Jewish, pro-Israel groups welcome Israel-UAE-Bahrain normalization deals

Israel, 2 Gulf nations seal new accords at White House ceremony, angering Palestinians

UAE and Bahrain sign recognition deals with Israel

During the White House signing ceremony Israel projected flags of Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the US onto the Old City walls as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood alongside President Donald Trump in Washington hailing what he called "historic" peace agreements.

He also said he thought "seven or eight or nine" more countries would normalize relations with Israel - up from the "five or six" he had previously mentioned.

Trump did not name the additional countries, but hinted during separate bilateral talks with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan that Saudi Arabia may be on board without saying so specifically. He was joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Zayani.

Israel is not at war with either country and already enjoys business and security ties, albeit discreetly, with both Arab states. Tuesday's agreements broke a decades-old commitment by most of the Arab world to normalize relations with Israel only after it agreed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. According to the AP, in addition to the rocket attacks Palestinians expressed their outrage in the West Bank and in Gaza by trampling on and setting fires to pictures of Trump, Netanyahu, and the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain.

"The Palestinians will ultimately come in too", he said.

The deals, denounced by the Palestinians, make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalise ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

"NORPAC strongly applauds the Abraham Accords signing at the White House". The leaders, who did not wear masks, read statements from a White House balcony to about 200 people below, sitting side by side. The men then descended a staircase and sat at tables on the lawn to sign statements in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

With Trump up for re-election on November 3, the accords could help shore up support among pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters, an important part of his political base.

And while the U.A.E. and Bahrain have a history of suppressing dissent and critical public opinion, there have been indications that the agreements are not almost as popular or well received as in Israel. The Emirates say normalization halted Israeli annexation of settlements in the West Bank.

"The historic agreements signed today show that peace is on the march and the so-called Arab-Israeli conflict is increasingly an anachronism". Even senior Israeli officials were not told in advance what the documents contained, creating a storm of controversy there. Virtually any agreement of substance would have to be ratified by Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

"The Middle East is the heartland of Jewish history, the home to our prophets, historical and holy sites", he said.

Meanwhile, dozens of Bahrainis took to the streets to protest the deal the kingdom signed with Israel.

Trump said he is OK with selling military aircraft to the U.A.E. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also welcomed the agreements but said she wants to learn details, specifically what the Trump administration has told the U.A.E. about buying American-made F-35 aircraft and about Israel agreeing to freeze efforts to annex portions of the West Bank. "It heralds a new dawn of peace". Israel is now seen as the most reliable regional partner. The kingdom is home to the largest USA naval base in the Middle East. The Israeli leader has said he is open to talks, but Palestian officials counter that he has done little to convince them he is ready for serious talks that would fulfill enough of their demands. "I don't say that with any bravado, I just tell you the Palestinians will be a member at the right time", Trump said.

All the four countries at the White House share a common hostility to Iran, which Mr Trump has put under crippling economic and diplomatic pressure.

"Supporters of the deal argue that the Arab states' declarations have overturned the historically held notion that a stable Arab world, in which Israel is fully accepted, would only occur after finding a solution to the Palestine question", HA Hellyer, of the Royal United Services Institute in London and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said.

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