The decision made this week by the United Arab Emirates and Israel to establish full diplomatic relations as part of a commitment to normalize the interaction between the two countries was characteristically announced by President Donald Trump because he is, undoubtedly, the main beneficiary. With less than three months to go until the U.S. national election, the timing of the announcement was not fortuitous as the president clearly needed some good news. There are reports that the agreement will be signed in a formal ceremonial meeting in the White House later this month.
The deal, reportedly set up by White House Special Assistant to the President and son-in-law Jared Kushner, will in fact have little impact on the UAE, whose Crown Prince and head of state of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed was instrumental in coming to an agreement on behalf of all of the Emirates. He issued a statement on the understanding reached, stating that âDuring a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.â
As usual, the big losers will be the Palestinians, who will now live in a non-country that they inhabit only under Israeli sufferance, an arrangement that is now de facto endorsed by some of its Arab neighbors and by the Europeans, leaving them with no friends or advocates. They immediately declared that the agreement is not binding on them. Indeed, little will actually change on the ground in Israel-Palestine. Israel has indeed agreed to further âtemporarily postponeâ its oft stated commitment to annex most of the Palestinian West Bank, a proposition that was already in trouble both domestically and due to almost universal international censure. Even some Democratic Party congressmen had developed a spine over the issue and were willing to cut military assistance to the Jewish state if the annexation program were to move forward. Now that the word annexation has been dropped, the fundamental apartheid policies pursued by Israel will continue to advance and the illegal settlements will presumably continue to expand.
The agreement will also benefit beleaguered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu politically to a certain extent, giving him some favorable press from liberal Israelis and Europeans,