Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington, D.C., on Monday, where he and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are to formally establish diplomatic relations on Tuesday.
Immediately upon arrival, Netanyahu held a conference call with Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat and others on the preparations for the three-week lockdown set to go into effect in Israel on Friday, according to a statement from his office.
At a press briefing on Sunday evening, the Israeli prime minister called his upcoming trip “historic.”
“Citizens of Israel. Tonight I set out on your behalf, on a historic mission. To meet with the U.S. president and representatives of the UAE and Bahrain. I go to bring ‘peace for peace,’ peace from strength—two peace agreements in one month. This is a new era of peace, for which I have been working for 25 years,” he said.
He went on to say that the agreements were a union of political and economic peace, and would inject “billions of dollars” into the Israeli economy. While always a good thing, he said, this aspect of the agreements was of particular importance amid the current pandemic.
Mossad head Yossi Cohen told reporters on the tarmac before boarding the flight to Washington that he “very much” hoped additional countries would agree to normalize relations with the Jewish state.
“We’re working on additional countries. It depends on them, and also us,” said Cohen.
The mission to Washington is “a very exciting matter,” said the Mossad chief.
“A lot of very good people worked on this for a great many years. It didn’t start yesterday,” he added.
The UAE and Bahrain will be only the third and fourth Arab states to normalize relations with the Jewish state after Egypt and Jordan. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan followed suit in 1994.