WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democrat of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, on Thursday made the following statement on the president’s announcement of normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and a pause on Israel’s planned annexation of large parts of the West Bank:

“Normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a historic step that will enhance the security and economic interests of both countries. This breakthrough is a powerful example of how diplomacy can bridge historic divides and advance the United States’ interests. I hope today marks the beginning of a new era in relations between Israel and the Arab world, and sustained diplomacy can lead to lasting peace in the Middle East. Despite the temporary suspension of annexation that was announced as part of this agreement, I remain concerned that Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared his continued commitment to annexation of the West Bank, a plan that he should abandon entirely to focus on returning to negotiations with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution,” said Murphy.