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Israeli Knesset Approves UAE Normalization

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, gave its overwhelming approval – as expected – to the normalization treaty with the United Arab Emirates, signed last month in Washington by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The vote was 80 to 13, with all dissenting voices coming from the country’s primarily Arab parties, whose members say the accord ignores the rights and aspirations of the Palestinians. Several members absented themselves from the vote, saying they believe the deal includes several annexes that have not yet been revealed. One controversial aspect is the projected sale of advanced F-35 stealth fighters to the UAE. Netanyahu insists it was not part of the agreement although most observers agree that it was a prime motivator pushing Abu Dhabi. The accord now goes back to Israel’s cabinet for final ratification. The normalization agreement signed the same day with Bahrain was a declaration, not a treaty, and therefore does not require approval by Israeli lawmakers.