UAE and Bahrain sign recognition deals with Israel

Israel, 2 Gulf nations seal new accords at White House ceremony, angering Palestinians

Hundreds of people massed on the sun-washed South Lawn of the White House to witness the signing of agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

"After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East", President Trump said.

"We are here this afternoon to change the course of history".

"We'll have at least five or six countries coming along very quickly..."

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brother of the Crown Prince, chose to speak in Arabic, and have his words translated into English, though he made it clear from the start with his initial few words of greeting that he is entirely fluent in the English language.

Media has reported that Saudi Arabia is likely to be the next state to normalise relations with Israel.

"Diplomatic sleight of hand can't absolve Netanyahu of the domestic omni-shambles", said Gershom Gorenberg, a prominent Israeli historian and author.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said she welcomed Tuesday's agreements, but urged a renewed commitment to the two-state solution.

B'nai B'rith International Daniel Mariaschin emphasized to JNS that the "importance of today's signing ceremony can not be overstated", and that the Arab-Israeli conflict "is becoming undone one country at a time. Peace in the region is possible through diplomacy, mutual recognition and negotiation", said AIPAC.

Rockets were reportedly fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel as the ceremony took place, injuring two Israelis. Two people were slightly wounded. Tuesday's agreements broke a decades-old commitment by most of the Arab world to normalize relations with Israel only after it agreed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

War planes belonging to the Israeli army carry out airstrikes over the Gaza Strip in August.

Mr Trump said before signing the accords that he "offered America's friendship, I offered America's help but I said clearly that the nations of the regions had to decide what kind of a future they wanted for their children and for their families and for their nation itself [because] no one could make that choice for them; they had to do that themselves". We are talking to the Palestinians. The Israeli leader has said he is open to talks, but Palestian officials counter that he has done little to convince them he is ready for serious talks that would fulfill enough of their demands.

"The Palestinians will ultimately come in too", he said.

What's more, some regional analysts see the collective move by the UAE and Bahrain as one declaring their partial independence from the greater Arab world. "Peoples of the region will continue to deal with this occupation as their true enemy", he said. "Frankly, I think we could have had them here today". "The deals are stains of shame on the forehead of those leaders who sold the Palestinian cause for a very cheap price".

All the four countries at the White House share a common hostility to Iran, which Mr Trump has put under crippling economic and diplomatic pressure. She also expressed concern that the sale of the fighter jets, the most sophisticated of such weaponry, could tip the region's military balance against Israel.

Mr Trump enjoyed the optics of presiding over a historic breakthrough less than 50 days before election day, which opinion polls suggest he is now on course to lose.

Mr Netanyahu, a close Trump ally who faces a corruption trial and criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, could also use a dose of good news coverage.

Earlier, while hosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House before the signing of the Abraham Accords, Trump said, "We're very far down the road with about five additional countries..."

"I would have no problem in selling them the F-35", he told Fox News, adding that it would mean "tremendous jobs at home".

The UAE is eying the stealth fighter jet as a component in its ambitious plans to make the small, wealthy country into a regional military power.

Palestinian protesters set fire to Israeli flags and mock coffins representing the Arab Emirates and Bahraini normalisation agreements with Israel. The Emirates say normalization halted Israeli annexation of settlements in the West Bank.

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