President Donald Trump hailed the "dawn of a new Middle East" on Tuesday as he spearheaded the signing of historic diplomatic agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to bolster his reputation as a statesman.
“We're here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the beginning of a new Middle East. Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries. We are taking a big step towards a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity, "said Trump in his remarks.
The president said more nations will follow suit to sign the agreement, which will normalize relations between the Jewish state and the Arab nations. Later in the day when he left the White House to go to Philadelphia, he said he believed Saudi Arabia would too.
& # 39; These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free of the failed approaches of the past. Today's signing sets new standards in history. And there will very soon be other countries that will follow these great leaders, ”said the President.
Trump emphasized the historic character of the agreement.
“Today the world sees that they are choosing cooperation over conflict. Friendship over emnity, prosperity over poverty and hope over despair. You choose a future where Arabs and Israeli Muslims, Jews and Christians can live together, pray together and dream side by side in harmony, fellowship and peace, ”he said.
He used to describe it as, "This is peace in the Middle East with no blood all over the sand."
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump and the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan sign the Abraham Accords to normalize relations between the State of Israel and the Arab nations
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan Abraham, wave after the signing ceremony
The four leaders hold up signed copies of the Abrahamic Convention – one in English, one in Hebrew, and two in Arabic
President Donald Trump hands Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his signature pen over the shoulder
President Donald Trump speaks while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani listen before attending the signing of the Abraham Agreement
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani welcomed the ceremony
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu on the balcony at the White House
The signing ceremony took place on the south lawn of the White House
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin [left], Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senior Advisor to the White House Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump, daughter and assistant to President Donald Trump, sit for lunch in the state dining room after the Signing ceremony
And the other versions: the document between Israel and the United Arab Emirates
The version between Israel and Bahrain
When Trump left the White House, he was asked if Saudi Arabia would join.
It is home to the two holiest places of Islam and has been relentless against Israel since its inception.
But Trump said, “I spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia.
“I think they will come in, yes I do. This is a very great and historic moment. & # 39;
The country hardly responded publicly to the agreement with a statement from its cabinet that it supported the Palestinian people and wanted a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as its capital.
At first glance, this would prevent Saudi Arabia from joining the recognition agreement, but it does not rule it out.
The Cabinet notes that the Kingdom stands by the Palestinian people and supports all efforts aimed at a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question that enables the Palestinian people to establish their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as To build capital in accordance with international legitimacy decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative, ”the statement said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal would bring economic benefits to the region and end the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“The blessings of peace that we conclude today will be enormous. Firstly, because this peace will at some point spread to other Arab states. And ultimately it can end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all, ”he said.
Second, because the great economic benefits of our partnership can be felt throughout our region. And they will reach every one of our citizens. And third, because this is not just a peace between leaders. It's a peace between people, ”he added.
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the deal was a sign of a change of heart in the Middle East.
"We are already seeing a change in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will bring hope worldwide," he said.
Each of the four leaders signed four copies of the Abrahamic Convention – one in English, one in Hebrew, and two in Arabic.
The heads of state or government also signed a peace treaty, diplomatic relations and full normalization and a declaration of peace – three copies of each were signed, one in English, one in Arabic and one in Hebrew.
During the signing, the leaders helped each other find the right place on the document to colorize their names.
The signature was on the Lee Dining Room Table by Blair House. President Trump held weekly lunchtime meetings with his cabinet at this dining table. The table has also served new and former first families when they stay at the Blair House for initiations and state funerals.
Prior to the ceremony, President Trump held separate meetings with Netanyahu and bin Zayed al-Nahyan in the Oval Office.
"It was very important to be the first, that you are the first for us because you are walking a path, walking a path. It is something that has taken people by surprise," Trump told bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
As they sat down, Trump gave Netanyahu a gold key to the White House as a token of his appreciation.
“This was a special token of affection that I and the First Lady showed for the Prime Minister and First Lady of Israel, and it is a key. We call it a key to the White House. It's a key to our country and our hearts, "Trump told him.
"You have a key to the hearts of the Jewish people," Netanyahu replied to the president.
The president said more Gulf states were preparing to sign similar treaties as they did on Tuesday at South Lawn – but he gave no indication of which these might be.
"We are very far away with 5 other countries," he said.
The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump at the signing ceremony
President Donald Trump hands Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a gold key in the Oval Office ahead of Tuesday's signing ceremony
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara to the signing ceremony at the White House
Senior White House Advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump listen as President Donald Trump meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office
President Donald Trump will lead the signing of historic diplomatic agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – at the top, he welcomes the Kingdom of Bahrain's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa to the White House
President Donald Trump meets with the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan in the Oval Office
The word "peace" is seen in Hebrew, Arabic and English in a meetinghouse in Tel Aviv
Tuesday's deal could usher in a dramatic shift in power dynamics in the Middle East and give it a boost ahead of the November elections.
And Trump, who demonstrated his statecraft as President, received more than 800 guests on Tuesday on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Row after row of white chairs stood on the South Lawn Tuesday morning, with no social distance between them. Few of the crowd wore face masks
The White House said masks will be encouraged at the event.
"The email sent to everyone invited was an encouragement to wear a mask," a senior administration official said when he called reporters on Monday. “We will not oblige anyone to do this. But the Israelis, the Emirates and the Bahraines all take this seriously. & # 39; & # 39;
However, masks are not required.
“But ultimately it won't be required and it will be on the South Lawn, which is obviously quite a large room. While we're expecting a few hundred people, we want to distance it as much as possible to understand the limitations and time. So, yes, we will encourage people to wear masks, but ultimately it is their choice, ”the officer said.
The president was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his administration's work on the deal.
“Today I do a lot with Israel. Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Everyone said it was impossible, "said Trump on Tuesday morning at" Fox & Friends ".
“No matter what you do with some of the fake news, it doesn't matter. This one is great. It's kind of interesting. And I'm not boastful about this, but I am nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize last week. The other was Kosovo, Serbia. But for that and for that I'm being nominated – in this case in Israel it wasn't even on the nightly news, ”he said.
Trump and his allies hope the signing ceremony will polish up the president's credentials as a peacemaker at the height of his re-election campaign.
Many people said when President Trump was elected that he would bring war and chaos. But what it brings today is peace. And thanks to efforts here, President Trump has now been nominated for two Nobel Peace Prizes for his efforts, and as we see these countries come together, Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, who led the negotiations, said Tuesday morning on NBC's Today Show.
President Trump told Netanyahu that the key is the White House, the country and our heart
First Lady Melania Trump joined President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu in the oval
Guests on the South Lawn of the White House for the signing ceremony
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the signing ceremony
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attended the signing
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump arrive for the signing ceremony on the South Lawn
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Emirates and Bahraini Foreign Ministers signed the treaties in front of the crowd, which included representatives of supporting nations from the Washington-based diplomatic corps but few other overseas dignitaries.
Several legislators were present. Most of them were Republicans – including Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who has clashed with the president in the past – and a few Democrats, including State Department chairman Eliot Engel.
In addition to the individual bilateral agreements signed by Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, all three have signed a trilateral document. The agreements are known as the "Abraham Agreement" after the patriarch of the three most important monotheistic religions in the world. Trump signed as a witness.
The agreements will not end active wars, but will formalize the normalization of the Jewish state's already warming relations with the two countries. And while they are not addressing the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after decades of hostility, two wars, and only two previous peace agreements, they could pave the way for greater rapprochement between Arabs and Israelis.
Skeptics, including many longtime Middle Eastern observers, analysts, experts and former officials, have expressed doubts about the impact of the deals and complained that they are ignoring the Palestinians, who rejected them as a stab in the back of other Arabs.
But even the harshest of critics have admitted that they could initiate a seismic shift in the region if other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, follow suit, affecting Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Other Arab countries believed to be close to recognition by Israel include Oman, Sudan, and Morocco.
"These agreements are a great achievement for the countries involved and have created a tremendous sense of hope and optimism in the region," said Kushner. "Instead of focusing on past conflicts, people now focus on creating a vibrant future with endless possibilities."
As for the Palestinians, "they have an offer on the table," Kushner told ABC's Good Morning America. “At some point, if you choose to have a better life, I think you will get involved. But you know we can't want more peace for them, for their people, than they want for themselves. & # 39;
Tuesday's ceremony follows months of complicated diplomacy led by Kushner and Trump's envoy for international negotiations, Avi Berkowitz, which first bore fruit on August 13 when the Israel-UAE deal was announced. This was followed by the first direct commercial flight between the countries and the announcement of the agreement between Bahrain and Israel on September 11th.
Many people said when President Trump was elected that he would bring war and chaos. But what he brings today is peace, said Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, who led the negotiations, on NBC's "Today Show" Tuesday morning.
The ceremony on the South Lawn will accommodate more than 700 people with little social distance
A senior administration official said people would be encouraged – but not required – to wear face masks at the signing ceremony
The specific content of each document to be signed was not known prior to the ceremony. While officials said they would closely follow the joint statements made when the deal was first announced, it remained unclear whether the agreements would require further action by the three governments or what binding commitments would each place on enforcement.
A senior White House official said Monday the UAE-Israel deal was longer and more detailed than the Bahrain deal because there was more time to complete the deal. However, the ambiguity a day before the ceremony has raised some suspicions about the durability of the agreements.
Even in Israel, where the agreements have gained widespread recognition, there is concern that they could result in US sales of sophisticated weapons to the UAE and Bahrain, potentially undermining Israel's qualitative military lead in the region. Meanwhile, a politically vulnerable Netanyahu is faced with questions about whether to appear at such a major event just days after announcing a new nationwide lockdown to combat an increase in coronavirus cases that severely restrict movement and rallies. The White House encouraged those attending the ceremony Tuesday to wear masks.
And while the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have historically suppressed dissent and critical public opinion, there has been evidence that the agreements are nowhere near as popular or well received as in Israel. For one thing, no country is sending its head of state or government to sign the treaties with Netanyahu.
Bahrain's largest Shiite-dominated opposition group, Al-Wefaq, which the government disbanded in 2016 after years of cracking down on dissent, said there is widespread opposition in the country of normalization.
Al-Wefaq said in a statement that it joins other Bahraini people who categorically oppose the agreement to normalize relations with "Zionist unity" and criticized the government for "enhancing the public's ability to express opinions" Covering up the level of dissatisfaction "suppresses normalization.
In the United Arab Emirates, there has been speculation that Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, widely regarded as the country's day-to-day leader and architect to improve relations with Israel, will avoid the signing ceremony.
Although the Emirati Protocol mandates that the Foreign Minister, rather than the Crown Prince of a particular emirate, be dispatched to represent the country in place of the President of the UAE, who has rarely been seen in public since a stroke more than six years ago, speculation remains that the Crown Prince is not attending the White House ceremony for political reasons.
He may not want to be seen leaving too much support for Trump weeks before a US presidential election where the outcome is far from certain. While the grandeur of the signing ceremony in the White House brought Trump and Netanyahu a political triumph, Prince Mohammed did not face re-election pressures or protests at home.
The Emiratis could also be wary of getting too close to Netanyahu, who publicly expressed his opposition to selling US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets to the UAE in August.
While the UAE has stated that Israel is not moving forward with plans to annex settlements in the West Bank, this is a cornerstone of the deal. Netanyahu has insisted that the annexation just be suspended and kept on the table.