Sunday 13 September 2020

Peace again

The piece deal between Israel and Bahrain is another historic breakthrough, following Israel's recent  peace deal with the United Arab Emirates. 

The BBC hasn't paid it much attention, but their Jerusalem reporter Tom Bateman has covered it. He ended his report on the story with the following, downbeat pay-off line:

The Gulf countries believe their move could nudge forward an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but critics see more self-interest than peacemaking for the parties involved. Tom Bateman, BBC News, Jerusalem. 

Earlier in his report, which stressed how the deal "leaves the Palestinians feeling sidelined", he'd seemed to be giving succour to those critics himself by stressing the "new security ties" that could develop "among countries that share a common adversary in Iran". 

A contrasting take comes from Andrew Neil on Twitter:

Now that Bahrain has joined the UAE in recognising Israel, Saudi Arabia cannot be far behind. A sea-change in the geopolitics of the Middle East is underway, leaving the Palestinian leadership isolated.

Consider this from the state-backed Saudi Gazette: "Palestinian politicians have sabotaged negotiations and rejected all peace initiatives for six decades in order to keep the aid funds flowing to their private bank accounts."

Or this: Bahraini activist: “Growing awareness among many in Arab world that Jewish people not foreign colonialists in Land of Israel, but part of this land, and part of our region… it’s a fact, and we can do many things together for prosperity, security and peace for region.”

And Abu Dhabi's official National newspaper: “The UAE-Israel accord is a win for every Muslim … Since 9/11, Muslims across the world have been on the defensive. I saw the suspicion of Muslims in the eyes of American officials. It always boiled down to: show us peace in Islam. Now, with visionary accord between UAE and Israel, a new horizon is opening to reinstate Muslim dignity by showing peace between peoples. We can now say: ‘A new way of co-existence is achievable. We are not pawns for mullahs of Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood. Look at the UAE.’”

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