by Ayman Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 49, No. 7, Muharram, 1442)
Since Donald Trump triumphantly announced on August 13 that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, the Zionists have been bombing the besieged Gaza enclave every day. This constitutes a war crime. The UAE claimed that it established full diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv to “prevent” Israel’s annexation of major parts of the West Bank.
There are two problems with this claim. First, the UAE did not bother to consult any Palestinians, not even the secular Palestinian Authority. Second, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately announced that the annexation plan was merely on hold, not abandoned. Would the UAE be able to prevent Israeli annexation despite establishing diplomatic ties with it?
The UAE has been in regular contact with the Zionist regime since at least 1990 so what was the rush to go public now? Two beleaguered rulers—Trump and Netanyahu—are struggling for political survival. Trump is trailing behind Joe Biden, his colorless Democratic rival, in the November presidential elections. He is desperate to cling to power. Netanyahu has been plagued by corruption scandals that have erupted into massive protests outside his official residence. The UAE announcement is meant as a lifeline for both.
The Emiritis’ decades-long contacts with Israel were facilitated by Sandra Charles, a former member of George Bush Senior’s regime. She became an advisor to Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), the current de facto ruler of Abu Dhabi. In 1990, when the tiny Gulf state wanted to buy US fighter planes, the pro-Israel lobby in the US blocked it. Enter Ms. Charles who arranged a meeting between Emirati academic Jamal al-Suwaidi and Israeli diplomat Jeremy Issacharoff at which the Emirati pledged loyalty to Israel on behalf of UAE rulers.
Word went out from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to the lobby in Washington DC to not opposed UAE’s acquisition of American fighter jets. Al-Suwaidi then established the Centre for Strategic Studies and Research in 1994 to act as cover to pursue UAE-Israeli contacts. In October 2018, the Emiratis invited Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev to Abu Dhabi to witness the Judo Tournament in which Israeli athletes also participated. The Israeli national anthem was played at the event even though there were no diplomatic ties between the two regimes and Emirati officials stood up placing their hands on their chests as a mark of respect.
This practice would now become official. At a time when even American athletes are taking the knee in solidarity with black people against police brutality and white racism, Arabian officials stand up with oppressors of the Palestinians.
It couldn’t get more explicit, yet the Arabian dinosaurs, fearing extinction, seem not to care. They are desperate to appease the Zionists in the mistaken belief that this would ensure their survival now that US role in the region is shrinking.
But who exactly is Ms. Regev? As former spokesperson for the Israeli army, she called African migrants in Israel as “cancer” and publicly called for the murder of Palestinian leaders. The Zionists have been doing just that without needing any prompting from her. In 2010, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a member of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas was assassinated by the Israeli Mossad in a Dubai hotel room. Did the Emiratis take any action for this Zionist crime?
Ms. Regev’s visit to the UAE was followed by other Israeli ministers. These included Israel’s communications minister Ayoub Kara and Foreign Minister Yizrael Katz in July 2019 to attend the UN Climate Change conference in Abu Dhabi. Israel is also deeply involved in security and intelligence sharing. The UAE’s security system is controlled and managed by the Israelis.
Other Arabian rulers have been no less enthusiastic. For instance, Bahrain where an Economic Summit was held last year to garner financial support for Trump’s proposed ‘deal of the century’. The aim was to bribe Palestinian officials to abandon their quest for a Palestinian state, for Jerusalem as their capital and the return of Palestinian refugees. To their credit, the Palestinians rejected the bribe.
That, however, has not deterred the UAE and other potentates from embracing the Zionists. The Associated Press reported on August 19 that “the agreement [between Israel and the UAE] was in fact the culmination of more than a decade of quiet links rooted in frenzied opposition to Iran that predated Trump and even Barack Obama, as well as Trump’s avowed goal to undo his predecessor’s Mideast legacy.” Sigurd Neubauer, in his book, The Gulf Region and Israel: Old Struggles, New Alliances, says that UAE efforts to seek better ties with Israel date back to 2006, citing the public-relations fiasco over Dubai port operator DP World’s failed bid to manage major ports in the US. “The long-time UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef Al-Otaiba, held his first meeting with an Israeli official in 2008 and a diplomatic channel was established to focus on Iran, Neubauer said.”
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and point man for selling the ‘deal of the century’ to the Arabian potentates confidently predicted that other states primarily Bahrain and Oman would follow the UAE’s example. And Saudi Arabia would not be far behind. Officials from the Bedouin kingdom have been meeting Zionist officials at various venues without even pretending to be discreet. There were reports last year that Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman had secretly visited Tel Aviv.
Breaking their silence on the UAE-Israel deal, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said “Peace must be achieved with the Palestinians” as a pre-condition for any normalisation of relations with Israel. He made the remarks on August 18 while meeting his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin. The million-dollar question is: how long will they hold out?