September 15, 2020 is set to be a historic day for international diplomacy, as Israel signs normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. These will be the third and fourth agreements Israel has signed with Arab nations, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
Stay with Hamodia.com all day for live updates of the event at the South Lawn of the White House. The event will begin at noon.
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The ceremonies have concluded, but as they say, now is when the real work begins – both for the countries, diplomats and officials involved in normalization, and for the press rushing to file reports.
There are several dozen people participating in a mincha minyan in back of the South Lawn now.
Enjoy the rest of your afternoon, and thank you for once again following live updates on Hamodia.com.
For those concerned about your correspondent’s comfort, he is happy to report that it is now 68° – a nice late-summer day.
The thousand-strong crowd is rising now that the signing is complete.
Most attendees are wearing masks.
The parties are holding up the signed agreements. There are no handshakes, and none of the parties are wearing masks. The agreements are in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
The parties have signed the agreements.
There are three documents: a declaration by all parties, a bilateral agreement between Israel and the UAE, and a bilateral agreement between Israel and Bahrain.
President Trump is also signing, as a witness.
Bahrain FM: “Today’s agreement is an important first step, and it is now incumbent on us to work urgently and actively to bring about the lasting peace and security our peoples deserve – a just, comprehensive, and enduring two state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict will be the foundation, the bedrock of such peace.”
Bahrain FM expresses appreciation to Trump, which gets the loudest applause of the day of the day so far.
Bahrain FM speaking in English: “For too long, the Middle East has been set back by conflict and mistrust, causing untold destruction, thwarting the potential of generations of our best and brightest young people. Now, I’m convinced we have the opportunity to change that.”
UAE FM: “Peace requires courage” and “Those who begin things in the right way will reap … achievements with the grace of G-d”
UAE FM: “This accord will enable us to continue to stand by the Palestinian people and realize their hopes for an independent state within a stable and prosperous region … the aim of all these treaties is to work toward stability and sustainable development.”
UAE FM calls this “ a new trend” that he says “will continue to have a positive impact, as we believe that its reverberations will be reflected on the entire region.”
Sirens in Ashdod and Ashkelon; two rockets are intercepted.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, via translator: “I stand here today to extend a hand of peace …. today we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world”
He says to Bibi “thank you for choosing peace and for halting the annexation of Palestinian territories”
Bibi: “Let us rise above any political divide, let us put all cynicism aside. Let us feel on this day the pulse of history. For long after the pandemic is gone, the peace we make today will endure.”
Bibi: “Those who bear the wounds of war cherish the blessings of peace.”
Bibi says the agreements may serve to end the Israeli-Arab conflict “once and for all.”
Bibi thanks all leaders present, including Trump, who have “unequivocally stood by Israel’s side.”
Netanyahu: “Today is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace. For thousands of years, the Jewish People have prayed for peace, for decades the Jewish State has prayed for peace, and his is why today we’re filled with such profound gratitude.”
Netanyahu continues that today’s event brings “hope to all the children of Abraham.”
He offers the traditional Arabic “Salam Aleikam” to all Israel’s friends in Middle East, those here today and those who will join soon, indicating future agreements will be signed as well.
Trump: “The people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel to be fomented as an excuse of radicalism or extremism.”
Trump: “For generations, the people of the Middle East have been held back by old conflicts, hostilities … and lies, that the Jews are Arabs are enemies.”
Trump continued that the agreements “prove that the nations if the region are breaking free from the failed approaches of the past,” and that “there will be other countries very very soon that will follow these great leaders.”
Trump thanks those involved in the deal. Avi Berkowitz, assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, got the loudest cheers.
Trump: “We are here this afternoon to change the course of history (and) after decades of division and conflict, mark a the dawn of a new Middle East.”
Trump and Netanyahu walked out of the Oval Office, with the two foreign ministers just behind. They walked toward the South Portico. The event is about to begin.
In remarks in the White House before his meeting with Netanyahu, Trump said, “I spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia and I think positive things will happen there too…”
Attendees have been asked to take their seats. The event is about to begin.
Attendee Rabbi Shneur Zalman Wolowik, director of Chabad of Five Towns, spoke to Hamodia:
“The significance of today is the fact that nations of the world are recognizing more and more the importance of being connected with Eretz Yisrael, recognizing how much it gives them strength and peace coming in a expression of strength versus what what was previously the norm, of peace being an expression of weakness. Israel is not giving anything away, but rather other countries are recognizing that Israel is the ultimate peacemaker in the Middle East and its simply valuable to all to be connected in this fashion”
Peace and Love.
At the time of signing the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, Tel Aviv’s city hall lit up with the words שלום, Peace, سلام
Reporters were just ushered into the event. Around a thousand people are waiting for the event to begin. The four leaders will be speaking from the South Portico.
There is quite a large contingent of yarmulkes here.
The sun is out, and wearing our suits, we are already feeling somewhat warm.
President Trump gave PM Netanyahu a key to the White House in the Oval Office, and announced he expected “five or six” more countries to sign normalization agreements with Israel soon.
The event, scheduled to begin at noon, is at least 35 minutes behind schedule.
Press are lining up at the door of the South Lawn, but no one has been seated yet.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greeted Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara. They briefly chatted and posed for media photos. No one wore masks. There were no public statements, and no reporters shouted questions.
Starting to warm up a bit. We’re Up to 63°, and skies are clear.
Trump just greeted the UAE foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in front of the West Wing. Once again, neither official is wearing masks, but they did not shake hands. No statements were made, and reporters did not shout questions.
Chants of “Free, Free Palestine” are audible here on the North Lawn, from protestors behind Lafayette Park across the street.
Uniformed U.S. service members are lined up along the White House driveway, each carrying a state flag, in anticipation of the arrival of the Bahraini and UAE delegates. Those countries’ leaders will not be here, but are sending their foreign ministers.
The agreements, brokered by the United States, led by White House officials Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz, represent the latest successes in the Trump and Netanyahu Administration’s efforts to forge closer ties between Israel and Sunni Arab states.
Saudi Arabia has played a part in the process as well, and the big question is whether that nation, the leading Sunni player in the Middle East, will eventually reach its own accord with the Jewish state.
Neither the UAE nor Bahrain nor Saudi Arabia have ever been at war with Israel, but these agreements may serve to integrate Israel in the region at large and consolidate opposition to Iran.
President Trump and Minister Al-Zayani are meeting now. In a few minutes, President Trump will greet the foreign minister of the UAE, and then have a meeting with him.
President Trump formally greeted Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalif in the West Wing. The two did not shake hands, but neither were they wearing masks.
A reporter shouted, “Mr. President, how do you feel about the day?”
President Trump replied, “Feeling fantastic.”
The foreign affairs minister from Bahrain is arriving now.
Your correspondent encountered approximately a dozen anti-Netanyahu protesters from Israel, at Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, near the White House complex.
Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th St. and 17th St., in front of the White House north one, is completely closed off to anyone without a pass. Prime Minister Netanyahu is staying at the Blair House, the official presidential guest residence across Pennsylvania Avenue.
Israel, Bahrain and the UAE will sign one document, the Abraham Accord. Israel will also separately sign bilateral agreements with Bahrain and the UAE. The U.S. will also sign the documents, as an observer.
The senior official said the agreement with the UAE will be longer and more detailed, simply due to timing, as the agreement with Bahrain was just reached recently.
Oman is expected to send representative to White House signing ceremony, officials say.
According to a senior administration official, many Democrats have been invited to the event today, and some are expected to attend.
The senior official also said that while participants are encouraged to wear masks, they will not be required.
Good morning, Hamodia readers, from a chilly Washington, DC, where Israel will sign agreements today to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The calendar says we have another week of summer, but it’s 59 degrees now, expected to reach just 64 when the ceremony begins at noon on the South Lawn of the White House.
Around s thousand people are expected to attend the historic event.