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Tags: israel | uae | mideast | iran | palestinians

More Peace Deals Will Follow Israel-UAE Pact

middle eastern newspapers reporting on the peace agreement
(AFP via Getty Images)

Friday, 14 August 2020 12:00 PM EDT

It is called the Abraham Accords. It is an agreement, a peace deal, between once-upon-a-time, not-very-long-ago, sworn enemies Israel and the United Arab Emirates. It is a gargantuan game changer for the Middle East.

The UAE is not the first Arab country to forge a peace agreement with Israel.

The first deal was signed between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on March 26, 1979. At the time, Jimmy Carter was the president of the United States. Years later, on July 25, 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan met at a desert location and signed their treaty. U.S. President Bill Clinton was there beside the two Mid-East leaders.

Today's headlines are being made by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is a federation of seven emirates, each with a sovereign leader and together they select a president.

They are the third Arab country – only the third Arab country, to see the wisdom in signing a peace treaty with Israel. A treaty that was brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.

The biblical reference in this agreement cannot be overlooked. It is, of course, named for the progenitor of both Muslims in the Koran and Jews in the Bible. In English, Abraham and in Arabic, Ibrahim.

And it is a watershed for the region.

The UAE has taken a bold step. It is also a carefully thought through and strategically planned step. Other Arab countries will, in all probability, soon follow in their footsteps. Countries that, like the UAE, look at the region and at the world, through practical, diplomatic, lenses and not through the lens of Islamic national ideology.

It is an erosion of the ideology that merged with the Pan Arabism of Egypt's Assad and Nasser that tried to link all Arabs through a Baathist/Islamist ideology. And it is reasonable to assume that Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be next in line. These three countries often coordinate their foreign policy platforms.

Forward thinking and pushy presidencies aside, one of the most important driving forces in the creation of the Abraham Accords is not what one would expect. It was the desire by Israel and the United Arab Emirates to unite against Iran. It was their driving need to unite against an extremely dangerous common enemy.

The Abraham Accords are a clear realization of Machiavelli's principle that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Sunni Gulf States and many other Arab states see Iran as a destabilizing force. There is clear and obvious tension between the Shiites of Iran and the vast majority of the Arab world, which is Sunni. Causing Iran pain is as painless for these states as it is for the United States and Israel.

Peace with Israel is also the practical thing to do. The UAE — and other future Arab states who will create peace treaties with the Jewish State, very much want Israeli technology. They know that they need Israeli technology. Israeli tech and know-how will catapult these Arab countries into a new technical era.

The deal has been in the works for three and half years. President Trump made it a priority. His son-in-law Jared Kushner and trusted others worked tirelessly to make the accords happen. They kept their progress secret. Even Netanyahu kept frenemies in his own coalition out of the loop for fear of leaks that would torpedo the agreement.

Haim Saban, creator of the wildly successful Transformers, was also deeply involved in nudging the sides together. Saban, is an Israeli/American and longtime democratic supporter. For the good of the Middle East, Saban crossed the aisle and worked together with the Trump White House for the good of the entire Middle East, not just Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

It should be obvious that the traditional narrative that the Palestinian cause is the centerpiece of all issues in the Middle East has now officially crumbled. For decades it was assumed that no progress could happen in the Middle East until the Palestinian issue was resolved. That is no longer the case.

And yet, the Abraham Accords is predicated on the tabling of Israel's plans to annex part of the West Bank. A plan that has, for months, been a cause of great consternation to the Palestinian Authority.

And what was the Palestinian response to the announcement of the accords? Palestinians called the agreement "treason."

The UAE went out of their way to announce that this agreement will advance the Palestinian cause, that it puts "the gravitas of the UAE" behind the Palestinian cause. They explained that, because of the agreement, Israeli annexation has been tabled. Specifically, they said that the agreement "dealt a death blow to the annexation plans."

And then Hamas echoed the PA response saying that the accords are "stabbing our people in the back."

Iran, too, is of course greatly displeased with the agreement.

The settler community in Israel had high hopes for the annexation of parts of the West bank. They are disappointed by the accords and the tabling of annexation. Most settlers realized that the momentum had slowed and that the actual chances of annexation had reduced because of U.S. pressure.

They thought it was because President Trump had asked for a timeout until after the November election. But they realize the importance of each peace treaty Israel signs.

The Abraham Accords is a huge foreign policy success for President Trump. More importantly, it is proof that the anti-Iran movement within the Arab world is strong. It even outweighs loyalty to the Palestinian cause. And it is a sign that Israel's success is contagious.

The world is changing. Israel and the United States are on the cutting edge. And any country, anywhere in the world, that hitches a ride with Israel or the United States will advance their own national agenda.

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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The Abraham Accords are a clear realization of Machiavelli's principle that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
israel, uae, mideast, iran, palestinians
Friday, 14 August 2020 12:00 PM
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