It is the first peace agreement between an Arab state and Israel since its 1994 peace treaty with Jordan.
Rabat – Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed a historic agreement that will normalize relations between the two countries. US President Donald Trump announced the US-led agreement that will soon see both countries exchange ambassadors and establish diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations.
As part of the agreement with the UAE, Israel has committed to not “extending sovereignty” over large swaths of the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced plans to annex the area, which the newly signed Abraham Accords nominally aims to prevent.
The agreement, published by Trump on Twitter, states that “a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty.” Whether annexation was the main motivation for Israel’s controversial agreement with the UAE remains to be seen, as US influence and economic incentives remained behind closed doors.
“Israel for the foreseeable future will be focused on building this relationship and pursuing all the advantages that can come from having this new relationship with this country,” a White House official told Reuters. “We also (believe it) breaks the ice for doing more normalizations and peace agreements with other regional players as well,” they continued.
Israel and the US appear to see the agreement as the first of many, as Israel continues diplomacy with many Arab states that traditionally opposed Israel. Fear of US reprisals and the promise of economic benefits could steer other Arab states in a similar direction, although the move could also indicate a waning of Emirati influence in the region.
For the Trump Administration, the agreement between Israel and the UAE comes at an opportune time. The White House is facing increasing criticism over its coronavirus response. The virus has claimed 163,000 American lives and led to more than five million citizens getting infected in a country where medical bills can easily lead to financial ruin.
The agreement appeases major blocs on both sides of the political spectrum in the US. Many popular Democratic politicians had expressed concern with Israeli annexation plans, which the agreement between the UAE and Israel appears to mitigate. For the Republican party, any “win” for Israel is considered a victory for the United States.
A specific but large subsection of the Republican base consists of Evangelical voters. They feel closely linked to Israel due to specific Christian prophecies regarding the return of Jesus Christ, a prophecy that depends on the return of all Jewish people to Israel.
The Trump administration will consider the agreement a major victory. In the absence of Israeli annexation, it could benefit from a foreign policy achievement to distract from national politics on race relations, growing inequality, and an increasing vitriol across the partisan divide.