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The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, expected to be signed within the next two weeks in Washington, D.C., will be a "treaty of peace" with the same legal and diplomatic status as peace agreements Israel has previously signed with Egypt and Jordan, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Israel wants the agreement to carry the most serious status, demanding the greatest commitment from both parties, Israeli officials explain. Officials also hope the agreement will send a message of long-term stability, rather than a temporary deal.

The state of play: During talks the U.S. and Israel had with Emirati officials in recent weeks, Israel requested that the document be signed in Washington as a "treaty of peace." Israeli and U.S. officials say the Emiratis agreed.

  • The economic protocol, which was signed by Israel and the UAE in Abu Dhabi on Monday and which I obtained a copy of, mentions that it is "in advance of the signing in Washington of a treaty of peace, diplomatic relations and full normalization."
  • Israeli officials say the peace treaty with the UAE must be approved by vote in the Knesset, intended to make the process more consensual. Peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan were also approved by vote in the Knesset and received a significant majority.

What to watch: No date has been set for the signing ceremony in Washington, according to Israeli officials, but the event is expected to take place the week of Sept. 14. The Israeli prime minister's office has already asked El Al to have a plane ready for departure to Washington, D.C., next Saturday or the day after.

  • The U.S. and Israel are continuing talks with other Arab countries — mainly Bahrain and Sudan — in an effort to get them to agree to normalization agreements even before the signing ceremony in Washington, Israeli officials tell me. If they succeed, the ceremony will be even bigger, but Israeli officials say it is unclear whether things will materialize by then.
  • The White House plans to invite ambassadors of Arab countries, including those who do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, officials say. In doing so, the White House hopes to show the U.S.-brokered Israel-UAE agreement has broad support in the Arab world.

Go deeper... Scoop: Kushner plans a trip to Middle East to encourage more Gulf states to normalize with Israel

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Dec 11, 2020 - World

Trump hands Morocco a long-awaited breakthrough over Western Sahara

A Moroccan soldier at a checkpoint in Western Sahara. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced a deal with Morocco on Thursday that included two major provisions: Morocco will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, and the U.S. will recognize Morocco's sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now the only Western country to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, reversing decades of U.S. policy. With six weeks left in his term, Trump provided Morocco a diplomatic breakthrough for which it has lobbied for decades.

Dec 11, 2020 - World

Scoop: Fallout between Trump and top GOP senator made Morocco-Israel deal possible

Sen. Jim Inhofe (L) with President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A fallout between President Trump and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led to the breakthrough that resulted in the Morocco-Israel normalization deal, sources briefed on the matter told me.

Why it matters: Inhofe is Washington's most avid supporter of the Polisario Front — a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara. He has travelled many times to Algeria for meetings with Polisario leaders.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases report finding Saudi prince approved Khashoggi operation

Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.