Bahrain, UAE Sign Normalization Agreements With Israel in Washington

Bahrain and the UAE Israel have officially signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel

Rabat – Bahrain and the UAE Israel have officially signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel — dubbed the “Abraham Accords — in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. 

US President Donald Trump watched on as representatives of the UAE and Bahrain signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel. Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in signing the controversial agreement.

The foreign ministers of Bahrain and the UAE and Israel’s prime minister were hosted outdoors in Washington for the signing of the agreements. The event took the form of a typical Trump-focused event as the US president presented the agreement as a major foreign policy victory for his administration.

Ahead of the agreement, Trump discussed the ceremony on Fox News. Speaking to the anchors of “Fox & Friends,” Trump said “we have a lot of countries that want to come in” to the deal. 

Trump referred to Emirate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed as simply “Mohammed,” who he described as “a great leader, a great warrior.” The US president said that after the UAE and Bahrain, “we have many others that are coming in over a short period of time” to normalize relations with Israel.

“The Palestinians will ultimately come in too,” Trump said. “You will have peace in the Middle East,” he confidently stated. Trump said that each Arab country that would join the accord constituted one less donor to the Palestinian cause, saying “the Palestinians will be brought in.”

Seven hundred people attended the outdoor ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Emirati Minister of State Anwar Gargash called the event “historic” in a virtual press conference ahead of the ceremony. “We have ambitious plans for peace,” Gargash said, calling the agreement “the way forward” for the region.

As Israel’s Netanyahu and the top diplomats of Bahrain and the UAE signed the accords, much remains unclear about the contents of the agreement. Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel would sign a “peace treaty” with the Emirates while Bahrain would sign a “declaration of peace,” without elaborating on the differences between the two.

Netanyahu was the first to meet privately with Trump who presented him with a golden key which Trump called “a key to the White House, to the country and our hearts.” Netanyahu’s meeting with Trump was followed by separate meetings with the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the UAE prior to the signing ceremony. 

Trump said the agreement will see the UAE, Bahrain and Israel “begin to cooperate so strongly,” in his speech ahead of the signing, adding “they are friends.” “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East” Trump stated.

Although the accords are now signed, the agreements between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE still do not appear to be fully set in stone. Israel’s parliament still needs to ratify the agreement and Trump has again stated he would be open to selling F-35 stealth fighters to the UAE, which Israel vehemently opposes.