Monday, August 17, 2020

From Ian:

Netanyahu: UAE deal based on strength, will yield ‘true peace’ with Palestinians
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expects more Arab countries to normalize their ties with Israel after last week’s agreement with the United Arab Emirates, and that the process will eventually also drive peace with the Palestinians.

In a video statement posted to his Facebook page Sunday, Netanyahu heralded what he described as a new doctrine of a strong Israel that would seek peace with Arab nations rather than conditioning ties on first ending the conflict with the Palestinians by withdrawing from territory.

“This historic change will also advance peace with the Arab world and, in the end, peace, true peace, monitored, secure, with the Palestinians as well,” Netanyahu said.

The agreement reached with the UAE, the first peace deal with an Arab state for 26 years, is unlike those with Egypt and Jordan, the other two Arab states to have formal ties with Israel, he said.

“It is different from those that preceded it in that it is based on two principles ‘Peace for peace,’ and ‘peace through strength’,” Netanyahu said. “Under this doctrine, Israel is not required to withdraw from any territory and together the two countries openly reap the fruits of a full peace: Investments, trade, tourism, health, agriculture, environmental protection and in many other fields, including defense of course,” he said.

“This peace was not achieved because Israel weakened itself by withdrawing to the 1967 lines,” he said. “It was achieved because Israel strengthened itself by cultivating a free economy, and military and technological strength, and by combining these two strengths to achieve unprecedented international influence.”

The new doctrine, he said, is “in complete contradiction to the perception, until a few days ago, that no Arab country will agree to make formal and open peace with Israel before an end is achieved for the conflict with the Palestinians.”
President Rivlin invites UAE crown prince to Jerusalem
President Reuven Rivlin extended an official invitation to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed to Jerusalem in a letter sent on Monday.

Rivlin lauded the prince for a courageous, visionary, ground-breaking move, which the president anticipated will have far-reaching results that will affect the region as a whole.

"I am full of hope that the agreement being drawn up between our countries will help build and strengthen the trust between us and the nations of the region," Rivlin wrote. "Trust will promote understanding between all of us, will march our region forward and will bring economic welfare and provide prosperity and stability to residents of the Middle East."

Rivlin wrote that he had no doubt that future generations would value the manner in which two courageous leaders have renewed the dialogue for peace.

Ashkenazi and Oman FM agree to work towards normalization
Israel and Oman are holding a dialogue aiming to have official diplomatic ties, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Oman's minister of state for foreign affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah agreed to keep in contact, strengthen ties between their countries and to “promote the normalization process in the Middle East.”Bin Abdullah affirmed Oman's support "to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and the need to resume the peace process negotiations and to fulfill the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital," the ministry said.

Ashkenazi said that he appreciates Oman’s commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East.

Following the conversation, Ashkenazi wrote on twitter that he and bin Abdullah “discussed recent developments in the region, the normalization agreement with the UAE and the need to strengthen ties between the countries.”

Bin Abdullah also spoke to Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of the central committee of the Palestinian Fatah group.

After UAE Deal, Will Liberal Zionists Stand on the Right Side of History?
Even now, despite a historic agreement that gives new hope to the people of the region, you can see liberal Zionist groups contorting themselves to keep the old model alive: “Yeah, this new deal is nice,” they’re saying, “but Israel must stop oppressing the Palestinians.”

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of course, would be incredible. But relentlessly pressuring Israel while ignoring the lies, cynicism and Jew-hatred on the other side hasn’t worked. It has only fed the power games of corrupt leaders and failed both the Palestinian cause and the cause of peace.

Have you ever wondered why decade after decade, as Palestinian leaders have flown around the globe in private jets complaining about Israel, the plight of their people has only gotten worse? They want you, they need you, to believe it’s all Israel’s fault.

Now, that worldview has been shaken. The UAE’s courageous move to put the interests of its nation ahead of the interests of dishonest Palestinian leaders has opened a new door for real progress.

New truths and hard questions may be dawning in the Arab world, such as: Have Palestinian leaders failed their own people? Have Arabs been lied to all these years about Israel? Is it true that Jews have a deep and biblical connection to the land and to Jerusalem? Can Arab nations indeed partner with Israel for a better future?

This new moment is a big test for American Jewry. If liberal Zionists allow their opposition to President Donald Trump to limit their support for a new direction that can transform the Middle East, they will fail both the Zionist and the Arab cause.

But if they tell Palestinian leaders they no longer have veto power over progress in the region and it’s time for them to negotiate in good faith; and if they encourage other Arab states to follow the UAE lead and make a seminal peace with Israel, well, they would endorse a major accomplishment of the Trump administration right before an election.

Like I said, quite a test.

Kushner: Netanyahu agreed to PA state, to not annex without US agreement
Israel will not proceed with applying sovereignty to parts of the West Bank without America’s support, and the US will not agree to it for “some time,” White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner said in a briefing with Middle Eastern media outlets on Monday, following the peace agreement between Israel and the UAE.

Asked how he can guarantee Israel will not move forward with the plan, Kushner touted the “very trusting relationship” between Israel’s leadership and the Trump administration.

“That land is land that right now Israel quite frankly controls. Israelis that live there aren’t going anywhere. There shouldn’t be any urgency to applying Israeli law. We believe they will respect their agreement,” Kushner said.

The focus for now should be on “getting this new peace agreement implemented,” Kushner said. “We want to get as much interchange between Israel and the UAE as possible.”

US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which is one of Kushner’s portfolios in the administration, would have allowed Israel to apply sovereignty to up to 30% of the West Bank, the rest of which would be designated for a Palestinian state. The normalization agreement with the UAE stipulates that Israel would suspend its plans to extend its laws in those areas.

Kushner said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a map dividing Judea and Samaria into a Palestinian state and a part that would belong to Israel, calling it “the first map ever agreed publicly to by one of the parties.”
Poll: Nearly 80% of Israelis prefer UAE deal over West Bank annexation
Nearly 80 percent of Israelis prefer Israel’s normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates over West Bank annexation, according to a survey on Sunday.

Meanwhile, some 14% said the accord would, or might, change their vote in a future election.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday that they are establishing full diplomatic relations in the US-brokered accord, which also required Israel to suspend its contentious plan to annex West Bank land sought by the Palestinians for a future state. Israel had previously planned to unilaterally move ahead with the measures on the basis of the US peace plan.

The agreement makes the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to have full, active diplomatic ties with Israel. Thursday’s joint statement said deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such areas as tourism, direct flights, and embassies.

According to a poll by Channel 12 Sunday, 76.7% of respondents back the peace deal over annexation, while only 16.5% preferred annexation. The rest, 6.8%, either had no preference or said they didn’t know.

The survey respondents were asked to choose one policy over the other, and were not quizzed directly on whether they support the normalization bid with the Gulf state.
David Horovitz: Hello Abu Dhabi! Why the Israel-UAE agreement changes (almost) everything
More importantly, on the international stage, this agreement is wonderful news for Israel.

It’s now not only the Trump administration and the right-dominated Israeli government that is warning the Palestinians that their intransigence is self-defeating but also, as of Thursday, a goodly chunk of the Arab world as well.

Only the UAE has so far made its peace with Israel and encouraged the Palestinians to get working on doing the same. But the UAE is being either applauded for its actions or at least defended by much of the Arab world against the bitter recriminations and cries of betrayal from President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the dark threats from Tehran and Ankara.

The agreement has the crucial potential, moreover, to bolster bipartisan support for Israel in the United States. Joe Biden had indicated that he would not be moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv if elected, but that he would stand opposed to unilateral Israeli annexation in the West Bank. Rather than finding himself at odds with Netanyahu on taking office, a president Biden would now inherit a peace framework accepted by Israel, endorsed to some extent by part of the Arab world, and open to the Palestinians, whom he would doubtless encourage to re-engage.

If they do so, whether under Trump or Biden, the framework on the table remains open to them. Israel has not preemptively grabbed its annexation spoils. The Trump administration has made plain that the terms of the deal are not set in stone; Biden would doubtless do the same.

If the PA stays away, and deepens its nascent alliance with Hamas, things could get very ugly on the ground, including for Israel. Placing itself starkly with the Iranians, the PA would alienate some regional and international supporters, and could face rising internal dissent.
Alan M. Dershowitz: Israel-UAE Deal is a Win-Win for Peace
The United Arab Emirates will derive many benefits from closer relationships with the Middle East's most stable and advanced country. These include economic and technological partnerships, military and intelligence sharing, mutual tourism and better relationships with the US and much of the rest of the world.

The deal also demonstrates how quickly changes occur in this volatile part of the globe. It was only a few decades ago when Israel's strongest allies were Iran and Turkey, and its most intractable enemies were Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states. Now the reverse is true. The only constant constructive element in the region is a democratic Israel, with its close ties to the United States.

The other constant — but a destructive one— has been the Palestinian leadership. They constantly say no to everything that involves normalization with Israel. This stance goes back to the 1930s when they rejected the Peel Commission recommendation that would have given them a state in the vast majority of the British Mandate. But because it would also have given the Jews a tiny, non-contiguous state, the Palestinians said no. They wanted there not to be a Jewish state more than they wanted there to be a Palestinian state. This naysaying... continues today with their refusal even to negotiate over the Trump peace plan.
New Mideast Peace Deal Reflects a Broader U.S. Strategy
The first part of that vision is focused on Iran. Since President Trump's May 2018 decision to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, his administration has embarked upon a broad campaign of "maximum" political and economic pressure against the Islamic Republic. The objective of that approach is by now abundantly clear: not to change Iran's regime, but to curb its international menace and force it back to the international negotiating table. It has also been broadly successful, dramatically reversing the Iranian regime's economic fortunes and generating renewed internal dissent against clerical rule.

The second prong centers on the administration's so-called "deal of the century" for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Unveiled publicly back in January, the plan is a detailed proposal that, among other things, offers the Palestinian leadership tremendous economic opportunities (some $50 billion in prospective U.S. investment) in exchange for a normalization of ties with Israel. Although the Palestinian leadership has thus far rejected the White House's offer, it has been effectively endorsed by a bevy of Arab nations (including the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Morocco and Qatar), as well as by Israel itself, thereby further setting the stage for the current unfolding detente.

Connecting these two poles is what is arguably the Trump administration's most important (but least well-known) regional initiative: the Middle East Strategic Alliance. Since 2017, administration officials have been working quietly with their counterparts in places like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Jordan to build a regional security grouping aimed at "confront[ing] extremism, terrorism, [and] achieving peace, stability and development" in the region. Popularized as an "Arab NATO" against Iran and the Islamic State, the bloc is actually intended to be much more. As administration officials have intimated, the objective is to eventually incorporate countries like Morocco and Israel into the evolving political, economic and military architecture. Last week's peace deal marks a significant step toward that objective.

If the administration has its way, however, it will be just the beginning. "Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates' lead," President Trump noted upon announcing the August 13 accord.

Whether they do remains to be seen. But it is apparent that last week's accomplishment represents part of a larger administration plan for the Middle East. And it is equally clear that, if President Trump perseveres at the ballot box in November, a big part of his second term foreign policy will involve building upon it.
Deconstructing the Israel-UAE Breakthrough
Ironically, Iran is the perfect antithesis of the UAE. By denying human rights and preventing the economic growth of its citizens, its leaders have oppressed their own people, setting back one of the most enlightened cultures of the world and crippling a blossoming middle-class and academic intelligentsia.

Thus the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and others face not only an immediate security threat from Iran but also the danger of its backward ideologies enslaving people’s minds.

Hence, the enormous promise of linking Israel and the UAE: two countries characterized by PM Netanyahu in his press conference as “intent on making the desert bloom.”

The UAE sees the enormous benefit not only to its own people but to the entire planet; not simply by calling an end to hostilities but to taking full advantage of Israel’s start-up nation capability in hi-tech, water, medicine, etc., especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the world of the supreme importance of Israel’s cutting-edge contributions in the medical field.

To be clear, the peace with Egypt and Jordan continues to serve its purpose. Yet relations between each of these two countries and Israel have never blossomed beyond a “cold peace” and have not led to realizing the potential for bilateral or regional economic growth, which in turn would provide prosperity and stability to these countries.

Think of those agreements as pulling a thorn out of the paw of a lion. He may no longer be poised to attack, but in a heartbeat he’s capable of threatening to break relations. So I’d think twice before recommending anybody lay down with him, especially if they’re a lamb. And all it takes is for someone to sneeze on the Temple Mount and our people in Jerusalem have to worry about the Jordanians recalling their ambassador.

The UAE is a completely different story. Their leaders want to build a better future based on the precious intellectual property that Israel can provide.

The late president Shimon Peres used to say that people misunderstood the nature of the conflict: It’s not about territories, or Israel vs. Arabs, or Islam against the Jews; it is about leaders in the Islamic world who want to turn back the clock five centuries as opposed to those who are focused on the 21st and 22nd centuries.

Those who look to the future will win. The UAE is correctly positioning itself to take advantage of Israel’s enormous potential to help them reach their goals. Others will follow.
Dennis Ross: The Israel-UAE Agreement Is a Key Step for Peace and Sends a Crucial Message to Palestinians
The UAE understood from conversations with the administration that formal peace would give it access to previously off-limits U.S. weaponry, such as advanced drones. Until now, these weapons had been denied to them because of the U.S. commitment to preserving Israel's qualitative military edge. The U.S. provided Egypt advanced weaponry after President Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel. Similarly, Jordan did not get F-16s until King Hussein concluded a peace treaty with Israel.

Normalization should signal to Palestinians that others are not going to wait for them. Focusing only on their grievances, their narrative and their posture of never initiating or offering counterproposals to negotiations will continue to weaken their position. With Covid-19 wreaking havoc throughout the region, the desire to benefit from working with the Israelis on a wide range of needs, including health care, tech, water access and cyber security, will only increase.

This normalization represents an important contribution to peace-building between Arabs and Israelis. It also crosses a threshold, effectively saying "enough of tradition, habit and inbred hostility - we will make peace because it serves our interests, and others can choose to accept or reject it." (Others may not follow immediately, but the barriers to normalization have been eroded.)
Ronald S. Lauder:Israel, UAE Agreement May Herald a New Era of Peace
The agreement between the UAE and Israel is the beginning of regionwide peace. It is a catalyst for more countries in the Middle East to actually envision a better future for their children. During my visits to universities, cultural sites and souqs in the UAE, Bahrain and other nations, I have seen a people quite open and eager to engage the world. I was deeply impressed with their tolerance toward other religions.

The agreement is called the Abraham Accord because of the obvious connection the two religions share with the Prophet Abraham. Together, the descendants of Abraham can make not just their countries but the entire world a better place. I often like to remind my Jewish and Muslim friends in Israel, the U.S., Europe and the Middle East that we are cousins.

Peace between us is possible. Friendship between us is possible. But it takes courage to take that first, difficult step.

Israel said to estimate UAE deal worth hundreds of millions in trade a year
The Economy Ministry has estimated that the normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Israel in trade and investments, Channel 12 news reported Sunday.

Citing official figures based on various scenarios the ministry has reviewed in recent days, the station reports that exports to the UAE, which are currently at around $300,000 a year, could jump to an annual $300-$500 million.

UAE investments in Israel were predicted to amount to up to $350 million a year.

The areas of industry expected to gain the most were cyber industries, medical equipment, financial technology and communications, the report said.

The report also said the Arab-Israeli sector in particular was expected to benefit from investment by the Gulf state, though it did not provide further details.

In expectation of export deals and investments, the government has begun preparing frameworks to ease the process, the report said, without giving further details. Economy Minister Amir Peretz has ordered that work start to strengthen economic ties between the countries, beginning with the opening of a trade mission in the planned Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Israel, UAE stem cell therapy companies collaborate on COVID-19 treatments
Haifa’s Pluristem Therapeutics and the United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center (ADSCC) signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to collaborate and capitalize on each company’s cell therapy expertise.

Pluristem has been treating COVID-19 patients with its biological therapeutic products since the first wave. In May, its PLX cells therapy was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for a Phase II study in the treatment of severe COVID-19 cases complicated by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Its stem cells are sources from the placenta.

Preliminary results of the use of Pluristem on 18 patients through coronavirus compassionate use programs in Israel and the US in May showed that 75% of those treated were off any mechanical ventilation within 28 days.

ADSCC has been treating COVID-19 patients with stem cells sourced from the patient’s blood, by returning the cells back into the patient’s lungs as a fine mist through a nebulizer.

A nebulizer allows medical staff to administer medication directly and quickly to the lungs by turning liquid medicine into a fine mist that a person can inhale through a face mask or mouthpiece.
UAE businessman in talks with Israir to begin flights for tourists
One of the UAE’s richest businessmen is said to be in talks with Israir Airlines to begin flights for tourists between the countries.

Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor, one of the 10 richest people in Dubai, called the normalization deal with Israel an opportunity for tourists and businessmen.

“I have many friends from Israel,” he told Channel 13 on Sunday. “I met them in Budapest, and we discussed mutual business. This is a great decision by the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the UAE. I can say that they really did something great. This is an opportunity for Israeli businessmen and tourists who want to visit because we have variety. This is a very rich country.”

Habtoor said his company had begun initial discussion with Israir about commercial flights and charter flights for tourists.

“My team is conducting negotiations, and I hope that we will reach an agreement that is good for both sides, for Israeli society and for Emirati society,” he said.

Normalization of relations is an opportunity for Palestinian businessmen as well, Habtoor said.

“I know the Palestinians during the time of Yasser Arafat wanted peace,” he said. “But sometimes there is, I call it, a theater play. But it’s a theater of losers, sadly.
Gulf states condemn Iran’s threats to UAE over its normalization with Israel
The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council on Sunday condemned Iran for threatening the United Arab Emirates after it announced normalization of ties with Israel.

Council Secretary-General Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf said in a statement “Iran must adhere to the UN Charter and refrain from interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations,” the Arab News website reported.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that the UAE had made a “huge mistake” by taking steps toward normalization with Israel, and now faced “a dangerous future.

“[The UAE] better be mindful. They have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act. We hope they will realize this and abandon this wrong path,” Rouhani said.

For its part, Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that the deal would accelerate Israel’s demise.

The UAE’s foreign ministry said Sunday it had summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in the country for a dressing down over Tehran’s threats.

The Gulf Cooperation Council members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Mauritania lauds UAE's 'good judgment' on Israel accord
Mauritania, a member of the Arab League, said it trusts the "wisdom and good judgment" of the United Arab Emirates leadership for signing an accord with Israel to normalize relations, UAE state news agency WAM said on Sunday.

"The UAE possesses absolute sovereignty and complete independence in conducting its relations and assessing the positions it takes in accordance with its national interest and the interests of Arabs and Muslims," WAM quoted a statement from Mauritania's Foreign Ministry as saying.

Mauritania used to have full diplomatic ties with Israel but froze relations in 2009 in response to the 2008-09 Gaza war.

This left Jordan and Egypt as the only two Arab states with diplomatic links until Israel and the UAE on Thursday announced an agreement that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two states.
MEMRI: Senior Saudi Journalist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed: Every Arab Country Is Entitled To Establish Relations With Israel; Qatar, A Critic Of The UAE-Israel Agreement, Has Maintained Relations With Israel Since 1996 – Even Hosting Shimon Peres When It Served Its Political Purposes
In his August 15, 2020 column in the Saudi London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, senior Saudi journalist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, the daily's former editor-in-chief and former director-general of the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel, expressed his support for the UAE-Israel normalization agreement and for every Arab country's right to establish relations with Israel. He stated that just as no Arab element or state can impose its decisions about the Palestinian cause and Palestinian matters on the Palestinians, the Palestinians and Arabs cannot decide whether any Arab state should establish relations with Israel or not, because this is a sovereign matter concerning that state's supreme interests and unique circumstances.

Rejecting the Qatari, Turkish, and Palestinian criticism of the UAE-Israel agreement, he wrote that this criticism is not connected to the agreement itself but has to do with internal disputes between various Arab states. He accused Qatar of hypocrisy, noting that it was the first to establish relations with Israel – in 1996 – and to open an Israeli legation on its soil, and that it had even hosted then-Israeli deputy prime minister Shimon Peres when it served its political purposes. About the Palestinians, he said that instead of benefiting from the Arab world's progress in establishing relations with Israel, they had chosen instead to sit on the sidelines as observers, and emphasized that they were missing out.

The following is a translation of the main points of Al-Rashed's column:
"There are 193 countries in the world. [Together,] they comprise the international community of UN [member states], 163 of whom recognize Israel. These figures clearly show that what happened the day before yesterday [i.e. the announcement of the UAE-Israel agreement] is not too grave, despite all the [criticism] you have heard about it. The [establishment] of ties between the UAE and Israel comes 27 years after the Oslo Accords, 40 years after [the appointment of] Sa'd Murtada, Egypt's first ambassador to Tel Aviv, and 24 years after the appointment of the first Israeli [representative] in Qatar and the raising of the Israeli flag over the building of the [Israeli] mission in Doha.

"The Arab history of diplomatic, trade, and sports relations [with Israel] is flourishing, and has not yet ceased. Hence, the campaign of attacks and criticism waged by Qatar and some officials in the Palestinian Authority [against the UAE-Israel agreement] reflects [only] the strained relations between Arab countries, and has nothing to do with the [UAE's] diplomatic move vis-ร -vis Israel.
MEMRI: UAE Press: Normalization Agreement With Israel Brings Hope To The Region After A Century Of Conflicts And Disasters, Promotes Palestinian Cause
Since the UAE announced it was normalizing relations with Israel in preparation for signing a peace agreement with it, many articles have appeared in its press defending the agreement and stressing its advantages. The articles stated that, after long years of war and conflicts, the agreement can bring hope, peace, prosperity, stability and development to the region, and that the advantages of peace are certainly preferable to the harm caused by the conflict. The UAE and its press also stressed that the agreement is compatible with Islam, which underscores the value of peace.

In addition, UAE leaders emphasized that the agreement with Israel serves the Palestinians because it has halted Israel's plans to annex Palestinian lands and will increase regional stability.[1] This argument also appeared in many of the press articles, which noted that the UAE is not the first Arab country to sign agreements with Israel and that many of those who are now criticizing the agreement – such the Palestinians, Qatar and Turkey – signed such agreements long before the UAE did. The articles emphasized that the agreement does not harm the Palestinians, but actually benefits them and promotes the realization of their rights, for it provides a new framework for pressuring Israel to change its positions and policy on the Palestinian issue.

The following are translated excerpts from some of the press articles in UAE dailies about the peace agreement with Israel.

It's Time For The Region To Enjoy Peace; The Benefits Of Peace Are Incomparably Better Than The Cost Of The Conflict

Hamad Al-Ka'bi, editor of the UAE government daily Al-Ittihad, stressed in an article that peace, rather than war, is the most effective way for countries to realize their interests. He wrote:

"After the conflicts and tensions of the last decades caused severe damage and made us miss many opportunities to find ways to give people hope and a life of prosperity, due to the fixed and rigid positions of [various] countries, it's time for this region to enjoy peace, stability and development. Everyone in this region bears responsibility for [the plight of] many generations whose strength was depleted by prolonged conflicts that affected all areas of life. Throughout its long history, the UAE has adhered to [the principle of] peace, and it supported, supports and will continue to support the legitimate rights of the Arabs in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as the rights of the Palestinians…

"In 1979 our big sister Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel and regained Arab and Egyptian rights. Our Palestinian and Jordanian brothers ratified two agreements with Israel, in 1993 and 1994 [respectively], and Arab and Muslim states have established full or partial relations with [Israel]. Egypt [thus] regained Sinai, the Palestinians gained [an official] presence in their land, as a precursor to an independent state, and the Jordanians regained their legitimate rights in terms of territories and water thanks to the peace [agreement]. Despite this, the peace process continued to experience ups and downs, and was often suspended, for reasons known to all.

"The UAE believes that the advantages of peace are incomparably [preferable] to the harm caused by the conflict, and that relations between states must not [remain stuck], circling in place, while the times, circumstances and interests change…
Robin Wright: Some Arab Leaders Don't Want to Be Held Back by Palestinian Rejectionism
After decades of dominating and defining tensions across the Middle East, the Palestinians are no longer a pressing priority; they also seem increasingly irrelevant to the region's trendlines. Their brethren are abandoning them. "The conflict is decidedly less important to leaders in the region," Natan Sachs, the director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, told me.

The agreement is "a visible demonstration of the fatigue of some Arab leaders, in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular, with the Palestinian leadership and their cause. They no longer want to be held back by what they see as Palestinian rejectionism." The Palestinians have to sort out their own political mess before the Arab world will again expend much political clout to help their cause.

Israel's deal with the UAE alters a fundamental premise of peace, Sachs noted. For decades, the framework of international diplomacy was based on "land for peace" in exchange for the Arabs promising no future aggression. The new premise is "peace for peace."
Honest Reporting: The Olive Branch: Israel's hand has always been extended in peace
The historic announcement that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed a peace agreement is consistent with Israel's long-standing desire to reach out to its neighbors. Former Knesset member Dov Lipman, HonestReporting's Senior Manager - Community Outreach shows the history of Israel's continuous push to achieve peace with Arab countries.

Honest Reporting: Israel-UAE Peace Deal: What's Next for the Palestinians?
One of the greatest foreign policy assumptions over the past generation was that Israel needed to forge peace with the Palestinians before other Arab nations would even countenance normalizing ties with Jerusalem. But the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates may have turned this long-prevailing status quo on its head. Needless to say, the Palestinian Authority is livid, having referred to the accord as a betrayal." On the flip side, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that the historic deal with the UAE will eventually induce the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. So, which side is right?

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash on Establishment of Israel-UAE Relations

Rouhani: We Will Have a Score to Settle with the UAE If It Gives Israel a Foothold in the Region

Egyptian-American Analyst: The UAE Is Acting Realistically by Developing Relations with Israel

Palestinian professor slams PA’s ‘overreaction’ to Israel-UAE deal
Mohammed Dajani, a prominent Palestinian professor of political science and peace activist, on Monday criticized the Palestinian Authority leadership for rejecting last week’s agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize their relations.

Asked if he saw any benefits for the Palestinians from the agreement, Dajani, founder of the Wasatia movement of moderate Islam, said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post: “Definitely, I think that here we have to understand the nature of things, that this peace will go through two processes; the first process will be the government-to-government, and the second will be people-to-people.”

Dajani, who gained international recognition for his work to raise awareness to the Holocaust, said what we are witnessing now is government-to-government peace between the UAE and Israel. “I strongly support this initiative by Abu Dhabi, because I feel it is a step forward towards reconciliation,” he said. “It is important to have more Arab countries involved in the peace process.”

In March 2014, Dajani took a group of students from the Palestinian Al-Quds University to the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz. Facing criticism from some Palestinians over the trip, Dajani resigned from the university. A year later, his car was set on fire and destroyed in front of his home in northern Jerusalem.

Born to one of east Jerusalem’s historic families, Dajani said that the Palestinians should look at the long-term benefits they stand to gain from the Israel-UAE deal.

“If the Palestinians can build good relations and bridges with the Arab countries, instead of criticizing and demonizing the United Arab Emirates, they can, for example, use the United Arab Emirates to pressure Israel regarding the peace process. This is the role that Jordan and Egypt have played by using their relations with Israel in order to achieve peace for the Palestinians. Those countries that have relations with Israel are much more possibilities to be able to involve themselves in trying to seek the Israeli government’s recognition for a Palestinian state and Palestinian rights. It is more useful to have more Arab countries with good relations with Israel so that they could pressure Israel into moving in that direction, rather than to have enmity relations where they have no input on Israeli policies.”
PLO on Israel-UAE peace deal: “A knife in the back of the Palestinian people”

PA: UEA’s deal with Israel is “agreement of disgrace… knife in the back”

PA: United Arab Emirates is “a tumor” in the Arab body because it made peace with Israel

Guardian joins Iran and Turkey in opposing UAE-Israel peace deal
Support for UAE-Israel peace deal has been so widespread that it was applauded not only by the UN, the EU, the UK, Egypt, Bahrain and Oman, and leaders of US Democratic Party, but by voices almost always opposed to policies of the Trump and Netanyahu governments, including Yachad UK, J Street and Americans for Peace Now.

However, joining Iran, Turkey, Rhodes and Tlaib in condemning the deal was the Guardian, in an official editorial in The Observer (Guardian sister site), “The Observer view on the ‘historic’ Middle East breakthrough”.

The editorial begins by complaining that any “rapprochement built on the ruins of Palestinian hopes of an independent state is suspect and fragile” and avering that the “flawed deal may yet come to be seen as a historic mistake”.

Then, after several paragraphs devoted to undermining the significance of the peace deal – which included Israel’s agreement not to go ahead with ‘annexation’ – by noting the putatively flawed motivations of those parties (the US, Israel and UAE) responsible it, the editorial pivots to the most revealing sentence:

It is worth noting that the various motivations of these three individuals appear to have little or nothing to do with resolving the central issue at the heart of the decades-old conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours – the illegal occupation and seizure of Palestinian land. Their self-exculpatory defence – that the UAE agreed to normalise relations in exchange for a halt to the West Bank annexation plans – looks highly questionable.
CBC Lobs Softball Questions to Fmr. PLO Representative on Israel & UAE Peace Deal
On August 14, CBC’s flagship radio program As It Happens featured a segment on the UAE and Israel peace deal to gauge the Palestinian reaction to the deal.

The program interviewed Diana Buttu (pictured right), a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and a former spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who said that the deal represented a “stab in the back” for Palestinians. (Queue to the 27:00 mark to listen to the interview). For Buttu, the deal was “shameful, disgusting and a real let down…. Israel is being rewarded for its ‘illegal behavior.'”

Oddly titled: “Palestinian UAE Deal” (not Israel and UAE deal) CBC guest host Peter Armstrong (former CBC Mideast bureau chief) lobbed softball questions to Ms. Buttu which gave her ample opportunity to condemn the normalization deal without challenge.

Armstrong, an experienced reporter on the Arab-Israeli conflict, didn’t press Buttu on historical Palestinian rejectionism, unilateralism, incitement, terrorism, corruption, etc. The only obstacle to peacemaking cited by Armstrong is the divide between Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the west bank. Armstrong ignored the positive aspects of the deal such as bilateral trade and cooperation on agriculture, cyber security, technology, food security, tourism, etc.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Buttu conducted the interview from where she lives: Haifa, Israel, which she uses as a perch to cavalierly attack Israel while living in the Jewish state with full and equal rights! Haifa has an earned reputation for being a place where Jews and Arabs live in harmony together.

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Elder of Ziyon - ุญู€ูƒู€ูŠู€ู… ุตู€ู‡ู€ูŠู€ูˆู†

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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