How the world is reacting to Israel-UAE peace deal

US President Donald Trump announces a peace deal between Israel and the UAE on Aug 13, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (AFP) - In a historic deal, Israel and the UAE agreed Thursday (Aug 13) to normalise relations which would make the Gulf country only the third Arab nation to hold diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Here is how the world is reacting:


"HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!" US President Donald Trump said on Twitter.

"Everybody said this would be impossible ... After 49 years Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalise their diplomatic relations," Trump later told reporters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as "a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East".

"The United States hopes that this brave step will be the first in a series of agreements that ends 72 years of hostilities in the region," Pompeo said.

Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden said: "Israel and the United Arab Emirates have taken a historic step to bridge the deep divides of the Middle East." He added "the UAE's offer to publicly recognise the State of Israel is a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship".

White House adviser Jared Kushner, who helped draw up the Trump peace plan, described the deal as "an icebreaker between these two countries," adding "we'll hopefully see ... more countries start to do the same."

Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien said: "We believe there are other countries waiting in the wings." Trump "should be a frontrunner for the Nobel Peace Prize," O'Brien added.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also hailed it as an "historic day".

"Today a new era began in the relations between Israel and the Arab world," Netanyahu told a press conference.

Defence Minister and alternate prime minister Benny Gantz called the agreement "important and significant".

"I call upon other Arab nations to advance diplomatic relations in additional peace agreements," he added.


The UAE's leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said in a tweet that "an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories".

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told a media briefing that "most countries will see this as a bold step to secure a two-state solution, allowing time for negotiations."


The Palestinian Authority voiced its "strong rejection and condemnation" of the deal.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called the deal an "aggression" against the Palestinian people and a "betrayal" of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as a capital of their future state.

Hazem Qasem, spokesman for Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, told AFP the deal "does not serve the Palestinian cause".

"The agreement with the UAE is a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes," Qasem said.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi wrote on Twitter: "May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen; may you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation; may you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones. May you never be sold out by your 'friends.'"


"I appreciate the efforts of the architects of this agreement for the prosperity and stability of our region," said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a tweet.

He added he hoped the deal to halt Israel's annexation of Palestinian land, would help bring "peace" to the Middle East.


"This historic step will contribute to strengthening stability and peace in the region," Bahrain's government said in a statement.


British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in a statement, "This is an historic step which sees the normalisation of relations between two great friends of the UK... Ultimately, there is no substitute for direct talks between the Palestinians and Israel, which is the only way to a reach a two state solution and a lasting peace."

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