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Tags: abdulaziz | bandar | uae | jerusalem | pa

A Changing Mideast Means Dreams Can Come True

A Changing Mideast Means Dreams Can Come True

Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (R) as he greets his German counterpart Heiko Maas with an "elbow bump," upon the latter's reception at the ministry headquarters in Jerusalem on June 10, 2020. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via etty Images) 

Micah Halpern By Sunday, 11 October 2020 02:39 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

On Tues. Oct. 6, in Berlin, Germany, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met with his UnitedArab Emriates (UAE) counterpart, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. These two representatives of countries once thought to be mortal and eternal enemies were hosted by their German counterpart Heiko Maas.

The meeting was more than a cordial formality. It was free of tension and angst.

In what has become a commonplace occurrence in a new world we live in, hammering home the new relationships forged by countries once hostile to each other, the group visited Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial.

Gabi Ashkenazi is the son of Holocaust survivors.

And, in an extraordinary and unplanned quirk of fate, the visit took place on the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, according to the Gregorian calendar.

The Israeli foreign minister's speech was broadcast live on Egyptian TV.

Things are rapidly changing globally.

Not to realize and to appreciate these changes is an act of obstinate self-indulgence and denial.

Gulf countries are normalizing relations with The Jewish State.

Comparitvely recently, the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s designated capital, Jerusalem.

The Palestinians, once the darling cause of the Arab and Muslim world, are now being sidelined by the Arab and Muslim world. 

Peace between Israel and Egypt, which once seesawed from cold to cool, never even reaching tepid, is now, at least diplomatically speaking, warm and friendly.

Once Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office, the relationship between the leaders of Egypt and Israel warmed.

For his part, al-Sisi has welcomed the normalization of the Gulf states with Israel as a very important step forward.

Until now, the media and the masses in the Egypt have been consistently cold and angry at anything related to Israel. Even hateful.

This particular broadcast of Israel’s foreign minister on an Egyptian network (Extra) signals a dramatic attitudinal change in Egyptian media which regularly broadcasts programs describing Jewish blood libels and stories about Jews murdering Muslim children.

Actually, the world of Mideast media has become a diplomatic barometer.

As in the West, if it's on the news, viewers believe it to be true.

If a significant network or news source espouses a particular viewpoint, the public will embrace that viewpoint. For many years, the Arab media fostered an antagonistic attitude toward the West and towards Israel.

However, slowly and definitively, that model is changing.

Al Arabiyah is a Saudi-owned TV network based in Dubai.

It's much more popular in the Arabic speaking world than al Jazeerah, the network better known by American viewers and followers of Mideast news.

Think of it as ABC versus CBS, or CBS versus NBC.

In translation, "al Arabiyah" means "Arabic One."

The network’s detractors are so upset, so scandalized, by al Arabiyah’s coverage of events involving Israel, that they have taken to calling the network "al Yehudiyah" or "al Ibriyah" which means the "Jewish One" or the "Hebrew One."

The people, often composed of uninformed Muslim and Arab masses, are lagging behind their leaders in making the transition from what once was, to where we are now — a world forging a better place — and becoming increasingly embracing.  

Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief and ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar Sultan bin Abdulaziz, is a living and breathing example of forward thinking.

Prince Bandar, as he is called in the U.S., is a veritable institution and has served in his role for decades.

In both of his positions, his finger has been on the pulse of everything, small and large, that was happening globally.

Prince Bandar is not simply another appointee or ambassador.

He is the grandson of the founder of the Saudi Kingdom.

To get a sense of his position and his importance, Prince Bandar was the Kingdom’s ambassador to Washington from 1983 to 2005.

That’s a whopping 22 years.

He was so comfortable in the Oval Office that there is a picture of him sitting on the desk of the President of the United States, looking down at the seated then-president George W. Bush.

As an interesting aside, Prince Bandar’s daughter, Reema, is the current Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Al Arabiyah conducted a three-part interview with Prince Bandar, the first episode aired on Mon. Oct. 5.

The most significant element in the Prince’s interview was his critique of Palestinian leadership over the past decades and even, in contrast to other large swaths of the Arab world, today. He called the criticism leveled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) at the agreements that both the UAE and Bahrain made with Israel a "transgression" and "reprehensible discourse".

Prince Bandar said that the Palestinians and their backers are always are on the wrong side. And yet, he reminded them, Saudi kings have supported the Palestinian Authority for decades — despite the PA’s errors. While Saudi Arabia may not be the next country to normalize relations with Israel, they are getting closer and closer.

For decades, generations, and millennia, relationships between the Arab and Muslim world and the Jewish State were a living nightmare. Anyone who dared to forecast all these changes would have been called a dreamer. Sometimes, dreams come true.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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For many years, the Arab media fostered an antagonistic attitude toward the West and towards Israel. However, slowly and definitively, that model is changing.
abdulaziz, bandar, uae, jerusalem, pa
Sunday, 11 October 2020 02:39 AM
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