Gantz: UAE peace deal emphasizes Israel's eternal aspiration for peace

The peace deal was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States that accelerated recently, White House officials said.

Blue and White leader and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz speaks at a Blue and White faction meeting, May 27, 2020 (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Blue and White leader and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz speaks at a Blue and White faction meeting, May 27, 2020
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached a historic peace deal on Thursday that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern nations in an agreement that US President Donald Trump helped broker.
Under the agreement, Israel has agreed to suspend applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank that it has been discussing annexing, senior White House officials told Reuters.
The peace deal was the product of lengthy discussions between Israel, the UAE and the United States that accelerated recently, White House officials said.
The agreement was sealed in a phone call on Thursday between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who said in a statement that Israel had agreed to stop annexation and that in exchange the UAE and Israel "agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship."
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today by telephone with US President Donald Trump and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted on Thursday.
Following the announcement, UAE, US and Israeli officials reacted to the historic deal.
Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz commented on the Israel-UAE peace agreement and thanked President Donald Trump and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for making the historic deal possible.
"I would like to thank first and foremost US President Donald Trump, a true friend of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. The agreement expresses the alliance between regional countries that are interested in regional stability and cooperation, and emphasizes Israel's eternal aspiration of reaching peace with its neighbors.
"I'm positive that the agreement will have positive implications on the future of the Middle East as a whole and on Israel's position in the world and in the area," Gantz said in a statement.
President Reuven Rivlin said: “The agreement between Israel and the UAE is an important and strategic milestone for new opportunities in our region. I sincerely hope that this step will also lead to strengthening the trust between us and the peoples of the region, which we will need to reach a broad-based and stable agreement amongst us all.
I congratulate the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Israel and Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammed bin Zayed on this impressive achievement and invite the Crown Prince to visit Jerusalem. Ahlan wa’Sahlan.”
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also congratulated Netanyahu and emphasized the importance of reaching stability in the Middle East.
"Stability in the Middle East, removing security threats and promoting agreements with nearby nations - those have been my goals as well as those of Blue and White."The message of normalizing the relations with the United Arab Emirates is important and constitutes an opening for further agreements.
Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz said that taking annexation off the table is the only way to reach regional normalization.
"The normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates in exchange for taking off annexation of the table, proves what Meretz has been rigorously saying: the road to normalization with the Arab world will only come when the dangerous annexation ambitions of the Right are off the table, and we return to negotiations on basis of the two-state solution," Horowitz said in a statement.
However, others disagreed, saying that they were betrayed and continued to push for annexation.
Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon tweeted "I welcome the important agreement led by the Prime Minister @netanyahu. As Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations, I visited and co-operated with the United Arab Emirates in the fight against the Iranian nuclear program."
"At the same time, this diplomatic achievement must not harm the application of #sovereignty - a step that must take place immediately."
Former defense minister and leader of Yamina Naftali Bennett commented criticized Netanyahu for missing the opportunity of applying sovereignty, which he called the "opportunity of a century."
"I congratulate Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed for the leadership he has displayed. Israel has a lot to offer to the region and it's a good thing that the relations between the countries are not held hostage by the Palestinian insubordination.
However, it's unfortunate that Netanyahu missed the opportunity of a century to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, Ma'ale Adumim, Beit El and the rest of the Israeli settlements.
It's tragic that Netanyahu didn't seize the moment, and didn't find courage to apply sovereignty on even a centimeter of the Land of Israel. But applying sovereignty on the lands of our homeland will come from elsewhere," Bennett said.  
Communications Minister and head of Derech Eretz Yoaz Hendel criticized the implied postponement of annexation plans, but praised the agreement.
"I congratulate the agreement with the United Arab Emirates. I'm not giving up the settlement enterprise and our eastern border," Hendel wrote on Twitter.
Head of the Beit El Regional Council Shai Alon also responded to the expected postponement of the annexation of part of the West Bank and said Netanyahu has betrayed the settlers.
"We were tricked. Our future is in Judea and Samaria and in brave decision that need to be made by our leaders, not in agreements that are signed today and won't mean anything tomorrow. We've been betrayed," Alon said in a statement.