Abu Dhabi, Sep. 3, 2020—Arab experts taking part in a webinar organized by the Emirates Policy Center (EPC) on Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2020 on the “Emirati-Israeli Peace Treaty” affirmed that the Emirati-Israeli step is a correction for a historical Arab mistake that led to the isolation of Palestinians and weakened their cause under the pretext of rejecting normalization. The Emirati-Israeli step also reflects a new spirit that seeks to take the initiative to deal with challenges facing the Arab region, the experts added.

In the webinar, which was dedicated for in-depth and objective discussion of the implications of the Emirati-Israeli treaty, prospects of the Emirati-Israeli relations and the impact of this qualitative step on the regional environment, EPC President, Dr. Ebtesam Al-Ketbi said that the UAE has taken the step of establishing official ties with Israel based on a full and rational realization of its strategic objectives and interests and its positive reflections on the whole region.

Dr. Al-Ketbi pointed out that although the UAE and Israel have no common borders and have never been at war with each other in the first place, however, the two countries look forward to cultivate the gains of developing their bilateral ties in various fields.

She said that the two countries hope to employ their rapprochement strategically, especially on regional issues where they have a common perception.

Dr. Zeid Eyadat, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan the Emirati-Israeli Peace Treaty came in the context of the geopolitical shifts in the Middle East since the 2000s. Dr. Eydat added that these shifts have shown the need for new visions and approaches to tackle the regional crises and problems. He affirmed that the outcomes of this step surpass the common benefits for the two countries to have a strategic reflection on the whole region.

Dr. Eyadt reiterated that the UAE is the biggest winner of this step, while the Palestinians will be the second winners because the UAE has succeeded through this treaty to freeze the decision of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex 30% of land in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. He pointed out that the treaty enhances the UAE’s role in pressing Israel in favor of Palestinians just like Egypt and Jordan do.

Dr. Eyadat added that the treaty makes the Israelis realize that they are winning in their relationship with Arabs; thus, pulling the rug out from under the Israeli right and making them more flexible towards reaching a settlement for the Palestinian issue.

Dr. Eyadat added that the UAE-Israeli relationship is not only limited to cooperation in political and security domains but is meant to boost cooperation in other key fields including economy, investment, trade and technology. “Both countries will join forces in confronting unconventional threats such as the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, food security and cybersecurity”, Dr. Eyadat stated.

For his part, Dr. Abdel Monem Said, Chairman of The Advisory Council of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) and Chairman of the Board for Al Masry Al Youm Publishing House suggested that the treaty reflects a new spirit in the UAE leadership based on the fact that we, as Arabs, can bring about a change to the current path in the region. He added that the UAE is establishing relationships with Israel from a position of strength.

Dr. Said stated that the UAE is a country with a history of economic and developmental successes as it offers an attractive global model in terms of multiculturalism, tolerance, governance and the ability to optimize the benefits of globalization.  “More importantly, the treaty came to reflect an image of an Arab who does not fear Israel and deals with it on a peer-to-peer basis”, Dr. Said suggested.

Dr. Said added that the treaty is part of a cooperation trend that has been taking shape in recent years in the region. It is a trend that is based on values of stability, prosperity and progress which manifested itself in the establishment of The East Mediterranean Gas Forum that includes some regional countries like Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Israel.

As far as the geopolitical aspect of the treaty is concerned, Dr. Said argues that the deal contributes to a change in the regional balance of power. “Unlike other destructive regional projects that have already impoverished the peoples of the region and threatened their national states such as the extremist fundamentalist project, Turkey-led Ottoman expansionist project or Iran’s regional expansionist scheme, the treaty envisages a regional cooperation project that can be beneficial to all parties”, Dr. Said added.

Moreover, Dr. Said pointed out that the U.S sponsored the UAE-Israeli deal even though it has already disengaged from regional issues, and that Washington will continue its efforts to establish peace relations with other Arab countries either under Republican or Democratic administrations in the future. 

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