Israel and the UAE reached a deal to establish full diplomatic ties on Thursday. The landmark agreement will halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
The UAE becomes the first Gulf Arab state and only the third Arab nation, after Jordan and Egypt, to establish ties with Israel. An agreement was reached over a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and United States President, Donald Trump.
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” said a joint statement, as reported by Al Jazeera. Delegations from Israel and the UAE would meet in coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.
The agreement has received praise from many, but has not pleased Palestinian leaders. Part of the Israel-UAE agreement was that Israel would “delay” its annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank. However, Netanyahu emphasised that Israel would “never give up our rights to our land”.
Hamas condemned the deal as a “treacherous stab in the back”, saying that it doesn’t protect the rights of Palestinians or aid their cause in any way.
“This agreement does absolutely not serve the Palestinian cause, it rather serves the Zionist narrative. This agreement encourages the occupation [Israel] to continue its denial of the rights of our Palestinian people, and even to continue its crimes against our people,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement.
The Fatah movement, meanwhile, accused the UAE of “flouting its national, religious and humanitarian duties” toward the Palestinian cause. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive member, Hanan Ashrawi, accused Israel of lying about its occupation of Palestinian land.
“Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally and persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” she posted on Twitter.
However, Donald Trump has insisted that this is a “historic agreement” and hoped other Muslim nations in the Middle East will follow suit.
“Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates,” he said.