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Senior US and Israeli officials land in UAE Monday to finalize historic ‘normalization’ deal

PHOTO CREDITS: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS

Senior US and Israeli officials landed in the UAE Monday on a historic trip to finalize a pact marking open relations between Israel and the gulf state. ~

Jared Kushner, the white house senior advisor, also said that Washington could maintain Israel’s military edge while advancing it’s ties to the UAE, the Arabs second largest economy and a regional power. Israeli officials hope the two-day trip will produce a date for a Washington signing ceremony, perhaps as early as September, between Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. ~

Announced on Aug 13, the ‘normalization’ deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years, and was catalysed largely by shared fears of Iran’s regional power in the middle east. Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and national security adviser Robert O’Brien, headed the US delegation. The Israeli team was led by O’Brien’s counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat. As part of the discussions, officials will explore bilateral cooperation in areas such as commerce and tourism. Israeli defence envoys are due to visit the UAE separately (CNA). ~

Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE’s move earlier this month, calling it a “betrayal” that would weaken a longstanding pan-Arab position which calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries (CNN). Kushner said Palestinians should instead “come to the table”. He continued, “Peace will be ready for them, an opportunity will be ready for them as soon as they are ready to embrace it.” Kushner was part of a US delegation that accompanied Israeli officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE, undertaken ahead of the finalising of the pact (NYT). ~

ARTICLE: HAYDEN LARKIN 

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