Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a US-brokered agreement to normalise relations, a joint statement said on Thursday.
Under the deal, Israel has agreed to suspend its attempts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, senior White House officials told Reuters.
Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, tweeted: “During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.
“The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship,” he added.
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the statement said.
Netanyahu descibed it as “a historic day” and announced he would make a televised statement at 8pm Jerusalem time.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian Authority official, said Israel has been rewarded for its actions in Palestinian territories since 1967.
“The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel. Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!” she tweeted.
The UAE becomes the third Arab country to reach a peace agreeement with Israel, after Jordan and Egypt in 1994 and 1979 respectively. The pact is called the Abraham Accords.
Israeli and Emirati delegations are set to meet in coming days to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said.
The two countries are also set to exchange ambassadors and embassies.
Netanyahu and his right-wing allies had sought to annex large swathes of the Palestinian West Bank before meeting resistance internationally and within the coalition government. Though the prime minister had sought to reveal his annexation plan last month, moves towards it looked relatively dead in the water, even before Thursday’s announcement.
However, Raphael Ahren, the Times of Israel’s diplomatic correspondent, tweeted that Israel remains committed to annexing parts of the West Bank.
“The Trump administration ask to temporarily suspend the [annexation] announcement in order to first implement the historic peace agreement with the UAE,” he quoted a senior Israeli official as saying.