How Deep Is Israel’s Love For The Emiratis?

'The Middle East is our home, we’re here to stay'

In his first two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced the opening of the Israeli embassy in the UAE on June 29 and a consulate in Dubai on June 30. Though Israeli ministers have previously visited Abu Dhabi, it’s the first senior-level visit to the country.

Lapid thanked former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former US President Donald Trump in addition to Emirates for its “vision and inspiration”.

The Middle East is our home, we’re here to stay,” Lapid said.

It’s worth mentioning that the UAE along with Bahrain signed a normalization agreement, formally known as the Abraham Accords, with Israel in 2020. Later, Sudan and Morocco joined the US-brokered deals.

The so-called Abraham Accords were part of a larger Zionist project that aimed at bringing the Gulf countries closer to Tel Aviv with the end goal of curbing what they call the Iranian threat. Add to this, the Israeli officials believed that these normalization deals would help thwart the Palestinian cause.

The economic partnership between Israel and the UAE has flourished since they signed the normalization agreement last year.

A flurry of business deals was agreed on. They focused on crucial sectors, including health care, artificial intelligence, and defense.

Aside from the economic benefits, Emirate signed the normalization deal with Israel for security as well as political reasons. The deal was crucial to bolstering its security. Shortly after the agreement, the former US administration authorized the sale of 50 advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE.

BBC journalist Sameer Hashmi said: “This was a huge shot in the arm for UAE, as the acquisition will not beef up its military capabilities but also give it a strategic edge in the region.”

When it comes to Israel, the normalization deal plays a major role to curtail the Iranian hegemony in the Middle East. Dr. Nora Maher, a professor at the British University in Egypt, said that the Arab spring and the rise of Iran worked in the best interest of Israel.

Frankly, Israel hypes the Iranian threat to bring the Gulf countries to its side. This was manifested in the latest normalization deals. The Gulf countries and Israel share the same goal: containing the Iranian influence in the MENA region.

Israel can’t wish away its Palestinian neighbors

Yet, the latest Palestinian Intifada is a potent reminder to Israel that it can’t wish away its Palestinian neighbors, not even through normalization deals.

Whilst these deals guarantee a closer relationship between the Gulf and Israel, to curb the so-called Iranian threat, it’s naïve to argue that the Palestinian-Israeli (asymmetric) conflict will end in the near future.

The Palestinians denounced the Arab-Israeli normalization deals, calling for an end to Israel’s occupation and the formation of an independent Palestinian State. The antagonistic approach of Israel towards the Palestinians impedes the two-state solution.

Hence, the recognition of Arab states to the Israeli existence does not necessarily mean a Palestinian acceptance of Israeli provocative actions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Emirate official announced last year that the so-called Abraham Accords would halt the Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Yet, Israel said that the agreement had nothing to do with the settlements issue.

The Arab betrayal of the Palestinian cause is not a contemporary issue. Jordan, for instance, warned the Israeli military forces that Egypt was planning to initiate an offensive during the 1973 war.

Likewise, the Faisal-Weizmann agreement between Emir Fisal, the third son of Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, King of the short-lived kingdom of Hejaz, and Chaim Weizmann, a Zionist leader, approved Israeli migration to Palestine in 1919.

If this shows anything, it is that the Arab-Israeli agreements are not expected to meet the Palestinian demands. Frankly, Israel benefits from these deals on the political and economic levels, yet the normalization deals will not abort the so-called sabotage attempts from the Palestinians.

The Arab outrage over Israeli provocative actions suggests that Arab regimes do not represent the demands of their citizens. Hence, the recognition of Arab regimes to the Israeli existence does not work in the best interest of Israel when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli (asymmetric) conflict.

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