US President Donald Trump’s administration is working toward holding a ceremony at the White House on September 13 for the formal signing of the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, a Palestinian report said Tuesday evening.
Citing an unnamed “informed source,” the Al-Quds newspaper said White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have both pressured Arab leaders to attend the ceremony.
The source said that observers believe they will manage to convince some of the leaders to participate, but declined to speculate about the identity of those leaders.
Despite September 13 falling on a Sunday, the source said that holding the Israel-UAE signing ceremony was “logical” then for several reasons.
The first was that it is the 27th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords at the White House in 1993, an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party bitterly opposed at the time and still oppose.
Trump’s evangelist base also strongly objects to the Oslo Accords, and the Israel-UAE ceremony would “end” that agreement, according to the source.
The source added that the date would be symbolic also in that it comes right after the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US.
It also comes as the November presidential elections loom and at a stage when the candidates step up their campaign, the source said, noting that the Israel-UAE signing ceremony would mark a “breakthrough that deserves — from some point of view — the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan.
The formal ceremony is expected to be held in the White House in the coming weeks, though there has been no official announcement yet.
Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and their shared enmity toward Iran.
On Monday, Kushner flew with a US-Israeli delegation from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi aboard an El Al plane, passing over Saudi airspace in a flight laden with symbolism.
During the visit, the two countries’ national security advisors, Israel’s Meir Ben-Shabbat and the UAE’s Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, joined Kushner for talks on cooperation between the two highly developed Middle East economies.
Kushner said in the UAE that all Arab states could and should make peace with Israel. Asked in an interview with the UAE’s WAM news agency whether he believed all 22 Arab states could eventually recognize Israel, Trump’s son-in-law replied: “100 percent.” He added: I believe that it is logical for them to do it and I believe it is the right thing to do over time.”
Israel-UAE negotiations have centered around cooperation in investment, finance, health, space exploration, civil aviation, foreign policy and tourism and culture.
A security delegation is set to visit the UAE in the coming weeks, but has reportedly been delayed by lingering tensions over Israel’s opposition to US plans to sell super-advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. Israel says the jets would erode its military edge in the region, which the US has pledged to uphold.
Agencies contributed to this report.