Two years ago, on a visit to Israel my husband and I were invited to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
I recall my husband (who is a bit of a political pundit) telling them that, “It’s only a matter of time, and you will see in two years; Muslim countries will start to recognize Israel.”
His logic was based on the fact that Muslim countries have run out of options. Even if they want to help the Palestinians, they have to recognize Israel to sit around a table with them and deal with whatever issues they have.
Well, it’s started. UAE and Israel have signed a peace treaty brokered by the U.S. As part of this agreement, Israel has also agreed to suspend plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Parts of the Muslim world are reeling from this news (the Palestinian Authority, Iran, Turkey and their allies). Others are in full support (the Gulf States, Egypt and their allies). From our perspective, this is really good news. Many visionary Muslims are in favor of this decision.
Husain Haqqani, a former ambassador to the U.S. from Pakistan and currently a scholar at the Hudson Institute, tells me, “Israel is a reality and the sooner everyone accepts that, the easier it would be to resolve the unnecessary conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. The leaders of UAE have shown courage. Let us hope other Muslim countries follow suit.”
Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation has similar views. In 2017 he wrote an article titled, “For Israel, the New Road to Peace runs though Mecca.” On a Facebook post, he gives a great short analysis which all Muslims must read and understand:
1) this deal strengthens (obviously) Israel’s legitimacy in the region & may kick off a domino effect for some other countries to follow suit (all eyes on the prize for peace with Saudi Arabia)
2) this deal also severely weakens & further isolates terrorist-backing axis power, Iran & her Shia-Islamist terrorist militia in Yemen, Lebanon & Iraq. After the US killed the world’s most prolific Iranian terrorist-general Qassem Soleimani & after the Beirut blast, Iran is having a bad year
3) It also further isolates that mass-murdering poison gas using dictator Assad in Syria (who has never recognised Israel) while allowing for Arab-Israeli cooperation regionally to further isolate Assad & defend the Syrian people again this tyranny
4) it also undermines the machinations of the region’s aspiring broker Russia (which supported Iran in propping up Assad in Syria) and damages China’s ability to prop up Iran via their recent 25 year military deal. As with China’s influence over the Palestinian Authority (PA)
5) as part of this deal Israel has abandoned plans to annex the West Bank, which puts the UAE in *very* good stead with the Palestinian leadership to broker peace
6) this UAE/Palestinian connection can serve to undermine Iran’s ability to use Hamas & Hezbollah terrorist proxies to frustrate the Palestinian leadership’s talks with Israel. Till now the PA has refused every single offer made to them by US peace brokers.
7) The PA must now either soften its intransigence, or be domestically superseded by a genuine, new & fresh Palestinian leadership that understands how to do politics (and not pretend it still lives in the Arafat days of revolution)
8) Overall, Middle-East’s only democracy Israel is now safer, UAE is showing leadership & Saudi may be next.
Palestinians gain, while Iran, Russia & China lose.
This is most excellent news for peace and democracy.
As a follow up on the same issue, on August 14, Pakistan is celebrating Independence Day. Half the country was lost when Bangladesh was created in 1971. Since then, Pakistan has been embroiled in proxy wars, terrorism, political and economic problems.
Pakistan is at a crossroads and has a very important decision to make. It has to decide with whom to align: The Muslim Brotherhood bloc (Qatar, Iran, Turkey and soon Malaysia) or the Gulf States bloc (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain).
Pakistan can make a historic decision by following the stance of the UAE and recognizing Israel.