By Diya Barmecha
Since 1971 when the UAE’s first president referred to Israel as “the enemy” of the Arab Countries, the diplomatic relations between UAE and Israel have been highly problematic.
In the past, these two countries have had their share of differences however, the worst fall out was after the assasinaton of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on 19th January, 2010. He was the chief of logistics and weapons for Hamas army and was said to have been drugged, electrocuted and suffocated by a pillow by the Dubai police . They called for the arrest of the director of Mossad at the time, Meir Dagan. That accusation led to the Chief Police of Dubai releasing a statement, essentially saying all Israeli travelers wouldn’t be allowed to enter the country.
The UAE in 2010 asked for Israel’s assistance so Israel could provide the UAE with armed drones. Israel rejected this offer,-not due to bad blood with UAE but because the Obama Administration had also refused to sell UAE armed drones in 2010. In the hopes of respecting the United States’ decision, Israel followed their footsteps.
Ironically it was the United States who brought these two countries back together.
The United States and Israel are two nations which have always had positive relations, and since Donald Trump came to power in 2016, their relations have only improved. As Trump once stated, , “My name is Donald Trump and I love Israel”.
On 13 August 2020 Donald Trump mediated a deal known as the Abraham Accord between the UAE and Israel. In the words of Trump It was, “a truly historic moment”
Before the Abraham Accord, Israel had no diplomatic relations with any other country in the gulf. Being its thrid peace deal with a Arab country, Trump remarks in the Oval Office, “ Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow United Arab Emirates”
The first accomplishment of this deal was a flight to UAE in El Al on 31 August, 2020.
On this first flight, representing the White House was Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Israeli delegations led by the National Security Advisor. Lio Hairat, an Israeli Foreign Minister spokesperson said that he has been, “Waiting for this moment since I joined the foreign ministry 20 years ago. The sky’s the limit.”
This three hour flight was the first ever flight to be approved to fly over any Saudi Arabian airspace. Due to this, Israeli flight will reduce their operational costs and flight time during travels to India and other countries in the middle East and South Asia
In the excitement and enthusiasm of this first flight, all the flight’s passenger headrests and food trays were labeled with “Making History” in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. The word “Peace” was written above the cockpit in all three languages on this airplane as well. All the flight attendants mentioned that this was the flight of their careers. Most of them have probably never seen the UAE in their lifetime since, until now, the only way Israelis could enter Abu Dhabi was if they had a second foreign passport or were a diplomat with special permission.
As Newton said, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Although this is directly related to science it is also pertinent to this case, while Israel and the Trump administration were celebrating this moment,Palestinians had something else to say.
“a clear and blatant violation of the Arab position toward the Arab-Israeli conflict.”Palestinian prime minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh
While signing the deal with Israel, the United Arab Emirates shattered a decade-long agreement with the Arab League policy leaving Palestinians’ in shock, their biggest argument being that UAE has normalized relations with Israel while Israel hasn’t ended its military rule over the Palestinians. The UAE deal also highlights the fact that Palestinians can no longer have faith in Arab States for any political support. In a recent phone call the King Salman of Suadi Arabia told President Trump that he was prioritising a permanent solution as he let the Israel flight go over their land.
Amidst this pandemic, Israel has trust in the UAE and the Israeli health authorities have added UAE to the list of countries from which Israelis can return without a 14-day quarantine. By doing this the tourism will increase from both countries. Mr. Nethanyahu, the prime minister of Israel also said that he would cooperate with the UAE to develop a vaccine for coronavirus. They are also planning to invest effort in energy, water and other environmental protection programs. With so many advancements some analysts like Jonathan Marcus say that this deal was made in good faith but also because it is a goof origin policy victory for President Trump who is now also in the run for a Nobel Prize and is seeking re-election in November. It may also help Mr. Netanyahu who is currently on trial for some alleged corruption. With such big news, facts like these are being hidden in plain sight. We might never know if this deal was made in complete good faith or a political scheme. Given any reason, with this deal both countries will be better economically, scientifically and politically.
Since that single flight, a lot has changed –direct phone lines have opened so various cabinet ministers hold friendly conversations over the phone. The UAE has also ended its formal boycott of Israel.. The Trump administration is planning to promote Arab- Israeli rapprochement. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said that this agreement would be “unbridled trade and opportunities”. These two countries have flown to a new beginning and a brighter, much more peaceful future after years of hatred.