WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday at the White House, Israel signed diplomatic pacts to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” President Trump, who presided over the signing of the agreements, said at the ceremony. “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
“It heralds a new dawn of peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added.
While specific details of the pacts are not yet public, the three countries will open embassies and establish economic ties including tourism, technology, and energy.
Israel and the Emirates are beginning commercial air travel between their countries for the first time, and Bahrain has opened its airspace for those flights.
While Saudi Arabia was not part of the agreement, it has also opened its airspace for commercial flights between Israel and the U.A.E., a move seen as tacit approval of the agreement.
The newly-signed accords mark the first time the Jewish state and an Arab neighbor have signed such an agreement since 1994 when Israel established diplomatic relations with Jordan.
Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Bahrain-Israel calling it “a betrayal of the Palestinian issue, of Jerusalem, and of the al-Aqsa mosque” by Bahrain.
The agreement calls for “a just, comprehensive and enduring resolution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,” but didn’t address any specific issues of the decades-long, Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Political analysts have hailed the accords as a historic event and an important victory for the president less than two months before the election.
Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, said: “I pray each night that Trump is defeated in November but if he and Kushner helped to nurture this deal on their way out the door, good for them.”
The agreements are also a victory for Saudi Arabia in its historic dispute with Iran. Both the UAE and Bahrain are Sunni Muslim countries and close allies of Saudi Arabia, while Iran is Shia Muslim. The establishing of these diplomatic relationships with Israel, which are tacitly supported by Saudi Arabia, could be the prelude of an alliance of Sunni Muslim countries and Israel, with the blessing of the United States, to contain Iran’s influence in the region.