08:10 GMT24 September 2020
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    Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi agreed to normalize ties last month in a deal brokered by Washington. Palestinian leaders slammed the agreement, calling it a betrayal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the UAE's decision, saying it showed that Arab countries will not be "held hostage by the Palestinians" in dealing with Israel.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced via Twitter that he would be "proud" to visit Washington next week on President Trump's invitation "to attend the historic White House ceremony to establish the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates!"

    Earlier, Walla News diplomatic correspondent and Axios contributor Barak Ravid reported, citing White House officials, that Trump would personally attend the signing ceremony for the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House on September 15.

    According to the journalist, the Israeli delegation to the ceremony will be headed by Netanyahu, while the Emirati delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed of the Emirati Royal Family.
    Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan
    © AFP 2020 / FAYEZ NURELDINE
    Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan

    The report about the signing ceremony follow Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner's trip to Abu Dhabi with senior Israeli officials last week to cement the Israel-UAE normalization deal announced by the administration in mid-August.

    Under the agreement, the two countries have agreed to exchange embassies and increase cooperation in trade, security, education, tourism, and other areas, with Israel also agreeing to temporarily suspend plans to annex much of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

    Historic Agreement

    The UAE is the first Arab nation in the Persian Gulf and the third overall to forge a normalization of ties agreement with Israel after Egypt and Jordan did so in 1979 and 1994, respectively. A majority of Arab countries continue to refuse to recognize the Jewish State, and have fought in or supported financially multiple wars with Israel since its establishment in 1948.

    Last week, Netanyahu offered hints on the extent of his clandestine contacts with regional leaders, telling reporters that he has held "many...unpublicized meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders." Israeli and US leaders have expressed hopes that other countries may follow the example set by the UAE and establish ties with Tel Aviv.

    Palestinian leaders denounced the Israel-UAE deal as an act of "aggression" and a betrayal of their interests, with Hamas saying Palestinians had been "stabbed in the back" by Abu Dhabi. Israel's sworn enemy Iran also slammed the agreement, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggesting that the Emiratis would be "disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic World, Arab nations and Palestine."

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