“The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the UAE, Israeli and US trilateral, surprising, announcement,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. That was just one indication of how welcome, how much of a breath of fresh air, the agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel really is. The Palestinian leadership has encouraged the murder of Israeli civilians and boasted of the ultimate destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews. If Abbas and company are unhappy, the free world should be happy.
Israel currently has peace agreements with only two Muslim Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, and those are cold friendships indeed, marred by a steady flow of hateful anti-Israel rhetoric in both Arab countries, and worse: Ahlam Tamimi, who aided the 2001 jihad massacre at a Sbarro’s pizza parlor in Jerusalem in which 15 people were murdered and 130 wounded, lives in Jordan, where she is a national hero and a popular television host. The United States has filed charges against her, as Americans were killed in the attack, but Jordan refuses to extradite her.
Words are cheap, but the UAE-Israel rapprochement doesn’t seem, at least at this point, to be a grudging, reluctant, cold peace at all. The official statement announces that “delegations from Israel and the UAE will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit. Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations.”
To be sure, the agreement is based on a quid pro quo that takes the wind out the sails of Palestinian outrage: “As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the UAE, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world. The US, Israel and the UAE are confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible, and will work together to achieve this goal.”
How can the Palestinians object to an agreement that will at very least delay Israel’s assertion of its sovereignty over portions of Judea and Samaria? They’ll certainly find a way, but Trump has now maneuvered them into denouncing something that gives them what they want. This is the second time he has done that; the first was when he offered them a Palestinian state so long as they demilitarized and accepted Israel’s right to exist. That was a bridge too far, as this is, but it is clear from the UAE-Israel agreement that at least some Muslim Arab states are growing impatient with the Palestinians’ continued intransigence.
The statement adds: “This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the UAE and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region. All three countries face many common challenges and will mutually benefit from today’s historic achievement.”
This is indeed historic, and it shows a weakening of the lockstep and Islam-based hatred of Israel that has dominated the Arab and Muslim states’ response to the Jewish state up to now, with very few exceptions. The Palestinian Delusion explains in detail the depth of that hatred, which stems in part from the frequently ignored fact that the Islamic hatred for Israel has a theological basis.
But note that Netanyahu and the Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan thank Trump for his “dedication to peace in the region” and “the pragmatic and unique approach he has taken to achieve it.”
The key word there is “pragmatic.” The jihad against Israel remains a theoretical religious obligation, but Trump has apparently compelled the UAE to understand that to maintain hostility to Israel in light of today’s political realities is imprudent. He deserves congratulations and gratitude for achieving, at least in part, what a succession of presidents has tried and failed to achieve.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.