Oct 15, 2020 - World

Israeli Knesset approves UAE treaty

Netanyahu with Trump after signing the Abraham Accords. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Israeli Knesset approved the U.S.-brokered normalization treaty with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

Why it matters: The treaty was previously approved by the cabinet, which will now be asked to ratify it. It won't come into force until approved by the UAE.

The state of play: 80 members of Knesset voted in favor, 13 voted against and 27 didn’t participate in the vote.

  • 13 members of the Arab Joint List voted against the treaty because the preamble mentioned President Trump’s “deal of the of the century” — a proposal they say would destroy the chances of an independent Palestinian state.

What they are saying:

  • Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a speech before the vote that the treaty included no secret side letters or hidden annexes — a response to criticism he's received for not disclosing his awareness of a pending arms deal between the U.S. and UAE. Critics have accused him of at least tacitly blessing that deal, which he denies.
  • Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi both welcomed the treaty, which they noted was only possible because Netanyahu backed off his plan for immediate annexations in the West Bank (something both opposed).

What’s next: On Tuesday a senior ministerial delegation from the UAE will arrive in Israel for a first public visit. Israeli officials said they hope bilateral agreements will be signed on visas, direct flights and trade.

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