Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani gathered at the White House Tuesday to sign the Abraham Accords, the agreement to establish peace between the Jewish State and two of the Arab Gulf states.
The agreement also calls for full normalization of ties between the nations.
"We're here this afternoon to change the course of history." President Trump said at the beginning of the ceremony. "After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people from all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity."
"In a few moments, these visionary leaders will sign the first two deals between Israel and an Arab state in more than a quarter century. In Israel's entire history, there have previously been only two such agreements. Now we have achieved two in a single month, and there are more to follow," Trump said.
"Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors, and begin the work to cooperate strongly as partners across a broad range of sectors, from tourism to trade and health care and security. They're going to work together. They are friends.
"The Abraham Accords also open the door for Muslims around the world to visit the historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam," he said.
"Together, these agreements will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the region, something which nobody thought was possible, certainly not in this day and age - maybe many decades from now - one founded on shared interests, mutual respect, and friendship.
"To our honored guests from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, congratulations on this outstanding achievement," Trump said.
The President said that the agreement marked the end of the "lies" which have sustained the Arab-Israeli conflict for decades, including the lie that Israel was attacking the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
“These lies passed down from generation to generation," Trump said, adding that from now on “the people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel” to sow conflict and foment terrorism.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke after President Trump.
“This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace,” said Netanyahu. "For thousands of years, the Jewish people have prayed for peace. For decades, the Jewish State has prayed for peace."
Netanyahu thanked Trump for his “decisive leadership” on Iran and the Middle East peace process.
“You’ve successfully brokered the historic peace we are signing today, a peace that has broad support in Israel, in the Middle East, in America — indeed, in the entire world,” he said, adding that the deal is “bringing hope to all the children of Abraham.”
“To all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today and those who will join us tomorrow, I say salaam alaikum.
“This was unimaginable a few years ago, but with resolve, determination, a fresh look at how peace is done, it is being achieved,” Netanyahu said. “Thank you, Mr. President.”
“I know the price of war,” Netanyahu said, referencing the death of his brother Yoni in a hostage-rescue operation in Entebbe in 1976.
“The people of Israel well know the price of war. I know the price of war. I was wounded in battle. A fellow soldier, a very close friend of mine, died in my arms. My brother Yoni lost his life while leading his soldiers to rescue hostages held by terrorists in Entebbe,” he said. "My parents were unconsolable till the day of their deaths. Those who bear the wounds of war cherish the blessings of peace."
“This peace will eventually expand to include other Arab states and ultimately help bring an end to the Arab-Israel conflict once and for all," he declared.
“Despite the many challenges and hardships that we all face, let us pause for a moment to appreciate this remarkable moment,” and “put all cynicism aside,” he said. “Let us feel on this day the pulse of history. For long after the pandemic is gone the peace we make today will endure.”
Quoting a verse from the Book of Psalms in Hebrew before translating it into English - 'May God grant His people strength, may He bless them with peace,'" Prime Minister Netanyahu ended with gratitude for the message of peace heralding the Jewish New Year which begins this coming Sabbath.
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan spoke after Netanyahu.
“I stand here today to extend a hand of peace and receive a hand of peace. In our faith, we say, Oh G-d, you are peace and from you comes peace. The search for peace is an innate principle, yet principles are effectively realized when they are transformed into action," he said.
“Today, we are already witnessing a change at the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world," he declared. "We are witnessing today a new trend that will create a better path for the Middle East.”
“This new vision is not a slogan that we raise for political gain as everyone is looking for a more prosperous future."
“As for us in the United Arab Emirates, 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 foreign minister stated.
He thanked Netanyahu for halting the plan to apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa spoke last.
“Today is a truly historic occasion. A moment of hope and opportunity for all the peoples of the Middle East and in particular for the millions in our younger generations," Al Khalifa said. "For too long, the Middle East has been set back by conflict and mistrust, causing untold destruction” which continually dashed the hopes of the "youngest and brightest" of the Middle East.
“Now I am convinced we can change that,” he said.
After the leaders spoke, they each signed three copies of the peace accords, one in English, one in Hebrew, and one in Arabic.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the leaders did not shake hands following the signing of the accords as has been the custom following the signing of previous peace agreements, but instead, placed their hands on their chests while facing each other and bowing slightly.