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Israel’s Netanyahu hails deal with UAE as “historic”

JERUSALEM, Aug 13 – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday a U.S.-brokered deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates represented a “historic day” for his country.

The agreement, announced by U.S. President Donald Trump, broke new ground in Israel’s outreach to Gulf Arab countries with a common fear of Iran’s regional influence.

But Israel’s agreement, according to White House officials, to suspend de facto annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank posed a measure of political risk at home for Netanyahu, who had pledged to carry out the step.

“I will make a special announcement at 8 p.m. (1700 GMT) with more details about this historic day for the State of Israel,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

His office had previously said he would hold a news conference at 1600 GMT.

A senior Israeli official said applying Israeli sovereignty to areas of the West Bank – territory Palestinians seek for a state along with Gaza and East Jerusalem – was still on the agenda.

But the official said: “The Trump administration asked us to temporarily suspend the (sovereignty) announcement so that the historic peace agreement with the UAE can be implemented.”

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller Additional reporting by Dan Williams Editing by Nick Tattersall)

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