Israel and Sudan agree to normalize relations in a U.S.-brokered deal

Sudan becomes the latest formerly hostile Middle Eastern neighbor to normalize relations with Israel by way of a Trump administration deal.

Updated: October 23, 2020 - 1:48pm

Israel and Sudan agreed to normalize relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that was announced on Friday. The agreement ends decades of animosity between the two nations as Sudan joins a number of countries that have recently agreed to sign a peace deal with Israel.

The deal will be significant for Sudan, whose relationship with the United States deteriorated in the 1990s after the U.S. invoked sanctions against the African nation for harboring Osama bin Laden, who was then the terrorist leader of al Qaeda. In exchange for their participation in the deal, the U.S. will remove Sudan from a list of countries it considers to be state sponsors of terrorism. Formerly, Sudan's inclusion on that list has prevented the struggling country from receiving certain forms of international aid. 

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to normalize relations with Israel, as former enemies in the region find common ground in their desire to prevent Iran from gaining influence. 

President Trump tweeted early this week that he would remove Sudan from the state sponsors of terror list as soon as its government deposits $335 million in compensation for victims of two bombings at the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which occurred in 1998 and 2000 respectively. On Thursday, Sudan's Minister of Information said the money had been deposited into an escrow account. 

The historic arrangement between Sudan and Israel illustrates a complete revision of the African nation's former attitude toward peace with the small Middle Eastern nation. In 1967, following the Arab-Israeli war, Sudan hosted the Arab League summit in Khartoum, where the eight participating nations agreed to the concept of the "Three Nos": No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.