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The agreement demonstrates that the Palestinian issue doesn’t need to be a prerequisite for better relationships with Arab countries

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(L to R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan were the main players in the creation of the historical Israel/UAE peace deal.

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History was made Aug. 13, 2020. Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) declared that they are formally normalizing ties. The agreement, which was brokered by the US Trump administration, is expected to lead to further normalization between Israel and other Sunni nations in the Arab world, possibly even Saudi Arabia. 

The naysayers and the cynics on the progressive Israeli left have received the news with lukewarm reception. Many are pointing out that while having peace with a major Arab player is great, it does not replace the fact that the only way to have long-lasting peace is through the outdated 1990s belief of a two-state solution with the Palestinians. But after these historic events, one wonders: is this truly the case?

For almost 30 years, we have been fed a lie. It’s a lie that started during the Oslo accords, which placed the power of ending the Arab-Israeli conflict in the hands of terrorists, like Yasser Arafat, and Holocaust deniers, such as Mahmoud Abbas. This lie states that Israel must first make peace, and give up land to the Palestinians, and only after that, it can start engaging in peace talks with the rest of the Arab world.

This veto power given to the Palestinian has held up progress. Case in point, is late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s peace process with Jordan. Much like Israel’s secret relationship with the UAE, Israel and Jordan enjoyed a secret relationship as far back as 1963.

Israel, for the majority of its past, has ensured the survival of the Jordanian regime. And while in 1967, King Hussein couldn’t say no to Egypt’s call to join the war with Israel, the major loss he suffered, made him realize that peace with Israel is the only strategic option he has.

After realizing the error he made, King Hussein renewed secret ties with Israel. He went on to meet with Israeli leaders, sitting down dozens of times with Mossad chiefs, long before signing the peace treaty in 1994. Peace with Jordan could have been achieved much earlier than 1994. Yet, it was held up because of the Palestinian issue. No Arab leader had the courage to move forward with Israel, especially since the only one who did, Egyptian president Anwar Saadat, was assassinated by members of the Egypt’s Islamic Jihad in 1981.

This false premise that the Palestinians come before everything and everyone else, has been slowly disappearing, thanks to the doctrine of one man, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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In a 1996 election campaign video, Netanyahu stated that the old ways of making peace (referring to land for peace) have been tried, and have failed. It was time to move forward. His thinking basically meant, that if Israel can reach out to the Arab world, and have them see value in a relationship with Israel, they will abandon the Palestinians, or at least place their aspirations and needs on the lower end of things.

Fast forward through the Obama years, and you have a Middle East in shambles, and peril. The Obama administration abandoned the Middle East to the likes of Iran, ISIS, Turkey, and Russia. The Sunni Gulf states became very fearful of the aspirations of these countries. Especially of Iran. Many started seeing Israel as a very useful strategic partner. The old proverb of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” perfectly described the mental shift in countries, like the UAE, and even Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration for its part has been quietly pushing for Sunni Gulf states to publicly formalize relationships with Israel. It was a move inconceivable under the Obama administration. 

At the same time, Trump has been trying to help Netanyahu win the elections, going as far as agreeing to have Israel annex major parts of the West Bank, and place them under Israeli sovereignty.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) shaking hands with King Hussein of Jordan (right) while flanked by Former US President Bill Clinton (centre) following the signing of the Israel Jordan Peace Treaty in 1994. This was the last time Israel signed a peace treaty with an arabic country in the Middle East Photo | National Photo Collection of Israel

Netanyahu’s main election campaign promise was the annexation plan. The liberal camp and the international community railed against this, in addition to certain settler movements. The annexation plan was kicked down the field when all parties involved realized that it could not be implemented. They chose instead to use it as a chess piece for peace. 

Now, the halting of annexation looked like the trade that was made for better relations with UAE.

Peace between Israel and the UAE will change the landscape of the Middle East. Frontpage Magazine reported earlier this year, “In the Arab Gulf states, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen, writers and intellectuals, artists, diplomats, journalists, politicians, and even Sunni-Muslim religious figures are questioning the wisdom of shunning Israel.”

The equation of land for peace is finally over. For years, people have been fed lies that peace between Israel and the Arab world can only be achieved if they first solve the Palestinian issue.

The Arab world is waking up to the reality that this formula is outdated and has no place in 2020. Peace with the Arab world does not need to be intertwined with the Palestinians.

It’s time to think outside of that 1990s mindset. History has been made. The Middle East is entering a new phase of peace. One built on mutual respect, strategic needs, commerce, and the understanding that Israel is here to stay.

Igal Hecht is a documentary filmmaker and journalist who works all over the world. 

For more info visit www.chutzpaproductions.com

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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