Israel deal boosts Jordan’s security, closes ‘gate on annexation’: UAE Ambassador

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The UAE’s historic agreement with Israel has “closed the gate” on Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and will directly benefit Jordan, according to UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba.

The UAE’s treaty with Israel “bolsters Jordan’s stability and reaffirms its importance in future initiatives,” Al Otaiba wrote in an op-ed for Israeli news outlet Ynet.

Last week the UAE became the third Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel, following Jordan’s agreement in 1994 and Egypt’s in 1979.

Jordan’s King Abdullah warned in June that Israel’s plans to annex Palestinian territory, which the UAE agreement has since put on hold, would undermine regional stability.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said last week that the UAE-Israel deal would “move the region towards a just peace” - if Israel approached it as an incentive to end occupation of Palestinian land.

Annexation on hold

In exchange for the normalization of diplomatic ties with the UAE, Israel agreed to halt its plans to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Al Otaiba said the most immediate and significant outcome of the agreement is Israel’s decision to “suspend its annexation plans for Palestinian territory.”

The UAE and Israel “closed the gate on annexation” and “unlocked a gate toward a better future across the Middle East,” he said.

The agreement “maintains the viability of a two-state solution as endorsed by the Arab League and international community,” he added.

The Arab League has long advocated for the Arab Peace Initiative, first presented by then-Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud in 2002.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Wednesday that the country remains committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, which asserts that Arab countries only normalize relations with Israel in return for Palestinian statehood and Israeli withdrawal from territory occupied since the 1967 war, such as East Jerusalem.

Moving forward

Normalization with Israel will “progress in phases,” according to Al Otaiba.

The most imminent plans include collaboration on health and water, discussions on air travel, and ministerial level visits.

“An exchange of Ambassadors and diplomatic missions will follow,” Al Otaiba said.

The op-ed comes after major developments in UAE-Israel relations this week. On Tuesday, UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan received Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's foreign intelligence, the Mossad.

The two discussed bilateral cooperation in several fields, according to state news agency WAM.

On Monday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin invited Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Jerusalem.

The UAE confirmed on Sunday that a phone link had been set up with Israel, unblocking phone calls between the countries.

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