President Donald Trump will host a White House ceremony with leaders of the UAE and Bahrain but without the Palestinians
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday will become the latest Arab states to break a long-standing taboo when they sign agreements towards normalising relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran.
United States President Donald Trump will host a White House ceremony at 12 noon local time (16:00 GMT), capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s decades-old dispute with the Palestinians.
At the US-brokered event, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.
The deals make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalise ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
The UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, said on Tuesday his country’s decision to normalise relations with Israel had “broken the psychological barrier” and was “the way forward” for the region.
The back-to-back agreements, which have drawn bitter condemnation from the Palestinians, mark an improbable diplomatic victory for Trump. He has spent his presidency forecasting deals on such intractable problems as North Korea’s nuclear programme only to find actual achievements elusive.
Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together may be their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles. Iran has been critical of both deals. Fellow Gulf state Qatar has ruled out normalising ties with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
With Trump up for re-election on November 3, the accords could help shore up support among pro-Israel Christian evangelical voters in the US, an important part of his political base.
It did not come as a surprise. Ever since US President Donald Trump announced on August 13 that the United Arab Emirates and Israel had agreed to establish diplomatic ties, there had been rife speculation that Bahrain would be next.
Despite Bahrain last month that it was committed to the creation of a Palestinian state, the island state was always likely to follow the UAE suit “once the taboo had been broken”, Ian Black, visiting senior fellow at the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, told Al Jazeera.