Demonstrators in Khartoum, Sudan, in August pressing for quicker political change. (Photo by Reuters)

Palestine and Iran condemned Sudan’s move to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israel and Sudan have agreed to work towards normalising relations in a deal announced by US President Donald Trump.

The deal makes Sudan the third Arab country to open full diplomatic relations with Israel this year after Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

The announcement came after the North African nation agreed to put $335 million in an escrow account to be used to compensate American victims of terror attacks.

The attacks include the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by the al Qaida network while its leader, Osama bin Laden, was living in Sudan.

In exchange, Trump notified Congress on Friday of his intent to remove Sudan from the US. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

It was foreign policy achievement for Trump just 11 days before Election Day.

‘New stab in the back’

Palestine’s government and factions decried the deal.

“The Palestinian presidency stresses its condemnation and its rejection to normalisation of ties with the state of the Israeli occupation, which occupies the land of Palestine,” said a statement published by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office on Saturday.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior member of Abbas’s Palestine Liberation Organization, said Sudan’s move “represents a new stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of the just Palestinian cause”.

In Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesperson for political party Hamas, a traditional ally of Sudan, said Sudan’s move was a step in the “wrong direction.”

“Sudan joining other countries in normalising ties with the Israeli occupation will encourage the Zionist enemy to commit more crimes and more violations against the Palestinian people,” said Barhoum.

“Phony” deal secured by “ransom”

Iran said the deal was “phony” and was secured by a “ransom”.

“Pay enough ransom, close your eyes to the crimes against Palestinians, then you’ll be taken off the so-called ‘terrorism’ blacklist,” the ministry tweeted.

“Obviously, the list is as phony as the US fight against terrorism. Shameful.”

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok thanked Trump for signing the executive order to remove Sudan from the terrorism list and said in a statement that he hoped to complete the deal in a “timely manner.”

Unmentioned in the joint statement was that Sudan has agreed, according to the senior US official, to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organisation, something that Israel has long sought from its neighbors and others in the international community.

Regional priorities shifted

“In Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, the three principles of the Arab League were adopted in 1967: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“Whereas today Khartoum says, yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel and to normalisation with Israel.”

Israel’s recent rapprochement with some of its Arab neighbours reflects shifting regional priorities, and shared concerns about Iran.

In September, Bahrain and the UAE agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural and commercial relations with Israel after signing controversial agreements at the White House.

The deals drew widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

Prior to the most recent developments, Egypt and Jordan were the sole Arab nations to have relations with Tel Aviv.

Egypt did so in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.