Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation for the United Arab Emirates, tweeted an article supporting an
emerging alliance of Arab states with Israel. He tweeted from his personal
account to his 4.6 million followers. The tweet repeated the headline of the
article: "Islam's reformation, an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape in
the Middle East."
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that he welcomed closer readings between
Israel and many Arab states. "The time has come for normalization and
narrative is emerging in the Middle East," wrote Ed Husain in an article
on Saturday in The Spectator arguing that an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking
shape in the Middle East. "Sunni Arab neighbours are changing
course," he wrote, contrasting this year with the 1960s when Israel's
neighbours sought to destroy the country. "Islamist leaders are losing
their appeal, at a time when Iran, with its brand of theological fascism, poses
a threat to Israel and the Arab world alike."
argued that polls show that while religious extremism is falling in the region,
young people are open to new ideas. They want prosperity and some are open to
build new alliances, including with Israel. The author of the article is
currently on a visit to Israel, and tweeted photos from Tel Aviv on Friday.
"In Tel Aviv today with Ibn Sina, Maimonides and Aquinas," he wrote,
referencing historic Jewish, Islamic and Christian philosophers. Husain has
worked at influential think tanks, including Civitas and the Wilson Centre’s
Middle East program. He is an author and advisor.
retweeting the article, the UAE's influential minister gave wind to it and
spotlighted it to his four million followers. Many of the comments were
positive. The UAE has been a key ally of Saudi Arabia in recent years and has
also been leading the region to confront extremism, including the Muslim
Brotherhood and Tehran's regime. However, the UAE is also in a complex position
because it wants to support tolerance but knows that Iran is a neighbour across
the Gulf. The US has Al Dhafra air base in the UAE and the French are basing a
force to help with maritime security in the wake of Iranian attacks on tankers
in May and June this year. The UAE has generally been seen as having shared
interests with Israel in recent years.
article noted that Abu Dhabi is pushing for coexistence in the region. "In
Dubai, Jews have been worshiping at a synagogue for several years now. Rabbis
from Israel, America, Australia and Europe have been attending annual international
Muslim peace conferences." There has been talk about a US-supported
non-aggression pact between Israel, the UAE and several other states in the
region. Israel will participate in an expo in Dubai in 2020. Israeli Sephardic
Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar attended an interfaith gathering in Bahrain recently.
Israeli minister for Culture Miri Regev went to the UAE in 2018 during the same
period that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Oman. "King Hamad of
Bahrain has also led a path towards more open relations between Islam and
Judaism," Husain wrote.
signs of a "religious glasnost" with Saudi Arabia as well.
"Several Saudi bloggers, YouTubers and Twitter personalities have been
praising Israel in Arabic." Husain said he has noticed a change in mood in
the region. Part of this is shared interests against Iran's threat and heavy
hand in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria. "Israel is being seen by moderate
Arab governments as a trade and security partner." Israel and many Arab
states were united in an uproar over the Obama administration's Iran deal. He
even notes that an Arab prince recently asked, "Who else will fly in joint
missions against Iranian targets with us?" Husain argued that now is the
time for a rebirth of tolerance after seven decades of anti-Semitism in the
region. He says that the Quran can also point the way because of respect for
Jews in Islam. "There are enough historical and scriptural narratives of
Muslim-Jewish fraternity to form the basis for rapprochement." It can lead
to decades of peace.
the Gulf and neighbours such as Jordan and Egypt, there are many shared
interests. For instance, concerns about energy in the Mediterranean are drawing
Israel and Egypt closer. The UAE recently met with Greek officials to express
concern about Turkey's role, and also the Libya crisis. Israel, Greece, Egypt
and Cyprus have shared interests in energy and natural gas issues off their
Frantzman, a Middle East Forum writing fellow, is the author of After ISIS:
America, Iran and the Struggle for the Middle East (2019), op-ed editor of The
Jerusalem Post, and founder of the Middle East Centre for Reporting &
Headline: UAE Foreign Minister Tweets Article about Israel–Arab Alliance
Source: Middle East Forum