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A Big Deal in the Middle East

The announcement regarding the normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel was a dramatic and welcome surprise, with potentially revolutionary implications for the Middle East. This article describes how the agreement is a huge win for Netanyahu and his doctrine, which has called over the years to take few risks, reject giving up territorial concessions to the Palestinians (who have rejected multiple far-reaching peace offers) and that peace between Israel and the Arab world must and can come before peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The big winners here are Netanyahu and Israel, the United States who helped broker the agreement and rejected outdated notions, and of course the UAE who is competing with Turkey and Iran for regional influence. But I also claim the Palestinians can be considered winners - as they were given a lifeline by the UAE's bold diplomatic gesture. Recall that in exchange for normalization, Israel had to shelf unilateral annexation plans.

The losers? The failed Palestinian strategy to isolate and weaken Israel, and demand no Arab state normalizes relations with Israel until it makes peace with them first. Add to that all the radical actors in the region.

Ironically, although Israel had to rein in its hubris and cease annexation efforts for this deal to happen, it was the very threat of that annexation that turned everything on its head.


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