Netanyahu says UAE deal start of "new era" for Israel and Arab world, West Bank annexation "delayed" but "not cancelled"

Abbas calls "urgent meeting" of Palestinian leadership on Israel-UAE deal, according to statement

#BREAKING Netanyahu says West Bank annexation "delayed" but "not cancelled"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday the announcement that full diplomatic ties will be established with the United Arab Emirates has ushered in a “new era” in Israel’s relations with the Arab world.

In a nationally broadcast statement delivered by the Prime Minister, he said the “full and official peace” with the UAE would lead to cooperation in many spheres between the countries and a “wonderful future” for citizens of both countries.

Among Arab nations, only Egypt and Jordan have active diplomatic ties with Israel. Egypt made a peace deal with Israel in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.

Netanyahu also said in the broadcast that the Trump administration asked that Israel put its West Bank annexation plans on hold to move forward with the agreement on ties with the UAE.

Netanyahu said there was “no change” to his plans to annex parts of the West Bank. But he said the plans were on “temporary hold” and that implementing annexation would be done with U.S. coordination.

His remarks appeared to be appealing to influential settlers who were angered by Israel’s shelving of plans to annex parts of the West Bank. But they contradicted statements from Emirati officials who viewed annexation as off the table.Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has also said that its deal to normalize relations with Israel was "a bold step" to secure a two-state solution to the long-running Israel-Palestinian conflict.

As part of the deal, Israel had agreed "to suspend" plans to annex Jewish settlements and other territory in the West Bank, according to a joint statement from the US, UAE and Israel tweeted by US President Donald Trump.

"Most countries will see this as a bold step to secure a two-state solution, allowing time for negotiations," the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told a press conference.

Asked when the two countries will open embassies, he said he did not want to speculate on the timeframe "but it is definitely not a long time."

The landmark deal makes the UAE the third nation in the Arab world to have full diplomatic relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

The Palestinians expressed anger over the announcement and the official Palestinian broadcaster Palestine TV reported Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called an urgent meeting of his top leadership to discuss the agreement and determine a position on it.

For the Palestinians, who long have relied on Arab backing in their struggle for independence, it marked both a win and setback. While the deal halts Israeli annexation plans, the Palestinians have repeatedly urged Arab governments not to normalize relations with Israel until a peace agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state is reached.

“Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi tweeted. She also said the UAE has come forward with its “secret dealings/normalization with Israel.”

“Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!” she wrote.

The militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, called the deal by the Emiratis “a stabbing in the back of our people.”

A nigerian former minister, Femi Fani Kayode sees The peace deal between Israel & UAE, brokered by @realDonaldTrump as historic. I pray that other Arab states will tread the same path. Bridge-building & mutual respect is the only way to avoid conflict.

Others also tweeted:


According to Washington Post report, abandoning its annexation plan changes little on the ground. Israel already holds overall control of the West Bank and continues to expand its settlements there, while granting the Palestinians autonomy in a series of disconnected enclaves. Some 500,000 Israelis live in the rapidly expanding West Bank settlements.

Next year, Israel will take part in the UAE’s delayed Expo 2020, the world’s fair in Dubai. A secret synagogue also draws practicing Jews in Dubai. The UAE also has announced plans to build the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, which will house a mosque, a church and a synagogue.

Israelis traveling with Western passports routinely enter the UAE without a problem, though one still can’t make a phone call between the two countries. Israelis also work in Dubai’s gold and diamond trade as well.

Emirati officials also have allowed Israeli officials to visit and the Israeli national anthem was played after an athlete won gold in an Abu Dhabi judo tournament. Israel also has a small mission representing its interests at the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi.

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