The geopolitical earthquake that began with the Ibrahim Accords did not end. More than 130,000 Israelis have visited Dubai since President Trump hosted the signing of the peace agreement last September, and he opened air travel for the first time in August. New friendly relations are blossoming – wait until direct flights start between Israel and Morocco. We are witnessing the last remnants of what was known as the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The roots of the conflict go back to the post-World War II years, when Arab leaders refused to accept the creation of the State of Israel and spent 70 years discrediting it and using it to divert attention from local shortcomings. But as more Muslims visit Israel via Dubai, photos of Jews and Muslims standing proudly together have spread on social media. More importantly, Muslims publish pictures of peaceful visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which corrupts propaganda that the holy site is under attack, and Israelis prevent Muslims from praying there. Every time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets something positive in Arabic about an Arab leader, he confirms that Israel is rooted for the success of the Arab world.
One reason the Arab-Israeli conflict has persisted for so long has been the myth that it can only be resolved after Israel and the Palestinians resolve their differences. This was never true. The Abraham Accords revealed the conflict as nothing more than a real estate dispute between Israelis and Palestinians that does not need to disrupt Israel’s relations with the wider Arab world. It will eventually be resolved when the parties agree on an arbitrary boundary line.
The Biden administration makes China a priority in its foreign policy, and rightly so – one of Mr. Trump’s greatest legacies will be changing the world’s view of China’s behavior. But it would be a mistake not to build on progress in the Middle East. The elimination of the ISIS caliphate and the conclusion of six peace agreements – between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, and Kosovo, as well as the unification of the Gulf Cooperation Council – changed the paradigm.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017, Mr. Trump called on Muslim-majority countries to root out extremist ideology. As the custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam, Saudi Arabia has made great progress in combating extremism, greatly reducing the risk of attack on America and creating the environment for new partnerships today. In Mr Trump’s final deal before leaving office, he brokered an end to the diplomatic conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and restored an important alliance to counter Iran.
However, the Biden administration does have one asset the Trump administration never had – the relationship with Iran. While many were alarmed by the Biden team’s opening offer to work with Europe and join the Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, I saw it as a smart diplomatic move. The Biden administration described Iran’s hoax. It revealed to the Europeans that the JCPOA is dead and that only a new framework can stabilize it in the future. When Iran asked for a reward just for starting negotiations, President Biden did the right thing and refused.
Mr Trump has said that Iran has never won a war but has never lost any negotiations. These negotiations carry great risks, and thanks to his policies, America has a strong hand. Iran is pretending to be powerful, but its economic situation is dire and it does not have the ability to continue the conflict or survive indefinitely under the current sanctions. America must be patient and insist that any deal includes real nuclear inspections and an end to Iran’s funding of foreign militias.
If the threat from Iran decreases, so does the region’s military budgets. Imagine how many lives could be improved if that money, a huge share of GDP, were invested in infrastructure, education, small businesses and impoverished communities.
Following the new road map will prevent the Biden administration from repeating the mistakes of the past and open up opportunities for US companies. On Friday, the UAE announced a $ 10 billion fund to invest in Israel; The Arab world is no longer boycotting the Jewish state but is betting that it will prosper. There are also several other countries that are close to joining the Abraham Accords, including Oman, Qatar and Mauritania. These relationships must be pursued aggressively – every deal is a blow to those who prefer chaos.
More importantly, normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel is on the horizon. The kingdom immersed the toe in water by granting rights to fly over Israel and, more recently, allowing an Israeli racing team to participate in the Dakar Rally. The Saudi people are beginning to see that Israel is not their enemy. Relations with Israel are in the Saudi national interest and can be achieved if it leads the Biden administration.
I was touched when I read in The Associated Press about a Jewish man who said he feels more comfortable wearing Yarmulk in Dubai compared to France. The estrangement between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East over the past seventy years is not the rule. As Jews and Muslims now travel more freely through the region, they go back to the traditions of bygone eras, when members of the Abrahamic religions lived peacefully side by side.
The schedule has been set. If it were smart, the Biden administration would seize this historic opportunity to unleash the potential of the Middle East, preserve America’s security, and help the region turn the page on a generation of conflict and instability. It is time to start a new chapter of partnership, prosperity and peace.
Mr. Kushner was a senior advisor to President Trump.
Magazine Editorial Report: Biden and the Democrats are crushing it on the left. Photo: Alex Brandon / Associated Press
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