UAE and Israel to form diplomatic ties

Zachi Evenor

The United Arab Emirates has agreed to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel – only the third Arab nation to do so – in return for Israel halting the annexation of Palestinian land.

The agreement was first publicised by US President Donald Trump, who was involved in talks, before a joint statement was issued by the two countries and the US announcing that delegations would be meeting in the coming weeks to sign agreements on various sectors.

Only Egypt and Jordan have recognised Israel, having made peace deals with the country in 1979 and 1994 respectively, in the absence of Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Trump had presented a potential two-state solution earlier in the year, but his plan was roundly criticised for requiring too few concessions from Israelis and imposing far too much on Palestine. Israel initially announced its intention to formally annex its controversial settlements in the West Bank, though these plans have been halted with the UAE agreement.

In spite of the lack of recognition, however, diplomatic contacts have nevertheless taken place between Israel and various Arab states, not least amid shared concerns over Iran.

Though Palestinian authorities would naturally welcome a halt to annexation plans, Israel’s recognition by another Arab state does mark a setback. Palestine has repeatedly urged Arab states to hold off recognising Israel until Palestine’s independence is safeguarded.