Thursday, November 26, 2020

  • Thursday, November 26, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

EU High Representative Joseph Borrell made statements about the Abraham Accords. In general he is OK with them, but there is always a "however...."

Madame President, Honourable Members, thank you very much for having this opportunity to address you today on a very important issue, the geopolitical implications of the recent agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and, recently, Sudan. And maybe many more in the future.

On behalf of the European Union, I have welcomed these announcements...

However, although these agreements bring positive developments, it is clear that they all focus on the broader regional picture.... As we have always said, there will not be sustainable peace and stability in the region without a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and, in particular, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of a negotiated and viable two-state solution, built upon the internationally agreed parameters.
The implication is that there is still something wrong with agreements between Israel and Arab nations that do not end the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

The idea of "linkage," that everything in the Middle East depends on Israel making Palestinians happy, is so ingrained in the EU that even when agreements prove it is not true, they want it to be true. Which means that they are unhappy with a Jewish state being accepted as a permanent feature of the Middle East unless the impossible happens first.

Later on, Borell again shows he is less than enthusiastic about these agreements, trying to downplay them as much as he can:

This normalisation of the relations has to be considered within the complex reality in the region. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have never been technically at war with Israel. So, to call that a peace agreement without having had a war may be an exaggeration.

Normalization is much, much more significant than a technical peace agreement - but Borell wants to pretend that it is no big deal.

But, as I said, in any case it is a positive approach that reflects a somewhat transactional rather than transformative approach....
It is clear that this normalisation comes after other strategic considerations, such as gaining military [advantages] – F35 fighters for the Emirates - or economic advantages - economic deals with Emirates and Bahrain - or for Sudan, a major gain to get out of its international isolation, by taking it off from the States Sponsors of Terrorism list, which is a major win for Sudan and its economy is on the verge of collapse and baldy needs outside investment. All these things, for sure, are being taken into consideration in these kind of agreements.
This also mimics the responses of anti-Israel pundits towards the accords. And it is false, at least for the UAE. While the F-35s were a factor, the enthusiasm shown by the UAE and its citizens for the agreements is transformational not only for the Gulf but for the entire Middle East. Arabic media across the board has shown more openness to Israel and Jews than ever before. There are discussions in public about Iraq and Lebanon eventually normalizing, as unlikely as that seems - but even the topic was off limits a few months ago. 

Not only that, but Arab nations that still cannot trade with Israel directly can trade through the UAE, increasing significantly Israel's trade with the entire Arab world, not just the UAE and Bahrain.

Also, didn't Egypt receive billions of dollars in aid - plus control over the Sinai - for making peace with Israel? Didn't Jordan receive land and aid as well? Is that not also "transactional?" Does that in any way take away from how important those deals were?

Saying it is not transformative reveals Borell's own wishful thinking, not reality.  It shows that he is really uncomfortable with peace happening in ways that the EU wasn't involved in, using a paradigm that the EU still rejects. 

(h/t Irene)

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