President Trump will preside over the signing of two historic deals between Israel and two Gulf nations at the White House on Tuesday — a ceremony that will burnish Trump’s foreign policy credentials as he seeks reelection.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign deals marking the normalization of relations with both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The UAE deal was announced last month, with the Bahrain deal added on Friday. The ceremony on the South Lawn is expected to see about 700 guests in attendance.
In addition to the bilateral agreements, all three are expected to sign a trilateral document. Together they are dubbed the “Abraham Accords” and Trump is expected to sign on as a witness.
The deals see normalization of relations on everything from air travel, the establishment of embassies and security, and is hoped that it will usher in further such deals — possibly with Omar, Sudan, Morocco and others.
While it is hoped that the deals will usher in the new era in the region, where Israel has long been a pariah in the region, it also comes less than two months before the U.S. presidential election and gives Trump a clear victory on the foreign policy front.
The deals, along with an economic deal between Serbia and Kosovo, have fueled discussion about whether Trump should receive the Nobel Peace Prize — with the president receiving two nominations for the prestigious prize.
While critics have noted that such deals ignore Palestinians and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it is hoped that the deals would be the start of warmer Arab-Israeli relations.
In a call with reporters on Friday, White House adviser Jared Kushner said that it took Israel 72 years to form its first two peace agreements, and there have been two more in the last 29 days — describing it as a sign that the region is changing.
“We’re seeing the beginning of a new Middle East and the president has really secured alliances and partners in trying to pursue that,” he said.
Iran, meanwhile, has fumed at both deals, calling them “dangerous” and “shameful.”
“.@realDonaldTrump desperately needed a campaign photo. His son-in-law blackmailed their regional clients into giving him one,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted. “The only problem: ‘Peace agreements’ being signed are NOT between foes but longstanding allies. What a diplomatic coup!”
Meanwhile, in Israel, where the accords have received widespread acclaim, there is concern that the deals could lead to U.S. sales of weaponry to the UAE and Bahrain, upsetting Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.
Trump, says he would have “no problem” with the UAE buying fighter jets, saying “I would have no problem in selling them the F-35…I view it as an asset, not a liability” while noting it would help jobs back in the U.S.
He also said that other countries “want to come in” and that he believes that the Palestinians will eventually come in too.
“You’re going to have peace in the Middle East,” Trump said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.