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Tags: arabs | jews

Bahrain, UAE are the Model for Mideast Peace

uae and bahrain

United Arab Emirates or UAE and Bahrain, symbol of national flags from textile. Championship between two countries. (Anastasiia Guseva/Dreamstime)


| Dreamstime.com

Micah Halpern By Monday, 07 December 2020 02:43 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On paper, the Arab world and Israel and the Arab world and Jews, have been antagonists. But that’s only on paper. In reality, historically, Arabs and Jews have found ways to live together, work together, thrive together.

They just do it quietly.

Peace treaties and normalization agreements make headlines, the rest just happens.

Especially when it makes lives, on both sides of the divide, easier.

On my first trip to Jordan, before the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan was signed, I wandered into a local gourmet food shop and looked at the products on their shelves. And there I found items — not just one or two that might have somehow squeezed in unnoticed, but dozens of items that carried kosher food symbols. The symbols themselves are usually small, similar in size to the "R" that sits inside a circle and stands for "registered trademark."

There was the "U" inside a circle which stands for "The Union of Orthodox Rabbis" and that insiders simply call the "O-U." And the five-pointed star with a "K" in the center, the "Star K." These were not oversights, they were deliberately purchased products.

Jordanians allowed the kosher world, the Jewish world, to take the worry out of their food purchasing and preparation.

If a product is kosher it is also halal, it is permissible to be eaten by Muslims.

The opposite, by the way, it not true, kosher laws are more stringent that halal law.

Jewish symbols did not frighten the Jordanians.

And those products are still on Jordanian food store shelves.

But for many, Jewish labeling is not the same as Israeli labeling. And there has been a recent bruhaha, brought to life by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, about labeling — and purchasing and carrying — Israeli products and products made in Israel’s Judea and Samaria known to the world as the West Bank.

And yet, today, the words "Made in Israel" are not frightening those forward thinking Arab nations not only willing, but also eager, to forge normalization agreements with Israel, the Jewish State.

Bahrain’s minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, said it outright. He said that Bahrain has no problem labeling settlement products as "Made in Israel" and purchasing and using those products. While on a visit to Israel, he told Reuters: "We will treat Israeli products as Israeli products. So, we have no issue with labelling or origin." 

Palestinian leadership decried the Bahraini’s statement and claimed that Bahrain would be "contradicting international and U.N. resolutions."

But Bahrain does not care. The Palestinian reaction left them unfazed.

Bahrain is set to do about $220 million in regular imports during this first year of their new agreements with Israel. That does not include tourism or military deals which will far exceed that amount and is expected to double if not triple that figure. And they want even more from Israel.

Bahrain wants Israeli technology. To quote the Bahraini Minister: "We are fascinated by how integrated IT and innovation sector in Israel has been embedded in every facet of life."

Neither are they concerned about terror or safety or revenge attacks because of their new connection with Israel and the tourism that will spawn. According to Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani: "We don’t see any threats, and therefore we don’t see any requirement for additional security or special treatment for Israelis."

And then — Bahrain did a turnabout.

A week later a "source from the ministry" said that the minister’s words were misinterpreted. "The minister's statement was misinterpreted and that the ministry is committed to the Bahraini government's unwavering stance regarding adherence to the resolutions of the United Nations."

This correction was found in the BNA the Bahraini News Agency.

These backs and forths are common in Mideast.

A statement of one ilk to one party — Israel while in Israel. Then contradictory statements at home to the local press. It is all to be expected.

The UAE, which has also signed normalization agreements with Israel, is handling the Israeli issue and the potential backlash of extremists differently.

They are full steam ahead with their normalization plans, but they are also protecting themselves and their new partners with a very strong set of new policies.

The United Arab Emirates is taking the radical step of blackballing some of their Arab neighbors in order to protect the integrity of their new relationship with Israel.

The UAE is black balling Muslim countries that train and harbor terrorists.

It is said that as many as 100 flights go back and forth weekly between Israel and the UAE.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed a visa-free program.

There is no visa necessary for citizens of either country to fly to the other country.

But while Israelis can now travel to the UAE easily and visa-free, the visas of eleven Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Tunisia, have been yanked. They have been cancelled, rescinded.

This blacklist is official policy.

The countries on the list are havens for terror.

Terror groups gather there and organize there. And the UAE is concerned, rightfully so, that Israelis would be perfect targets for terror. So, the UAE has literally blocked all entry from countries that might plan, sponsor and perpetrate attacks against their Israeli guests.

If terror came to the UAE it would ruin not just their new relationship with Israel, it would destroy tourism, trade and business between the UAE and any other Western group planning on expanding their dealings in the UAE.

Both Bahrain and the UAE understand that deals are all about mutual benefit — much like Jordan and its supply of kosher food products.

This is not ideology or religion. In this new Mideast those fueled by hatred and ideology will need to be marginalized.

Bahrain and the UAE are standing tall and leading the way.

They are creating the model and the model is working.

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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Bahrain is set to do about $220 million in regular imports during this first year of their new agreements with Israel. That does not include tourism or military deals which will far exceed that amount.
arabs, jews
Monday, 07 December 2020 02:43 PM
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