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Israel and UAE make deal to normalise relations, as Palestinians slam agreement

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed a deal to normalize relations between the two countries, which wil see Israel halt plans to annex parts of the West Bank. Palestinian officals have however called the deal a"betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause".

US President Donald Trump issued a joint statement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Al Nahyan, saying this “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 of this region”.

The agreement will spur a series of actions, including movement toward having direct flights between the two countries and setting up embassies. The UAE would be the third Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, the other two being Egypt and Jordan.

Netanyahu added, however, that annexation is "still on the table". "Extending sovereignty will be done only alongside the United States," he said. "Without coordination, in the best case, will do nothing, and in the worst case, will harm relations between us. The United States asked that Israel temporarily postpone annexation."

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he "rejects and denounces the surprising announcement by Israel, the United States and the UAE," and called it a "betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause".

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi also criticized the deal, tweeting “Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it's been doing to Palestine illegally and persistently since the beginning of the occupation".

"The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel,” she added. “Please don't do us a favor. We are nobody's fig leaf!" 

Hamas spokeswoman Fawzi Barhoum also commented,

“The American-Israeli-Emirati agreement is dangerous and tantamount to a free reward for the Israeli occupation for its crimes and violations at the expense of the Palestinian people. It will encourage Israel to perpetrate more crimes and violations at the expense of our people and its holy sites.”

Read the full White House statement here.

Also see more from Haaretz here and here.


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