Sudan And Israel Agree To Normalize Relations In U.S.-Brokered Deal

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 24, 2020

Israel and Sudan agreed Friday to normalise relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Sudan the third Arab country to end hostilities with the Jewish state in the past two months. Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language statement.

POTUS sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok as well as Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, according to senior White House officials.

Netanyahu hailed it as a "new era" for the region, but the Palestinian leadership, watching as more of their Arab brethren appear to give their quest for statehood a lower priority, called it a "new stab in the back".

The accord, "harms our Palestinian people and their just cause, and even harms the Sudanese national interests", Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said. "It benefits only Netanyahu".

Israeli Arab lawmaker Jamal Zahalka from the predominantly Arab Joint List also condemned the deal. It did not immediately comment on its diplomatic agreement with Israel.

With the Sudanese public largely opposed to normalization of ties with Israel, the country's unelected transitional government sought to have Trump sign the terror list paperwork first. "This is not the UAE and there is widespread opposition to the agreement".

Hamdok, speaking by phone with Trump following Sudan and Israel's announcement to normalize ties, said he wanted to reach an amicable solution.

Until not long ago, Sudan had one of the most unsafe and most despised governments on the planet. Thousands have protested in the country's capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.

Sudan has been seeking for years to remove the designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which severely impedes investment as few foreign businesses want to risk the wrath of U.S. prosecution.

Trump earlier on Friday signed a waiver to remove Khartoum from the State Department's blacklist of state terror sponsors. Removal from the list now allows the country to access "international loans and aid". Jordan recognized Israel in the 1990s. Some Islamist politicians, sidelined after the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir, said they expect to receive renewed public support.

"I expect anger. I expect demonstrations", said Mohammed El Hassan, one of the leaders of al-Bashir's disbanded National Congress Party. So long as Americans indulged Palestinian extremism, as well as Arab and Muslim extremism, normalization with Israel was impossible. "It is not the transitional government's role to take this kind of decision".

This week, Donald Trump said Sudan would be removed from the USA list of state sponsors of terrorism once the U.S. received $335m (£259m) in compensation for attacks on USA embassies in Africa. The rescission of the 27-year old designation was widely seen as being tied to the deal with Israel, despite Khartoum's desire to keep the issues separate.

Israel and Sudan had not enjoyed official bilateral relations before Friday's deal, although Israel has had close relations with South Sudan, which split from Sudan in 2011.

Trump, who faces elections in little more than a week, has used his leverage over Sudan to press for recognition of Israel - which would be another landmark step after announcements last month by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

It fought in wars against Israel in 1948 and 1967, provided a haven for Palestinian guerrilla groups and is suspected of sending Iranian arms to Palestinian militants in Gaza several years ago - prompting alleged Israeli air strikes against it.

They're also the same people who said normalization with Israel in the Arab world would have to await the creation of a Palestinian state, and that moving the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would set the region aflame. He invoked the 2002 Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative, which conditioned normalization between Israel and the Arab World upon the establishment of a Palestinian state. But in the days before he formally took the move, Israel sent a delegation to Khartoum to discuss normalization.

"The Palestinian presidency affirms its condemnation and rejection of normalized relations with the Israeli occupation state that usurps the land of Palestine", his office said, according to the to the official Palestinian news service.

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