JERUSALEM: Palestinian militants fired rockets from Gaza into Israel on Tuesday, the Israeli military said, at same time as Israel and two Gulf Arab states signed normalisation agreements at the White House in Washington. Warning sirens sounded in the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump met the foreign ministers of United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House.
Israel`s Magen David Adom ambulance service said paramedics treated two men for light injuries from flying glass in Ashdod, and four others suffered shock. An Israeli military spokesman said the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted one of two rockets fired from Gaza.
In Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas, dozens of Palestinians rallied outside a U.N. office to condemn the normalisation deals shortly before the signing ceremony began. “Palestine isn`t for sale,” protesters chanted.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said the Bahrain and UAE agreements would not bring Israel peace in the region. “Peoples of the region will continue to deal with this occupation as their true enemy,” he told Reuters, speaking from Turkey. Hamas did not claim responsibility for the rockets.
In Ramallah in the occupied West Bank there was a small, muted protest at which 200 people gathered in a central square. Some carried a banner reading: “The UAE-Israeli normalization agreement is a reward for the state of occupation and for settlements, and is a stab in the back of Jerusalem and of Palestine.”
The normalisation agreements are the first signed between Israel and Arab states since the peace accords with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. However, they breach what had been a long-standing Arab consensus that normalisation of ties with Israel should only come after the creation of an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and the occupied West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinians see that aspiration as badly damaged by the new agreements.