Done Deal: The long road to Arab-Israeli peace agreement

President Trump presided over the signing of a Middle East peace agreement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Not since May 1948, when the US and the Soviet Union recognised the state of Israel in the critical weeks of its war for independence, has Israel had a diplomatic month like this.

On August 13, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed an agreement to normalise relations, with the formal ceremony held on Tuesday in Washington with Donald Trump. Last Friday Bahrain followed suit.

The Palestinian Authority, holding the rotating chair of the Arab League, introduced a resolution condemning the UAE move at a Zoom session of Arab foreign ministers, but in a shocking departure from past practice, the motion failed to pass.

On Sunday another Arab nation, Oman, issued a statement of support for Bahrain’s decision to normalise relations.

Politically, it is also a win-win situation for the UAE and Bahrain. Either Trump wins a second term in November and they have already scored points with his administration, or a Biden administration takes over and they are on strong footing having secured normalization agreements with Israel.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday joined the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House to mark historic normalization agreements between Israel and the two Arab countries.

Trump hailed the occasion, claiming the signing of the Abraham Accords will “change the course of history,” and marks “the dawn of a new Middle East.”

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“Together these agreements will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something which nobody thought was possible, certainly not in this day and age,” Trump said. “These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free from failed approaches of the past. Today’s signing sets history on a new course and there will be other countries very very soon that will follow these great leaders.”

Lockheed Martin F-35A

The UAE made clear that one of the benefits it sees from the normalization agreement with Israel is that it should be easier to acquire F-35s from the United States, a view also shared by Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner. That would give the Emiratis the latest fighter jet in the US inventory and a significant edge over any other military in the region, with the exception of Israel.

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