The United Arab Emirates and Israel have agreed to full normalization of relations, bringing their decades-long clandestine dealings proudly into the open.
The so-called “Abraham Accords” sealing the deal were brokered by US officials.
President Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted a joint statement from the three governments.
The deal is named for “the father of all three great faiths,” David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, told reporters at the Oval Office on Thursday.
Religious and cultural tolerance is often used by Arab states and Israel to mask their efforts to normalize ties.
Painting conflict in the region as stemming from a lack of understanding among religions is also a way to obscure its true origin: Israel’s violent dispossession of Palestinians and ongoing military occupation and steady ethnic cleansing of their land.
In exchange for normalization, Israel agreed to suspend plans to annex large swaths of the occupied West Bank “and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” according to the joint statement.
However, this is spin.
In reality, it was the United States that put Israel’s annexation plans on ice weeks ago.
In fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to annexation shortly after the announcement of the agreement.
The UAE is merely using the American-imposed freeze as an opportunity to bring its secret ties with Israel dating back to the 1990s into the open.
Just weeks ago, an Emirati firm struck a deal with two Israeli arms giants, supposedly to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
But the public relations messaging focusing on Israel’s agreement to suspend annexation allows the UAE to claim falsely that it achieved something for Palestinian rights, when the opposite is the case.
Relations between Israel and Gulf States including Saudi Arabia and the UAE are founded on a mutual enmity towards Iran.
Liquidating Palestinian rights and bypassing the Palestinian issue is seen as key to building up this anti-Iran alliance under American oversight.
Annexation, moreover, would only be a formal rubber stamp for what Israel has been doing on the ground for decades: stealing land, forcibly displacing Palestinians and building colonies in flagrant breach of international law.
The United Arab Emirates, therefore, asked for and received nothing from Israel on behalf of Palestinians in exchange for normalizing ties.