UAE and Bahrain sign recognition deals with Israel

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner presents a Torah scroll to Bahrain's king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa while visiting the Gulf state in early September 2020

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner presents a Torah scroll to Bahrain's king Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa while visiting the Gulf state in early September 2020

During the White House signing ceremony Israel projected flags of Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the USA onto the Old City walls as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood alongside President Donald Trump in Washington hailing what he called "historic" peace agreements. Egypt and Jordan had previously established ties with Israel.

However, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government would oppose any F-35 warplane sales by the USA to the UAE. "The peace agreement with the UAE does not include any clauses on the matter, and the United States clarified to Israel that it will always safeguard Israel's qualitative edge", he said back in August. "We hope that the day will come when the Palestinian Authority itself will be prepared to achieve a permanent peace with the State of Israel for the benefit of all people in the region".

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the agreements marked "a change in the heart of the Middle East".

The Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, spoke last.

Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank have condemned the UAE and Bahrain for moving forward without a peace deal for the Palestinians.

According to an Associated Press report, the Israeli military said two rockets were fired from Gaza and one was intercepted by air defenses.

"Efforts to bypass the Palestinian people and their leadership will have risky consequences", Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement.

The Palestinians have not embraced the US vision.

Media has reported that Saudi Arabia is likely to be the next state to normalise relations with Israel.

At the White House, there were no handshakes, possibly in observance of coronavirus restrictions. The pandemic was in the backdrop of the White House ceremony, where there was no physical distancing and most guests didn't wear masks. The men then descended a staircase and sat at tables on the lawn to sign statements in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

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American Sephardi Federation executive director Jason Guberman told JNS that the signing ceremony "reasserted the classical Middle Eastern values of moderation, pluralism and future-mindedness by recognizing the rightful place of Israel in the region".

He used an Oval Office meeting before the ceremony to take several digs at his Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, and to criticize the Palestinians, who flatly rejected as one-sided his administration's attempts to broker a resolution with Israel.

And while the U.A.E. and Bahrain have a history of suppressing dissent and critical public opinion, there have been indications that the agreements are not almost as popular or well received as in Israel. "These agreements will serve to further halt Iran's aggression and improve Israel's security". "Within the region, the siege of the Gaza Strip, the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, and the denial of a solution to the refugee issue remain an open wound for the Arab public". "It's going to be peace in the Middle East".

Officials in the home countries cast some doubt on the significance of the agreements. Virtually any agreement of substance would have to be ratified by Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

"This day is a pivot of history". On Aug. 13, the Israel-U.A.E. deal was announced. Trump said on Tuesday he would have no problem selling advanced stealth F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, which for years has sought to obtain them.

"It heralds a new dawn of peace", he said. "This holds great promise for Israel and its neighbors, but also sends an unmistakable message to those who desire to undermine normalization that the future is not in their hands". The kingdom is home to the largest US naval base in the Middle East.

"We're here this afternoon to change the course of history", Trump said from a balcony overlooking the South Lawn.

Palestinian demonstrator Emad Essa from Gaza said if people walk through the coastal enclave "you'll see hundreds of Gazan youth who have lost their legs and got crippled for life for just for merely protesting against the Israeli blockade".

All the four countries at the White House share a common hostility to Iran, which Mr Trump has put under crippling economic and diplomatic pressure.

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