Israel struck an agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to establish “full normalization of relations” and take plans to annex occupied West Bank territory off the table for now to improve ties with the rest of the Arab world. In a surprise statement issued by the White House, President Trump said he brokered a deal for Israel and the U.A.E. to sign a string of agreements on investment, tourism, security and other areas while moving to allow direct flights between the countries and to set up reciprocal embassies. If fulfilled, it would make the U.A.E. the third Arab country to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel, after Jordan and Egypt. The dynamics: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel needed to remind Israelis why they elected him, amid an increasingly fraught annexation plan.
Mr. Trump needed a win. And the U.A.E., under fire for alleged human rights abuses in Yemen, needed to improve its image in Washington. In Israel: Mr. Netanyahu reposted a tweet from Mr. Trump announcing the agreement and added, in Hebrew: “A historic day.” In the U.A.E.: Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the Emirates, tweeted: “During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.”