Israeli parliament ratifies UAE peace accord

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on October 16, 2020 | Last updated on October 16, 2020 at 06.14 am
Israeli parliament, Knesset, UAE, peace accord, netanyahu


The cabinet had earlier on Monday unanimously approved the US-brokered peace treaty.

Israel's parliament Knesset on Thursday ratified the UAE-Israel peace agreement that will normalise relations between the two countries.

The UAE and Bahrain are the third and fourth Arab states to sign peace agreements with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.

The cabinet had earlier on Monday unanimously approved the US-brokered peace treaty with the UAE that was signed at the White House on September 15.

After the Knesset vote, the agreement will be returned to the cabinet for ratification after which it will enter into force in Israel. After the UAE ratifies the agreement, both countries can formally establish diplomatic relations. The Knesset began at 11am (Israeli time) with opening remarks from Speaker Yariv Levin after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the UAE-Israel peace agreement. 

"This is a day with few like it in the history of the country; a day when a peace agreement with an Arab state is brought for approval by the Knesset," the prime minister said in his opening remarks.

"We are presenting a peace agreement that does not contain secret addenda, it does not contain concealed appendices. Today we are tightening our relations with the Emirates and doing so during our constant struggle against coronavirus," he said.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid also delivered an address. The 120 members of parliament attended the debate that lasted for more than eight hours.

"It is a happy day of celebrations in Israel. We are very excited to approve the Abraham Accord that will bring peace to the region," Sarren Haskel, Deputy Speaker of parliament told Khaleej Times over phone soon after the parliament vote. A total of 80 lawmakers voted in favour while 13 members voted against. 

"Israeli parliament approving the normalisation of relations with the UAE means the people of Israel has voted for peace and they are extending their hands of friendship," said Haskel.

"Today this House approves a peace agreement that brings a better future to our region, it is true justice: Peace that is not based on the continuation of the political and military campaign against Israel, but is based on a real partnership and economic interests in order to build a better future for our children and also for their children," Haskel said in her speech at the parliament session.

During the debate, Minister of Aliya and Intergration MK Pnina Tamano Shata said: "For an elected official, it is an honour to serve during a period when historical agreements take place. I am full of hope that we will be able to lead to further agreements and accomplishments in order to strengthen regional security and stability in the Middle East as a whole, and for the citizens by whom I was elected."

Member of Knesset Michal Cotler-Wunsh stated that the "paradigm shift taking place in the Middle East challenges the misconceptions we have all been held hostage to for years, potentially marking the official 'beginning of the end' of the "Arab-Israeli conflict".

"The Abraham Accord represents a fundamental pivot from the rejectionism manifested in the 'Three Nos' of the 1967 Khartoum Conference and reflect a historic transition towards the 'Three Yes' - YES to Recognition, YES to Negotiation, and YES to Peace," she added. 

On Monday, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Netanyahu spoke over phone and both leaders discussed strengthening bilateral ties and the prospects for peace in the region.

The two sides also discussed a number of various issues, including strengthening cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, ways to empower youth in the region, the principles or tolerance and cooperation and the importance of dialogue in building friendships and lasting peace, State media Wam reported.

According to Israeli media, a UAE delegation is expected to arrive in Israel on October 20 to discuss the details of the 18 separate normalisation agreement. The Emirate delegation will attend meetings at the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry to finalise the deal. The UAE is yet to confirm the visit.

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