation of relations between two great friends of the UK. We welcome both the decision by the UAE to normalise relations with Israel, as well as the suspension of plans for annexation – a move the UK has opposed as it would have been counterproductive to securing peace in the region.”

However, Raab did not mention the condemnation of the agreement by the Palestinians. Instead he said:“Ultimately, there is no substitute for direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel, which is the only way to a reach a two state solution and a lasting peace.”

The UK Labour Party also supported the agreement and made not mention of the objections of the Palestinian people.

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “This agreement is an important step forward and we welcome the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE. We also welcome the suspension of proposals by Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank – an act that would have been in clear violation of international law and one opposed by governments around the world.
“The Labour Party is hopeful that this announcement will be the first step towards the full withdrawal of annexation proposals, and that this can be a catalyst for a meaningful and lasting peace to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians – an outcome we believe can only be achieved by a peaceful two-state solution in the Middle East.”

Additional report by The Muslim News 

[Map of Oman by United States Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook/Public Domain]

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