President Donald Trump held a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign ministers from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday for a signing ceremony that established formal ties between the three countries, according to The Washington Post.
During the ceremony, Trump presented Netanyahu with a golden key, which he called a “key to the White House.” The prime minister responded, “You have the key to the heart of the Jewish people.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the ceremony, but the UAE and Bahrain chose to send their foreign ministers rather than heads of state or government. That, along with precautions against the spread of the coronavirus, denied Trump the chance to fully re-create the historic group handshakes that were the symbolic capstone of past White House peace ceremonies.
Nonetheless, the agreement is historic on its own. The last Arab state to make peace with Israel was Jordan, in 1994. Egypt was the first, in 1979. The agreement is also significant for relegating the Palestinians to the sidelines. Palestinian leaders have rejected the Trump peace efforts for three years and have called the two Arab nations traitors to their cause.
Neither UAE nor Bahrain is at war with Israel, so the document is not a peace treaty in the formal sense. But until now, both Persian Gulf states had officially considered Israel to be illegitimate.