UAE, Israel normalise ties: All the latest updates


  • Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a historic deal that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations.
  • The deal came after a phone call between US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
  • The White House says the agreement will see Israel suspend its plans to annex Palestinian areas of the occupied West Bank.

Here are the latest updates:

19:30 GMT – Israel-UAE deal will not stop Netanyahu’s annexation plans: Analyst 

Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general and co-founder of the Ramallah-based Palestinian National Initiative, said the deal between Israel and the UAE will not stop Netanyahu’s annexation plans. 

“The Israelis and Emirates had relations already, there was never a struggle between them so I don’t know why they need to call it a peace agreement,” Barghouti told Al Jazeera. 

“The reality is that the problem is with the Palestinian people, with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land, the problem is with the Israeli plan of annexation of Palestinian land which Netanyahu has confirmed one more time today that he is proceeding with.”

“The problem is with the system of racism and apartheid that Israel excises against the Palestinian people.”

19:25 GMT – Iran official says UAE-Israel deal will not secure regional peace 

The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will not secure peace in the region, tweeted a special adviser on international affairs to the speaker of Iran’s parliament. 

“UAE’s new approach for normalizing ties w/fake, criminal #Israel doesn’t maintain peace & security, but serves ongoing Zionists’ crimes,” tweeted Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, also a former deputy foreign minister.

“Abu Dhabi’s behavior has no justification, turning back on the Palestine cause. W/ that strategic mistake, #UAE will be engulfed in Zionism fire.”

19:15 GMT – ‘Nothing historic’ about Israel-UAE agreement 

Omar Baddar, a US-based analyst, said there was “nothing historic” or “groundbreaking” about Thursday’s deal between the UAE and Israel. 

“Israel didn’t ‘halt’ the annexation for the West Bank (annexation is ALREADY a de facto reality on the ground). Israel merely ‘suspended’ its announcement of a reality it has already illegally imposed on Palestinians. It is FALSE to say Israel suspended it at the UAE’s request,” Baddar wrote on Twitter. 

19:05 GMT – How the world reacted to the UAE-Israel normalising diplomatic ties 

The United Arab Emirates has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel, capping years of discreet contacts between the two countries in commerce and technology.

The so-called “Abraham Agreement”, announced by US President Donald Trump on Thursday, secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.

However, addressing reporters later in Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agreed to “delay” the annexation as part of the deal with the UAE, but the plans remain “on the table”.

Read more here

18:55 GMT – Brahrain says UAE-Israel deal strengthens chances of peace 

Bahrain has welcomed the accord between the UAE and Israel, saying the “historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region”.

The small island state also praised the US for its efforts towards securing the deal. 

Hamas: Israel-UAE deal a ‘stab in back of Palestinians’ (13:21)

18:05 GMT – US Presidential candidate Biden says Israel-UAE deal ‘brave and badly needed’

US Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden hailed the Israel-UAE deal as an historic step toward a more stable Middle East, warning he would not support Israel’s annexation of Jewish settlements if he wins the White House in November.

“The UAE’s offer to publicly recognize the State of Israel is a welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship,” the former Vice President said in a statement. “Annexation would be a body blow to the cause of peace, which is why I oppose it now and would oppose it as president.”

17:50 GMT – Netanyahu: UAE deal start of a ‘new era’ for Israel and Arab world   

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed the US-brokered deal to normalise ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, saying the agreement signaled the beginning of a new era with the Arab world. 

“Today a new era began in the relations between Israel and the Arab world,” he said at a televised press conference.

Netanyahu said the “full and official peace” with the UAE would lead to cooperation in many spheres between the countries and a “wonderful future” for citizens of both countries.

Netanyahu said the deal would lead to a ‘wonderful future’ for citizens of both countries [Abir Sultan /Pool via Reuters]

17:45 GMT – UK’s Johnson welcomes Israel-UAE normalisation deal 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed the agreement between Israel and the UAE that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two states.

“The UAE and Israel’s decision to normalise relations is hugely good news,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“It was my profound hope that annexation did not go ahead in the West Bank and today’s agreement to suspend those plans is a welcome step on the road to a more peaceful Middle East.” 

17:10 GMT – Israel’s president invites UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to visit Jerusalem

President Reuven Rivlin has extended an invitation to UAE Crown Price Mohammed bin Zayed to visit Jerusalem, hours after the announcement that the two countries were establishing full diplomatic ties.

“I invite the crown prince to visit Jerusalem,” he wrote on Twitter, adding a greeting in Arabic.

Rivlin, whose post is ceremonial, said the agreement was “an important and strategic milestone” that could jumpstart agreements with other countries in the region.

Reuven Rivlin

Rivlin, whose role is largely ceremonial, hailed the agreement as ‘an important and strategic milestone’ [File: Mick Tsikas/AFP]

16:55 GMT – UN chief welcomes ‘any initiative’ on Middle East peace, security: Spokesman 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes “any initiative that can promote peace and security in the Middle East region,” a UN spokesman said after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a deal on bilateral ties.

16:30 GMT – Hamas: Israel-UAE agreement is ‘a reward for the Israeli occupation’s crimes’

Hamas has accused the United Arab Emirates of stabbing Palestinians in the back by agreeing to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel.

“This announcement is a reward for the Israeli occupation’s crimes,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “The normalisation is a stabbing in the back of our people.”

Israel and UAE agree to normalise diplomatic relations (7:17)

16:15 GMT – Israeli legislators welcome normalisation deal with UAE 

Israeli lawmakers have welcoming the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the UAE, with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz – who is also Israel’s “alternate” prime minister under a power sharing deal – saying the agreement expressed an “alliance” between countries in the region who aim for stability and prosperity.

He said the deal will have “many positive implications” on the region and called on other Arab states to pursue peace deals with Israel. He also thanked President Trump, calling him a “true friend of Israel.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, part of Gantz’ Blue and White party, said he welcomed Israel’s backing down from “unilateral annexation” of the West Bank, saying Trump’s Middle East plan would be discussed in consultation with countries in the region.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid said “negotiations and agreements, not unilateral steps like annexation” were key to Israel’s diplomatic relations.

16:12 GMT – UAE says deal was done to manage annexation threat 

The United Arab Emirates has said its agreement with Israel was done to deal with the threat that further annexation of Palestinian territories posed to the two-state solution.

The UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, urged the Palestinians and Israelis to return to the negotiating table. 

16:10 GMT – Egypt’s Sisi welcomes UAE-Israel deal, halt to annexation 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has welcomed the normalisation of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, saying he valued efforts that will “achieve prosperity and stability for the region”.

“I followed with interest and appreciation the joint statement between the United States, United Arab Emirates and Israel to halt the Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands and taking steps to bring peace in the Middle East,” Sisi said on Twitter.

“I value the efforts of those in charge of the deal to achieve prosperity and stability for our region.” 

16:05 GMT – UAE, Israel to sign bilateral deals on areas including tourism, direct flights

Delegations from the United Arab Emirates and Israel will meet during the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements on areas including energy, tourism, direct flights, investment, security, communication and technology, the UAE foreign ministry said.

15:50 GMT – UAE-Israel deal is a ‘win’ for diplomacy, the region – UAE embassy to US

The United Arab Emirates embassy to the United States said an agreement to fully normalise relations between Israel and the UAE was a win for diplomacy and for the region that lowers tensions.

Ambassador Youssef Al Otaiba said the agreement maintained the viability of a two state solution and the UAE remained a strong supporter of the Palestinian people, in a statement on Twitter. 

Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed

Youssef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States said his country remained a strong supporter of the Palestinian people [Reuters]

15:48 GMT – UAE official says Israeli annexation would have ended peace hopes

UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Thursday any further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory would have ended hopes for peace in the region.

In an interview with Sky News Arabia after the announcement that the UAE had agreed to a deal to normalise relations with Israel, Gargash said the UAE had dismantled a ticking time bomb that was threatening the two state solution.  

15:45 GMT – Palestinian official accuses UAE of ‘normalisation’ with Israel

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi accused The United Arab Emirates of “normalisation” with Israel after Thursday’s announcement of a historic peace deal.

Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said on Twitter: “The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel. Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!”  

Does Trump support Israel’s annexation move? (1:57)

15:40 GMT – Pompeo says Israel-UAE agreement is enormous step forward

An agreement on normalising relations reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday is an “enormous” step forward on the “right path”, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters with him on a trip to central European countries.

Pompeo made his remarks shortly before taking off from Slovenia for Austria’s capital Vienna.

The agreement, which US President Donald Trump helped broker, will lead to the full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with the Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates January 13, 2019.  Andrew Caballero-Reyno

The agreement will lead to the full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations [File: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via Reuters]

15:40 GMT – Israel hails ‘great day for peace’ after deal with UAE announced

Israel hailed a US-brokered peace deal with the United Arab Emirates as a “great day for peace” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to hold a news conference at 1600 GMT to comment further.

Saying he had to deal with a matter of great national interest, Netanyahu abruptly left a cabinet discussion on the coronavirus crisis about an hour before US President Donald Trump announced the agreement to normalise relations between Israel and the Gulf Arab country.

On Twitter, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador in Washington, wrote: “A great day for peace! Israel commends the courage of MBZ (de facto UAE leader Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan) for the historic decision of the UAE to join Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) in making peace with Israel. Israel deeply appreciates all … Trump has done to make this breakthrough possible.”

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