The normalization agreement reached between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a direct continuation of Israel’s efforts as early as December 2019, with the aim of reaching a non-war agreement with four Arab countries: Oman, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.
This move was initiated by Foreign Minister Israel Katz in coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Already in September 2019, Minister Israel Katz met, during the discussions of the UN General Assembly, with the Foreign Minister of Oman, Yosef Ben-Alwi, and with Anwar Gregash, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, and presented his initiative.
An Israeli delegation of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Council, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice left for Washington in early December 2019 for discussions to try and promote the initiative for non-war agreements between Israel and Arab countries.
President Trump’s “deal of the century” program was then in a deep freeze and the United States tried to help Israel advance the move.
Victoria Coates, the White House’s deputy national security adviser, met with UAE ambassadors, Bahrain, Oman and Morocco in Washington and introduced them to the new Israeli initiative and asked them to comment on it. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo then tried to advance the move, he went to Morocco and tried to reach an agreement that it would be the first country to sign the non-war agreement with Israel but it did not succeed.
Israel has not hidden its efforts to achieve full normalization with Arab countries, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced last October that Israel has ties with at least 6 Arab countries. On December 1, 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an official announcement that an official delegation will visit Dubai to prepare for Israel’s participation in the “Expo 2020” exhibition.
Another door through which Israel tried to tighten normalization with the Gulf states was the issue of security and freedom of navigation in the Gulf waters.
Arab sources said that Saudi Arabia had placed Bahrain on the political and media front to address the issue. On October 21, 2019, a conference on the protection of freedom of navigation in the Gulf was held in Bahrain with the participation of an Israeli delegation.
This conference was held following the “Warsaw Conference” held last February led by the United States in which about 60 countries participated, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Oman.
At the same time, the secret and overt visits of Israeli government representatives to Arab countries continued, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting the Principality of Oman and then-Foreign Minister Israel Katz visiting the United Arab Emirates.
According to reports in several Arab media outlets, which have never been confirmed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is secretly meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
In addition, several Gulf states have hosted Israeli sports delegations several times.
There is no doubt that the achievement of the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates symbolizes the success of Israeli policy in trying to sever the connection created by the Palestinians between the normalization with Israel and the achievement of a political agreement with them.
The Palestinian problem is no longer at the top of the agenda of Arab states, the Iranian danger has taken over and the Palestinian arena is split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip without being able to reach a national agreement that will allow serious negotiations with Israel.
The moderate Arab states are also following Israel’s aggressive policy against Iran’s military base in Syria and the military attacks attributed to Israel on Iranian targets. There is no doubt that this conduct affects their attitude toward Israel as an important regional military force in the Middle East that we are not afraid to confront Iran with and that it is worth joining it even secretly and coordinating moves with it to try and curb Iranian influence.
According to American sources, the breakthrough in reaching an agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates came in recent weeks after Prime Minister Netanyahu set July 1 as the date for the beginning of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, the United Arab Emirates came under pressure. .
Yusuf Elautiev, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington, published a scathing article against the annexation in Yedioth Ahronoth and later offered the US administration the deal: promoting normalization with Israel in exchange for lowering the issue of annexation off the agenda.
As soon as Prime Minister Netanyahu gave the “green light” to the idea, there was a breakthrough. A key figure in promoting the agreement was Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, who traveled several times to the United Arab Emirates to promote the agreement.
The impact on the Palestinians
The Palestinians were surprised by the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and are shocked. The PA announced the return of the Palestinian ambassador from the United Arab Emirates and described in a scathing statement the United Arab Emirates’ conduct as “betrayal and stabbing.”
The UAE has broken the Palestinian ban on Arab states, backed by the Arab League, not to move towards normalization with Israel before a full permanent settlement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.
The immediate Palestinian fear is of erosion in the positions of Arab states; Senior Fatah officials say that more Arab countries will soon announce a normalization agreement with Israel, including Bahrain, Oman and Sudan.
The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates enjoys the support of moderate Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan, King Abdullah is now breathing a sigh of relief after the issue of annexation of the settlements and the Jordan Valley fell over the chapter.
The Israeli move will now make it possible to rebuild relations with Jordan that were damaged as a result of the annexation plan in the West Bank.
The PA will also benefit indirectly from the move, despite being a severe blow to Mahmoud Abbas’ prestige, especially in light of the fact that Fatah officials warned him two years ago not to sever ties with the Trump administration following the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The deal of the century. ”
Lowering the issue of annexation on the agenda will allow the PA chairman to renew security ties between Palestinian intelligence and the CIA and security coordination with Israel. He will also be able to receive hundreds of millions of shekels in tax money that Israel collects for the PA each month. Improve the economic situation of the PA, which was hit hard by the corona epidemic.
However, there is a big sting in the agreement for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – his return to the political and political picture of his political rival, Mr. Muhammad Dahlan, who serves as the special adviser to the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Muhammad bin Zayed.
The Dar al-Hayat website reported on August 13 from knowledgeable American sources that the tripartite agreement between the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates includes the return of Muhammad Dahlan to the PA. “Because he quarreled with his two sons, the agreement improves Muhammad Dahlan’s chances among the heirs, Dahlan has a strong support base in the Gaza Strip and strongholds in the refugee camps in the West Bank, he enjoys the support of Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.” H. on the leadership of the PA.
Mahmoud Abbas is expected to try and now form a joint front with Hamas against normalization agreements between Israel and Arab and Islamic countries, he has already discussed the issue with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
The impact on Iran
Iran has good relations with the United Arab Emirates, but all the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, fear Iran’s expansionist tendencies, its great power and its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.
The recognition of the UAE in Israel and the normalization with it is a severe blow to Iranian policy in the Gulf.
The UAE has a strong army, but it cannot deal with the Iranian army. The agreement with Israel will enable the United Arab Emirates to strengthen security and military cooperation with the IDF, especially in terms of intelligence and the supply of advanced weapons systems.
However, Iran will be forced to swallow its new “frog” in the Middle East and come to terms with it. However, it will certainly try to secretly sabotage the agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Iran needs the assistance of government officials and traders in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi in the field of secret oil trade and also in everything related to the export and import of essential goods in view of its difficult economic situation following the US sanctions.
Where are things going?
The normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is certainly a historic agreement. The UAE has crossed the Rubicon and this will allow more Arab and Islamic countries to follow in its footsteps and reach a similar agreement with Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has succeeded in setting a very important precedent in Israel’s relations with Arab countries of “peace for peace”, as more Arab and Islamic countries join normalization agreements with Israel, this formula will become more and more established.
The agreement strengthens Israel’s position in the eyes of the Arabs as a strong regional power, increases the isolation of the PA and Hamas and presents PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a failed leader who does not want to adapt to new developments in the Middle East and discover pragmatism that will reach a full peace agreement with Israel .
Pilgrims from the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf states will be able to come to Israel and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which will shatter the Palestinian false narrative that “Al-Aqsa is in danger.”
Israel is strengthening strategically and internationally and probably also economically, the economic ties with the Gulf states are very important and it will also allow Israel to gain public and official legitimacy among the Gulf states.
The close relationship between Israel and the Trump administration and its military and economic power is an important force that the Gulf states cannot and do not want to ignore, the Gulf rulers want to maintain the throne, this is their first priority, the Palestinian problem is not their top priority, Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians can wait.