Israel, Gulf states accord charts new era for Middle East | Daily News


 

Israel, Gulf states accord charts new era for Middle East

The national flags of Bahrain, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States are flown along a road in Israeli resort city of Netanya after the two Gulf countries agreed to normalise ties with the Jewish state.
The national flags of Bahrain, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States are flown along a road in Israeli resort city of Netanya after the two Gulf countries agreed to normalise ties with the Jewish state.

DUBAI: A new era for the Middle East will be charted Tuesday when the UAE and Bahrain sign agreements to recognise Israel, in a move that shatters the Arab world’s consensus on the Palestinian cause.

A jubilant President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are to sign the so-called Abraham Accords -- a reference to the common traditions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity -- at a White House ceremony.

Alongside them will be foreign ministers from the two Gulf states who will ink a deal that is expected to sketch out a highly fruitful collaboration among some of the Middle East’s biggest economies, stretching across security, business, energy and science.

They are not natural allies of Israel, but they share a common enmity towards Iran, which lies across a narrow strait from the island kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirate’s glitzy cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Many of the oil-rich Gulf states have been quietly cultivating ties with Israel for years, but the normalisation deal allows those relationships to burst into the open, offering rich opportunities as they try to repair economies savaged by the coronavirus crisis.

For Trump, the accord is a significant win ahead of November’s presidential election, and he has revelled in his achievement, with the White House trumpeting his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize by a far right member of the Norwegian parliament.

“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal -– the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!” Trump tweeted.

He said it was “so interesting” that he was able to announce the deal on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks by Islamist radicals against the United States.

Palestinian leaders have called for protests against the “shameful deals” over fears their drive for a homeland is losing steam in the Arab world, which had held fast to a 2002 Saudi-sponsored initiative calling for Israel’s complete withdrawal from occupied territories.

The recognition is a huge coup for Netanyahu, bringing the Jewish state closer to its goal of acceptance on the world stage, and the reaction in Israel has been effervescent.

“It feels like our countries are dating,” said Jerusalem’s deputy mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum. “We both see each other as exotic birds. There’s such excitement in the air, both sides are thirsty for peace.” In the Gulf states though, the response to the deals has been much more restrained. - AFP


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