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Israel and UAE to sign normalisation deal at White House on 15 September: Reports

High-ranking officials from Israel and the UAE will be present for controversial signing of accord
Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official on 1 September.
Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat bumps elbows with an Emirati official on 1 September 2020 (AFP)

US President Donald Trump will hold the signing ceremony of the normalisation agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on 15 September, according to reports citing senior US officials.

A senior White House official told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of the UAE crown prince, would lead the delegations.

Netanyahu confirmed his participation on Twitter, with the Israeli leader saying he was "proud to leave for Washington next week at the invitation of President Trump and to participate in the historic ceremony at the White House on the establishment of a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates".

Trump and other administration officials have said they expect Saudi Arabia and other countries to follow suit in recognising Israel.

Middle East Eye has previously revealed that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pulled out of a planned visit to Washington DC to meet Netanyahu after he feared that the news had leaked and that his presence in the US capital would become a "nightmare".

Sources have told MEE that Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner had been pushing for the meeting to happen to relaunch bin Salman's image as a young Arab peacemaker and to shore up regional support for the deal between Israel and the UAE.

While the Emirates has stated that the deal was predicated on Israel freezing its plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank, Netanyahu has publicly said that annexation was still on the table.

The Palestinian leadership initially denounced the accord as tantamount to "treason" and a "stab in the back of the Palestinian cause", but has curbed its criticism, according to a draft resolution ahead of an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

The draft, seen by Reuters, did not include a call to condemn, or act against, the Emirates over the US-brokered deal.

The UAE is planning to make its first official visit to Israel on 22 September, a source familiar with the provisional itinerary said on Monday.