Trump says 'about five' countries are close to normalising with Israel

Senior adviser to the prime minister and deputy head of the national security council Reuven Azar

Senior adviser to the prime minister and deputy head of the national security council Reuven Azar

Bahrain, situated about 200 km to the northwest of the westernmost point of the UAE in the Persian Gulf, becomes the fourth Arab nation after the UAE, Jordan and Egypt to establish relations with Israel since the Jewish State's creation in 1948.

Frustrated by the Palestinians' refusal to take part in Trump's Middle East peace initiative, the White House has sought to bypass them in hopes they will see the deals with the UAE and Bahrain as incentives, even leverage, for peace talks. Gantz also adds that the UAE and Bahrain were specifically countries "whom we've never fought and who have never fought us, not even through proxies".

Moments later in the Oval Office, surrounded by the various represenatives, Trump said it was "an incredible thing that's happening - it's come a long way".

"We'll have at least five or six countries coming along very quickly, we're already talking to them", Trump said. The UAE deal was announced last month, with the Bahrain deal announced on Friday.

Many Palestinians feel the new Israeli accords have left them abandoned by some Arab allies.

Netanyahu rejected the idea that Israel was isolated in the region and declared that "we're breaking out to the entire world".

Meanwhile, the newspaper reported what it claimed to be a consensus among Arab diplomats that Saudi Arabia "will not move to full overt relations with Israel in light of its obligation towards the Palestinian cause". They won't say that outwardly.

Israel, Bahrain and the UAE are expected to sign a trilateral document, in addition to the bilateral agreements. Though the mood of the ceremony is expected to be warm, it will be up to the leaders whether they want to shake hands, the official told reporters.

Democrats have given some support to the agreements, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying in a statement that it marked "an important day" but said that "questions remain" including about a commitment for the UAE to purchase F-35 jets - which has led to fears it could blunt Israel's military superiority in the region.

Gantz refuses to comment on the specific ways his ministry was proposing that the U.S. could offset the damage - with some combination of restricting the UAE's use of the F-35 in some way or selling even more powerful weaponry to Israel - but said that this will be an ongoing discussion for the coming months.

Palestinian leaders have urged demonstrations in the occupied territories and outside embassies of the United States, Israel, Bahrain and the UAE to protest what they called "shameful agreements".

Though negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians last broke down in 2014, some Gulf Arab states and several other Arab countries have long had quiet, informal contacts with Israel.

Gantz says that while there was no indication of an imminent uprising, there were concerns of a "straw that breaks the camel's back".

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