Netanyahu won’t reveal secret parts of UAE deal in Knesset until after MKs vote

Moshe Ya’alon accused Netanyahu of deliberately hiding portions of the agreement from the Knesset.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu istens prior to participating in the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS//TOM BRENNER)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu istens prior to participating in the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS//TOM BRENNER)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has bowed to requests to appear before the Knesset to explain classified portions of the normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates – but not before Thursday, when the Knesset plenum votes to approve it.
But Netanyahu will present whatever secret parts there may be in the deal only next week to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on intelligence and secret services, committee sources said, confirming a report by KAN Radio.
Since before the deal was signed in Washington, committee chairman Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) has called on Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin to present the agreement in full to his panel. After Levin wrote to Hauser last week and turned down the request, Hauser asked that Netanyahu at least discuss the deal with the committee members.
The subcommittee comprises five members: Hauser, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon (Yesh Atid-Telem), Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Likud MKs Gideon Sa’ar and Avi Dichter.
When Netanyahu went to Washington last month to sign the deal, Ya’alon posted a video on social media in which he said Netanyahu’s refusal to present the deal to the security cabinet or the Knesset was the way leaders behave in a dictatorship, not a democracy.
“Immediately upon the official announcement of a peace agreement with the UAE and reports that the deal had a secret appendix about advanced weaponry that could have a critical impact on Israel’s strategic military advantage in the region, I demanded that it be brought for approval by the legislative branch,” Ya’alon told The Jerusalem Post. “My request was denied, time has passed and the deal was signed.”
Ya’alon accused Netanyahu of deliberately hiding portions of the agreement from the Knesset and the security cabinet and making a mockery of parliament.
“How can you bring to a vote in the Knesset plenum a peace agreement, without enabling the members of Knesset to know its contents?” Ya’alon said. “The Knesset is not a rubber stamp. The security of Israel is not Netanyahu’s private business.”
Liberman added that Netanyahu was “taking an improper step that cancels the role of the Knesset as the body that oversees the work of the government.”
The Likud’s representatives on the subcommittee declined to comment.
Netanyahu will present the agreement to the Knesset plenum in an open debate on Thursday. Nearly 100 ministers and MKs registered to speak about the deal at the debate, which will be followed by a vote which is expected to pass easily.
The Joint List announced on Wednesday that it plans to vote against the deal at the Knesset plenum on Thursday.
“In principle we are in favor of peace and work for true and permanent peace,” said Joint List MK Mtanes Shehadeh on Wednesday. “In our view, the agreement with the United Arab Emirates will actually alienate peace with the Palestinians and perpetuate the occupation and settlements.”
MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Ofir Sofer of the right-wing National Union party that is in the Yamona faction decided to vote in favor of the deal.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.