European Union welcomes Israel-UAE normalization, says ‘Israel’s commitment to suspend plans to unilaterally annex areas of the occupied Palestinian territory is positive step’ 

In a formal statement issued this week, the European Union welcomed the announcement on the normalisation of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, also acknowledging the constructive role played by the United States in this respect, writes Yossi Lempkowicz.

‘’A normalization of their bilateral relations will be beneficial to both countries and a fundamental step for the stabilization of the region as a whole,’’ the statement said.

‘’The EU has for many years promoted the development of relations between Israel and the countries of the region. Israel and the United Arab Emirates are both important partners of the European Union,’’ it said.

The EU ‘’remains committed to a comprehensive and lasting peace for the entire region and stand ready to work to this end together with our regional and international partners.’’

The EU also stressed that ‘’Israel’s commitment to suspend plans to unilaterally annex areas of the occupied Palestinian territory is a positive step.’’

The statement concludes that ‘’any unilateral decision that undermines A lasting, agreed solution should be avoided.’’

‘’The EU remains firm in its commitment to a negotiated and viable two-state solution built upon the internationally agreed parameters and international law – and reaffirms its readiness to work towards the resumption of meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, building also on the commitment by the parties of the joint statement to engage diplomatically and continue efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.’’

In a tweet, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also welcomed the Israel-UAE normalisation.

“I welcome Israel-UAE normalisation; benefits both & is important for regional stability,” he wrote.

Borrell also referred to the pledge, under the normalization deal, for Israel to suspend its plan to extend sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Borrell wrote: “Suspending annexation is positive step, plans should now be abandoned altogether. EU hopes for resumed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on 2-state solution based on intl’ agreed parameters.’’

The Israel-UAE normalization was originally on the agenda of the EU Foreign Ministers video conference but the point was initially not included in the final main outcome of the talks published on the EU’s External Service website. There was no press conference after the meeting.

US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed released a joint statement in which Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced “full normalization of relations.”

Israel and UAE officials are due to meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements in invstment,tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology,energy,healthcare, culture, environment, as well as establishing embassies and exchanging ambassadors.

Trump hailed the accord as “a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “full, formal peace” with “one of the strongest countries in the world”.

“Together we can bring a wonderful future. It is an incomparably exciting moment,” Netanyahu said. “I have the great privilege to make the third peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, the UAE.”

Netanyahu thanked the leaders of the Arab world for supporting the agreement on Friday, writing on his Twitter account, “I thank Egyptian President al-Sisi, and the governments of Oman and Bahrain for their support of the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”

“The agreement expands the circle of peace and benefits the entire region,” Netanyahu wrote.

Netanyahu: ‘No change in plan to declare sovereignty on parts of West Bank’

In his statement, the Israeli Prime Minister noted that there had been no change in his plan to impose Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank in full coordination with the US, but that US President Donald Trump had asked him to wait for a time with its implementation.

However, during a press conference, President Trump seemed to contradict Netanyahu by saying Israel had agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank and that this was “more than just off the table”. He added that this was a very important and smart concession by Israel.

The United Arab Emirates is the third country to make peace with Israel after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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