WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump will hold the signing ceremony for a groundbreaking agreement normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on a September 15.
The White House announced the deal on 13th August after nearly 18 months of talks. As part of the deal, the Gulf state agreed to normal relations with Israel, while Israel agreed to suspend its annexation of the West Bank.
A senior White House official, speaking to an international news agency on condition of anonymity, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan would lead the two delegations to the ceremony.
“I am proud to embark next week to Washington, at the invitation of President Trump, to take part in the this historic ceremony at the White House for the foundation of the peace treaty between Israel and the United (Arab) Emirates,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner and other top administration officials accompanied an Israeli delegation last week on the first flight from Israel to the UAE to celebrate the agreement.
Trump and other administration officials have said they expect Saudi Arabia and other countries to follow suit in recognising Israel.
The deal falls short of any grand Middle East peace plan to resolve decades of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians despite Trump’s pledge to do so.
The White House hopes that more such deals between Israel and the Gulf states will emerge prompting the Palestinians to join negotiations. Trump proposed a peace plan in January that favoured the Israelis but it has not advanced in any significant way.
The Palestinian leadership called the accord “betrayal” and a “stab in the back of the Palestinian cause,” but has curbed its criticism. A draft resolution ahead of an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Wednesday does not include a call to condemn, or act against, the UAE over the US-brokered deal.