“This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace,” Netanyahu said.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain before a cheering crowd on the South Lawn of the White House.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said. “After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
“In a few moments these three visionary leaders will sign the first two peace deals between Israel and the Arab states in more than a quarter century. In Israel’s entire history there have been only two such agreements and now we have achieved two in a single month,” the president said.
“And there are more are to follow,” he said, at which point cheers broke out.
“Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors and work so strongly to cooperate as partners across a broad range of sectors, from tourism to trade to health care and security,” Trump said.
“Together, these agreements will serve as a foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something nobody thought was possible,” Trump said. “Congratulations on this outstanding achievement.”
“There will be other countries very, very soon that will follow these great leaders,” Trump said.
“On my first foreign trip as president I had the honor of addressing the leaders of more than 54 Arab and Muslim nations in Saudi Arabia. My message that day was very simple. I urged the nations of the Middle East to set aside their differences, unite against the common enemy of civilization and work together toward the noble aims of security and prosperity.
“I offered America’s friendship. I offered America’s help. But I said clearly that the nations of the region had to decide what kind of future they wanted for their children and their families and for their nation itself… Today, the world sees that they’re choosing cooperation over conflict, friendship over enmity, prosperity over poverty and hope over despair,” the president said.
‘Jews have prayed for peace’
Netanyahu spoke following the president. He said, “This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace. For thousands of years the Jewish people have prayed for peace. For decades, the Jewish State has praised for peace. That is why today we’re filled with such gratitude.”
Thanking Trump, the prime minister said, “You have unequivocally stood by Israel’s side. You have boldly confronted the tyrants of Tehran. You’re proposed a realistic vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and you have successfully brokered the historic peace that we are signing today.”
“To all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today, and those who will join us tomorrow I will say saalamu aleikum, peace unto thee,” the prime minister said.
“And you’ve already heard from the president that he’s lining up more and more countries. This was unimaginable a few years ago but with resolve, determination, a fresh look at the way peace is done, this is being achieved. Thank you, Mr. President,” Netanyahu said.
“The blessings of peace we make today will be enormous. First, because this peace will eventually expand. Second, because the great economic benefits of our partnership will be felt throughout our region… And third, because this is not only a peace between leaders. It’s a peace between peoples…
“History has taught us that strength, ultimately strength brings peace,” Netanyahu said.
UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then spoke, giving most of his speech in Arabic.
“Today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world,” he said.
He dedicated a significant portion of his speech to the Palestinians, saying that the accord will help the UAE to stand with the Palestinians in their quest for a state. He thanked Trump for “halting the annexation of Palestinian territory.”
He said the treaty’s “reverberations will be reflected on the entire region. Every option other than peace would signify destruction, poverty and human suffering.”
Next spoke Bahraini Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, calling the ceremony “a moment of hope for all the peoples of the Middle East.”
“For too long, the Middle East has been set back by conflict and mistrust causing untold destruction and thwarting the potential of generations of the best and brightest of our young people. Now I am convinced that we have the opportunity to change that,” he said.
He praised his country’s leader, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, for having the vision to pursue peace. He also thanked the leader of the UAE, President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“For the State of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu, we welcome and appreciate these steps from you and your government, recognizing that enduring peace and security is only possible through a genuine engagement that protects the rights and interests of countries and peoples in the region,” he said.
“In particular, I want to express my deep appreciation to President Donald Trump and his administration. Mr. President, your statesmanship and tireless efforts have brought us here today and made peace a reality,” he said.
The four leaders then signed a declaration of peace. They signed the document in three languages: English, Hebrew and Arabic.