Why are these Arab nations normalizing ties with Israel? Well, let’s just say each country has a self-serving interest in making a deal with the devil.
The Arab world has turned its back on the Palestinian people. Morocco, Bahrain, UAE, and Sudan have all recently agreed to establish relationships with Israel, a deal enabled by the Trump administration to promote their foreign policy “successes” in their final weeks in office. But the so-called Middle East peace plan is no peace plan at all. In fact, the deal does absolutely nothing in the interest of the Palestinians.
Nobody brought the Palestinians to the negotiating table
It’s honestly ironic to create a peace deal for the Palestinians and not invite them to the negotiating table, yet there’s a reason for that. The deal doesn’t serve the people of Palestine. It serves everyone else that can profit from the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Once upon a time, prominent Arab leaders actually cared and fought for an independent Palestinian state, now they are rolling in their graves.
Egypt and Jordan are no longer the only two Arab states to recognize Israel. Egypt was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel in 1979, while Jordan recognized Israel in 1994. With the addition of Morocco, Bahrain, UAE, and Sudan, more Arab countries are expected to establish diplomatic relations with Israel; the only question is when?
Timing is everything
Morocco agreed to normalize relations with Israel on December 10, 2020; that same day, the US government decided to sell four aerial drones to Morocco. Additionally, on the same day, the US recognized Western Sahara as territory for Morocco- a region that has been disputed for 45 years. A coincidence? I think not!
The Moroccan treaty with Israel has been reported to allow direct flights between the two countries and security/economic benefits for both countries. Nobody could be happier about the news than Trump, who tweeted the following. “Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” Unfortunately, Twitter didn’t dispute his claim because nothing could be farther from the truth. Former Secretary of State James Baker criticized the Trump administration for recognizing Western Sahara as Moroccan territory, stating that the decision was “an astounding retreat from the principles of international law and diplomacy” James Baker’s op-ed . Likewise, Republican Senator Jim Inhofe and former National Security Adviser John Bolton denounced Trump’s decision. It should be noted that the United Nations has not ever supported Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over the Western Sahara Region.
The Moroccan treaty with Israel is a significant move in approving Israel’s legitimacy as a country. It could also foreshadow the wave of several Muslim-majority countries in brokering deals with Israel and eventually recognizing it as an official country.
The Abraham Accords Peace Agreement
The Israel–United Arab Emirates normalization agreement, aka the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement, was signed on August 13th, 2020. The deal was historic because it made the UAE the third Arab country to have diplomatic relations with Israel. The timing was vital for all parties involved in the agreement. For Trump, he hoped the treaty would elevate his chances to be reelected; fortunately, he was wrong. For Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s corrupt Prime Minister, who has been facing severe investigations, the agreement was applauded by his supporters and opponents and ultimately helped hide his legal problems temporarily.
Similarly, like Morocco, the UAE was promised weapons, but unlike Morocco, they were promised many more weapons. If the weapon deal goes through, it will be a historic and dangerous deed. The UAE would be the first Arab country to get the Lockheed Martin fifth-generation stealth jet, the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world. More frightening, 18 MQ-9 Reapers and 50 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets would be in the hands of the UAE government, which would amount to a sale of around $10.4 billion. If the sale is completed, the UAE will transform entirely from having a reputation as a small gulf state to a threatening small gulf state that could cause Iran and several of its rivals, to get a bit anxious.
Given the treaty, a contract has been allowed for an Israeli oil pipeline to be bridged from the UAE to Europe. It would be connected through the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and provides quicker access for Asia consumers.
For Netanyahu, the UAE deal delivered a safe escape from his annexation policy of the West Bank in Palestine, which has been deemed a violation of international law and has been more importantly unpopular with Joe Biden, who is a few weeks from becoming America’s president. “The UAE-Israeli-U.S. deal allows everyone to climb down: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can avoid the terrible mistake of annexation while claiming he got something big for it (he did!). The UAE can claim it prevented annexation from happening —Trump gets to avoid the annexation he himself sanctioned, and all the complications it could have produced, while showing a big win for two of his favorite allies” (Natan Sacs, Director and Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy). All in all, the UAE deal was put together with the scheme to act like all parties are concentrated on making peace in Palestine, when instead, all parties are actually prioritizing economic and diplomatic security.
Almost every Middle Eastern expert at the Brookings Institute has claimed that the losers of the agreement are the Palestinians. “Israel is being rewarded for not doing something it should have never considered doing in the first place — annexing parts of the West Bank. This isn’t diplomacy, and it isn’t peace. It’s cynical, and it shows, once again, that Arab authoritarian regimes can’t be bothered to pretend they care about Palestinian rights. For the UAE, it’s a means to an end, formalizing increasingly warm feelings toward Israel, due to their shared enemy of Iran and their shared (and unusual) preference for President Trump over President Obama” (Shadi Hamid, Senior Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy).
Bahrain is miserably the pawn of the Middle East. Bahrain’s normalization with Israel is to advance Saudi Arabia’s interests. The Kingdom of Arabia is playing its card close to its chest on whether it will normalize Israel’s relations. If it does, the Islamic reputation of Saudi Arabia will be lost since many Islamic scholars and politicians would criticize the deal. It could also allow for a divide of opinions within Saudi Arabia and create many confrontations among government officials. Yet, the recent agreement with Morocco could signal that the Kingdom of Arabia is awaiting the right moment to recognize Israel.
Sudan’s three no’s in 1967, no to peace will Israel, no to negotiations with Israel, and no to normalization with Israel have all turned into three yeses. Sudan’s transitional government has been faced with a collapsing economy amid a global pandemic. Furthermore, its security is failing as there has been attempted coups on the government ever since overthrowing former dictator Omar al-Bashir. Despite the people of Sudan’s deep hatred for the Israeli government, the country was forced to normalize relations in order to be taken off the list of organizations that support state terrorism by the United States.
Palestine is in the hands of Biden
All hope to save what’s left of Palestine is left in the hands of the Biden administration. Calling for a two-state solution, Biden has addressed the growing Israel occupation for the last several years as a problem. Nevertheless, it is clear Biden will never support a free Palestine movement, and the ship has sailed for any discussions regarding any freeing of Palestine from Israel’s illegal occupation. But experts, journalists, including myself, are wary of what the future of Palestine will look like.
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