Israel to halt Palestinian land annexation in 'historic' deal with UAE

Israel to halt Palestinian land annexation in 'historic' deal with UAE
By: World News Posted On: August 13, 2020 View: 13

Israel to halt Palestinian land annexation in 'historic' deal with UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are to establish diplomatic ties in a deal halting planned annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians.

US President Donald Trump announced the deal on Thursday after successfully getting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to agree to a normalisation of relations between the two countries.

The deal, to be signed in the coming weeks, will see Israel backing down from "unilateral annexation" of areas of the occupied West Bank - land sought by the Palestinians for their future state, Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.

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It also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the US view as the main threat in the conflict-ridden region.

Israel signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 but the UAE, along with most other Arab nations, did not recognise Israel and had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with the Jewish nation - until now.

A joint statement tweeted out by Mr Trump said delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet to sign bilateral agreements on "investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies and other areas of mutual benefit".

It added that Israel's and the UAE's leaders expressed their "deep appreciation" to Mr Trump "for his dedication to peace in the region and to the pragmatic and unique approach he has taken to achieve it".

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Israeli MPs have welcomed the deal, with defence minister Benny Gantz saying it expressed an "alliance" between countries in the region who aim for stability and prosperity, saying it would have "many positive implications" on the region.

The Hamas militant group, which wants to destroy Israel, accused the UAE of stabbing the Palestinians in the back.

"This announcement is a reward for the Israeli occupation's crimes," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

"The normalization is a stabbing in the back of our people."

UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash called the deal "a bold step".

"The UAE is using its gravitas and promise of a relationship to unscrew a time bomb that is threatening a two-state solution," he added.

He said embassies in both countries would be opened soon, adding that "this is for real" but admitted "nothing is perfect in a very difficult region".

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