UAE agreement must pass Knesset vote; Likud says no problem

Other MKs fear the devil is in the details and that Netanyahu isn’t being forthright when he says the deal is ”peace for peace.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Abraham Accord with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be signed today in Washington, D.C., will be a full-fledged peace agreement that the Knesset will need to ratify. Confidence is high in the Likud that it will pass easily even though the details of the deal have yet to be publicized.

“The peace deal with Egypt was also brought for Knesset ratification after the signing [ceremony],” Finance Minister Yisrael Katz pointed out Tuesday on Israel Radio’s “This Morning” program.

“Of course its entry into force is conditional on the approval of the government and the Knesset. I’m sure that it will be sweeping and unanimous,” he added, given that it’s a positive achievement “and only for the benefit of the state.”

Katz’s assessment may be rosy. The details of the agreement will not be publicized in Israel until after the White House ceremony, which is to take place at 7:00 p.m. Israel time in the presence of some 1,000 guests.

While a large part of it is expected to concentrate on non-controversial economic matters, the Palestinian issue is rumored to have been included, with reports saying the deal will be phased in to prevent Israel from applying its sovereignty plan.

MK Moshe Arbel of Shas, a haredi party, has submitted two official questions to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject, which Netanyahu by law must answer: Did Netanyahu agree to freeze building in Judea and Samaria in exchange for agreements with the Gulf countries? And, did he agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state?

In an interview on Israeli radio station Kan Reshet Bet, Arbel said, “I have yet to get answers, but I expect complete transparency. There is a prolonged freeze in building in Judea and Samaria, and we must know what is the price we’re supposed to pay for the agreement.”

On the opposite side of the political map, far-left Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz said it’s a “positive step” that the deal forces Israel not to extend sovereignty over sections of Judea and Samaria and to “give up… building in the settlements.” However, he is still not going to be a rubber stamp for a peace deal with an Arab country.

“The agreements [in the accord] must be revealed,” he said on the Kalman-Liberman radio show in reaction to Katz’s interview. “What is [Netanyahu] hiding? I want to expose Netanyahu’s basic lie, as if he’s giving peace for peace. It’s peace for planes, cyber, annexation and settlements. He also denied the cyber and planes at first.”

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The planes Horowitz referred to are the American F-35 stealth jets that are the most advanced in the world and which Abu Dhabi has wanted for years. Israel already has two squadrons of them, and it gives the IDF a huge military edge on its opponents. The prime minister at first denied that the peace agreement will allow the UAE to buy them, but President Donald Trump has made it clear that they are now on the table.

Bahrain and Israel will sign a separate, “pre-peace deal” at Tuesday’s ceremony. A senior American official told a press conference Monday night that there will also be one document all three nations will sign, as part of the overall Abraham Accords that the Trump administration hopes other Arab countries will soon agree to join.

While Netanyahu is representing Israel at the ceremony, Bahrain and the UAE will be represented by their foreign ministers.