Arab-Interest-Based Peace with Israel
By Yoram Ettinger, From The Ettinger Report, September 17, 2020
The Saudi position
A brief expose’ of the Saudi position on the Israel-UAE and Israel-Bahrain peace treaties is provided by Salman Al-Dossary, the former editor-in-chief of the influential Saudi daily, Asharq al-Awsat, which reflects the worldview of the Saudi royal family:
“The angry [Palestinian] reaction has confirmed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was right in its sovereign decision to search for its vision of peace in the Middle East…. The feverish [Palestinian] attack on the new Bahrain-Israel peace agreement confirms not just to Bahrain, but to the rest of the Gulf that the support for the [Palestinian] cause for long decades has resulted in nothing but [Palestinian] aggression, attack and ingratitude…. There is more than one door to peace, not necessarily through the Palestinian Authority….
“In 2011, when Bahrain [a generous supporter of the Palestinians] faced the most dangerous threat [attempted coup] in its modern history… Iran stood behind that coup attempt… while the leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian components continued to strengthen their relationship with Tehran…. Not a single Palestinian demonstration in support of Bahrain took place….
“The relations with Tel Aviv… are a necessity in light of the current circumstances and the search for peace and stability….”
Current circumstances in the Middle East
While political correctness has been preoccupied and infatuated with the Palestinian issue, the recent peace agreements have shed light on the following Middle East reality:
- The more lethal the threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Erdogan to every pro-US Arab regime, the more realistic is the Arab order of priorities, which increasingly focuses on threats, that transcend the Palestinian issue and disagreements with Israel.
- The more acute the threat, the more critical is Israel’s posture of deterrence for the survival of the pro-US Arab regimes in the Gulf (e.g., Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain) and beyond (e.g., Jordan and Egypt).
- The more extensive the US military withdrawal from Central Asia and the Middle East, the more pivotal is Israel’s role as a force-multiplier for the US and its Arab allies, sparing the need to deploy more US aircraft carriers and ground troops to the Middle East, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.
- The most paramount inducement for peace accords between Israel and pro-US Arab regimes has been the Arab perception of Israel as the most effective bulwark against clear and present lethal threats.
- The more oil-dependent the economy of the Arab oil-producing countries, the more urgent is the need to diversify that economy, and the more attractive Israel becomes as a catalyst of economy-diversification. The Arabs aim to leverage Israel’s innovative achievements in the areas of cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence, autonomous cars, healthcare, bio-tech, medical-tech, irrigation, agriculture, etc.
- The pro-US Arab regimes wish to leverage Israel’s positive standing among most American constituents and legislators, in order to enhance their geo-strategic cooperation with the US.
- The closer the Ayatollahs’, the Muslim Brotherhood’s and (potentially) Erdogan’s machetes to the throats of the pro-US Arab regimes, the more conspicuous is the Arab order of priorities, underscoring the low-ranking of the Palestinian issue.
- The more aware the Arabs become of the benefits derived from peaceful-coexistence with Israel, and the more imminent the lethal threats posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood, the more highlighted is the inherently destructive Palestinian track record. The latter consists of the Palestinian alliance with the rogue elements in the Middle East (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein and the Muslim Brotherhood) and beyond (e.g., Nazi Germany, the USSR, North Korea, Latin American and European terror organizations). Thus, Arabs consider the Palestinians as the role model of intra-Arab terrorism, subversion, treachery and ingratitude.
- The conclusion of peace accords between Israel and Arab countries spot-lights the intrinsic gap between the warm Arab talk and the cold-to-negative Arab walk on the proposed Palestinian state. Arabs employ the traditional Middle Eastern norm: on words one doesn’t pay custom.
- Israel’s peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain – just like Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – draw attention to the well-documented fact that the Palestinian issue has not been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is not a core cause of Middle East turbulence, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making.
- Israel’s peace accords with Arab countries have refuted the politically-correct assumption that, supposedly, the road to Israel-Arab peace goes through the Palestinian issue, which requires, ostensibly, Israeli land concessions.
- Israel’s peace accords with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE and Bahrain, and the overall Arab reaction to these accords, have proven that the road to Israel-Arab peace goes through a strong, deterring Israel.
- Israel’s posture of deterrence has been dramatically enhanced since 1967, with its control of the Golan Heights and the over-powering mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. A retreat from these critical topographic, geographic and historic landmarks would transform Israel from a national security asset for the US, to a national security burden.
- A retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria would dramatically erode Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East, which is characterized by violent unpredictability, instability and the tenuous nature of Arab regimes, policies and accords. Hence, it would threaten Israel’s own existence, and deprive the US and the pro-US Arab regimes of a uniquely stabilizing force in the face of the mutual threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Erdogan.