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In March 2018, Mark Landler — then a White House correspondent at The New York Times — attended a dinner party hosted by the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, at a Washington restaurant. There he witnessed a chance encounter between the ambassador and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel — one the ambassador asked to keep private.

Two years after that delicate conversation, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to normalize diplomatic and trade relations.

Today, we speak to Mr. Landler about the Trump administration’s role in the agreement, what normalization means for Palestinians and what it says about the Middle East’s political climate.

On today’s episode:

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Trump Announces United Arab Emirates and Israel Agreement

President Trump said the deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel would normalize diplomatic relations and begin cooperation in areas such as security, trade and tourism.

Just a few moments ago, I hosted a very special call with two friends, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, where they agreed to finalize a historical peace agreement. After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize their diplomatic relations. They will exchange embassies and ambassadors, and begin cooperation across the board and on a broad range of areas, including tourism, education, health care, trade and security. This is a truly historic moment. By uniting two of America’s closest and most capable partners in the region — some people said could not be done — this deal is a significant step towards building a more peaceful, secure and prosperous Middle East.

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President Trump said the deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel would normalize diplomatic relations and begin cooperation in areas such as security, trade and tourism.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

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Mark Landler contributed reporting.

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