Sunday, February 07, 2021

  • Sunday, February 07, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon



History Today asked four anti-Israel historians or other supposed experts whether the peace/normalization treaties between Israel and Bahrain, the UAE, Sudan and Morocco are considered "historic."

They unanimously say that these agreements are more or less meaningless. The reason? Because they do not address the real problem in the Middle East: peace between Israel and Palestinians.

Check out this groupthink:

Fawaz Gerges says, "Far from a turning point, this top-down Israeli-Arab partnering overlooks the fundamental question of Palestinian rights and Israel’s place in the region."

Ilan Pappe says, "It has very little to do with the real issue in Israel and Palestine."

James Rodgers, a former BBC correspondent, says, "They are not a historic turning point in Arab-Israeli relations because they do not directly address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "

Avi Shlaim says, "In my opinion the Abraham Accords do not merit the grand epithet of ‘historic’ because they do not touch the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Palestinian problem is the core of this conflict and has been the central issue in Arab politics since 1945."

The amount of denial here is hilarious. These people's hate for Israel is so great that they look at the entire world through an anti-Israel lens, and therefore come up with anti-Israel conclusions.

First of all, the Palestinian conflict was never the core of the conflict nor was it the "central issue in Arab politics since 1945." It was an excuse for the conflict which was based on antisemitism and, after Israel was reborn, shame at mighty Muslims having lost to weak dhimmi Jews. The proof is obvious: the Arabs never actually helped the Palestinians. They didn't give them independence in 1949, they didn't give them equal rights, and except for Jordan they didn't give any of them citizenship. They used them as cannon fodder and they kept them miserable for public relations purposes. The idea of an independent Palestinian state was not even considered until after 1967.

The Abraham Accords revealed the truth that has been obvious to observers for over a decade: Arab nations were sick of the Palestinian issue. They are disgusted that Palestinians didn't accept any peace offers and they are aghast that Palestinians cannot even unify the Hamas and Fatah factions. 

This is not a secret. Any historian worth the name would know these basic facts. It is written in the Arabic media and it is obvious from the actions of the Arab leaders - promising billions of dollars and paying only a tiny fraction. 

Secondly, the Abraham Accords are momentous not only because of peace but because of normalization. The UAE-Israel agreement, and the Bahrain agreement, explicitly changes Israel from an pariah state into a state that has historic and permanent ties to the region:
Recognizing that the Arab and Jewish peoples are descendant of a common ancestor, Abraham, and inspired, in that spirit, to foster in the Middle East a reality in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and peoples of all faiths, denominations, beliefs and nationalities live in, and are committed to, a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding and mutual respect;
Anyone who says that this isn't historic doesn't know history as well as they pretend.

Third, the open trade relations between Israel and the Gulf states will not only cement Israel as a permanent economic partner for Bahrain and the UAE, but to all other Gulf states as well who might not be interested in publicly trading with Israel but who will happily trade through those two countries. Israel already had clandestine trading with other Arab states - expect this to skyrocket.

Fourth, the accords have destroyed the anti-Israel unanimity of the Arab League.

Fifth, these accords have ushered in more cooperation between Israel and other Arab states who have not yet signed their own agreements. Saudi Arabia now allows Israeli planes to fly over its territory and Saudi leaders have met Israeli leaders. Israel has improved ties with Oman, which welcomed the accords.  Many Arab states may not officially recognize Israel, but very few are officially enemies any more. 

That is a sea change in how the Arab world looks at Israel. To minimize that is, frankly, delusional. 

The accords have proven the exact opposite of the History Today critics' main assumption - that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the core issue. It never was. Arab states have had much more important issues to deal with, chiefly the Iranian threat, and Israel is a far better partner for them than Palestinians could ever be. Even the cold peace between Israel and Jordan/Egypt is stronger than ever, as they are purchasing much needed natural gas from Israel now and they could not afford to shut that off. 

These historians might not like it, but 2020 was the year that Israel became largely integrated into the Middle East, something that has been fought against for over seven decades.

The History Today article  is not sober analysis. After all, most of the people interviewed have become famous because of their books on the Israel/Palestinian conflict, and their fame is dependent on that conflict being considered important. This article is sour grapes at being shown to be so spectacularly wrong for so long. 

(h/t Charlie in NY)





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