Israel formally established this Tuesday diplomatic relations with two kingdoms of the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, with the signing of agreements that open a crack in the Arab consensus on how to move towards a Palestinian state and reinforce the pressure on Iran.
The president of the USA, Donald Trump, led the signing ceremony of the historic Abrahamic agreements, negotiated with the mediation of the White House and with which the president hopes to generate a wave of new pacts between Israel and its Arab neighbors, in addition to winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
“We are here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East “, Trump said during the signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.
The act made the Emirates and Bahrain the third and fourth Arab countries, respectively, to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994).
The decision of the Emirates, which announced its agreement with Israel on August 13, and of Bahrain, which made it public last Friday, raised criticism of the Palestinians, who accused both kingdoms of having broken the Arab consensus that consisted of isolating Israel until the occupation of their territories ends.
The Emirati Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, defended at the ceremony that the agreement it does not mean abandoning the Palestinians, and that, on the contrary, it will allow his government to continue “defending the Palestinian people” and will even facilitate them to achieve “an independent state within a stable region.”
The annexation of the West Bank, unsolved
The White House initially assured that, as part of its agreement with the UAE, Israel had pledged to paralyze the annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory, but the Israeli government made it clear right away that this decision it was just “temporary” and that the annexation of part of the occupied West Bank remains “on the table.”
However, the Emirati minister also thanked Israel for “stopping the annexation of the Palestinian territories”, while his counterpart from Bahrain, Abdulatif bin Rashid al Zayani, trusted during the same ceremony that the “peace” they will generate in the region these agreements lead to a two-state solution.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in charge of signing the agreements by Israel, and predicted that the basis that these agreements have laid may, over time, “end the conflict once and for all Arab-Israeli “.
During a bilateral meeting with Netanyahu before the ceremony, Trump assured that his government is holding “very advanced” negotiations so that Arab “five other countries” also normalize their relations with Israel, and that he is in contact with the Palestinians.
For the moment, however, it seems unlikely that the United States will convince Saudi Arabia, the region’s most powerful country in geopolitical terms, to follow in the footsteps of the Emirates and Bahrain.
Abbas affirms that the agreements “will not bring peace”
For his part, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed this Tuesday that “peace will not be achieved as long as the United States” and Israel “do not recognize the right of the Palestinian people to establish a Independent state “on the 1967 borders, when the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories began, in force until today.
The “main problem is not” between these two Gulf monarchies and the Israeli authorities, but with the Palestinian people, who suffers under occupation “, Abás added, in statements collected by the official Wafa news agency.
He also warned that he will not allow anyone to speak “on behalf” of the Palestinians, and condemned the “attempts to circumvent” your leadership to deal with issues that concern them.
Israel’s normalization of ties with the UAE and Bahrain fell as a jug of cold water on Palestinian leaders and factions, who were unaware of their rapprochement, a process mediated and facilitated by the US Administration of Donald Trump.
Palestinian leaders view rapprochement with Israeli authorities as “a betrayal” and a blow to solidarity between the Arab states. They also denounce that it contradicts the Arab Peace Initiative, which conditioned the recognition of Israel when this country ends the occupation and signs a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The West Bank and Gaza registered this Tuesday demonstrations small rejection of pacts. As the accords were being signed in Washington, Gaza militiamen launched two rockets to Israel, what analysts interpreted as a message of rejection of normalization.
The siege of Iran is tightened
The pacts signed on Tuesday make it likely that other Arab states will start reach their own agreements with Israel, something that also represents a setback for Iran, the main enemy of the Israeli government in the region.
“You have fiercely confronted the tyrants of Tehran,” Netanyahu celebrated, addressing Trump, before signing.
The Sunni States of the Persian Gulf have increased their antagonism with Shiite leaders Iran, and Trump has seen in that trend a perfect opportunity to try to join forces with Israel against Tehran.
The fine print of the agreements has not been made public, but, according to the newspaper The New York Times, contains a United States commitment to sell F-35 fighters to Emirates, to balance Emirati military capabilities with Israeli ones in the region.
Netanyahu has denied that he has consented to that agreement, and when asked about it on Tuesday, Trump simply replied that differences on the matter will be “settled”.
Since announcing their agreement on August 13, Israel and the Emirates have already taken the first steps in normalizing their relations, from phone calls to collaboration in medical and defense matters, through the arrival in Abu Dhabi at the end of August of the first commercial flight between both countries.