Trump to host Israeli, Arab leaders for historic peace signing

UAE, Israel to normalize relations in White House ceremony

Peace deals close between Israel and five or six other countries: Trump

"We're very far down the road with about five countries, five additional countries", Trump said as he hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office, ahead of a signing ceremony with both Arab states for the US-brokered peace deal.

But US Democrats and regional experts say a true chance at peace must include the Palestinians.

Israel, Bahrain and the UAE are expected to sign a trilateral document, in addition to the bilateral agreements.

Bahrain, situated about 200 km to the northwest of the westernmost point of the UAE in the Persian Gulf, becomes the fourth Arab nation after the UAE, Jordan and Egypt to establish relations with Israel since the Jewish State's creation in 1948.

The back-to-back agreements, which have drawn bitter condemnation from the Palestinians, mark an improbable diplomatic victory for Trump. He has spent his presidency forecasting deals on such intractable problems as North Korea's nuclear program only to find actual achievements elusive.

"Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal - the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!" So far, the Saudis, whose king is custodian of Islam's holiest sites and rules the world's largest oil exporter, have signalled they are not ready. Oman was expected to send its ambassador to Tuesday's ceremony, a senior USA official said. The agreements come at a hard time for the Israeli PM as he faces criticism at home of his handling of the coronavirus crisis and a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

In a nod to the coronavirus that has hit the United States and the world, the White House is encouraging but not requiring the participants to wear masks. "They want to make a deal". It was left to the leaders whether to shake hands, the official told reporters. Trump said on Tuesday he would have no problem selling advanced stealth F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, which has long sought to obtain them.

"HISTORIC day for PEACE in the Middle East", Trump tweeted moments before the ceremony on the South Lawn at the White House.

"It is also critically important that we fully understand the agreements' details regarding the announced freeze of efforts by Israel to annex portions of the West Bank", she said.

Critics have called the UAE-Israel deal a "stab in the back" for Palestinians and a violation of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which calls for no relations with Israel until there's an independent Palestinian state and Jerusalem ends occupation in Palestinian territories.

Former vice president Joe Biden, Trump's Democratic opponent, said he supports more countries normalizing relations with Israel in response to a recent VOA question, but also said he believes "that Israel has to be prepared to work toward a genuine two-state solution" with the Palestinians.

Sasha Banks featured in The Mandalorian season 2 trailer
Donald Trump Says Trees Just Explode, Causing Wildfires