The Knesset, Israel’s 120-seat parliament, voted on Thursday overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying the Abraham Accords.
The Abraham Accords, the historic peace treaty that was signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House last month was approved with a final vote of 80 for to 13 against.
Support for the Abraham Accords came from Israeli parties on both the left and right of politics. The opposing votes came from Israel’s Arab party the Joint List who rejected the deal.
It came just days after the Israeli prime minister and UAE Crown Prince spoke by telephone and agreed to visit each other’s capitals of Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi, respectively.
During the lengthy floor discussion and debate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the treaty as historic and unprecedented, as it involved no requirements to transfer land to an Arab as with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
“This is a day with few like it in the history of the country — a day when a peace agreement with an Arab state is brought for approval by the Knesset,” Netanyahu told legislators.
“We are presenting a peace agreement that does not contain secret addenda, it does not contain concealed appendices,” he added. “Today we are tightening our relations with the Emirates and doing so during to our constant struggle against coronavirus.”
“Since the beginning of Zionism, one of our hands has been holding a weapon in defense and the other hand was stretched out to everyone who wants peace,” Netanyahu declared. “They say peace is made with enemies. False. Peace is made with those who have stopped being enemies. Peace is made with those who desire peace and who no longer remain committed to your annihilation.”
“It’s a warm peace, between peoples,” the prime minister said of the agreement with the UAE. “Israel, which for decades was perceived as an enemy, is today seen as a staunch and even essential ally. It is incredible that here in the Knesset of Israel there are some who would vote against peace. Those who are ostensibly in the peace camp oppose peace….You do not want real peace, you want the semblance of peace in which Israel gradually disappears.”