Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced, from the US, to request authorization from Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in order to sign the peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates at the White House, according to a report Tuesday.
After flying from Israel on Sunday to sign the Abraham Accords and bilateral agreements with the UAE and Bahrain in Washington Tuesday, Netanyahu was told by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that he did not have the authority to enact the UAE deal — a full peace treaty, as opposed to the Declaration of Peace with Bahrain — Channel 12 news said.
Netanyahu, who is the only government minister representing Israel in Washington, was told in call with Mandelblit that he would have to either call for a government vote on the matter or request authorization from Ashkenazi.
Due to time constraints, Netanyahu opted to call Ashkenazi.
Ashkenazi, who was not invited to join the delegation to Washington despite the presence of the Emirati foreign minister, reportedly only agreed to give his permission after checking that the agreement includes a clause that requires ratification by the Knesset before it takes effect.
Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will sign what an Israeli official referred to Monday as a “peace treaty,” while Netanyahu and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani will sign a less formal “declaration of peace.” All participants are also signing what the US has designated the Abraham Accords.
Responding to a petition calling to bar the accords from going into effect if they are not approved by the cabinet or Knesset, the Prime Minister’s Office said Monday that the normalization agreement with the UAE will only go into effect once it is voted on by the parliament.
It is also expected to go to the government for approval.
“Given the importance of the agreement, the prime minister intends to suggest that the government present it to the Knesset,” a letter from the PMO, published by Walla, said.
The wording of the agreement and the details included within it have yet to be officially published, leading to questions about what Jerusalem has agreed to.
Netanyahu kept Ashkenazi in the dark about the brewing agreement with the UAE, leaving the foreign minister to find out about it via a tweet from US President Donald Trump, like the rest of the world. Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday that the agreements had been drafted “professionally” with input from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Unlike with the UAE negotiations, he said he was updated on the talks with Bahrain.