The agreement between Israel and the UAE is the first in 26 years, since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin made peace with Jordan, and Israel’s third-ever with an Arab country.

Tel Aviv Municipality lit up with the UAE flag, August 13, 2020. (photo credit: TEL AVIV MUNICIPALITY)
Tel Aviv Municipality lit up with the UAE flag, August 13, 2020. (photo credit: TEL AVIV MUNICIPALITY)


Israel began taking steps towards putting the announced normalization with the United Arab Emirates into action and to sign agreements with other Gulf States as well.

Bahrain is expected to be the next country to make its secret ties with Israel open and official.

Channel 12 reported Mossad chief Yossi Cohen spoke with Bahrain Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa over the weekend, and the premier also made a “private visit” outside of Bahrain on Saturday, according to the King of Bahrain’s spokesman.

Special Adviser to the US President Jared Kushner said that the announcement of another country normalizing relations with Israel would be “in the coming days” after Thursday’s announcement of ties between Israel and the UAE.

Diplomatic adviser to the king of Bahrain Khalida Khalifa tweeted after the agreement was announced: “We salute the UAE for its rights-preserving position… and for its serious step towards establishing peace and laying the foundations for common prosperity for the peoples of the region.”

Oman is another country thought to be in line for normalization with Israel. A spokesman for its foreign ministry tweeted expressing “the Sultanate’s support for… the UAE [decision] regarding relations with Israel within the framework of its historic joint declaration with the US and Israel.”

One insider on Israel-Gulf relations said another normalization announcement, probably from Bahrain, will likely come before the US election in November, because Gulf States are nervous about US Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden winning and the US returning to the nuclear deal with Iran.

Some leaders in the Gulf think that these peace announcements could help the incumbent, President Donald Trump, the source said.
Kushner said even Saudi Arabia could have open ties with Israel after some of the other Gulf States do.

“I do think we have other countries that are very interested in moving forward [with Israel] and as that progresses I do think that it’s an inevitability that Saudi Arabia and Israel will have fully normalized relations and they’ll be able to do a lot of great things together,” Kushner told CNBC on Friday.

The special adviser to Trump said the Saudi Arabia’s younger generation sees Israel as “almost the Silicon Valley of the Middle East” and wants ties, while older leaders are “still stuck in conflicts of the past.”

“You can’t turn around a battleship overnight,” he added.

Saudi Arabia had not released any official statements to the normalization between Israel and the UAE as of Saturday night.

The agreement between Israel and the UAE is the first in 26 years, since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin made peace with Jordan, and Israel’s third-ever with an Arab country.

Trump said late Thursday night that he hopes to host Netanyahu and the UAE’s leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan in the next three weeks at the White House for a ceremony to mark the peace deal.

US Ambassador David Friedman described the work towards making normalization happen: “We are going to nail all the details, embassies, overflights, commercial. Then we are going to extrapolate that to the rest of the region.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat to coordinate the efforts towards negotiations with the UAE following the announced normalization. Cohen is also involved, as he has long been in contact with Gulf leaders on security matters.

Netanyahu also thanked Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer for his “great determination and skill” in working with his Emirati counterpart and the White House to bring about the normalization agreement.

On Thursday, Trump said Israel agreed not to apply sovereignty in parts of the West Bank at all, but backtracked immediately after. The agreement says the matter was “suspended,” which Netanyahu said is only temporary.

“Israel has agreed not to do it. More than off the table, they have agreed not to do it,” Trump said. “I think that’s very important. I think it was a great concession by Israel. I think it was a smart concession.”

Friedman clarified that the word which had been chosen to describe the situation was “suspended” and that word had been chosen “very carefully” because it means a temporary halt. Sovereignty, Friedman said, was “off the table” but not “off the table permanently.”
“I can’t talk about some time in the future,” Trump said.

The US unveiled a peace plan in January that would have allowed Israel to annex up to 30% of the West Bank, but the Trump administration asked Israel to wait before executing that plan.

At an earlier stage in the conference, Friedman noted that the application of sovereignty to West Bank settlements was incompatible with the overall goal of normalized ties between Israel and the Arab world.

Friedman has been one of the strongest supporters of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. On Thursday night, as he spoke with Trump in Washington, he said, however, “we are putting our eggs into the basket of peace.

“We have prioritized peace over the sovereignty movement,” he added. “It’s not off the table, it’s just something that has been deferred until we have given peace every single chance… Sovereignty after peace is given every opportunity.”

But, he said, Israel has not been asked to permanently abandon the idea of annexation.

Trump told reporters he believed that the Palestinians would also come to the negotiating table to make a deal with Israel, because they rely heavily on financial support of countries that are coming to the table.

The Palestinians are “supported by countries we are already talking to. Palestinians will, without saying it necessarily yet, want to be part of what we are doing. I see peace between Israel and the Palestinians happening, as these big powerful wealthy countries come in. I think the Palestinians will follow quite naturally,” Trump said.

Trump also said that protecting Christians in the Middle East is an important part of the nascent peace deal.

“Christians have been persecuted by some countries in particular in the Middle East. This [UAE deal] is a big start, it is going to be a strong start, a very powerful start” toward protecting Christians in the Middle East, Trump said.

“If you look at the way Christians have been treated in some countries, it is beyond disgraceful. If I had information and if I had absolute proof of some of the stories we have heard, which is not easy to get, I would go in and do a number to those countries, like you would not believe,” Trump said.

As a result, protecting Christians in the Middle East would also be a component of future deals that would be signed between Israel and other countries in the region, he clarified.

Christianity “is a very big part of the overall negotiation. As countries come in, the UAE has agreed very strongly to represent us. I think [it ] will, very well, with respect to Christianity, because in the Middle East it is not treated well. It is treated horribly and very unfairly,” Trump said.

The president also attempted to clarify some of the confusion with regard to any Israeli plans to annex portions of the West Bank.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post