Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to normalise relations in exchange for the suspension of Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank. The historic breakthrough was announced in a joint statement yesterday by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Al Nahyan, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump. They expressed hope that the "historic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East". Israel has had diplomatic relations with its neighbours Egypt and Jordan for decades, but until now, it has never had such a relationship with any Gulf Arab state. Israel will "focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world".
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The agreement is called the Abraham Accord. The three leaders behind it said: "This historic diplomatic breakthrough...is a testament to the bold diplomacy...vision...and courage of the UAE and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock great potential in the region." Mr Netanyahu called it a "historic day". However, he said the sovereignty of the West Bank "remains on the table". The UAE said the deal with Israel was a "win for diplomacy and the region". It added: "It is a significant advance in Arab-Israeli relations that lowers tensions and creates new energy for positive change." The Palestinian leadership called it a "betrayal" of the Palestinian cause and the equivalent of being "sold out by friends".