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Israel-UAE normalization to be given peace treaty status — report

News site says Israeli officials requested agreement be made similar to that of the Jewish state’s treaties with Egypt, Jordan; deal will be ratified by Knesset

National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official ahead of boarding the plane before leaving Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool/AFP)
National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official ahead of boarding the plane before leaving Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool/AFP)

The normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will be defined as a “peace treaty” and will have similar legal status to the Jewish state’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, according to an Israeli report on Saturday.

Quoting unnamed Israeli and American officials, the Walla news site said Israeli officials had asked counterparts in the United Arab Emirates to give the agreement the legal status of a peace treaty. The UAE agreed to the request, according to the report, which was not officially confirmed.

Making the agreement a peace treaty would put in on par with treaties reached with both Egypt and Jordan. It would require the approval of the Knesset in Israel and the UAE’s Federal National Council, though the Emirate’s actual decision-making power remains with the royals.

Unlike Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab countries with which Jerusalem has official ties, Israel and the United Arab Emirates were never at war. Officials in Jerusalem, Abu Dhabi and Washington, which brokered the deal, have nonetheless insisted on referring to it as a “peace deal.”

A man wearing a mask bearing the national flags of America, Israel and United Arab Emirates, watches a ceremony after an El Al plane from Israel landed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 31, 2020. Nir Elias/Pool via AP)

While a deal to normalize diplomatic relations was announced last month, the countries have yet to hash out an actual detailed agreement, which is expected to be signed in a White House ceremony.

Israeli officials were quoted in the report saying that there is still no final date for the planned ceremony at the White House in Washington, but it is expected to be held in the coming weeks.

Numerous Arab diplomats, including from countries that don’t have formal ties with Israel, are expected to attend the ceremony, in a bid to show that the agreement enjoys widespread support, the news site claimed.

According to the report, Israel and the US are still working toward a diplomatic breakthrough with another Arab state before the signing ceremony, though it is unclear if this will be possible.

While officials in Israel and the US claimed in the wake of the UAE announcement that another country or more would follow within days or weeks, those expectations have dampened. Other Arab states reportedly in talks with Israel have shown reluctance for anything stronger than a goodwill gesture, instead insisting that a peace deal with the Palestinian preclude any normalization.

Sudan, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, have all been mentioned as potentially willing to normalize ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said last week that they would allow Israeli planes to overfly their territory on the way to the UAE.

The leader of Sudan, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit last month that his country would only normalize ties with Israel in exchange for Khartoum’s removal from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, as well as $9 billion in aid, the Sudan Tribune reported Thursday.

According to the report, Pompeo offered $50 million in aid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) is welcomed by a Sudanese official in Khartoum on August 25, 2020. (AFP)

Sudan’s foreign minister, Omar Qamar al-Din Ismail, told the Sudanese newspaper Al-Tayyar that Pompeo had linked removing Sudan from the terror list to normalization with Israel.

“The conditions revolve around the question of what is the economic gain that Sudan will rake in and when it will be removed from the terror list. Pompeo said the administration will examine this with the Israeli side,” Ismail said, according to a translation carried by Israel’s Kan public broadcaster.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok told Pompeo during the visit that Sudan’s transitional government doesn’t have the authority to make a decision such as normalizing ties with Israel.

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