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Israel to send $5 million worth of wheat to ‘our new friends in Sudan’

‘We are looking forward to a warm peace,’ Netanyahu’s office says, as Jewish state seeks to provide Khartoum with swift crop of benefits for normalization deal

An Israeli Arab collects wheat from a field soon after the harvest, at the settlement of Burgata. April 08, 2013. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)
Illustrative: An Israeli Arab collects wheat from a field soon after the harvest, at the settlement of Burgata. April 8, 2013. (Chen Leopold/Flash90/File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced Sunday that Israel is sending $5 million worth of wheat to Sudan following the announcement of normalization between the two countries.

“We are looking forward to a warm peace and are sending $5 million worth of wheat immediately to our new friends in Sudan,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

“Israel will be working closely with the USA to assist Sudan’s transition,” it said.

Economically crippled Sudan is believed to have agreed to normalization chiefly to enable it to be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terror and receive financial aid, and the country’s economic well-being is seen as critical to the deal’s success.

The deal with Sudan will also include aid and investment from Israel, particularly in technology and agriculture, along with further debt relief. It comes as Sudan and its transitional government teeter on the edge. Thousands have protested in the country’s capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.

In a televised address on Saturday, Netanyahu praised the normalization deal, saying it would contribute to a “new dawn” in the region.

“We brought three peace deals in six weeks. It’s not luck, it’s not coincidence but the result of clear policy, and our efforts,” he said, expressing certainty that other countries will follow suit.

Israel last month signed normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Netanyahu has made it a priority to forge ties with formerly hostile countries in Africa and the Arab world in the absence of any progress with the Palestinians during his more than a decade in office. The deal also is aimed at unifying Arab countries against their common adversary, Iran.

Netanyahu said that an Israeli delegation would head to Khartoum “in the coming days” to finalize the accords.

He added that Israel had already agreed with Sudan for Israeli flights to fly over the African nation’s territory — an agreement “made before we announced normalization” — and said planes from Israel can from now on head west over Africa via Sudan and Chad — “with which we also established diplomatic relations” — to Brazil and South America.

President Donald Trump speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone about a Sudan-Israel peace agreement, in the Oval Office on October 23, 2020, in Washington, DC. President Trump announced that Sudan and Israel are making peace. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP)

Noting the historic significance of Friday’s breakthrough, Netanyahu stressed that Sudan was once an enemy state that fought against Israel in 1948. In 1967, it hosted the Arab League summit in which the so-called “3 No’s” were announced, he added: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel.

“But all our relations with them have started to change in recent years — secretly, openly, and now with the normalization agreement,” he said.

The new accords were being reached “despite all the experts and commentators who said it was impossible,” he said. “Israel was completely isolated and they told us we were heading into a political tsunami. What’s happening is the absolute opposite. Israel is now connecting to the whole world.”

The new deals, he said, moreover, brought peace “without withdrawals” and “without uprootings” — a reference to what he has touted as a shift away from previous “land for peace” policies to new peace efforts that do not involve land concessions from Israel for ties with its former enemies.

Before the recent accords with the UAE and Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan were the only Arab nations formally at peace with Israel.

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