A diplomatic triumph for Trump that the media will downplay

On Thursday, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that, going forward, they will have full diplomatic relations. Although Israel had to pause its plan to annex Judea and Samaria, the overall trend of this announcement is excellent.

According to a joint statement from the United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, the latter two nations will start cooperating on such things as “investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit.”

Israel’s commitment to the plan is that it will “suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace [i.e., Judea and Samaria] and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.” The word “suspend” is important. Israel is not agreeing to forego that plan permanently. Instead, as Al Jazeera reported,


[I]n a television address after US President Donald Trump’s announcement of the deal, Netanyahu said he had only agreed to “delay” the annexation, and that he would “never give up our rights to our land”.


“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said in Jerusalem, using the biblical name for the occupied West Bank.

Al Jazeera adds that a tweet from the UAE’s leader indicates that the UAE interprets the word “suspend” to mean, not a temporary stop, but a permanent retreat. The Palestinians, of course, are upset:


In a statement, Abbas called the deal an “aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “betrayal” of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as a capital of their future state.


Hamas, the group that controls the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the Israel-UAE pact as “a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes” and said it “does not serve the Palestinian people”.

As an aside, while Al Jazeera does have a few high emotion statements (e.g., “the besieged Gaza Strip”), its report is more straightforward than one usually finds at sites such as the AP, The New York Times, or the Washington Post, none of which even bothers any more with reporting facts in a mostly objective fashion.

This agreement, if it sticks, is an excellent one for Israel and overall stability in the Middle East. The UAE is one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East because it has a stable political environment and a reliable infrastructure. Wisely, it’s developed its non-oil side so that, even if there’s a serious drop in the demand for oil, it will still have economic resources.

Moreover, as the Palestinians know, this agreement is a step toward marginalizing the Palestinians. The fact is that, while the Arab countries reflexively blame Israel for everything, they don’t like the Palestinians, who are considered a whiny, greedy, dangerous group of people. There’s a reason that Egypt, just like Israel, expends considerable resources keeping Palestinians out, although only Israel takes heat for doing so.

What’s also excellent about the plan is that it helps bind together countries that dislike Iran and Hezb’allah. Leaders in Arab countries know that, if they’re not careful, they can become Lebanon, a puppet of Iran with a military presence (i.e., Hezb’allah, which is Iran’s out-of-country army) that wreaks havoc with the country.

After the explosion in Beirut, more Arab countries that are afraid of Iran recognize that in Israel, “the enemy of their enemy is their friend.” In that regard, you can bet that all of the Arab nations are assuming that Israel is behind the wave of destructive explosions within Iran.

These alliances should have happened four decades ago after the Iranian Revolution. It speaks volumes that Donald Trump, aided by Jared Kushner (who also has a great relationship with Saudi Arabia’s reforming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), was able to bring this about. Watch for other Arab nations to get in line, as they recognize a trend, and watch for the Palestinians to get increasingly isolated and marginalized. Even Thomas Friedman, an avowed Trump foe, admits this is “huge” and a diplomatic feather in Trump’s cap.

For the Middle East, peace with Israel is the future, and the Palestinians are so yesterday.

*****

Immediately after writing the above conclusion, I read this tweet:

Trump really may bring peace to the Middle East.

Image: Montage of a photo of Sharjah by Mueed Ahmed and a photo of Tel Aviv by Alexey Bogoslavsky (both cropped), both under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

On Thursday, Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that, going forward, they will have full diplomatic relations. Although Israel had to pause its plan to annex Judea and Samaria, the overall trend of this announcement is excellent.

According to a joint statement from the United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, the latter two nations will start cooperating on such things as “investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit.”

Israel’s commitment to the plan is that it will “suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace [i.e., Judea and Samaria] and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.” The word “suspend” is important. Israel is not agreeing to forego that plan permanently. Instead, as Al Jazeera reported,

[I]n a television address after US President Donald Trump’s announcement of the deal, Netanyahu said he had only agreed to “delay” the annexation, and that he would “never give up our rights to our land”.


“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said in Jerusalem, using the biblical name for the occupied West Bank.

Al Jazeera adds that a tweet from the UAE’s leader indicates that the UAE interprets the word “suspend” to mean, not a temporary stop, but a permanent retreat. The Palestinians, of course, are upset:

In a statement, Abbas called the deal an “aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “betrayal” of their cause, including their claim to Jerusalem as a capital of their future state.


Hamas, the group that controls the besieged Gaza Strip, rejected the Israel-UAE pact as “a reward for the Israeli occupation and crimes” and said it “does not serve the Palestinian people”.

As an aside, while Al Jazeera does have a few high emotion statements (e.g., “the besieged Gaza Strip”), its report is more straightforward than one usually finds at sites such as the AP, The New York Times, or the Washington Post, none of which even bothers any more with reporting facts in a mostly objective fashion.

This agreement, if it sticks, is an excellent one for Israel and overall stability in the Middle East. The UAE is one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East because it has a stable political environment and a reliable infrastructure. Wisely, it’s developed its non-oil side so that, even if there’s a serious drop in the demand for oil, it will still have economic resources.

Moreover, as the Palestinians know, this agreement is a step toward marginalizing the Palestinians. The fact is that, while the Arab countries reflexively blame Israel for everything, they don’t like the Palestinians, who are considered a whiny, greedy, dangerous group of people. There’s a reason that Egypt, just like Israel, expends considerable resources keeping Palestinians out, although only Israel takes heat for doing so.

What’s also excellent about the plan is that it helps bind together countries that dislike Iran and Hezb’allah. Leaders in Arab countries know that, if they’re not careful, they can become Lebanon, a puppet of Iran with a military presence (i.e., Hezb’allah, which is Iran’s out-of-country army) that wreaks havoc with the country.

After the explosion in Beirut, more Arab countries that are afraid of Iran recognize that in Israel, “the enemy of their enemy is their friend.” In that regard, you can bet that all of the Arab nations are assuming that Israel is behind the wave of destructive explosions within Iran.

These alliances should have happened four decades ago after the Iranian Revolution. It speaks volumes that Donald Trump, aided by Jared Kushner (who also has a great relationship with Saudi Arabia’s reforming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), was able to bring this about. Watch for other Arab nations to get in line, as they recognize a trend, and watch for the Palestinians to get increasingly isolated and marginalized. Even Thomas Friedman, an avowed Trump foe, admits this is “huge” and a diplomatic feather in Trump’s cap.

For the Middle East, peace with Israel is the future, and the Palestinians are so yesterday.

*****

Immediately after writing the above conclusion, I read this tweet:

Trump really may bring peace to the Middle East.

Image: Montage of a photo of Sharjah by Mueed Ahmed and a photo of Tel Aviv by Alexey Bogoslavsky (both cropped), both under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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