The Israel-UAE Agreement Is a Key Step for Peace and Sends a Crucial Message to Palestinians

(Washington Post) Dennis Ross - The UAE understood from conversations with the administration that formal peace would give it access to previously off-limits U.S. weaponry, such as advanced drones. Until now, these weapons had been denied to them because of the U.S. commitment to preserving Israel's qualitative military edge. The U.S. provided Egypt advanced weaponry after President Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel. Similarly, Jordan did not get F-16s until King Hussein concluded a peace treaty with Israel. Normalization should signal to Palestinians that others are not going to wait for them. Focusing only on their grievances, their narrative and their posture of never initiating or offering counterproposals to negotiations will continue to weaken their position. With Covid-19 wreaking havoc throughout the region, the desire to benefit from working with the Israelis on a wide range of needs, including health care, tech, water access and cyber security, will only increase. This normalization represents an important contribution to peace-building between Arabs and Israelis. It also crosses a threshold, effectively saying "enough of tradition, habit and inbred hostility - we will make peace because it serves our interests, and others can choose to accept or reject it." (Others may not follow immediately, but the barriers to normalization have been eroded.) The writer, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, is the counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2020-08-17 00:00:00

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