The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties, a move widely hailed as a historic breakthrough that will advance peace in the Middle East.
The agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, makes the UAE the first Gulf Arab state to establish full diplomatic ties and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties to Israel.
Trump on August 13 posted a statement from the countries acknowledging the deal on Twitter.
Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed of the UAE agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, according to the joint statement.
“Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic societies and advanced economics will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations,” said the statement.
Delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security, the establishment of embassies, and other issues, the statement says.
Trump tweeted separately about the agreement after posting it.
“HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!” Trump said on Twitter.
He later told reporters at the White House that it was “a truly historic moment,” adding that “now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow.”
Israel hailed the deal as a "great day for peace." Netanyahu was due to hold a news conference later on August 13 to comment further.
The UAE Embassy to the United States said the agreement to fully normalize relations with Israel was a win for diplomacy and for the region that lowers tensions.
In a statement on Twitter, Ambassador Youssef Al Otaiba said the agreement maintained the viability of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and that the UAE remained a strong supporter of the Palestinian people.
The agreement is part of a deal to halt the annexation by Israel of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
A spokesman for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which controls Gaza, slammed the deal.
“The normalization is a stabbing in the back of our people," said Fawzi Barhoum. He also called it "a reward for the Israeli occupation’s crimes.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the deal.
“This is a remarkable achievement for two of the world’s most forward leaning, technologically advanced states, and reflects their shared regional vision of an economically integrated region,” he said in a statement. “It also illustrates their commitment to confronting common threats, as small — but strong — nations.”