Israel’s cabinet has approved the September 15 signing of the normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince agreed to meet soon.
The US-brokered deal between Israel and the UAE was condemned by the Palestinian leadership as a betrayal of their quest for statehood in Israeli-occupied land.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan tweeted on Monday that he and Netanyahu had discussed strengthening bilateral ties and the prospects for peace in the region.
In an official statement that coincided with an Israeli cabinet vote approving the signing of the agreement, Netanyahu said he and the crown prince would meet “soon”.
Series of normalisation deals
The UAE and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab countries to formally establish diplomatic ties with Israel.
The Palestinians have slammed the deals as grave betrayals by the Arab states, further undermining their efforts to achieve self-determination.
The only two Arab countries Israel had signed peace treaties with in the past are Egypt and Jordan, in 1979 and 1994 respectively.
Egypt and Jordan share borders with Israel and have fought wars with Israel in the past.
The latest normalisation deals came as part of a broader diplomatic push by US President Donald Trump in the run-up to the US elections in November.
Earlier this year, Trump revealed a proposed Middle East plan – long touted by his administration as the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – which was categorically rejected by the Palestinians and received little public support regionally.
Various reports have, however, shown that some Gulf states established covert ties with Israel in recent years, with some relationships dating back to the 1990s when the US-brokered Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Some countries have been less reluctant to publicise their relations with Israel, including Oman and Sudan, whose officials have met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent years.
Many Arab states say they remain committed to the Arab Peace Initiative – which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 in exchange for the full normalisation of relations.