Why These Peace Deals Are Way Bigger Than The Media Is Willing To Acknowledge
In the months leading up to the November election, President Donald Trump has scored two notable diplomatic victories. He has managed to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and between Israel and Bahrain, despite decades of animosity between the nations.
Trump’s diplomatic achievements in the Middle East represent a paradigm shift in the international politics of the region, and they could be of much more significance to long-term American policy than many experts and the media think.
The initial deal between Israel and the UAE was brokered in August, and the leaders of the countries announced that they would collaborate on research for a coronavirus vaccine, begin talks for investment, establish travel and negotiate trade deals between the two countries. The UAE’s boycott against Israel was formally ended later that month.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan express their deep appreciation to President Trump for his dedication to peace in the region and to the pragmatic and unique approach he has taken to achieve it,” the joint statement from the countries’ leaders said.
Trump announced Sept. 11 that Israel and Bahrain had reached an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries.
“This is a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East,” the joint statement from the United States, Israel and Bahrain said. “Opening direct dialogue and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani gathered Sept. 15 to sign the Abraham Accords at the White House. The Accords formalized diplomatic relations between the two Arab nations and Israel.
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said in his remarks at the White House. “In Israel’s history there have only been two of these agreements, and now we have achieved two in a single month.”
Trump has said that he expects “seven or eight or nine” other countries to sign agreements with Israel. Trump also said that he spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia and expects the country to join the agreement “at the right time.”
Most countries in the Middle East have refused to establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel since its foundation in 1948 because of its status as a Jewish state. Countries like Egypt, Jordan and Syria have gone to war with Israel several times to try to destroy the country. The Arab states claim that the land owned by Israel rightfully belongs to the Palestinians, who currently control the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as an autonomous zone.
The Arab League was founded in 1945, and its initial members included Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Arab League has consistently promoted the Palestinian cause in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and it has maintained a boycott of Israeli goods and refused to establish diplomatic relations with the country since 1948.
It currently contains 22 countries, including the UAE and Bahrain. In 1967 after the Six-Day War with Israel, the Arab League met and formulated the Khartoum Resolution and adopted the “Three Nos”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with it.
Before the two recent deals, only Egypt and Jordan had recognized Israel and established normal diplomatic relations out of the Arab countries. The deal with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994 came after both Egypt and Jordan went to war with Israel in 1948 and 1967 and Egypt allied with Syria to attack Israel again in 1973.
Now four nations in the Arab League have established formal relations with Israel, and that is an achievement in itself. The establishment of relations with countries that have been an enemy of Israel since its inception makes Israel could lead to, as Trump has said, more Arab nations joining the UAE and Bahrain in normalizing relations. This move would end a decades-long conflict and bring more stability to the region.
Saudi Arabia has already announced that it would allow flights to Israel through its airspace, which could be a sign that the extremely conservative Muslim nation could be brought to the table. With more and more Arab countries coming to the table, there could be a possibility that the Palestinians, with a large portion of their diplomatic and economic support gone, could also seek a peace deal with the Israelis.
With this move to normalize relations between Israel and the Palestinians’ backers, the Palestinian Authority, the governing body of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, may be forced to seek an end to a decades-long conflict.
Cooperation between Israel and more Arab countries could also prove to be a decisive factor in countering Iran, especially if Saudi Arabia makes a deal.
Iran has condemned any normalization of relations with Israel. The country’s Foreign Ministry called the deal a “dagger that was unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims.”
Iran has had a rivalry with several Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, and has conducted proxy conflicts in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria to expand its influence in the Middle East. The deal could lead to the UAE and other Arab countries buying better quality weapons from both the U.S. and Israel without the question of whether those weapons would be used against Israel. Also, a joint effort by Israel and the Arab countries could present a united front against Iranian influence, allowing the U.S. to take a less active role in the Middle East.
The peace deals struck by the Trump administration between Israel and two of its longtime enemies signals that stability may be on the horizon in the Middle East. These achievements could mean a lasting peace in the region and a new partnership to successfully curb Iranian ambitions.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.