Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant, and Jerry Gordon of Israel News Talk Radio – “Beyond the Matrix” bring back Dan Diker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) to discuss two stunning developments that are game changers: Israel normalizing relations with the UAE and potentially other Arab states in the Gulf and the Balkan countries of Kosovo and Serbia. Diker is the director of the Political Warfare Program at the JCPA and former Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress.
UAE Israel normalization sidelines years of Palestinian rejectionism in the Middle East peace process.
Diker noted that the announcement of normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel brokered by the Trump Administration upends the Palestinian propaganda machine that has “defamed, dehumanized and delegitimized the Jewish nation state with virulent anti-Semitism.” Diker suggested that today regional peace is now possible with the Arab gulf states with the likelihood that additional normalization agreements may soon become reality with Middle Eastern states such as Bahrain, Oman, Morocco and perhaps Saudi Arabia. Diker noted the granting of air rights by Saudi Arabia through the UAE for travel stopovers to the East, and for the recent transit of U.S. and Israeli delegations to Abu Dhabi. Moreover, recent statements by the Imam of the Grand Mosque appear to welcome these normalization developments.
Diker credits Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had invested years of effort in reaching out to Muslim majority nations in the Middle East and the African continent. The Trump Administration Peace To Prosperity economic workshop that took place in Manama, Bahrain in May 2019, through the visionary efforts of presidential advisor Jared Kushner, Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman laid the groundwork for the UAE-Israel “Abraham Accord.” Diker emphasized the overarching Arab understanding that Israel has become the solution for the security and stability of the Middle East opposite the regional threat of the nuclearizing and subversive Iranian regime that is threatening the entire region. The emerging alliances between Israel and its Arab neighbors have largely been kept secret for the past 20 years.
It is little known that the Israel UAE security relationship was launched following the 9/11 attacks when it became known that the terrorists used Dubai as an operational transit point. In 2011 alone, the UAE ordered more than $300 million of Israeli high tech. According to a Reuters report, an Israeli government minister estimated that annual trade between Israel and the UAE may reach $4 billion in defense, energy, medicine, tourism, and technology. Diker notes Emirati investment in Israeli development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Diker pointed to Palestinian Authority (PA) delegitimization of the UAE which the PA called “the new Arab Zionist,” with chief PA propagandist Saeb Erekat stating that “Israel has occupied the UAE.” Diker dismissed PA propaganda likening it to “withering leaves on the vine.” Moreover, he contends that a PA resolution opposing the UAE-Israel Abraham Accord will likely amount to nothing based on the “thundering silence” of the Arab street and capitals following the signing of the Abraham Accords.
Referring to a pioneering JCPA 2018 report, Defeating Denormalization, Diker believes that the UAE normalization sets up new strategies for middle class Palestinians in the West Bank and even in Gaza, given the failures of both the PA and Hamas.
Diker commented on the controversial proposed sale of F-35 fighter jets by Washington to the UAE, saying that the United States and Israel have a longstanding agreement to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME). UAE’s response was much more tactical than strategic, insisting that Israel should stop the chatter regarding the sale of the F-35s.
The Kosovo, Serbia, and Israel Diplomatic Breakthroughs.
Another stunning development was announced at the White House last week by Richard Grenell, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and former interim Director of National Intelligence. It was the start of economic normalization between two Balkan states, Muslim majority Kosovo and Christian Serbia. The countries were bitter enemies during the Balkan war of ethnic cleansing that ended with the Dayton Accord, negotiated by the late U.S. Diplomat Ambassador Richard Holbrook. Another important development in this story is that both Kosovo and Serbia have been able to establish embassies in Jerusalem due to the mediation of the Trump Administration.
Diker pointed out the dramatic significance of the Kosovo-Israel relationship that should be traced back to 2009 when the PA modeled its own unilateral push for statehood in violation of the Oslo accords on the Kosovo model of unilateral declaration of statehood, that was triggered in February 2008 when it seceded from Serbia. This explains why Israel had heretofore not recognized Kosovo. Ironically, Israel took less pains to distance itself from Christian Serbia, though Serbia had voted with the Palestinian unilateral bid for statehood in the UN in 2012.
The Trump Administration deserves credit for brokering these important diplomatic agreements between these former Balkans enemies that has resulted in Kosovo and Serbia’s exchange of diplomatic relations and announcing embassies in Israel’s capital of Jerusalem.
Dan Diker can be reached at Jcpa.org and by twitter @dandiker84.