Knesset expected to ratify UAE deal on Thursday

The Knesset is expected to overwhelmingly ratify the normalization treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on the floor of the Israeli parliament that there are no “surprise deals” in the agreement which he signed with the UAE on Sept. 15 at the White House. U.S. President Donald Trump brokered the historic agreements between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain. 

Netanyahu reiterated his hope that more Arab countries would follow.

“Our hand is outstretched to anyone who wants to make peace with us,” he said and singled out Lebanon “to negotiate a real peace,” just a day after Israel and its northern neighbor began negotiating on maritime borders.  

Netanyahu also said the deal with UAE and Bahrain proved it was possible all along to have peace in the Middle East and that there was no need to wait for the Palestinians, who stopped negotiating with Israel since Trump presented his “deal of the century” which they view as heavily favoring Israel.

“The Palestinians were offered peace and turned it down time after time,” he said. “If we wait for the Palestinians, we will be waiting a long time.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz reach out to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during his speech.

“The time has come to join the journey to peace and not continue with refusal,” he said. 

Some 100 of 120 Knesset members asked to speak before the vote, which isn’t expected before Thursday night. 

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