Israel-UAE Agreement

Because nothing is as free from controversy as any thorny issue in the Middle East.

Trump will take the credit for this agreement which establishes diplomatic relations and travel between Israel and the UAE and puts a hold on expansion. On the face of it, it seems interesting. I suspect it changes things less than one might think.

Anyone with expertise on these issues have an opinion?


I’d say it’s pretty big. The gulf states were already informally cooperating with Israel as part of an anti-Iran coalition, so the UAE making it formal and official and all the way to complete normalization is them unnecessarily putting their necks on the line, given that hard-line Islamists are still out there. I suspect Oman and Bahrain are watching closely to see if they can safely do the same.

The fact that they got a concession for the Palestinians as part of the deal may mean something, but given the hard-line attitudes of Abbas and Hamas, I’m guessing not.

I think it’s pretty big. Any movement in this area towards some sort of peace is a good thing.

I think it is an important step. However, it all seems to hinge on Israel’s annexation plans for the West Bank. The news reported Israel took that off the table, which allowed this deal to go forward, but Netanyahu was shown later saying it was not off the table, just “paused”. Maybe he had to say that publicly to appease the hard-liners at home, and has no intention of pursuing that plan any time soon. But still, seems like a delicate agreement.

The Palestinians seem to be surprised, and not in a good way.

Sounds positive. I don’t believe it implies trust on either side but talking is better than not talking.

I have an American friend who’s very pro-Israel and follows Middle Eastern news closely; he thinks it’s a BFD and is pleased with it.

Palestinians hate it.

Sounds like Turkey is less than pleased.

I’d say that it’s a nothingburger.
It looks like good right PR now, but will have no serious effects on any of the problems in the Middle East–neither Iran, nor the Palestinians.

The UAE was never a real enemy of Israel; Yes they talked the talk in the past (about maintaining unity among the Arab nations, and the horrible Jews who stole Jerusalem and the Al-Aksa mosque. etc). And now they are publicly committed to stop the talk.
But other than the talk, they never walked the walk…They never actively fought in a war against Israel, they so they can’t make peace. They took part in the economic boycotts of Israel that were common 30 years ago, but which have faded away in the age of the internet and the global economy. So the UAE is really bringing nothing to Israel other than a photo shoot: a chance to stand on the lawn at the White House in a three-way handshake with Netanyahu, Trump, and Prince Zayed
The UAE has its own (economic)reasons for wanting to be closer to the western world; a photo-op with the caption “peace” makes them look better on the stock markets.And it will cost them only a few days of angry editorials in Arabic newspapers.

But there will be no change in the Middle East.

The Prez wants one of these feathers in his cap…

BTW, this was the Oslo accords from the early 1990s. How much has changed since then?

Finding a piece that connects to a corner piece is important when you’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a very long way from completing the puzzle though.

From a risk/reward perspective, I can’t fathom what the UAE gets out of formally and publicly recognizing Israel.
As cmkeller says above, they are “unnecessarily putting their necks on the line.”
Egyptian president Sadat was assassinated for making peace with Israel. Will the leaders of the UAE have to be constantly looking over their shoulders from now on?

Jared has been suggesting that Saudi Arabia will be next.

The only real thing to be said about this at this point is: Time Will Tell.

A major part of this agreement is Israel’s agreeing to suspend annexation of Palestinian areas. Is that going to persist permanently? In order to find a solution to the situation permanently, it seems like that would be a prerequisite. Right now, that’s going to be dependent on Netanyahu’s whims, which I’m not putting a lot of stock in.

I am repeatedly seeing the suggestion that this is essentially a Middle East version of realpolitik. The Arab nations are deeply worried about growing Iranian influence in the region; they see Israel as not an existential threat to them, so it would make sense at this juncture to make peace.

Can that be the thing to erase centuries of hostility? Who knows. I guess we all just need to watch.

Israel already has agreements and diplomatic relations with Jordan and Egypt. The UAE thing would not have happened without the support of Saudi Arabia. I heard Oman and Sudan may also feel what is being called momentum.

Palestine and Iran are unhappy. This thread is not meant to simplify a complex issue which engenders strong feelings, nor to take sides. So this is pointed out without prejudice.

Centuries of hostilities are not easily erased. Ireland shows there can be progress. But also shows this is difficult.

I’m not sure specifically from the early 90s, since I was in single digit age back then, but I do feel like things have calmed down maybe in the past 10 years. I remember during the first decade of the 2000s it seemed like there was a terrorist bombing in Israel or a Palestinian village being bulldozed, in the news virtually every week. In 2006 I remember Israel bombing Lebanon. But since 2010 it seems like there has been less and less bad news from Israel each year. I’m sure the conditions are still very bad in Gaza, but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of open conflict anymore. My accounting of this is limited to following the news, though - maybe someone who’s actually in Israel would see it differently.

Fortunately, it’s not just about his whims, because he also needs the votes - which he doesn’t have.

That’s what this whole thing is about. The annexation thing was part Netanyahu’s pandering to his right-wing base in the recent cascade of elections, and part him trying to secure himself some sort of legacy after 14 years in office. The thing is, it;s been becoming more and more clear over the past few months that he simply doesn’t have the Knesset votes to annex any of the West Bank and that he probably will never have them without yet another election.

That put him in a bind - withdrawing from his annexation plan would make him look weak, and actually putting it to a vote and failing would make him look even weaker, all while facing increasing anti-corruption demonstrations, a crashing economy and an approaching trial. Worse, even if he somehow passes annexation through the Knesset, he’s realized that the U.S does not have his back, and that the blowback from the rest of the world would be catastrophic. It was damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

So he changed the conversation. I hate the guy, but he deserves mad props for what he did - yes, he withdrew from his annexation plans, but he framed it has a concession he made in return for peace with an Arab country, something that virtually the entire Israeli public, left and right, is very much in favor of. The only Israelis who aren’t happy with the deal are the far right and the settler movement, and really, as far as I’m concerned, thinking that they might screw Netanyahu over in the next election makes it even better.

Thanks for the breakdown. I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert on Israeli politics, so a primer like this is certainly helpful. Certain people in the U.S. get the idea in their heads that Israel is some sort of political monolith when it comes to the border question. I’m aware that it most certainly isn’t, but it always helps to get a better perspective.

I still stand by the idea that we will have to wait and see on this to see if it is a truly meaningful step in the process; “avalanche” situations that resolve longstanding conflicts quickly are few and far between, at least from what I can see.

The UAE has always been one of the more peaceful countries in the Middle East, so in practical terms, this isn’t that big a deal. But still, peace is good, and this is a step towards more peace, and will make it slightly incrementally easier to take steps that will have more effect.

So, overall, I can’t see any way that this is a bad thing.