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The Arab World isn’t Waiting for the Palestinians
US President Donald Trump hosts Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander of the UAE’s military, at the White House in May 2017. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

The Arab World isn’t Waiting for the Palestinians

Maariv, Israel, August 16

The seemingly secretive ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates over the past few years have been known to all, including leaders of Hamas, Iran and Hizbullah. Still, the decision to “come out” with these relations and make them public is nothing short of a groundbreaking development for both Israel and the Arab world. The Palestinians will be forced to reassess their current course of action, since the removal of the annexation plan from the political agenda means they no longer have an excuse to boycott negotiations with Israel. Notwithstanding, we must remember that the most important agreements Israel must reach are not with distant enemies-turned-allies, but rather with its immediate neighbors. Therefore, the Palestinian issue is likely to continue shaping Israel’s ties with its neighbors even after the signing of the UAE normalization agreement. For now, the Palestinian leadership is closely and vigilantly watching what happens. If more Gulf states take advantage of the momentum and join the UAE in declaring peace with Israel, this would ultimately imply that the Arab world isn’t waiting for the Palestinians. At the end of the day, a nuclear-armed Iran is a far greater threat to any moderate Arab regime than the risks associated with a continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As far as the UAE is concerned, this move provides Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with much-needed political credit for having prevented an Israeli takeover of Palestinian lands. We can only hope that this breakthrough will force the Palestinians back to the negotiation table, where they, too, can reach an agreement with Israel. But for now, it’s more likely that the Palestinians will feel abandoned and angry – exacerbating the already-high political tensions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. – Tal Lev-Ram (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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