A Significant Moment in History

Yesterday, President Donald Trump hosted the signing of historic peace agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain; hailing the moment as the “dawn of a new Middle East”.

The signatories display the signed peace agreements.The signatories display the signed peace agreements (screenshot from BBC report)

Among the Arab states, only Egypt and Jordan have previously signed peace agreements with Israel.

Donald Trump expects other Arab countries to follow the examples of the UAE and Bahrain now that a decades-long impasse has been broken. Most Arab states have refused to recognise Israel until the dispute with the Palestinians was resolved.

Al Jazeera described these two agreements as ‘an improbable diplomatic victory’ for Donald Trump, given his failure to secure an agreement on North Korea’s nuclear programme.

A major factor behind these agreements seems to be a shared concern about the increasing influence of Iran in the Middle East and its development of ballistic missiles.

Benjamin Netanyahu hailed yesterday’s signing as 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 prayed for peace.
And this is why today we’re filled with such profound gratitude.
I am grateful to you, President Trump, for your decisive leadership.”

The Palestinian response has been to attempt reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority through an online meeting on 3rd September. Then on Sunday they launched ‘a comprehensive popular struggle’ which they claim will not end until an independent Palestinian state is created with Jerusalem as its capital.

They have called for a reproduction of the 1987 Intifada because it was ‘distinguished by being a collective popular uprising’ that used non-violent means.

However, Hamas responded in the only way they know, firing rockets into southern Israel. Thirteen people were injured when two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Ashkelon and Ashdod.

One man in his 60’s was hit by shrapnel and is said to be in a serious condition, another is in a ‘moderate to serious condition’, four people were lightly injured by shrapnel and eight people suffered from shock.