Netanyahu Cabinet Approves Israel-UAE Deal to Normalize Relations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a handover ceremony for the new Israeli chief of staff on January 15, 2019 at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. - Iran launched a satellite criticised by the United States as a breach of a UN resolution today but it failed to …
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(UPI) — A delegation from the United Arab Emirates will visit Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet approved a historic normalization of relations between the two nations Monday.

The peace deal, which now must find approval in the Knesset, was initially signed in Washington, D.C., in August with the help of U.S. President Donald Trump.

An Israeli delegation, led by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, flew to Abu Dhabi in August. A high-level UAE delegation is now expected to return the favor next week, Netanyahu said. He said he spoke to UAE Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed on the phone this past weekend.

“I invited him to visit Israel, and he invited me to visit Abu Dhabi,” Netanyahu said. “But before that, we will see a delegation from the UAE here and another delegation of ours will go there.”

In a call Monday, Netanyahu and bin Zayed talked about the progression of bilateral relations and reviewed steps to enhance UAE-Israel cooperation in various development and economic fields.

Netanyahu said the agreement will take effect after a vote in the Knesset, due to a petition to prevent it from being official until parliamentary approval.

“They understand that we can help them in many areas,” Netanyahu said. “They see that Israel is not only not a burden and not an enemy, it is a necessary ally.”

Defense minister Benny Gantz said the new agreement enhances Israeli security.

“We will move the agreement forward, while protecting Israel’s security interests,” Gantz said. “We must not stop pushing for peace with other regional partners. It is a moral and national imperative.”

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