Trump presides as Israel, 2 Arab states sign historic pacts

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (September 15, 2020) — Declaring “the dawn of a new Middle East,” President Donald Trump on Tuesday presided over the signing of historic diplomatic pacts between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations that he hopes will lead to a new order in the Mideast and cast him as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.

Trump and Middle East leaders Sept. 2020

President Donald Trump, center, with from left, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during the Abraham Accords signing ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Hundreds of people amassed on the sun-washed South Lawn to witness the signing of agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The bilateral agreements formalize the normalization of the Jewish state’s already thawing relations with the two Arab nations in line with their common opposition to Iran and its aggression in the region.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said from a balcony overlooking the South Lawn. “After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”

The agreements do not address the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While the UAE, Bahrain and other Arab countries support the Palestinians, the Trump administration has persuaded the two countries not to let that conflict keep them from having normal relations with Israel.

The agreements won’t end active wars, but supporters believe they could pave the way for a broader Arab-Israeli rapprochement after decades of enmity and only two previous peace deals. 

What peace agreements?

Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Much of the rest of the world has taken notice of the recent peace agreements between Israel and two Arab nations: United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. But while some argue peace is breaking out in the Middle East, it's essentially "crickets" from the Trump-hating liberal media in the U.S.

Kyle Drennen of Media Research Center says it's the biggest example yet of the mainstream media's hypocrisy.

"… [U]nder normal circumstances for the media, these [agreements] would be a big deal. This would be something that they would be trumpeting," Drennen tells OneNewsNow. "Certainly, if Barack Obama had done it, you would have seen wall-to-wall coverage of people saying, 'Oh my gosh, Barack Obama is healing the entire world.'"

Drennen

According to the MRC spokesman, Middle East peace agreements were supposed to be among Obama's goals during his administration. "And so that was something [the media] loved," he adds. "They all loved that idea when he proposed it."

The Israel-UAE deal in the Middle East and another earlier agreement involving Serbia and Kosovo have netted President Donald Trump two separate nominations for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

"They completely ignored [the Israel-UAE deal] – then another Mid East peace deal comes through on Friday [and] they ignore that," Drennen offers. "Trump gets nominated by a Norwegian lawmaker for the Nobel Peace Prize … and that gets no coverage."

He says it reminds him the old adage If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

"[Except this is] sort of the opposite," says Drennen: "If you don't have anything nasty to say about Trump, then don't say anything at all."

It remains to be seen if the liberal media's silence would continue if other Arab countries come alongside UAE and Bahrain. Trump has stated deals with another five countries could be forthcoming. According to reports, those could include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, and Morocco.

Yet even the harshest critics have allowed that the agreements could usher in a major shift in the region should other Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, follow suit, with implications for Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Other Arab countries believed to be close to recognizing Israel include Oman, Sudan and Morocco.

"We are very down the road with about five different countries,” Trump told reporters before the ceremony.

In addition to the bilateral agreements signed by Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, all three are signing a document dubbed the “Abraham Accords” after the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions.

In Israel, where the accords have received widespread acclaim, there is concern they might result in U.S. sales of sophisticated weaponry to the UAE and Bahrain, thus potentially upsetting Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.

“They’re very wealthy countries for the most part ... some are extraordinarily, like UAE,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” in an interview before the ceremony. “And they would like to buy some fighter jets and I personally would have no problem with it.”

Meanwhile, a politically vulnerable Netanyahu is facing questions about appearing at such a large event just days after he announced a new nationwide lockdown to fight a surge in coronavirus cases that will impose severe restrictions on movement and gatherings.

And while the UAE and Bahrain have a history of suppressing dissent and critical public opinion, there have been indications that the agreements are not nearly as popular or well-received as in Israel. Neither country sent its head of state or government to sign the deals with Netanyahu.

Bahrain’s largest Shiite-dominated opposition group, Al-Wefaq, which the government ordered dissolved in 2016 amid a yearslong crackdown on dissent, said there is widespread rejection of normalization. Al-Wefaq said in a statement that it joins other Bahrainis who reject the agreement to normalize ties with the “Zionist entity,” and criticized the government for crushing the public’s ability to express opinions “to obscure the extent of discontent” at normalization.

The ceremony follows months of intricate diplomacy headed by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and the president’s envoy for international negotiations, Avi Berkowitz. On Aug. 13, the Israel-UAE deal was announced. That was followed by the first direct commercial flight between the countries, and then the Sept. 11 announcement of the Bahrain-Israel agreement.

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