On Monday, Israel’s cabinet unanimously approved the US-brokered normalization agreement with the UAE, which was signed in Washington on September 15th. The deal will be brought to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, for a vote later this week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he recently spoke with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and said the two leaders would soon meet but did not specify a date. Before that meeting, a UAE delegation is expected to visit Israel, and an Israeli delegation will visit Abu Dhabi.
Netanyahu also said that he expects more Arab states to normalize relations with Israel because they see how the Jewish state confronts Iran. “Arab states want to make peace with us, because they see how we turned Israel into a superpower,” Netanyahu said. “They also see how we stand up to Iran, sometimes alone against the whole world.”
Since Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize relations, the possibility of the US selling F-35 fighter jets to Abu Dhabi has caused much controversy. US lawmakers are protesting the sale in fear that it will jeopardize Israel’s qualitative military edge over its neighbors, something Congress is required by law to uphold.
Other controversial parts of the normalization revolve around what it means for Palestinians. It was rumored that Israel agreed to pause settlement construction in the West Bank as part of the deal. But recent news that Israel is advancing plans for thousands of settler homes shows the settlement pause was not part of the agreement.
Israel also signed an agreement to normalize relations with Bahrain in September, but a formal treaty has yet to be written. A source told Reuters that an Israeli delegation accompanied by US officials will fly to Bahrain on October 18th and travel to the UAE the day after.