Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a historic deal that will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in an agreement that US President Donald Trump helped broker.
Under the agreement, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it has been discussing annexing, senior White House officials told Reuters.
The deal was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States that accelerated recently, White House officials said.
The agreement was sealed in a phone call yesterday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed.
"HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates," Trump wrote on Twitter.
He said similar deals are being discussed with other countries in the region. A signing ceremony including delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will be held at the White House in the coming weeks, Trump added.
The US officials described the agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accords, as the first of its kind since Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994. It also gives Trump a foreign policy success as he seeks re-election on Nov 3.
Netanyahu, in his first comment on the deal, said on Twitter it is "a historic day for the state of Israel." Abu Dhabi's crown prince said on Twitter that an agreement had been reached and that it would halt further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.
Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues, the statement said. The two countries are expected soon to exchange ambassadors and embassies.
The statement said that as "a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty" over areas of the West Bank that were envisioned in the US peace plan unveiled by Trump in January.
The agreement envisions giving Muslims greater access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem by allowing them to fly from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv, White House officials said.