The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have signed treaties with Israel to fully normalise their relationships, the first such major agreements between Arab countries and the Jewish state in a quarter-century.
US President Donald Trump presided over the ceremonial signing of the so-called Abraham Accords on Tuesday, marking the start of full diplomatic and economic ties between the Middle Eastern countries on the sunny South Lawn of the White House.
"We are here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East," Trump said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the UAE and Bahraini foreign ministers, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, represented their countries at the ceremony.
Absent from the events were the Palestinians, who were critical of the event.
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel during the event, causing no serious injuries.
In the only nod to the Palestinians, Israel has agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank as part of its deal with the UAE.
"Thank you for choosing peace and halting the annexation of Palestinian territories," Emirati Foreign Minister al-Nahyan said at the ceremony, addressing Israel, making clear the red line for his country.
Netanyahu said the normalisation deals with the UAE and Bahrain "can end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all" in his speech to the crowd gathered at the White House despite the coronavirus pandemic.
"This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace," Netanyahu said.
"Today is a truly historic occasion. A moment of hope and opportunity for all the peoples of the Middle East," the Bahraini envoy said.
Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said in a statement that the state of Israel had always sought peace with its neighbours.
"These are truly historic times, and we congratulate the leaders of Israel and especially of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, for taking these courageous steps that further the interests of peace and of the future prosperity of their people."
Australian Associated Press