Middle East: Israel and Sudan normalize relations.


Israel and Sudan agree on a normalization of relations under US mediation. In return, Sudan is taken off the U.S. terrorist list and Israel accepts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.

Israel and Sudan have agreed under U.S. mediation to normalize their relations. Both countries have agreed to “end the state of war between their nations,” according to a joint statement by the U.S., Israel and Sudan on Friday. In a telephone conversation with the Israeli head of government and the Sudanese leadership, US President Donald Trump also held out the prospect of a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

In recent months the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain had already normalized their relations with Israel under US mediation. The normalization of Israel’s relations with the United States’ Arab allies in the region is a central goal of Trump’s Middle East policy.

The U.S. president is standing for re-election on November 3 and has now achieved another foreign policy success with the agreement between Israel and Sudan a week and a half before the elections.

Normalization with “five” other states

During a telephone conversation Trump had with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Sudanese leadership, which was attended by journalists at the White House, Netanyahu thanked the US President. The “circle of peace” was getting bigger and bigger. Trump said that “many, many more” states would recognize Israel. He spoke of at least “five” more states.

“We assume that Saudi Arabia is one of these countries,” Trump said during the telephone conversation, praising its “highly respected” leader King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Palestinians criticized the move. It was a “political sin,” Hamas said in Gaza. It was detrimental both to the Palestinians and their “just cause” and to the national interests of Sudan, and was only of use to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah condemned the “normalization of relations with the occupying power Israel, which is robbing Palestinian territory,” as it said in a statement.

Fighter jets to Arab states

Apparently, the U.S. government used the removal of Sudan from a terrorist list as a means to persuade the country to recognize Israel. Trump informed Congress that the East African country is to be removed from the list of terrorist supporting states, the White House announced on Friday. This is a formally necessary step.

The Sudanese interim government has allocated 335 million dollars (about 285 million euros) to compensate survivors and relatives of victims of terrorist attacks, the White House said. The step would enable “a new future of cooperation and support for the ongoing and historic democratic transition” in Sudan.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced shortly after the agreement became known that they would accept arms deals between the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Israel had previously opposed the sale of F-35 fighter planes to Arab U.S. allies.

Before the latest rapprochements, for a long time only Jordan and Egypt had a peace treaty with Israel. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomed the agreement. “I appreciate all efforts aimed at creating regional stability and peace,” al-Sisi wrote on the online service Twitter.



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