US officials: Israel, UAE to sign deal at White House

National
Meir Ben-Shabbat

Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, center left, elbow bumps with an Emirati official as he leaves Abu Dhabi, Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool via AP)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Israel and the United Arab Emirates will signtheir historic deal normalizing relations at a White House ceremony on Sept. 15, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

The officials said senior delegations from both countries will likely be led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of the UAE crown prince. The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ceremony would either be on the South Lawn, the Rose Garden or inside depending on weather.

The ceremony will come just a month after the agreement to establish full diplomatic relations was announced on Aug. 13. The The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to President Donald Trump as he seeks reelection, and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.

That announcement has been followed by the first direct commercial flight between the countries, the establishment of telephone links and commitments to cooperate in numerous areas.

UAE has also ended the country’s boycott of Israel, which allows trade and commerce between the oil-rich Emirates and Israel, home to a thriving diamond trade, pharmaceutical companies and tech start-ups.

The Palestinians have rejected the deal. The UAE presented the agreement as taking Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank off the table. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the pause was “temporary.”

This story has been corrected to show the name of the Emirates foreign minister is Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, not Mohammed bin Zayad.

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