Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv is currently engaged in “secret talks” with many more Arab leaders for normalizing bilateral relations, days after a much-condemned agreement on normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was publicized.
“There are many more unpublicized meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders to normalize relations with Israel,” the Israeli premier claimed on Sunday, on the eve of Israel’s first commercial flight to the UAE.
The Israel-UAE agreement “will pave the way for other countries to normalize their ties with Israel,” Netanyahu added.
The development came after Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv announced on August 13 that they had reached an agreement that would lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides.
The highly controversial deal, which has since been widely condemned across the occupied Palestinian territories and the Muslim world, was brokered by US President Donald Trump, who has attempted to paint it as a big breakthrough.
The UAE-Israel deal marks the third such normalization agreement the occupying regime has struck with an Arab country after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). The UAE, the first country in the Persian Gulf region to reach such a deal with Tel Aviv, was already believed to have clandestine relations with Israel.
On Saturday, the UAE announced it was scrapping its economic boycott against Israel, allowing trade and financial accords between the two sides under the recently-struck deal, which has been unanimously condemned by all Palestinian factions, which describe it as a stab in the back of the oppressed nation.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli regional cooperation minister Ofir Akunis said that Tal Aviv expected to hold a signing ceremony for the agreement in Washington.
He added that the precise date for the ceremony could be decided by senior aides to Netanyahu and Trump when they fly to Abu Dhabi on Monday morning for talks.
The American delegation is led by White House advisor Jared Kushner, who stood next to Netanyahu during his remarks on Sunday.