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Netanyahu: There will be more Arab countries to forge ties with us

JERUSALEM (Agencies): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says UAE, Israel and the US agreed on a full, official peace in a phone call today.

He says there will be an exchange of embassies, ambassadors, economic exchanges, direct flights and more.

“This is very important for our economy, the regional economy and our future.”

Netanyahu says that Israel and the UAE are very similar in many ways, including technologyical innovation.

He repeats that the deal is historic and a landmark, comparing it to the peace deals with Egypt and Jordan.

He says he has been working toward the goal of normalization with the Gulf saince 2009.

“I always thought it was possible. … I have been doing this constantly, for years,” he says, noting his contacts with Sudan and other states that don’t have official ties with Israel.

“This deal shows the huge change in how Israel is seen in the Middle East.”

He says more Arab countries will establish ties with Israel.

Netanyahu stresses that the peace is not in exchange for anything, and ends his speech by thanking Trump and UAE leader Mohammed Bin Zayed, including in Arabic.

Asked about his annexation promises, his says there is”no change in my plans for annexation, with full coordination with the US,” but does not elaborate.

He says that nobody ever believes his promises but he proves them wrong, as he did here, by forging peace with an Arab country without making peace with the Palestinians first.

Netanyahu insists that he’s committed to sovereignty, and will “never give up on our rights in our land.”

He claims that Trump only requested a temporary suspension of annexation plans.

He confirms that there are plans for Israeli and UAE delegations to meet.

Asked if he supports a two state solution, Prime Minister Netanyahu says he is committed to the Trump peace plan, calling it the most realistic plan since 1967. He refuses to define what a Palestinian entity would be.

He repeats that Trump only insisted on a temporary pause in annexation plans.

UAE’s Gargash says move will help Palestinian statehood bid: Annexation was a deeply worrying step for all the world’s states, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash says to Sky News Arabia. He denies that plans to set a road map for cooperation and normalization between Israel and the UAE will hamper the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Freezing Israeli annexation will be a revival of the peace process,” Gargash says, adding “we have always said that the political solution is in the hands of Palestinians and Israelis, and there must be a return to the negotiating table.”

Asked about the idea for the agreement, Gargash says it came about in the aftermath of Israel’s announced intention to annex parts of the West Bank.

“An idea began to develop for a kind of political agreement. It continued to develop following American insistence and follow-up. The idea was that Israel would abide by freezing annexation, and we would agree to develop normal relations,” Gargash says.

Asked how the Palestinians will benefit from UAE-Israel normalization, Gargash says they could learn by example.

“Our advice to the Palestinians has always be to remain in contact and keep communication channels open. Right now, the Palestinian people are seeing very difficult days — proving that communication is better than disconnection,” Gargash says.

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