Bahrain (& then maybe even Saudi) next? UAE becomes third Arab country to make peace with Israel

August 13, 2020

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking by phone this afternoon from his Jerusalem office with UAE leader Mohammed Bin Zayed shortly after they confirmed the two leaders would sign a formal peace treaty.



[Note by Tom Gross]

This afternoon in an historic move, Israel and United Arab Emirates agreed to sign a formal peace treaty and establish diplomatic relations.

The United Arab Emirates will be the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state following Egypt and Jordan.

US President Donald Trump, who first announced the deal, minutes before Israel and the UAE confirmed it, hinted that other peace treaties between Arab states and Israel may be announced soon.

A White House spokesperson said delegations from Israel and UAE will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements on investment, tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of reciprocal embassies.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as “a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East. The United States hopes that this brave step will be the first in a series of agreements that ends 72 years of hostilities in the region.”

Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz were kept out of the loop by Netanyahu who secretly held negations with the UAE, and Netanyahu only updated his colleagues on the agreement shortly before it was announced today.



Tom Gross adds:

Having been present at meetings with officials from Israel and various Arab countries for many years, I have for some time been saying that the Arab world was quietly making peace with Israel, and have observed that Arab leaders were particularly keen to do so under the auspices of hardline Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and hardline American leader Donald Trump.

While journalists I know from papers such as the New York Times and Haaretz repeatedly told me in private that I “didn’t know what I was talking about” others acknowledged I might be right. For example, Robert Fulford, who has been described as Canada’s most eminent columnist, wrote in an article in April 2019 in Toronto’s National Post:

“Tom Gross, probably Europe’s leading observer of the Middle East, suggested recently that much of the Arab world is already quietly establishing ties with Israel.”

(While Trump and Netanyahu are despised by many New York liberals, one hears considerable admiration for them when one speaks behind the scenes with Arab governmental figures and opinion-makers, who in turn loathe President Obama, in large part because of what is regarded as Obama and John Kerry’s appeasement of the Iranian regime which made the rest of the Middle East a much more dangerous place.)

Last year, I became the first journalist who is broadly sympathetic to Israel to be selected to be favorably profiled in Asharq Al-Awsat, the Arab world’s leading newspaper. The pan-Arab paper is edited from Beirut, Saudi-government owned, and printed in 14 different countries.


Among past related dispatches:

* UAE, Bahraini FMs mark Holocaust Memorial Day, ally of Saudi monarch says ‘Never again’ (January 26, 2020)

* Israeli warplanes hold joint exercise with UAE (March 28, 2017)

* Four Israeli ministers visit Gulf states in the space of just over a week - and without headscarves (November 10, 2018)

* Netanyahu returns from secret trip to Oman (October 26, 2018)


See also this follow up dispatch on the UAE-Israel peace accord:

“Blessed are the peacemakers. Mabruk and Mazal Tov” (& Peace for peace formula paying dividends) (Aug. 14, 2020)


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All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.