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Peace deals close between Israel and five or six other countries

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Arab League refuse to condemn UAE-Israel normalisation- Cartoon

He was joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Zayani.

Hundreds of guests attended the event despite the coronavirus pandemic but there were no ceremonial handshakes to cement the agreements.

"After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East", he stated. "And I think that there's a lot of opportunity to be gained by working on this", he said.

"They've been very loyal", the president said.

Speaking to reporters before the ceremony, Mr Trump said "we'll have at least five or six countries coming along very quickly".

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the agreements marked "a change in the heart of the Middle East".

Even the harshest critics have allowed that the agreements could usher in a major shift in the region should other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, follow suit, with implications for Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

"This day is a pivot of history", Netanyahu said.

But experts say without one with the Palestinians, true peace is unlikely. Netanyahu is in Washington to sign the Abraham Accords, a peace treaty with the State of Israel.

The Magen David Adom emergency service said paramedics treated and evacuated two people with non-life-threatening wounds from shrapnel. The Palestinian leaders have denounced the Arab rapprochement with Israel as a betrayal of their cause, even though the annexation plans are being put on hold.

War planes belonging to the Israeli army carry out airstrikes over the Gaza Strip in August. "I stand here today to extend a hand of peace". Pelosi also welcomed the agreements but said she wants to learn details, specifically what the Trump administration has told the UAE about buying American-made F-35 aircraft and about Israel agreeing to freeze efforts to annex portions of the West Bank.

In a letter, the coalition said that "Palestinian self-determination and human rights are non-negotiable and not for sale", and they demanded "an end to Zionist Colonization of Arab/Palestinian land".

Middle East analysts said time will tell whether the deals bring change to the region.

The thaw will also give Israel and its two new Arab partners a big economic opening, just when they are looking to rebuild after the global slowdown triggered by the pandemic. The agreements come at a hard time for the Israeli PM as he faces criticism at home of his handling of the coronavirus crisis and a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

A wrinkle in the negotiations was the UAE's interest in buying F-35 fighter jets from the US, a move opposed by Israel.

The historic step in Arab-Israeli relations was orchestrated by the Trump administration, which dangled USA arms sales as an incentive for the UAE.

The bilateral agreements formalize the normalization of Israel's already thawing relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in line with their common opposition to Iran.

The Palestinian Unified National Command of Popular Resistance called for protests to reject the normalisation deals.

One report posted in a Twitter thread by a former senior Democratic Party official, Jon Cooper, described the situation as a "dispute" and alleged White House staff were trying to both please Israeli security officials and Donald Trump.

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