Israel's diplomatic opening with the UAE... good and bad

Israel just opened diplomatic relations with a third Arab country. The UAE joins Egypt and Jordan in recognizing the State of Israel and establishing diplomatic relations. This is good. This is bad. Both are right.

Dubai has been trying to establish relations with Israel since the time of the signing of the Oslo Agreements in 1993. Now they will have it. Cooperation with Israel, a clear economic power in the region will bring the UAE clear economic ad technological advantages. It will also allow for closer military cooperation in containing Iran.

Israel can enjoy a significant breakthrough at the cost of forgoing for the time being the annexation of the Jordan Valley. Economic relations with the UAE will also provide Israel with a gateway for its products into the wider Arab world, as Dubai is the leader among the Gulf States.

Netanyahu gets a boost to his damaged public image over the misshandling of the pandemic and his personal legal woes, by showing an achievement that Israelis have been dreaming about since 1948; or at least a step in the achievement of the dream. He also avoids a confrontation with the Trump administration and with Jordan over the Jordan Valley. It also provides him, should he dare to do it, with an opportunity to distance himself from the Settlers' Movement.

The Trump Administration is able to show a spectacular breakthrough in support of Israel, something appealing to his power base (or a big part of it), on an election year. According to the news, the breakthrough with the UAE might be followed with similar agreements with other Arab countries.

Benny Gantz (Kahol V'Laban) may be prevented from his turn at the Prime Ministership. If Netanyahu calls for early elections (something he has been mentioning lately and that he might be tempted of doing now), it is likely that Likkud will take the upper hand and make Kachol V'Laban a minor partner.

The Israeli left will see the momentum of protest against Netanyahu ebb, and lose their chance of removing Bibi from power.

The settlers neither lose nor win. The annexation of the Jordan Valley is not off the table; just postponed. Should Trump win a second term, Netanyahu might risk pushing it through over American objections.

The Palestinians are the big losers. They started in 48' with full and unconditional support from all Arab countries. That support has been eroding gradually but steadily. To have the UAE, one of their donor countries, sign an peace agreement with Israel, is a major setback. 

The Israeli people may find themselves - again - in the middle of an electoral cycle; one that may very well remain in a deadlock requiring more than one election. All of this in the midst of the pandemic.

Have you heard the one about the Butterfly Effect? - when it comes to the Middle East this could be it. And I doubt the actors have a full understanding of what may come out of this... cross your fingers.



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