Just when it felt like Israel had successfully taken the measure of the Middle East, the region has once again come unglued: Israelis are being regularly targeted by Palestinian terrorism and cross-border attacks. Israel’s principle benefactor, the United States, has ceded its pivotal regional role to an unsympathetic China and taken to intruding on Israel’s internal affairs. Heretofore rock solid Congressional support for Israel is showing the wear and tear of the constant deprecations of The Squad. Israel’s neighbors are now seemingly bent on strengthening ties with their fellow Arab states at the cost of undermining recently enhanced relations with Israel; in particular, Iran’s continual threats to destroy Israel did not seem to get in the way of Iran and Saudi Arabia restoring diplomatic relations.
In sum, the glow of the Abraham Accords – which not too long ago showed promise of a new Middle East in which Israel’s military, economic, agricultural, and technological achievements would draw neighbors eager to get in on the action to its side – seems to have dimmed. It is unlikely, however, that this downward trajectory will continue in the long run. The move towards Israel ended Palestinian veto power over regularizing relations with Israel and that could not have come easily. Let us hope that what we are witnessing are merely growing pains.
As for the Biden administration, perhaps it is time to acknowledge that Israel is a grown up nation that has a legitimate political dynamic of its own. It also holds the promise of transforming the Middle East to the benefit of itself, its neighbors, and the United States. As such, it should be supported and encouraged to follow its own lights.