West Bank annexation appears to be off the table for now, after the U.S. brokered a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Why it matters: Trump spoke about for annexation for the first time since presenting his peace plan on January 28. However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed gave contradictory remarks about the annexation in their statements on the deal.

  • Netanyahu characterized it as a temporary suspension, while Bin Zayed said the deal stopped annexation.

For the record: Trump twice deferred questions about the differences between Israel and the UAE to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who said: “We prioritized peace in the region over West Bank annexation...you can't have peace and annexation at the same time"

What Trump is saying: “Israel agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank. It is more than taking it off the table — they agreed not to do it. This is a very smart concession by Israel. It is off the table now”.

What the U.S. ambassador is saying: Annexation is off the table now but might be discussed again in the future.

What's next: Trump also said at the press conference he wants to convene a summit between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House in three weeks to sign the deal.

  • The U.S. president sees the Israel-UAE deal as one of his landmark foreign policy achievements and a boost his election campaign.
  • Trump said more Arab countries are already talking to the White House in order to follow the UAE and normalize relations with Israel.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2020 - World

UAE minister: Israel agreement will include two-state solution reference

The agreement between the UAE and Israel that will be signed on Tuesday mentions the Palestinian issue and the two-state solution as part of a reference to previous agreements which were signed, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash told me in a Zoom briefing.

Why it matters: Gargash’s comments gave the first substantive details from the agreement which up to now remained completely secret. The UAE pushed back on criticism against the agreement, with Israel stressing the deal will also help the Palestinians.

Sep 15, 2020 - World

Kushner expects more countries to normalize with Israel before Palestinian deal

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN on Tuesday that he expects more Arab countries to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel before Palestinian leadership agrees to a peace deal.

Why it matters: After hosting a White House signing ceremony on Tuesday that formalized diplomatic ties between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, President Trump told reporters that he expects seven to nine more countries — including possibly Saudi Arabia — to agree to a similar move.

Sep 16, 2020 - World

UAE-Israel treaty states commitment to meeting the needs of Israelis and Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L), UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) attend a signing ceremony for the agreements on "normalization of relations" reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain at the White House in Washington, United States on September 15, 2020. Photo:
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates states that both countries are committed to "working together for a negotiated solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will meet the aspirations and needs of both parties."

Why it matters: The Emiratis face criticism from the Palestinians over their peace treaty with Israel. Officials involved in the negotiations on the text of the treaty told me the Emiratis wanted to include language on Palestinians in the document. The Emiratis wanted stronger language, but Israel did not agree.

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