In exchange for normalization with the United Arab Emirates, Netanyahu agreed to suspend a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. “We`re very much on our way with about five different countries,” Trump told reporters before the ceremony. Bahrain`s accession, added at the last minute, including the announcement of normalization of relations with Israel, which followed that of the United Arab Emirates with much less fanfare, was seen as a sign of Saudi approval. The small island monarchy in the Persian Gulf is highly dependent on economic and security relations with the Saudis and its foreign policy is closely linked to Riyadh. The Trump administration also had to deny that it had agreed to sell American-made F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, that the UAE would have set a condition for Tuesday`s deal. Israel and two Arab nations signed agreements at the White House on Tuesday aimed at normalizing relations, a step toward a reorientation of the Middle East, but one that did not focus on the future of the Palestinians. In a meeting in the Oval Office with Netanyahu, Trump predicted to reporters that the Palestinians would eventually get on board. “Obviously we`re talking to them,” he said, while recalling that his government cut $750 million in funding from the Palestinians because “they treat the United States so badly.” Neither the UAE nor Bahrain is or has ever been at war with Israel, so the documents are not peace treaties in the formal sense of the word. But until now, the two Gulf countries had officially considered Israel illegitimate.
Longtime New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who has written for decades about international geopolitics and is a frequent critic of Trump`s policies, hailed the deal as “exactly what Trump said in his tweet: a `huge breakthrough.`”  There were few masks at the ceremony and no social distancing was imposed. However, in the obvious adherence to coronavirus protocols, there were no hugs or clenched hands among the guides.