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Israeli left cheers weakly as Netanyahu inks deal with UAE

The Israel-UAE deal crushes the center-left’s belief that no Arab state will make peace with Israel without the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Israeli protesters wearing protective masks lift national flags during an anti-government demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem, on August 15, 2020. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic Aug. 13 announcement of a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates caught Israel’s political arena by surprise. No one, not even senior members of the security cabinet including Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, had any idea that Netanyahu was secretly cooking up the exciting diplomatic breakthrough.

Gantz and Ashkenazi, the former military chiefs and current heads of the Blue and White Party, swallowed the indignity and hailed the deal, even ignoring Netanyahu’s broad hints that he had not clued them in because he feared they would blab. The center-left opposition, meanwhile, reacted with confusion and embarrassment as the news crushed its long-held belief that no Arab state would make peace with Israel absent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establishment of a Palestinian state.

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