UAE-Israel Peace Agreement and Its Implications for Islamic World
Written By: Tariq Niaz Bhatti
While unveiling U.S. peace plan for Palestine earlier this year, both President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister (PM)Benjamin Netanyahu (BiBi)hoped a win-win situation even though Palestinian Authority strongly opposed the plan and immediately ceased its cooperation with Israel. Due to global spread of COVID -19, the issue went on back burner. Now with President Trump breaking the news of UAE-Israel peace agreement it is now back on centre stage. As per Trump’s peace Plan for Palestine,Israel was to annex West Bank territories and part of Jordan valley which could have initiated a Palestinian backlash in the form of another intifada. With UAE-Israel peace agreement.Israel has promised to put his annexation plans on hold temporarily and successfully tone down the rising tensions in the regions. Although there are not many buyers of this peace agreement amongst Muslim countries but still Trump and BiBi have something worthwhile to tell their voters as both face full term and short term elections respectively in near future.
Israel repeatedly defeated its Arab neighbours and continued to seize territories since its inception in 1948. In six days war in 1967, Israel tripled its size only to lose Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1973 Yom Kippur war. After Yom Kippur war Arab states under U.S.auspices began working out peace agreements silently admitting the reality of State of Israel. Egypt signed peace agreement with Israel in 1978 at Camp David followed by Jordan in 1994 and now the UAE. These peace agreements have brought nothing to Palestinians except promises and more promises. But these agreements have effectively neutralized some of Israel’s sworn enemies for good.
Most Arab states, though quick to deny their contacts with Israel, do maintain convert relations with Jewish state. Turk Radio&TV (TRT)sources quoting Israeli official Arabic language channel reported Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman secret visit to Tel Aviv in 2017 and purchase of 250 million US dollar worth of Israeli spying equipment in 2018. UAE relations with Israel was an open secret as UAE contracted Israeli secretive NSO group to spy on dissidents using its spywares. In 2018,Israeli PM visited Oman on the invitation of Sultan Qaboos. Moreover Israel’s fast evolving relations with Morocco, Bahrain and Sudan are also heading towards open acceptance in near future. U.S. President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner recently suggested that more Arab countries may soon announce normalised ties with Israel. He said that the administration had also been in talks with other Arab states to normalise ties with Israel. He further suggested that more announcements will come over the next 90 days.
Independent analyst cites Iran’s expansionist policies in Gulf as the reason of Arabs leaning towards Israel. Recent Israeli sponsored sabotage of Iranian nuclear facilities and other civilian targets seems continuation of Begin Doctrine under which Israeli air force destroyed Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981 and Syrian nuclear facility of Al-Kibar in 2007.This agreement and more such agreements in future are likely to embolden Israel in its strong arm tactics.
Arabs insecurities stem from two factors i.e. Iran expansionist policies, its support to Shia minority population anywhere in gulf and rise of dissident and militant elements within Arab societies against their policies of U.S.troops presence on Arab soil.Spread of Daesh (ISIS), Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Akhwan cadres in most of the Arab states vindicates the assertions. Instead of resolving the issues with Iran on the forums of OIC or Arab League it is sad to see that Gulf States consider it appropriate to get assistance from their arch rival and usurper of human rights Israel in the similar way as they are now approaching India to provide them the support to counter terrorism. There is a strong need to identify what is prompting oil rich Gulf States to trust Israel and India over Pakistan and Turkey as these two are no less powerful states in the region.
Israel acts as watchman of U.S. interests in Middle East and keep a vigilant eye on Iranian expansionist designs.For the purpose it gets full military and financial support from U.S. Israel-Arab peace agreements are part of U.S. strategy to create an Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran and keep its dominance of Persian Gulf and oil supply routes unchallenged. Moreover U.S. is readying India to act as front line state as part of its China containment policy in Indo-Pacific region.Due to commonality of interests, recent years have seen evolving of strong nexus amongst Israel, Arab States, India and the U.S. This evolving nexus had prompted Ex Malaysian PM Mahathir to seek a Muslim economic block comprising Turkey, Iran, Pakistan Malaysia and Indonesia in late 2019.
For political and financial freedom and ensuring territorial integrity, institutionalized unity amongst strong Muslim states is a need of the time.In any such future arrangements Pakistan’s own economic performance will play an important role in carving a strategic role for itself. Present Government insistence on economic reforms and its efforts towards financial freedom are steps in right direction.