In a historical move that changes the contours of geopolitics significantly in West Asia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel has announced that they will normalize diplomatic relations by signing the agreement, the Abraham Accord on Aug 13, 2020 (named so after Abraham, the patriarch of the Abrahamic religions-Christianity, Islam and Judaism) which was brokered by the US President Donald Trump.
The agreement comes right after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to suspend his plans to annex parts of West Bank, one that has been criticized by the Gulf-Arab States, Europe and few other countries around the world.
The Deal and its Significance
In a joint statement released by the US, Israel and the UAE, the leaders of the three countries agreed to “the full normalizations of the strained relations between Israel and the UAE”.
The move is significant because with the exception of Egypt and Jordan, Israel is not
recognized as a Nation state and do not have diplomatic relations with its neighbouring Gulf-Arab States owing to its long-standing conflict with Palestinians. But the deal would mean putting a nail in the coffin about the validation of Israel as a nation state.
In the coming weeks, Israel and the UAE will finalize bilateral ties and cover areas of
investment, tourism, the establishment of direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare and cultural ties, not to mention the establishment of Embassies which seems like a grey area and UAE is more inclined towards considering Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem, unlike the US.
The Politics behind the agreement
The agreement is seen as an attempt by the US and Israel to alienate Iran from other Gulf-Arab States as it is nothing short of a nightmare for Iran to see two of their biggest sworn enemies in the region join hands.
Also, it has been speculated that the POTUS (President of the United States) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu had their personal interests at play, with the elections approaching.
Netanyahu who had been facing protests and took a dip in popularity because of his mishandling of the pandemic but majorly because he is on trial for corruption. He is banking on this deal to revive his image and head for the next elections from a position of strength.
The same goes for the GOP candidate Donald Trump who has been gasping for air, clinging on to the plank of being the advocate of peace in West Asisa as the chances of him regaining the Oval Office seemed to have been sinking. With the US Presidential election set for November this year, Prez. Trump may play this trump card calling the agreement a foreign policy success.
Reactions around the world
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi denounced the agreement and said “May you never be sold out by your friends” and another has said that “the UAE has stabbed them with a poisonous dagger”.
The Gaza Strip’s Islamist leaders Hamas rejected the agreement, saying it harmed the
The Iranian Ministry called the deal “a dagger that was unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims”.
The Turkish Presidential aide censured the UAE-Israel deal saying “history will definitely record defeat of those who betrayed Palestinian people”.
Both Egypt and Jordan appear to have supported the agreement.
Prez. Trump said in a televised address “The deal that was released today will enable Muslims to have far greater ability to visit many historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
India’s MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) welcomed the normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE, calling them both “key strategic partners”.