President Trump on Tuesday declared a “historic day for peace” as he was scheduled to preside over the signing of two historic Middle East diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf nations.
“HISTORIC day for PEACE in the Middle East,” Trump tweeted moments before the ceremony on the South Lawn at the White House. “I am welcoming leaders from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain to the White House to sign landmark deals that no one thought was possible.”
TRUMP TO PRESIDE OVER SIGNING OF HISTORIC MIDDLE EAST DEALS AT WHITE HOUSE
“MORE countries to follow!” he added.
Moments later in the Oval Office, surrounded by the various represenatives, Trump said it was “an incredible thing that’s happening — it’s come a long way.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign deals, which mark the normalization of relations, with the foreign ministers of both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The UAE deal was announced last month, with the Bahrain deal announced on Friday. They have been dubbed the “Abraham Accords.”
While critics have noted that such deals ignore Palestinians and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it is hoped that the deals would be the start of warmer Arab-Israeli relations.
Trump told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning that other countries “want to come in” and that he believes the Palestinians will eventually come in too.
“You’re going to have peace in the Middle East,” Trump said, adding that countries including Iran were “actually getting to a point where they’re going to want to make a deal. They won’t say that outwardly. They want to make a deal.”
TRUMP ANNOUNCES DEAL BETWEEN BAHRAIN, ISRAEL TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS IN PUSH FOR MIDEAST PEACE
Israel, Bahrain and the UAE are expected to sign a trilateral document, in addition to the bilateral agreements. Together they are dubbed the “Abraham Accords” and Trump is expected to sign on as a witness.
Democrats have given some support to the agreements, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying in a statement that it marked “an important day” but said that “questions remain” including about a commitment for the UAE to purchase F-35 jets — which has led to fears it could blunt Israel’s military superiority in the region.
“As we learn more about the full details of both agreements, questions remain – specifically, regarding the commitment that the UAE has received from the Trump Administration to purchase American-made F-35 aircraft. The U.S. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, will be watching and monitoring to ensure that Israel can maintain its qualitative military edge in the region.
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“It is also critically important that we fully understand the agreements’ details regarding the announced freeze of efforts by Israel to annex portions of the West Bank,” she said.
The deals see normalization of relations on everything from air travel to the establishment of embassies and security, and it’s hoped that it will usher in further such deals – possibly with Oman, Sudan, Morocco and others.
“We’re very far down the road with about five additional countries,” Trump said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This is a breaking news story, check back for updates.