Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke over the weekend with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the Israeli government ratified the peace agreement between the two countries on Monday.
This is the first conversation between the two since the signing of the historic peace agreement at the White House last month.
In the conversation, Netanyahu noted that in light of the widespread support for the agreement in Israel, he believes that the agreement will be approved by the Knesset without delay the Knesset is slated to vote on the agreement on Thursday.
The two agreed to meet soon, and Netanyahu said that Israel is looking forward to welcoming the UAE delegation that is expected to arrive in Israel in the near future, a reciprocal visit following the Israeli delegation’s visit to Abu Dhabi in August.
The two leaders discussed “the great hope for cooperation between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which will strengthen the two countries,” and also discussed cooperation to eradicate the Coronavirus, Netanyahu’s office stated Monday.
The two leaders “called for continued peacekeeping in the Middle East to contribute to the stability, security and prosperity of all peoples in the region, and expressed their appreciation to President Trump and the United States for their vital support for this effort,” the statement said.
Speaking on Monday during the government session in which the peace treaty was presented, Netanyahu said that he invited bin Zayed to visit Israel, and bin Zayed reciprocated with his invitation to Netanyahu to visit Abu Dhabi.
“We talked about the collaborations we are promoting – in investments, tourism, energy, technology and other areas. We will also cooperate and are already cooperating in the fight against the coronavirus. It is already happening, it will happen on a much larger scale. This will greatly help us to overcome the pandemic,” he said.
The Cabinet unanimously approved the deal with UAE and will submit the agreement to Knesset for its approval.
The agreements with the UAE and Bahrain “reflect the dramatic change we have brought about in Israel’s status in the region. Arab countries want to make peace with us because they see how we have made Israel a power,” Netanyahu asserted.
“They also see how we face Iran, sometimes alone, in front of the whole world. They understand that we can help them in many areas. They see that not only is Israel neither a burden nor an enemy – it is an essential ally at all times, especially at this time,” he added.
“I have no doubt that we will soon see agreements with other Arab and Muslim countries,” he concluded.
Netanyahu underscored that the agreement with the UAE differs from its predecessors in that “Israel is not giving up any territory. Second, the economic component is very dominant in it, and the economic changes will benefit all Israeli citizens.”
“Third, this agreement is accompanied by the opening of the skies, the opening of the skies of Saudi Arabia to Israeli planes, planes from Israel and planes to Israel. This means that Israel ceases to be a dead-end, but becomes a major crossroads. It is also important to say that this varies not only in geographical terms but also in geopolitical and economic terms,” he said.
The agreement is “based on peace out of power. Not peace out of concessions that will weaken Israel and endanger it. We need to achieve peace and can achieve peace out of the Arabs’ conviction that we are here as an existing fact, out of our power which is unshakable,” he added.
Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed a historic peace agreement at the White House last month, the first agreement to be signed between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.
The UAE is the first major Arab state to recognize Israel since the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty was signed in October 1994.
Announced on August 13, the Abraham Accords is the first between a Gulf state and Israel and is expected to lead to similar agreements with other Arab countries, possibly Oman or Saudi Arabia.