- THE WASHINGTON TIMES - Sep 15, 2020 -
Dave Boyer -
President Trump’s fresh approach to one of the world’s most intractable and dangerous problems, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, culminated Tuesday in the signing of historic agreements with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize their diplomatic relations.
The move also burnished Mr. Trump’s credentials as a statesman and a peacemaker less than two months before he faces voters for reelection.
In a ceremony on the South Lawn at the White House, the president said the breakthrough cooperation between Israel and the two moderate Arab, Muslim states is a major step toward ending war in the Middle East.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Mr. Trump said. “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
Under the agreement, the first of its kind in more than a generation, the three countries agreed to exchange embassies and ambassadors. They will cooperate on a broad range of trade, education and health care issues.
Israel also agreed to suspend its annexation of territory in the West Bank for an undisclosed period.
Shortly after the ink dried in Washington, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into Israel, injuring at least six people. Israeli forces reportedly intercepted one of the rockets with its Iron Dome defense system.
By compelling Gulf states to recognize Israel instead of waiting for the Palestinians to gain their own state, U.S. officials say the agreement will put pressure on the Palestinian Authority to return to negotiations. Mr. Trump said other Gulf states soon will join the agreement, known as the “Abraham Accords” in reference to the common traditions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He predicted Saudi Arabia will come into the fold soon.