Please Don't Mess Up the Abraham Accords

(Commentary) Bret Stephens - Beginning with the peace deals known as the Abraham Accords, the prospect that the Arab-Israeli conflict might be brought to an end much sooner than anyone dreamed possible offers powerful lessons on how to conduct a successful Mideast peace policy. This came about as Arab leaders struggled to come to grips with their vulnerabilities in the wake of the U.S. decision to negotiate a nuclear deal with Tehran guaranteed to strengthen its regional hand. Would the U.S. continue to guarantee their security and halt Iran's seemingly unstoppable rise? If Arabs wanted a determined and capable ally, they would have to look elsewhere. In 2014, senior Israeli and Saudi figures, led by Israeli diplomat Dore Gold and retired Saudi general Anwar Majed Eshki, began holding a series of secret talks. The U.S. continues to have vital interests in the Middle East. The U.S. cannot allow a hostile power to dominate a region that accounts for close to 40% of global oil production (oil that is much cheaper to produce than by fracking). We cannot allow the world's most fanatical regimes to acquire nuclear capabilities, setting off an arms race in the world's most combustible region. We cannot accept the permanent establishment of jihad incubators. Where does the creation of a Palestinian state rank on the list of American priorities? Not high, in the final analysis. The infatuation so many U.S. policymakers have with Palestinian statehood has disserved American interests in myriad ways. Moreover, it plays into the propaganda of America's radical enemies, led by Iran, that Israel's behavior, rather than their own, is the chief source of turmoil and injustice in the region. It asks that Israel weaken its defenses and take the proverbial "risks for peace," when what America most needs from Israel is a strong country that can defend itself, come to the aid of its neighbors, provide the U.S. with critical intelligence and tactical know-how, and serve as a bulwark against the region's radicals. Instead of the usual view that a Palestinian state is the precondition to full Arab-Israeli normalization, the Abraham Accords suggest that a Palestinian state will happen only as a result of that normalization. If Israel does not have to fear a hostile neighborhood, it has less to fear from a Palestinian state. And if Palestinians observe that good relations between Israel and other Arab states are the norm, there's less of a reason for them to stand out as the violent exception.

2021-01-18 00:00:00

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