Israel-Sudan and Israel-UAE deal
United States of America has announced that Sudan will start to normalize ties with Israel, making it the third Arab state after UAE and Bahrain to do so as part of U.S.-brokered deals in the run-up to Election Day.
• After Egypt's peace treaty with Israel in 1979, followed by Jordan's in 1994, it makes the UAE only the third Arab country to normalise relations. It is the first of the six Arab Gulf states to do so.
• According to these deals, the two Gulf States became the first in the Middle East to recognise Israel in 26 years. They have agreed to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.
• The agreement that will be called the ‘Abraham Accord’ was brokered by US President Donald Trump.
• The UAE will establish diplomatic relations with Israel in return for President Binyamin Netanyahu committing to give up a stated plan to annex the West Bank, the main territory of a state that the Palestinians want. The joint statement mentioned that Israel and the UAE would also be “forging closer people-to-people relations”.
• Similarly, Sudan will recognize Israel in return for its removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The situation in the Middle East is complex and some observers believe that domestic politics in Israel and the US may also have a lot to do with this agreement, e.g. Netanyahu, who has been facing mass protests for weeks against his mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak, a drop in popularity in his country, and is on trial for corruption, may be banking on this agreement to revive his image.
Several nations in the Middle East also have contentious relations with Iran and this improvement in relations between Israel and the UAE may be an attempt by the US and Israel to use the leverage to force other Gulf Arab states to alienate Iran.
Iran, Qatar, and Turkey have all criticized the accord.
Civil society organizations throughout the region remain steadfast in their opposition to normalizing relations with Israel.
Despite the apparent Israeli promise of halting annexation, the Palestinian leadership rejected the accord and recalled its ambassador from Abu Dhabi. For Palestinians, who long have relied on Arab backing in their struggle for independence, the announcement marked a setback for the Israel-Palestine relations.
This move is significant because with the exception of Jordan and Egypt, Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab states owing to its long-standing conflict with Palestinians.
They also up end the traditional Arab strategy of refusing to normalize relations with Israel before an independent Palestinian state is created.
This deal is not going to affect the UAE regime's stability. It reflects the changing geopolitics of the region and it buys the UAE a lot of goodwill in the US, where its image has been tarnished by its involvement in the Yemen war. It puts the UAE out first in a regional recognition race among neighbouring Gulf Arab states.
Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economics has the potential to transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations.