The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s normalisation with Israel is a “major shift in the Middle East countries’ policy towards the Israeli state,” US senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, announced yesterday.
“The tide is turning in the Middle East and Arab countries don’t want their progress to be interrupted by the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains stuck,” Axios quoted Kushner at a press conference as saying. The conference comes days before the two countries sign an agreement to normalise relations in the American capital, Washington DC.
Following the deal, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said they would open their airspaces to flights to and from Israel. “Every flight from Israel that will ask for a permit to fly through Saudi airspace will receive it,” Kushner stressed.
Bahrain, which earlier this year said that Israel has a right to defend itself against Palestinians, and its neighbour Saudi Arabia, do not have diplomatic ties with Israel. Manama recently declared its opposition to normalisation without Palestinian statehood. However, according to Israel broadcaster Kan, Bahrain is expected to follow the UAE once Israel and the Emirates have signed their peace accord next week.
On Wednesday, the Palestinian Ambassador to the Arab League, Mohanad Alaklouk, said that a Palestine-brokered draft resolution that condemned the UAE-Israeli nomalisation, was “rejected”.
On 13 August, US President Donald Trump announced a peace deal between the UAE and Israel brokered by Washington.
Abu Dhabi said the deal was an effort to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, however, opponents believe normalisation efforts have been in the offing for many years as Israeli officials have made official visits to the UAE and attended conferences in the country which had no diplomatic or other ties with the occupation state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however denied this saying annexation is not off the table, but has simply been delayed.