Middle EastPalestine

Trump believes Saudi Arabia will normalize Israeli ties while Palestinians decry normalization deals


US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he believes Saudi Arabia will follow Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in fully normalizing relations with Israel.

Trump told reporters at the White House that the Kingdom is among several countries he believes are on the verge of opening diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv, saying that after speaking with King Salman, he thinks the country will do so “at the right time.”

“We have many other countries going to be joining us, and they’re going to be joining us soon,” Trump said just hours after Bahrain and the UAE officially signed documents normalizing ties with Israel.

The president further increased the number of nations he says are close to following in the steps of the two Arab Gulf nations “fairly rapidly” after saying earlier Tuesday that it was five or six.

“We’ll have 7 or 8 or 9. We’re going to have a lot of other countries joining us, including the big ones,” he said.

During Tuesday’s formal signing ceremony, Trump said the agreements would end “decades of division and conflict” in the region and usher in the “dawn of a new Middle East.”

“Thanks to the courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity,” Trump said, addressing hundreds of guests assembled for the event on the South Lawn of the White House.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel last Friday after Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994 and the UAE in August.

In addition to the bilateral agreements signed between Israel and the Arab nations, all three and the US signed the mutual pact Trump and his administration call the “Abraham Accords.”

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdul latif bin Rashid Alzayani described the agreements as an “important first step” toward establishing greater peace in the region.

“It is now incumbent on us to work urgently and actively to bring about the lasting peace and security our peoples deserve. A just, comprehensive and enduring two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be the foundation, the bedrock of such peace,” he said.

Mean while, The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) described as a “black day,” deals signed Tuesday by Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to normalize relations with Israel.

“This is a black day in the history of the official Arab system, and a sad day for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause,” Wasel Abu Yousef, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Front, told Anadolu Agency.

“It is another treacherous stab in the back of the Palestinian people’s struggle, rights, sanctities and sacrifices,” he said, adding that it comes in the wake of the so-called American peace plan known as the deal of the century.

Such deals would enable Israel to escalate atrocities against Palestinians and carry out crimes including “confiscation of lands, the policy of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment in all the occupied Palestinian territories,” said Abu Yousef.

Secretary of the Fatah Movement’s Revolutionary Council Majid Al-Fityani told the AA news agency: “Today they signed, in their disgrace, agreements of dependency, protection, and obedience with the occupation state.”

“Unfortunately, this signature comes on the eve of the [anniversary of] Sabra and Shatila massacre,” on Sept. 16, 1982 when Christian militiamen allied to Israel massacred more than 3,500 civilians, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites, in a Palestine refugee camp in Beirut.

“This is a black day, and shame on the foreheads of the rulers of the Emirates and Bahrain,” he said. “Bahrain and the UAE do not represent anything to the Palestinians and they do not speak in their name. We have our sole and legitimate representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

Israel formally signed the agreements with representatives for Bahrain, UAE and Israel during a White House ceremony presided over by US President Donald Trump.

Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel last Friday after Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994 and the UAE in August.

Palestinians staged a series of rallies Tuesday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against the controversial agreements.

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