President Donald Trump on Tuesday presided over a historic signing of the Abraham Accord and declared a “dawn of a new Middle East.” The accord comprises a peace deal which normalizes diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
For the signing, the president welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al-Zayani to the White House.
In a bilateral meeting with the UAE foreign minister prior to signing the accord, the president said, “The biggest optimists were shocked when they heard about this action.”
In a second bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump gave the prime minister a golden key, telling him that it was a “key to the White House and a key to our hearts.”
“You have the key to the hearts of the people of Israel because of all of the great things you have done for Israel,” Prime Minister Netanyahu then told the president.
President Trump added that “There were two [peace] deals in 72 years,” noting Israel’s two peace deals in the past seven decades. “We did an additional two in one month… There’s going to be peace in the Middle East.”
The deal comes as a part of a broader goal of the Trump Administration to reach a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.
“Let me tell you, when we start getting the rest of the countries in, [the Palestinians] will come to the table, 100 percent,” the president said in an recent interview on “Fox & Friends.” “They’re actually getting to a point where they’re going to want to make a deal. They won’t say that outwardly. They want to make a deal. Otherwise, they will be left out in the cold.”
According to reports, the Arab country of Oman was expected to send representatives to the signing of the peace deal, raising hopes that it will be the next country to normalize relations with Israel.
The representatives from all four countries spoke from the second floor of the White House just before signing the accord. The ceremony was flanked by the national flags of the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” the president said beginning his remarks. “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. Thanks to the great courage of these three countries, we take a major stride towards a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity.”
“Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors and begin to cooperate as partners across the broad range of sectors… they’re going to work together. They are friends,” the president added. “Together these agreements will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something which no one thought was possible.”
“Today’s signing sets history on a new course and there will be other countries very, very soon that will follow these great leaders,” the president also predicted.
“This day is a pivot of history,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in his remarks. “It heralds a new dawn of peace. For thousands of years, the Jewish people have prayed for peace… and this is why today we’re filled with such profound gratitude.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also expressed his gratitude to President Trump for “unequivocally standing by Israel’s side,” “boldly confronting the tyrants of Tehran” and for successfully negotiating “the historic peace” that was agreed upon today.
Both foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain also spoke, with the Bahrain foreign minister thanking President Trump for his “statesmanship and tireless efforts” which “have made peace a reality.”
The leaders of the four countries then sat down at a table in the White House lawn and signed the Abraham Accord.
Only time will tell whether more Arab countries, including Palestine, will decide to make a peace deal with Israel. In any case, today is a historic step in that direction.
UPDATE: During the signing ceremony, 13 people were injured after two rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Palestine and governed by Hamas, the Islamic militaristic government. One of the rockets was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces.
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Photos from The White House
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