Israel and the United Arab Emirates, helped by the US, have arrived at an important peace agreement that has the potential to change the geopolitics of West Asia and beyond.
● As per the deal, the UAE will establish diplomatic relations with Israel in return for Israel committing to give up a stated plan to annex the West Bank, the main territory of a state that the Palestinians want.
● The UAE became the third Arab nation to recognise Israel after Egypt (in 1979) and Jordan (1994).
● On priority, Israel and UAE will work together to find a treatment and a vaccine for Covid-19.
● President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, which seeks a two-state solution, lashed out against the deal as a “betrayal” by the UAE.
For the Palestinians, the Israeli commitment that it will not pursue its plan to annex the West Bank, is an empty concession – the deal does not address the Palestinian demand for statehood.
If the Arab states do fall in line, it would dramatically bring all Sunni nations in the region in an anti-Iran alliance with Israel that they have secretly wished for all these years.
The deal will put Pakistan in a bind. Pakistan is unlikely to be seen as joining an Arab alliance that has effectively abandoned another “Islamic” cause dear to Pakistan, that of Palestine.
Even if the UAE-Israel agreement does not bring Israel-Palestine peace, the new equations that it will give rise to, including the isolation of Iran, are already being heralded in the US as an achievement.
The agreement could fast-track the changes that are already under way in the region. The Saudi bloc, consisting of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and others, see their interests being aligned with that of the U.S. and Israel and their support for Palestine, which Arab powers had historically upheld, is dwindling, while Turkey and Iran emerge as the strongest supporters of the Palestinians in the Muslim world. This tripolar contest is already at work in West Asia. The UAE-Israel thaw could sharpen it further.
PEPPER IT WITH
Two Nation Theory, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Hamas, Jerusalem as new capital