Quincy Institute leader downplays UAE-Israel deal

Trita Parsi, the executive vice president at The Quincy Institute, on Friday downplayed news of a peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, saying the two countries already have had ties behind the scenes. 

“I would have to be honest with you, it’s far less significant and it entails far less than I think the various sides have made it to be. First of all, this is a deal between two countries that were not at war with each other and actually have had quite an extensive relationship behind the scenes for quite some time. What they’ve done is that they’ve taken it out in the open,” Parsi said in an appearance on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

The remarks come a day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE rolled out the agreement in a joint statement with the leaders of the UAE and Israel. The White House cast it as a historic achievement, making the Gulf nation only the third Arab state to sign an accord with Israel. 

“Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates’ lead … and normalize relations with Israel,” Trump said on Fox News. “We are already discussing this with other nations, with very powerful, very good nations and people that want to see peace in the Middle East. So you will probably see others of these.” 

Part of the deal also includes a pause on Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank, a move that would have likely sparked international condemnation.

Parsi pushed back on speculation over if the deal would help Palestinians, noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE later made remarks suggesting the suspension of annexation plans was only temporary and that the Palestinians “were no party to this deal, they were not consulted, they had no say in this whatsoever.”

You can watch more of Parsi’s interview with Hill.TV above.