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Lahore
Friday, May 20, 2022
EditorialArab-Israeli ties

Arab-Israeli ties

After the UAE established its ties with Israel, the Muslim world sees today what it would not have imagined in the last decade. Recently, the representative diplomats of the four Arab countries – the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Morocco sat with their Israeli and US counterparts in Israel to discuss mutual security interests. It is not difficult to guess what the subject of their meeting would be: of course, it was Iran. Now, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is set to visit India next week, and prior to this conference, he went to Egypt, where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed shared the table with him. Despite having such frequent meetings with Muslim leaders, the Israeli government has not stepped back from its ongoing agenda of killing Palestinians at their sweet will and expanding the occupational regime in the heart of Palestinian Authority areas. It shows the UAE, when it normalised relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords in 2020, had the least concern about the well-being of the Palestinians. Since the signing of the accord, the UAE-Israel ties in economic and security sectors have been growing. Side by side, the UAE has stepped up measures to boost its investment in India. The causalities of the changing geo-strategic realities are the continuing occupation of Kashmir by India and Palestinian areas by Israel. As Iran is a common problem of all the Arab countries, the newfound ties between Arab and Israel are evolving into a Middle East defensive envelope, under which Israel will deploy its advanced missile defence systems on Arab territories.

The Negev conference has opened up an unthinkable era of security cooperation between these arch-rivals of yesterday and the friends under the common enmity of Iran. The presence of the US diplomat at the Negev conference has its own dimension. The Biden government is rapidly moving towards an accord with Iran on its nuclear programme. For these reasons, the Saudi Arabian crown prince and the UAE ruler refused to pick up the call of President Biden when he sought the Arab world’s crucial cooperation against Russia for invading Ukraine. The Arab rulers fear if Iran sanctions are lifted, the country may become a source of threat for them. Moreover, Yemen Houthis’ attacks on Saudi and UAE installations have badly exposed the US security promises made to the Arab world. In such circumstances, Iran needs to allay the fears of the Arab world. Moreover, it needs to sit with its neighbours to work out a formula to end the Yemen war and enhance mutual cooperation. Similarly, the Arab world should look at the Palestinian reality, and press hard the occupation regime of Israel to move towards the two-state solution. If the Arab world forgets this issue, another Arab Spring is imminent.

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