Israel, UAE reach historic deal to normalise relations with US help
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Under the agreement announced by the US President Donald Trump, Israel said it has agreed to "delay" the annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, but the plan "remains on table".
The peace deal was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the US that accelerated recently, Reuters cited White House officials.
The agreement was sealed in a phone call on Thursday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
The officials described the agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accords, as the first of its kind since Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994. It also gives Trump a foreign policy success as he seeks re-election on November 3.
A joint statement issued by the three nations said the three leaders had "agreed to the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates".
"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," the statement said.
Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.
The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state and the third Arab nation - after Egypt and Jordan - to announce active ties with Israel.
Speaking to reporters in the White House, Trump said he hoped other Muslim nations in the region will follow the UAE.
"Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates," he said.
Netanyahu said it was a "historic day" in response to Trump's tweets about the normalisation deal.
In a news conference later, he said he agreed to delay the annexation in the occupied West Bank as part the deal, but he would "never give up our rights to our land".
The joint statement said the UAE and Israel will immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of and the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus amid the pandemic, Reuters added.
The Palestinian groups slammed the Israel-UAE agreement, saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of the Palestinian people, reported Al Jazeera.
Hamas condemned the deal, which it said was a "treacherous stab in the back".
"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./.
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