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Israel Now News is Israel's most comprehensive source for breaking news and current events from Israel and the Jewish world.

Israel and the UAE: A New Chapter in Gulf Relations

Liza Cablayan Journalist at Israel Now
Published on August 26, 2020
Israel and the UAE: A New Chapter in Gulf Relations

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is slated to stabilize their relations with Israel. When Egypt’s peace treaty ended in 1979 with Israel, along with Jordan’s in 1994, it made the UAE the third Arab country to even out relations. Oman, Bahrain and Morocco are expected to follow in their footsteps.

There have been several talks back-and-forth for years between UAE and Israel, although it was a secret well kept. They kept the timing of the talks under wraps until the last minute.

It took everyone by surprise, especially the Palestinians, considering there were no meetings to speak of between the foreign ministry of UAE in Abu Dhabi and its neighbours. The Palestinians felt it was done behind their backs, as they themselves were no closer to stop Israel’s occupation.

Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow for Middle East security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, mentioned that “For the Palestinians, there is zero upside here.”

There are risks to this action that may make UAE’s popularity go lower in the Arab world. They are even called “a sell-out” in social media. If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reneges on his promise to postpone any occupation of any parts of the West Bank, it will be a big embarrassment to the UAE. The move will also be frowned upon by the White House.

People are trying to find out what’s behind this deal and what it has in store for the UAE, and it can be summed up in two words: strategic advantage and technology.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and UAE has long had a deep mistrust of its neighbor, Iran. Despite sanctions placed by its neighbors, Iran has progressed in its strategic presence and military power across the Middle East since Saddam Hussein left Iraq.

Iran was solely confined within its borders, but its militias have now branched out to Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon and Yemen. Because of Iran’s covert nuclear program, Israel shares the same concerns with its neighbors.

Regarding technology, UAE has purchased Israeli made spyware to monitor its people. They have vast oil reserves, with its per capita GDP at $40,000. Israel is the most advanced of all the countries in the Middle East. This partnership between the two countries may give the UAE the boost it needs to propel it back to its former prestige, making sure its citizens will have jobs.

Saudi Arabia may take longer to follow in the footsteps of UAE. Bahrain, Oman and Qatar are closely inline especially if the announcement happens with no major incident.

This deal also prompted a hike in Israel-related search words, and the most used keywords were, “hotels in Israel”.