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Some Arab Leaders Awaiting US Election Results Before Normalizing Ties With Israel


JERUSALEM, Israel –  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will join Emirati leaders in Washington on Sept. 15 to attend an official signing ceremony for the historic Israel-UAE peace agreement. Excitement over the deal is running high among many Israelis, but some Arab states are waiting for the outcome of the US November elections before making any moves. 

The Israel Sinfonietta in the southern city of Beer Sheva celebrated the deal by playing the Israeli and Emirati national anthem at a unique concert.

“We play you two national anthems – one the Israeli one and the other of the United [Arab] Emirates, with whom we are going to sign a peace treaty. And to our friends over there I would say that we would also love to play this program over there in Abu Dhabi,” Conductor Doron Salomon told the audience.

Meanwhile, in the UAE, an Israeli model traveled to Dubai this week for a fashion shoot with a Dubai-based model.

Israel and the UAE are hoping for billions of dollars in trade, particularly in the tech and tourism industries.

The CEO of Israel’s biggest bank also led a business delegation to the UAE.

"I am getting a very good vibe, a very good response from any community member that we have met, which is a big surprise,” said Dov Kotler, CEO of Bank Hapoalim.

Netanyahu’s signing of the agreement with the UAE is a culmination of years of hard work.

“We have brought peace our way, peace in exchange for peace, and this opens a new era between Israel and Arab states," he said. "I expect that more countries will join the peace circle." 

Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel, senior fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told CBN News in an interview that the deal is changing the Middle East.

“It strengthens Israel and the pragmatic, moderate Arab countries in front of the radical Muslim countries represented by Turkey and Iran,” he explained. "Those two countries and the radical Islam camp (were) counting on as long as they work against Israel all Arab countries will be with them.”

That didn’t happen as Mazel noted that the Arab League refused to back a Palestinian resolution this week condemning the deal.

Mazel once served as ambassador to Romania, Sweden and Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel more than 40 years ago.

“We collaborate especially on [an] intelligence level, security level but there is no normalization,” he said. “Egypt, the big Arab country, despite of this, did not want to normalize relations with Israel."

Now, Egypt can only watch as the Emirates benefit economically, technologically and other ways with Israel.

“So Egypt now as to understand, they don’t say it openly, but they regret not having normalized relations with us and have not benefited from the possibilities,” Mazel said.

One benefit for President Trump is being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the deal, which has already born other fruit.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain both opened their skies to Israeli flights, Serbia wants to move its embassy to Jerusalem, and Israel and Kosovo and Israel agreed on mutual recognition.

Nevertheless, Mazel tells CBN News he thinks others in the Middle East are waiting to see how November’s US elections play out.

“They would like to see that President Trump is elected and continues his policy. So, they will be sure if they go on and normalize with Israel,” he explained. “So I think it’s only two months, that’s all, to wait.”

And then there’s another major player.

“Saudi Arabia is placed in the Arabian Peninsula, where the birth of Islam happened, some 1400 years ago and they are the guardians of the two holy places of Islam – Mecca and Medina. They would like to have open relations with Israel…but they have to wait to see what happens,” said Mazel

While he is surprised that the UAE acted now, Mazel sees it as an “important step forward” for everyone.

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