Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon/GP
PM Netanyahu leaves Israel to sign a peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain in Washington. Sept. 13, 2020.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took off with his family and an Israeli delegation to Washington ahead of the historic signing of normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, “to set this historic change in motion,” as he termed it, on Sunday night. He landed at Andrews Air Force Base on Monday morning, US time.

The historic signing event will take place at the White House on Tuesday.

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The countries have committed to begin the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, start direct flights between their countries, and launch cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will attend the signing ceremony, the only European minister to attend the signing ceremony at the White House.

Netanyahu said at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting earlier in the day that he had a conversation with President Donald Trump and King Hamad of Bahrain.

“It was a very warm conversation in which we agreed on the establishment of peaceful relations between Bahrain and Israel – the official establishment of peace with full diplomatic relations and with all that entails,” he recalled.

“We now have two historic peace agreements, with two Arab countries, which were established in one month. I am certain that we all welcome the new era. We are at the threshold of a new era,” he declared.

He noted that the “great excitement” felt in Israel is “also reflected in the very great excitement in Bahrain and the UAE among the public at large. There truly is a great change here.”

The UAE and Bahrain are the first Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel in more than 25 years.

The UAE is the first major Arab state to recognize Israel since the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty was signed in October 1994.

Announced on August 13, the Abraham Accords is the first between a Gulf state and Israel and is expected to lead to similar agreements with other Arab countries, possibly Oman, Morocco or Saudi Arabia.

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