What do North America Jewish organizations think of UAE-Israel deal?

Written by on August 14, 2020

Israel agreed to suspend its planned extension of sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria to facilitate relations with the UAE and potentially other Arab and Muslim countries.

Agreement between Israel and UAE on normalizing relations (photo credit: MUSSA QAWASMA/REUTERS)

Agreement between Israel and UAE on normalizing relations


North American Jewish Organizations across the continent have lauded the decision by Israel and the UAE to agree to fully normalize relations in a phone call with US President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Israel agreed to suspend its planned extension of sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria to facilitate relations with the UAE and potentially other Arab and Muslim countries.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said that today’s deal sends a message to the Palestinian people.

“Finally, today’s announcement is sending a message to the Palestinian people. The peace train has left the station. Peace with Israel is within reach but only if Palestinians have leaders who are prepared to forever foreswear violence and terrorism,” SWC officials said in a statement. “Today, the Palestinian Authority no longer has veto power over regional relations between Arab and the Jewish nations. It’s time for the Palestinians to come to the peace table and directly negotiate with Jerusalem.”

The Centre of Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) noted that the agreement shows “Israel’s strong desire for peace.”

“Today’s historic diplomatic achievement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a reflection of Israel’s strong desire for peace and evidence of the value that Arab states in the region attach to a strong relationship with Israel,” CIJA President and CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel said in a statement. “Since its founding, Israel has seized every opportunity to make peace with its Arab neighbors, including Egypt and Jordan.”

“Canada and the international community should take note that today’s peace agreement was achieved through direct negotiations between the two parties, and reaffirm dialogue and direct talks as the only path towards peace in the region,” he added. “We hope that today’s normalization agreement opens the door to additional peacemaking efforts in the Middle East, leading to greater stability, security and prosperity for all.”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) noted their relief “to see President Trump’s dangerous gamble on unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank come to an end.”

“By taking annexation off the table, today’s Israeli government announcement addresses the problem created by the Trump administration’s failure to oppose it from the outset,” JDCA board chair Ron Klein said in a statement. “We welcome the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and urge the Republican Party to join the Democratic Party in reaffirming support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is essential to Israel’s future as a secure Jewish and democratic state.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) lauded Trump’s ability to broker the “game-changing” agreement.

“President Trump’s vision and determination have once again brought about positive, constructive change in the region. Like his decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move our embassy there, this agreement is something no other President has been able to achieve,” sai RJC National Chairman Senator Norm Coleman. “We applaud President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on this major step forward toward greater peace and stability in the Middle East.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recognized the unique postion the US sits in, with the ability to bring about positive change between once rival countries.

“I commend Israeli and Emirati leaders for being willing to buck the hardliners today to make real concessions toward Arab-Israeli peace,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the ADL. “”This is a reminder of the positive role that the US uniquely can play on the global stage, helping to broker historic agreements and advance the cause of peace around the world.”

AIPAC thanked the president and his administration as well as the UAE and Israel for bringing the deal together, noting that the Palestinian leadership should end its boycott of Israel and the United States “and return to the negotiating table.”

With this announcement, Israel and the UAE are joining the United States in launching a Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade and security cooperation,” AIPAC said in a statement. “We urge other Arab states and the Palestinians to follow their lead.”

The agreement will include establishing embassies and exchanging ambassadors, investments into the Israeli economy, trade, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, an investment in Israeli efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine – as first reported in The Jerusalem Post last month – and cooperation in matters of energy and water. An important element of the deal for the UAE is the expectation that its citizens would be able to visit the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “full, formal peace” with “one of the strongest countries in the world.”

“Together we can bring a wonderful future. It is an incomparably exciting moment,” Netanyahu said. “I have the great privilege to make the third peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, the UAE.”

Netanyahu wished Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed “Salam Aleykum v’Shalom Aleynu – peace unto you and peace unto us.”

Lahav Harkov and Omri Nahmias contributed to this report.

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