Recently inked normalization deals between Israel and two Gulf Arab states pose an opportunity for headway on achieving a two-state solution, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday.
The agreements, which have faced widespread opposition from Palestinian leaders, have delayed Israel’s planned annexation of large swaths of the occupied West Bank, which Guterres said was a “very important result.”
If Israel moved forward with annexation in contravention of international law, Guterres maintained it would have undermined prospects for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which the UN says is the only tangible solution.
“The annexation was suspended, and we believe it is the moment in which it is important that Palestinians and Israelis restart their dialogue in order to find a political solution in-line with what are the Security Council resolutions and the different,” Guterres said told reporters at the UN’s New York headquarters.
“I believe, that independently of the opinions that might exist about the agreement, it would be very important for Palestinians and Israelis to engage in direct negotiations for peace in the Middle East,” he added.
Israel formally signed agreements to fully open diplomatic relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates during a White House ceremony presided over by US President Donald Trump.
Bahrain became the fourth Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel last week after Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994 and the UAE in August.
The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians who say such agreements do not serve the Palestinian cause and ignore their rights.
The Palestinian Authority maintains any deal with Israel should be based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative on the principle of “land for peace.”
Palestinians staged a series of rallies Tuesday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip against the controversial agreements.
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