Arabs and normalization with Israel: What role does the UAE play?

27 September 2020
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Updated 29 September 2020

Arabs and normalization with Israel: What role does the UAE play?

The United Arab Emirates is not only a pioneer in the cultural renaissance with the facilities it has established and initiatives it has launched, but has also managed to achieve a true diplomatic renaissance with the peace treaty it signed with Israel recently — an agreement that protects its borders and stability, but also exceeds the geographical frontiers of the nation to reach the whole Arab region.

The initiative has reflected on the geopolitical relationships in the Arab region and its relations with the Western countries, especially the US, Russia and China, placing Arabs in the heart of international events and achieving development in the Arab region.

However, the “normalization” agreement with Israel divided opinion in the Arab world between supporters, opponents and skeptics about the normalization possibility with a Hebrew state. Whether it is betraying the Palestinian cause or defending it, what might seem like a harsh treatment in reality is the only way to bring recovery, health and security.

Wise people see that normalization with Israel is the best gift to Palestinians, as it reflects positively on the security, social and economic aspects.

The tolerance that the UAE has promoted though this agreement is not just a theory but a true effort to embody it on the practical and diplomatic levels, preceded by efforts to spread awareness about just issues, equality, co-living and accepting differences, thus contributing toward building the new awareness of Arab people, who believe in freedom, dignity and humanitarian values.

Throughout the decades, all the diplomatic efforts and numerous foreign ministerial meetings — even those held with presidents and kings of Arab nation — have not succeeded in achieving peace or stability in the Arab region, leaving border conflicts ongoing, and creating security, social and economic conflicts, especially in the past few years.

These crises have recently become a threat to neighborly relations with Arab countries that share the same religion, language and history, as well as the relations with the Western countries. Therefore, the success of the UAE in signing a permanent peace treaty with Israel represents an important event on the Arab level, to reflect positively on the whole region and pave the way for a new era.  

Believing in a common destiny and the right to live and exist is a prologue to modifying many convictions, especially those stemming from the remnants of extremist and racist parties, which consider themselves sole possessors of the truth.

Now is the time to amend misconceptions and purify the Arab mind from the remnants of corruption and backwardness, by declaring tolerance and reconciliation with all entities, which is consistent with the principles of our religion, as Islam was purely founded on peace, yielding to the truth and defending peace.

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, is one of the most prominent planners of the peace treaty with Israel. Many political figures in Arab and Islamic countries followed in his footsteps, in favor of what is right and believing in the unity of a common destiny. There will be no injustice, aggression, or violation of the rights of any party, as long as everyone resides on one land. There is either a necessity for coexistence or common mortality, there is no in-between. He who has the slightest bit of sound thinking can sense a rational decision for a healthy life free from any threat. So, can a person be innovative in an environment marked by fear and oppression?

Security and stability represent the basis of a decent life, but an authoritarian or transcendent policy — if not to say extremism — spoils a lot of friendliness. Instead of creating opportunities for survival, we see them stifling life’s chances. This is exactly how we describe the confusion that stemmed from the ideas and positions of some extremist parties, when the UAE announced the decision to normalize with Israel.

These parties hide behind TV channels, websites and all kinds of media platforms to sow disparity and conflict among the children of a single people, instead of standing together against others. But despite all attempts to downplay this decision and call it treason, they do not have the power to change reality and are unable to suggest a real alternative that ends the Arab-Israeli conflict and brings stability to the region.

People do not aspire for more than a decent life. However, some arrogant regimes want to fish in troubled waters and do not wish to see stability, unity and cooperation among Arabs. Perhaps many signs of hope are looming on the horizon with the increasing number of diplomatic voices who are supporting the UAE’s decision to normalize relations and revive the bonds of exchange and cooperation.

This will undoubtedly be a new revolution that will fix what the blind revolutions — or what is known as the Arab Spring — have ruined. The blind revolutions were incapable of achieving stability, but rather have unlawfully and without any shame destroyed and demolished homes above their innocent inhabitants’ heads. And at the end of the day, they say: “Normalizing with Israel is a betrayal and a setback.” They have forgotten that the greatest betrayal lies in the failure to keep up with civilization.


Fares Al-Ghannami is a Saudi writer and intellectual interested in political affairs. Twitter: @farescom200