Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a deal to formally normalize relations in exchange for Israel agreeing to temporarily hold off on its plan to annex occupied West Bank territory, The New York Times reports.
The two countries agreed to a “full normalization of relations,” though the countries have informally had normal diplomatic relations for years.
President Donald Trump announced the deal on Thursday, vowing that it would lead to increased cooperation on investment, tourism, security, technology, and other areas.
As a result of the deal, the two countries will allow direct passenger flights, open embassies, and trade ambassadors for the first time.
The UAE is the third Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, joining Egypt and Jordan.
Israel to hold off West Bank annexation:
In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to back off its plan to annex the West Bank, for now.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that it was just a temporary pause.
“During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” UAE Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed tweeted. “The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.”
“Black day for Palestine”:
Many Palestinians felt “abandoned” by the UAE.
“This is a black day in the history of Palestine,” Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, told the Times. “This agreement is a total departure from the Arab consensus. The Palestinian people have not authorized anyone to make concessions to Israel in exchange for anything.”
Former Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller called the deal a “win-win-win-lose.”
“The big losers are the Palestinians who have watched the Arab world move closer to Israel seemingly rewarding Netanyahu for ignoring the Palestinians and undermining Palestinians interests,” he said.