Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, ratified the country’s peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, bringing into full effect the normalization announced two months ago.
The parliamentary approval follows Israel’s cabinet - under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - officially approving the deal on Monday.
Israeli parliament member Michal Cotler-Wunsh said the historic moment has the “potential to be the beginning of the end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
“Recognition enables negotiation which enables peace,” Cotler-Wunsh said in an interview with Al Arabiya English.
“I hope the agreement deepens the relationship between the two countries, and hope it has a trickledown effect on the whole region,” she added.
Israeli Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata told Al Arabiya English that she considers it an honor to be an elected official during a period when historical agreements are taking place.
“I am full of hope that we will be able to lead to further agreements and accomplishments in order to strengthen regional security and stability in the Middle East as a whole.”
The vote was not unanimous – the Arab-led Joint List faction announced earlier in the day that they would vote against the agreement.
The agreement makes the UAE the third Arab state to officially normalize ties with Israel. Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
Israel and the UAE first announced the US-brokered normalization agreement on August 13 and signed the deal, known as the “Abraham Accords,” at the White House on September 15.
An official Israeli delegation visited the UAE’s capital city Abu Dhabi on August 31, taking the first direct flight in history from Israel to the UAE.
An Emirati delegation is expected to make a reciprocal trip to Israel on October 20, an Emirati source told Al Arabiya English on Monday.
Netanyahu said Monday that he invited Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Israel, and that the Crown Prince had extended a reciprocal invitation to the UAE capital.
The invitations were expressed during a phone call in which the two leaders discussed strengthening bilateral ties call and examined “prospects for peace” in the region.
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