World Washington - Israel to seal deal with Emirates and...

Washington – Israel to seal deal with Emirates and Bahrain

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to formally establish diplomatic relations between the Hebrew state and the two Arab countries this Tuesday during a ceremony at the White House hosted by Donald Trump.

A historic handshake between Benjamin Netanyahu and Arab representatives is not excluded, according to a US official.

AFP

Israel signed historic agreements at the White House on Tuesday with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain which upset the balance in the Middle East, and on which Donald Trump is counting to present himself as a “peacemaker” seven weeks before the US presidential election.

The President of the United States has held a ceremony with great fanfare in Washington during which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to formally establish diplomatic relations between the Hebrew state and these two Arab countries – the first such breakthrough since the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, in 1979 and 1994.

A historic handshake between the Israeli leader and Arab representatives is not ruled out, a senior US official said, stressing that all participants will have previously been tested for coronavirus.

The Emirates and Bahrain share with Israel a common animosity towards Iran, Washington’s number one enemy in the region.

Opportunities

Many Arab oil states have quietly cultivated ties with Israeli authorities for years, but this normalization offers rich opportunities, especially economic ones, for those countries trying to undo the ravages of the coronavirus crisis.

“It is a first-class achievement”, assures David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, while stressing that it “does not imply the same risk-taking” for the Israelis as that accepted by Menachem Begin, ” when he left the Sinai “to Egypt, or Yitzhak Rabin, when he agreed to negotiate with the Palestinian Yasser Arafat.

The “vision for peace” presented earlier this year by Donald Trump, which aimed to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is far from successful: the Palestinian Authority has rejected it outright and denies it. American president the very role of mediator since he chained the decisions favorable to Israel.

“Dark day”

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has also estimated that Tuesday would be a “dark day” in the history of the Arab world, whose “fractures” and “divisions” he lambasted.

The Palestinians, who denounce a “stab in the back” on behalf of these countries accused of making a pact with the Jewish state without waiting for the birth of a Palestinian state, called for demonstrations on Tuesday.

But the Trump administration has always said it wants to shake up the region by bringing Israel and the Arab world closer together in a kind of sacred union against Iran. These agreements outline this change of era and seem to relegate the Palestinian question to the background, as the White House hoped.

Increased tensions

Against this backdrop, tensions between Iran and the United States escalated further this week after reports were released that U.S. intelligence services believe Tehran is considering assassinating a U.S. diplomat in revenge. the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, targeted by an American strike in Baghdad in January.

Donald Trump warned that the American response to any Iranian attack would be “a thousand times stronger”. Iran, which denied this information, warned of a “strategic error” by the United States.

According to David Makovsky, “this is no longer daddy’s Middle East, it’s a new region” where, extraordinary fact, the Arab League refused to condemn the decision of the two Gulf monarchies. “The Palestinians will wait to see what happens in the American election, but when the dust settles, they will have to rethink their position,” said this ex-American diplomat.

These agreements are a victory for Benjamin Netanyahu and bring Israel closer to its goal of being accepted in the region.

Planes of Discord

For Donald Trump, who is running for a second term and has so far had little diplomatic progress to present to voters, it is a recognized success even among his Democratic opponents.

Since the announcement on August 13 of the Israeli-Emirati agreement, followed last week by that concerning Bahrain, the camp of the Republican billionaire does not skimp on superlatives to praise his action, worthy of the Nobel Prize winner to believe. the peace.

However, differences have already emerged on the conditions surrounding the agreement with the Emirates. The American president declared in particular at three hours of the signing ceremony that he would have “no problem” to sell American fighter planes F-35 in the United Arab Emirates, which Abu Dhabi wants to acquire for a long time. Such a contract would represent “many jobs” on the American side, added Donald Trump.

Benjamin Netanyahu strongly opposes this sale, to preserve his country’s military superiority in the region.

In the eyes of the Gulf countries, Israel has also agreed to “put an end to the continued annexation of the Palestinian territories”. But the Israeli prime minister told him that he had “not given up” on annexing large swathes of the occupied West Bank, only “postponed”.

AFP/NXP

Posted today at 5:00 p.m.

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