The Israel-UAE deal isn’t about peace at all

(photo: rjzaar – CC BY 2.0)
The UAE move provides political cover for other Arab states to make deals that would likely do nothing for Palestinians.

By Phyllis Bennis   | CounterPunch |  Sept 3, 2020

The Palestinians get what the Palestinians always get. Bupkes, as my grandma used to say. Yiddish for ‘nothing.’

In some ways, the U.S.-brokered plan for mutual recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is big news. For more than a quarter of a century, only two Middle Eastern countries — Egypt and Jordan — had officially recognized Israel. None of the Gulf monarchies did.

So, it was a pretty big deal when the announcement was made. Except, actually, not so much.

Despite the UAE’s claimed adherence to a decades-long position that no Arab country should normalize relations with Israel until it ended its occupation of Palestinian land, ties between the UAE and Israel had been quietly underway for years. The same is true of many other Arab states.

Quiet but not-quite-covert trade, technology transfers, and security partnerships are an old story. Intelligence ties began in the 1970s, and commercial links took off after the 1994 Oslo accords. After 9/11, the Bush administration encouraged technology as well as security connections. These expanded continuously, pausing only when Israel assassinated a Hamas leader in the UAE in 2010 and the UAE briefly severed relations.

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