Israel stopped West Bank annexation due to normalisation deal with UAE: Arab League chief

Bassem Aly , Monday 28 Sep 2020

Arab League chief Abul-Gheit (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Arab League’s chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said on Monday that Israel has suspended its plans to annex the West Bank due to the normalisation agreement it signed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Speaking to Sky News Arabia, Aboul-Gheit said that the “understanding between the United Arab Emirates and the United States compelled the Israeli side to freeze the process of annexing Palestinian territories.”

He described this as a “major event.”

Aboul-Gheit said that without this agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have resumed the plan for annexation in the event that US President Donald Trump is re-elected in November, "but now he is handcuffed; he cannot do so."

April’s coalition deal between Netanyahu and head of Israel's centrist Blue and White Party Benny Gantz stipulates that Israel is to claim sovereignty over the West Bank and move forward with Trump’s peace plan.

The UAE and Bahrain recently signed US-sponsored normalisation agreements with Israel in Washington DC, a step that has been opposed by the Palestinians. 

The so-called Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel involves the “establishment of peace and diplomatic relations”, “mutual understanding, cooperation and coordination between them in the spheres of peace and stability,” as well as cooperation in a wide range of activities.

Cooperation includes in the areas of healthcare, science, technology and peaceful uses of outer space, tourism, culture and sports, energy, the environment, education, maritime agreements, telecommunications, agriculture and food security, and water and legal cooperation.

Trump described the deals as “the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”

Including Saudi Arabia, Trump told reporters that Israel will also normalise relations with “seven or eight or nine” other states “at the right time.”

After the agreements were signed, Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner said that the UAE and Bahrain "will have more influence" in solving the Palestinian issue after normalising relations with Israel.

“I will say that if you look at what the United Arab Emirates did today and what Bahrain did today, they will have more influence to help Israel solve the Palestinian issue, as allies and normalised countries with Israel, than they would having no say at the table,” Kushner told Alarabiya.

Kushner credited “new leadership and thinking” for pushing the United States to work on solving the problem of Arab-Israeli relations. But he insisted that the Arab Peace Initiative is “not a viable pathway,” describing this situation as the “reality.”

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