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Trump takes first step towards ‘deal of the century’

Less than three months before the elections, and behind his rival, Joe Biden, in the polls, President Donald Trump signed up this Thursday, with the mediation in the agreement to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, his main diplomat in the Middle East and one of the most relevant in foreign policy of his entire term. It is the first step towards the so-called “deal of the century”, the White House proposal to settle the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which he presented last February.

Speaking of the Israel-Emirates pact, Trump appealed for continuity by suggesting that similar ones could occur in a second term: “We are discussing this with other countries.” Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and who for three years has been promoting the presidential agenda in the Middle East, nevertheless ruled out that agreements be reached between Israel and other countries in the region before the end of the year.

In any case, the agreement announced this Thursday by Trump himself, presenting himself as the referee who has achieved a historic peace pact, represents a respite for a leader surrounded by the advance of the pandemic – with more than five million cases in the country – The deterioration of the economy and the loss of the electoral initiative, in particular in the week in which Biden has drawn attention by announcing Senator Kamala Harris as his candidate for vice president.

Robert O’Brien, Trump’s security adviser, said the president will be remembered as a “peacemaker” and may even run for the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said from Slovenia, where he is on a diplomatic tour, that the White House will organize a ceremony to sign the agreement. A staging reminiscent of 1994, with Bill Clinton in one of the gardens of the residence in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Isaac Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan. Also to the handshake between Jimmy Carter, the Egyptian Anuar el Sadat and the Israeli Menachem Begin, in Israel’s first peace agreement with an Arab country, Egypt, in 1979. Pompeo remarked that the establishment of relations between the two countries is comparable to the pacts reached with Egypt and Jordan.

Trump struggled to capitalize on the deal by announcing it in a tweet and then calling for a short announcement at the White House. “Everybody said this was going to be impossible,” he said. The president proclaimed himself as a promoter of peace in the region who at the same time accommodates the pieces of a complex chess. “I have stayed away from a war,” he said.

American diplomacy has played an important role in the negotiations. Pompeo said that a team from the State Department had been working on the agreement “for a long time” and that the crucial part was closed “in the last few months.”

Trump has alienated himself with Netanyahu during his tenure and Kushner’s strategy has been fundamentally focused on the economic aspects and on opening trade channels between Israel and its neighbors. Trump’s century deal has as a priority the Arab states with which the US shares animosity towards Iran, in the case of the United Arab Emirates.