UAE, Bahrain normalize ties with Israel at historic White House event

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The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain officially normalized relations with Israel at a signing ceremony at the White House on Tuesday.

The agreements “will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region,” said US President Donald Trump in an opening speech at the ceremony.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

The three officials, as well as Trump, signed the Abraham Accords.

The deals make them the third and fourth Arab states to normalize ties with Israel. Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Al Nahyan thanked Netanyahu for “choosing peace” and halting the annexation of Palestinian territories during his remarks.

Israel halted its plans to annex Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory in August, in exchange for the normalization of diplomatic ties with the UAE.

Bahrain’s Al Zayani said his country’s agreement with Israel is an important first step towards peace.

“It is now incumbent on us to work urgently and actively to bring about the lasting peace and security our peoples deserve,” said Al Zayani.

“A just, comprehensive, and enduring two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be the foundation, the bedrock of such peace,” he added.

Trump, who hosted the ceremony, said that at least five or six more countries are “very far down the road” on the way to normalizing relations with Israel.

UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba said the ceremony “reflects a big win for diplomacy.”

“The possibilities, the stability, the prosperity that is going to be unleashed because of what we signed today is going to be good for our three countries and it’s going to be good for the region,” said Al Otaiba in a video posted by the UAE Embassy to the US.

“Young people in the UAE and young people in Israel are going to be able to meet with each other, and talk with each other, and learn from each other,” he said.

“This is exactly what peace allows. It allows people to understand each other and make a difference,” added Al Otaiba.

The UAE first announced the plans for normalization on August 13. Bahrain followed on September 11.

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