JERUSALEM (VINnews) — The Knesset’s plenum ratified the Abraham peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates Thursday by a majority of 80 to 13, with the Joint Arab List the sole objectors. The peace agreement must now be ratified by the government and will take effect when it is ratified in the UAE.
During the course of the 8.5 hour discussion, more than 100 Knesset members spoke with each member being allotted 4 minutes. Knesset speaker Yariv Levin spoke and then Prime Minister Netanyahu presented the agreement. Netanyahu stressed that the peace agreement does not contain any secret clauses as had been claimed by some critics. “Peace is made with one who has ceased to be an enemy, who wishes to make peace and not with those dedicated to destroying you,” Netanyahu said in reference to Palestinian aspirations. He also referred to peace talks with Lebanon, stating that even though peace with Hezbollah “is impossible”, the present talks with the Lebanese government may lead there in the future.
Netanyahu called on Arab countries to recognize “that Israel is here forever.” He added that “Israel under my leadership is not tempted into withdrawals and therefore a great thing is developing. Arab and Muslim countries wish to be close to us, they have changed their relationship with us. Israel is now perceived as a strong and essential ally and not as an enemy.”
Netanyahu expressed amazement that the Joint Arab List would vote against the agreement, stating that “You do not want a real peace, you want a putative peace in which Israel will dissolve and disappear.” He added that “the Palestinians were offered over the years many magnanimous offers and they rejected them time after time. If we wait for them to remove their veto, we could wait a long time.”
Netanyahu thanked the Mossad for its role in advancing peace as well as negotiators Yitzchak Molcho and Tony Blair. He added that the agreement is not conditional on negotiations with the Palestinians and that it will bring “massive” economic benefits.
The Joint Arab List voted against it, stating that they believe that just peace with the Arab world can only come with a solution to the Palestinian problem and not otherwise. They claimed that the agreement, which was part of President Trump’s Deal of the Century, would be a “step in the clear plan to obliterate the rights of the Palestinian nation” and would “perpetuate the occupation and include transfer of people from their homes.”
They warned that “exchanging peace for territory with peace for peace will bring a disaster on the country and all of its residents as this approach perpetuates the conflict, suffering and bloodshed.”
On the opposite side, Yemina leader Naftali Bennett expressed disappointment that Netanyahu had not succeeded in implementing sovereignty, stating that “The Americans and the UAE say that you conceded on sovereignty to make the agreement. That’s the truth. Sovereignty over Israel is for all generations, while agreements are on paper. Our return to our birthplace is forever. Even if the prime minister won’t do this, we will do it instead.”