Five Countries that Could Be Next to Make Peace with Israel: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 2020
_________________________________Stunning Israel-UAE Deal Upends the ‘Rules’ About Peace-Making in Middle East
The Times of Israel, Aug. 14, 2020The impending peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is more than just a stunning diplomatic breakthrough. It represents a fundamental shift in the paradigm of peace-making.For more than 50 years, that paradigm has been based on seemingly unassailable assumptions. The first of these was that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the core dispute in the Middle East. Resolve it, and peace would reign throughout the region. The premise was largely dispelled by the Arab Spring of 2011 and the subsequent civil wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen. Still, a large body of decision-makers, especially from Europe and the United States, continued to regard a solution to Israel-Palestine as the panacea for many, if not most, of the Middle East’s ills. Then-secretary of state John Kerry’s intense shuttle diplomacy, which paralleled the massacre of half a million Syrians in 2012-14, proceeded precisely on this assumption.
The next assumption was that core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was settlement-building in Judea/Samaria, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Freeze it and the dispute would be easily mediated. This, theory, too, collapsed in the face of facts. Israel withdrew from Gaza, uprooting 21 settlements, in 2005, and then froze settlements for much of 2009-10. The conflict nevertheless continued and even worsened, but that did not prevent foreign policymakers from persisting in the belief that peace is incompatible with settlements.
And, in addition to ceasing construction in the territories, Israel was expected to give virtually all of them up. This was the third assumption — that peace with the Arab world could only be purchased with Israeli concessions of land. This belief is as old as Israel itself. The first Anglo-American peace plans — Alpha and Gamma — were predicated on Israeli concessions in the Negev and elsewhere. After 1967, the principle applied to areas captured by Israel in the Six Day War and, after the return of Sinai to Egypt in 1982, to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The same secretary of state Kerry repeatedly warned Israel that failure to forfeit those areas would result in its total international isolation.
Yet another assumption held that “everyone knows what the final agreement looks like.” With minor modifications and territorial swaps, this meant that a Palestinian state would be created along the pre-1967 lines with a capital in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians would give up the so-called right of return for Palestinian refugees, agree to end the conflict with Israel and to cease all further claims, and to accept the formula of “two states for two peoples.” Israel, in turn, would remove dozens of settlements, redivide its capital, and outsource West Bank security either to the Palestinians or some international source. Of all the assumptions, this was the most divorced from reality. Not a single aspect of it was achievable. In fact, no one knew what final agreement looked like. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
The Victory of Jared Kushner
The National Interest, Aug. 14, 2020
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have struck a historic deal to normalize relations—rewriting the political map of the Middle East. This is an unexpectedly positive move.
Known as the “Abraham Accord,” after the shared progenitor of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the UAE-Israel agreement allows trade and investment to flow between the two regional economic giants and assures an exchange of ambassadors, embassies, tourists, pilgrims and investors. In exchange, Israel has agreed not to annex certain West Bank lands.
Together we can bring a wonderful future. It is an incomparably exciting moment,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “I have the great privilege to make the third peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, the UAE.”
Netanyahu wished Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed “Salam Aleykum v’Shalom Aleynu—peace unto you and peace unto us.”
President Donald Trump said in a statement that “opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations.”
In subsequent remarks in the Oval Office, Trump alluded to “many more countries” in the region normalizing ties with Israel, and “some very exciting things including, ultimately with the Palestinians.”
This is big, even seismic, news. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to open formal relations with Israel and the first Arab state to recognize Israel since Jordan in 1994, some twenty-five years ago. The very first Arab state to diplomatically recognize Israel was Egypt, in the 1979 Camp David Accords. President Jimmy Carter shared the Nobel Peace Prize for that accomplishment.
First, no one believed that Jared Kushner’s innovative peace plans would bear any fruit. Now, Kushner’s peace plan seems to be working. What was once unthinkable is now a reality.
Second, it shows the power of the new rising generation, both in America and in the Middle East. Kushner did not approach the Middle East crisis through old memories and old wounds. He started fresh and asked an original question: What if we put economic growth ahead of drawing new borders between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs? This question led him to an original idea. In the Arab world, a new generation is also coming of age. It is tired of its elders complaining about land lost in 1948; it wants homes, jobs, and schools now and of course security. The new Arab generation wants solutions for today’s pressing problems, not revenge for past perceived wrongs. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
A Geopolitical Earthquake Just Hit the Mideast
NYTimes, Aug. 13, 2020
For once, I am going to agree with President Trump in his use of his favorite adjective: “huge.”
The agreement brokered by the Trump administration for the United Arab Emirates to establish full normalization of relations with Israel, in return for the Jewish state forgoing, for now, any annexation of the West Bank, was exactly what Trump said it was in his tweet: a “HUGE breakthrough.”
It is not Anwar el-Sadat going to Jerusalem — nothing could match that first big opening between Arabs and Israelis. It is not Yasir Arafat shaking Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn — nothing could match that first moment of public reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
But it is close. Just go down the scorecard, and you see how this deal affects every major party in the region — with those in the pro-American, pro-moderate Islam, pro-ending-the-conflict-with-Israel-once-and-for-all camp benefiting the most and those in the radical pro-Iran, anti-American, pro-Islamist permanent-struggle-with-Israel camp all becoming more isolated and left behind.
It’s a geopolitical earthquake.
To fully appreciate why, you need to start with the internal dynamics of the deal. It was Trump’s peace plan drawn up by Jared Kushner, and their willingness to stick with it, that actually created the raw material for this breakthrough. Here is how.
The Kushner plan basically called for Israel and the Palestinians to make peace, with Israel being able to annex some 30 percent of the West Bank, where most of its settlers were, and the Palestinians getting to establish a demilitarized, patchwork state on the other 70 percent, along with some land swaps from Israel.
The Palestinians rejected the deal outright as unbalanced and unjust. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who basically helped to write the very pro-Israel plan, said he intended to proceed with the annexation part of the plan by July 1 — without agreeing to the part that his political base of Jewish settlers rejected: Palestinians later getting a state on the other 70 percent. (I wonder if Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a pro-settler extremist himself, encouraged Bibi to think he could get away with this.)
It didn’t work, because Kushner, who was hearing regularly from Egypt, Jordan and the gulf Arabs that such a unilateral Israeli annexation would be a total deal-breaker for them, told Bibi, “Not so fast.” Kushner persuaded Trump to block Bibi’s cherry-picking of the plan by taking annexation now.
This was causing Netanyahu to lose support from the settlers — and, at a time when he is on trial on corruption charges and facing daily protests outside his home over his poor performance in leading Israel out of the coronavirus epidemic, left him sinking in the polls. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Five Countries that Could Be Next to Make Peace with Israel
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 2020
In the wake of the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, there are rumors that several other states could be next to sign an agreement with Israel. While there are hurdles to normalizing relations with some states in the Middle East, there are others who view the UAE decision as a trial balloon and will react positively based on how the next weeks and months play out between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.
What follows is a list of some countries that reports suggest may be in line to normalize relations.
Bahrain was long thought to be the first country in the Gulf that might normalize relations with Israel. The small kingdom has often made relatively positive comments about Israel over the years and appeared open to the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” by hosting discussions about the economic aspects of it. Bahrain has welcomed the UAE deal with Israel, and initial reports indicated it was working on normalizing relations after the UAE. Last December, media reports in the Gulf noted that Bahrain was reaching out to Israel.
In May, Bahrain shut down a symposium aimed at supporting a boycott of Israel. Last year, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar visited Bahrain and met King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa in Manama, the capital. Also last year, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa supported Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran’s threats. “Iran is the one who declared war on us,” he said. The Kingdom made similar statements in 2018.
Bahrainis participated in a bike race in Israel in 2018. Israel Katz, foreign minister at the time, met his counterpart, Khalifa, in Washington in 2019. Bahrain has a small Jewish community and has reached out to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in California.
Bahrain’s hurdles not only include Iran’s threats to try and stir up protests among the Shi’ite community in the country, but also that the country faced protests in the 2011 Arab Spring. As such, it appeared wiser for it to let the UAE to move first regarding relations with Israel.
In October 2018, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a trip to Oman and met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Oman’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, made positive comments about accepting Israel in the region during subsequent discussions in Manama. In April, the Omanis made similar comments in Jordan at a conference, saying it was important to assure Israel that it was not being threatened. While Jordan slammed the comments, Oman continued to push forward with relatively positive views on Israel. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
For Further Reference:
UAE’s Burgeoning Jewish Community Hails ‘Historic’ Peace Agreement: Hanan Greenwood and ILH Staff, Israel Hayom, Aug. 14, 2020 — In the wake of Israel’s historic peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates, Chabad Rabbi Levi Duchman, who serves as the rabbi in the Jewish community in Dubai, told Israel Hayom on Thursday: “We are extremely excited. This is a historic day for all people in the Middle East and for humanity at large.”
UAE Foreign Minister: Peace Deal with Israel Is Not About Iran: Paul Schindman, World Israel News, Aug. `6, 2020 — The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday dismissed Iranian and Turkish condemnation of the UAE-Israel peace deal, saying it had nothing to do with the Arabs countering Iranian threats in the Gulf.
Ex-US Envoy: Israel Gave Tech To UAE To Mend Ties After Mossad Assassination: Times of Israel, Aug. 16, 2020 — A former US ambassador to Israel said on Sunday that the United Arab Emirates received Israeli technology in the wake of a 2010 assassination in Dubai, widely attributed to Mossad, amid attempts at the time to rebuild covert relations between the two nations.
Trump’s Middle East Triumph: Mario Loyola, National Review, Aug. 13, 2020 — Today’s announcement that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to establish full diplomatic relations is a milestone for peace in the Middle East.
Israel-UAE Deal is a Win-Win for Peace: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 16, 2020 — The agreement by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to normalize relations with Israel bodes well for the future of Israel and the dangerous region in which it lives. It was not the first such agreement — there were peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) — but it will probably not be the last