The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed a historic agreement with Israel on Tuesday to normalize ties between the countries. The signing ceremony took place at the White House, under the watchful eye of US President Donald Trump, who acted as broker in the deal.
Palestinians reject deal
Bahrain and the UAE are only the third and fourth Arab countries to recognize Israel since its founding in 1948. Previously, only Egypt and Jordan did.
First the UAE and later Bahrain already approved the agreement last month. On the lawn of the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain signed the deal on Tuesday.
“After decades of division and conflict, we here mark the dawn of a new Middle East. We are here to change the course of history,” Trump said Tuesday. Netanyahu spoke similar words, calling the accord “a pivotal point in history, ushering in a new era of peace.”
For decades, most Arab countries have boycotted Israel and insisted that they should not establish ties until the dispute with the Palestinians was resolved. An important agreement that the UAE and Bahrain have made with Israel is that Israel will stop annexing areas in the West Bank for the time being.
The Palestinians have disapproved of the deal between the three countries. According to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, only an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories can bring peace to the Middle East.
The Israeli military reported that two missiles were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the ceremony.