New friends and old foes. The Israel-UAE delicate agreement

Ghazal Poorhasan
Credit: SCY/Pixabay

The historic deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel is going to be finalised on Sept. 15, the agreement on restoring full diplomatic relations, which its announcement almost a month ago has changed all the equities in the region.
UAE is the first GCC member starting diplomatic relations with Israel, a very clear message indicating that Israel is not a threat to the Arab states, a role which is now played solely by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The announcement was followed by the first direct commercial flight between the two countries which also indicates the softening of the Saudi Arabian resistance towards the agreement, since its airspace will be open for the flights between the two states.
Like many other examples related to the GCC members, there is no unity among the members regarding this decision, but there is no doubt that the members are not blaming or isolating UAE for its bold decision over changing the game in the region.
In reality the taboo of no interaction between Israel and Gulf countries had already been broken years ago by joining the same conferences and events, something that looked more like building friendly, yet not official, relations. However this very deal will ease the path toward the normalization of the relations for other Arab states too.
The fact that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have not condemned the agreement along with the praises that came from Oman and Bahrain, is already an achievement for Israel, since the highly conservative Arab states are ready to change the equities, even if they have to observe the consequences of UAE-Israel deal for the time being.
Kuwait with its conspicuous society of Palestinians that are well integrated in the society is so far the only member to clearly sets its position over not intending to build diplomatic relations with Israel without a fair solution approved by Palestinians as well.
Predictably the strongest reaction over the agreement came from two non-Arab regional players, Iran and Turkey, by condemning the agreement and supporting the Palestinian claims and referring to the deal as a betrayal. Also Palestinians failed to get the Arab League to condemn the agreement, a clear indication that Palestinians lost the support of most of the Arab states.
The Israel-Palestine crisis is not a new topic to the Arab world, but apparently most of the Arab states are now looking forward to starting a new chapter in their foreign policies, and the gap among Arab states related to the Palestine issue is now more obvious than before. There is no more effort of pretending a unity of intent to confront Israel.
Surely most of the Arab states of the Middle East are modifying their national interest based on the new designs of the regional geopolitics. The proxy power of Iran and its influence in the region, the increased influence of Turkey on the regional games rather than focusing on building its relations with EU, the failed blockade of Qatar by GCC (which brought more independency) and finally the rise of new faces like Mohammad Bin Zayed and Mohammad Bin Salman that are playing a non-conservative role in their still traditionalist countries, are modifying the geopolitics of the Middle East, and this is when Arab states prefer to behave diversely from before to illustrate a new image that resonates more with the regional changes, as we see in the decision of the Arab league not to condemn the action of UAE.
Considering the recent events going on in the Middle East, UAE is planning to have a more determinant role in the regional games, even independently from its closest ally, and unquestionably is taking bold and pragmatic steps for achieving this objective. What is clear in this scenario is that, even if the other GCC members do not follow UAE on its new stance in foreign policy, undoubtedly the loser of these recent changes in the region will be the Palestinians.

(You can read the last article by Ghazal Poorhasan here)


Ufficio stampa e Comunicazione dell'Istituto per la Competitività (I-Com). Nata a Roma nel 1992, Giulia Palocci si è laureata con il voto di 110 e lode in Scienze Politiche e Relazioni Internazionali presso l’università Luiss Guido Carli con una tesi sul contrasto al finanziamento del terrorismo nei Paesi del Sud-est asiatico.

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