(Image Chris Yunker from St. Louis, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0 )
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News -
Israel’s parliament voted Thursday to approve the historic peace accord under which Israel and the United Arab Emirates have established diplomatic relations and full normalization.
In an 80-13 vote, the Knesset ratified the UAE part of the Abraham Accords, which were signed last month in a ceremony hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, where the Gulf Arab country of Bahrain also committed to peace and normalization with Israel.
The 13 negative votes came from the the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties that follow the Palestinian narrative that no Arab country should make a separate peace with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
“Since the beginning of the days of Zionism, one of our hands has grasped the weapon of defense, while the other hand has been extended in peace to every one who desires peace,” Netanyahu told the Knesset as he opened the debate leading up to the vote.
After the vote, Netanyahu said the peace agreement bypassed Palestinian obstinacy.
“For too long, Palestinian refusal has halted rapprochement between Israel and Arab countries. I adhere to another policy that reverses the old order,” the prime minister said.
“The new arrangement means not waiting until the Palestinians want to, but moving forward, and when the Palestinians change their views, promoting a peace agreement with them as well.”
Netanyahu added that the treaty showed that his concept of “peace for peace” had nullified the previous concept of “land for peace,” under which Israel was required to make territorial concessions in order for Arab countries to normalize ties.
“This is how we brought peace for peace,” tweeted Netanyahu after the vote.
“After unanimous approval in the cabinet, Israel-UAE peace now approved by an overwhelming margin in the Knesset,” tweeted U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. “We are so gratified by the warm reception that both nations have given to this diplomatic breakthrough.”
White House Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, Avi Berkowitz, who was one of the negotiators in the American-brokered peace deal, paid tribute to the diplomats involved in the successful negotiations.
“One month ago the Abraham Accords were signed at the White House. Today, Israel’s Knesset voted and approved it! Congrats to Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and the whole team,” Berkowitz tweeted, citing Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law who traveled repeatedly the the Middle East mediating between Israeli and Arab leaders.
“Many Arab and Muslim countries want to get close to us,” Netanyahu said. “They see our military and intelligence, technological and economic power. They are changing their attitude toward us.”