Trump claims ‘dawn of new Middle East’ as Gulf states sign diplomatic pact with Israel
US President Donald Trump was in the middle of historic signings at the White House on Tuesday that are being heralded “the dawn of a new Middle East”.
US President Donald Trump was front and centre during the signing of historic peace deals that some say herald “the dawn of a new Middle East”.
Israel on Tuesday signed two diplomatic pacts – one with the United Arab Emirates and one with Bahrain – at a White House ceremony overseen by Mr Trump.
The bilateral agreements officially recognise Israel but have drawn the ire of Palestinians who fired rockets along the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Israel reportedly returned fire.
The UAE and Bahrain were informal supporters of Israel but the deal formalises that support.
The Jerusalem Post reports the agreement “is expected to open up routes for collaboration, trade and travel between Bahrain and Israel, which had all been restricted” and that it “will have a significant impact on Bahrain’s Jews, many of whom have relatives in Israel they have not been able to visit”.
Mr Trump, who positioned himself as peacemaker, said the historic signings could create a new brand of peace in the Middle East.
“After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” he told a crowd gathered at the White House yesterday.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was equally positive.
“This day is a pivot of history,” he said. “It heralds a new dawn of peace.”
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani called it a “truly historic occasion”. “(It is) a moment for hope and opportunity,” he said.
AP reports that Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel as the deals were being signed.
The rockets were intercepted by the Israeli military.
More peaceful demonstrations also took place in the West Bank as activists help small, peaceful demonstrations but it was reported they set fire to pictures of Mr Trump, Mr Netanyahu and the leaders of the UAE and Bahrain.
CNN reported that the deals were the “beginning of the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict”.
“For more than 70 years, alongside oil and Islamic extremism, that dispute defined the Middle East,” they reported.
Israel, Bahrain and the UAE have in common their disdain for Iran. Before they signed the pact with Israel, only Egypt and Jordan had recognised Jerusalem. They signed peace treaties in 1978 and 1994 respectively.
While Mr Trump presided over the agreements, Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden released a statement welcoming the news.
“It is good to see others in the Middle East recognising Israel and even welcoming it as a partner,” Mr Biden said.