The deals were signed between Emirati and Bahraini Foreign Ministers, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. US President Donald Trump also penned his blessing into the accords.
With the US-brokered deals, the UAE and Bahrain have become only the third and fourth Arab states to ever normalize their relations with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.
Trump: More countries to fall into line
At the White House, US President Donald Trump claimed “five or six” more Arab countries were poised to agree to normalize relations with Israel.
“We’re very far down the road with about five countries, five additional countries,” Trump said as he hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Emirati and Bahraini Foreign Ministers, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.
With Trump facing a tough re-election on November 3, the back-to-back agreements could help bolster his electoral appeal to pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters in the US, an important chunk of his political base.
Taking the podium after Trump, Netanyahu thanked the US president for “unequivocally” standing by Israel’s side since taking office.
Trump and Netanyahu called the deals historic, with the former alleging that they “mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
The White House ceremony also helps distract from Netanyahu’s domestic grievances — the worst economic downturn in 45 years, a coronavirus crisis that has prompted the second general lockdown, and his own trial on corruption charges.
Hours before the signing ceremony, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash claimed that the deal with Israel had come after “we broke the psychological barrier” of establishing ties with Tel Aviv.
The agreement, he added, will help the UAE and bring results “that we want to see,” calling it “the way forward for the region.”
The normalization trend has, however, been uniformly panned by all Palestinian people and factions as well as the Bahraini public that have been holding daily rallies since its inception.
Throughout the day, the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank witnessed raucous rallies against the deals, passionate denunciation speeches and statements by Palestinian leaders.
A protest was also held in Washington to lambaste the the agreements.
In London, protesters amassed in front of the Bahraini Embassy waiving Palestinian flags and staging a mockery of the signing ceremony by dressing up as American, Israeli, Emirati, and Bahraini officials.
‘Palestine factions standing united’
Ahead of the signing ceremony, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas’ Political Bureau, talked to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas over the phone about the matter.
He said Palestinian groups would not allow “the Palestinian cause to turn into a bridge enabling normalization of relations with the occupying regime.”
Hamas and Fatah, the party leading the PA, “are in the same front,” Haniyeh added, hailing a recent plenary meeting of all Palestinian factions in the Lebanese capital Beirut that sought to sew up their rifts.
“The message of this meeting is unity, steadfastness, and opposition to all plots and attempts at destroying the Palestinian cause,” he said.
Abbas, for his part, threw his weight behind all exerted efforts that affirm the unity of Palestinians in facing plots aimed at undermining the Palestinian cause and depriving the people of their legitimate rights.
Middle East experts say the normalization trend will have unprecedented geopolitical ramifications for the entire region.