As the first Israeli commercial flight to the UAE touched down in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Israeli officials back in Tel Aviv affirmed that the Benjamin Netanyahu government has shelved earlier plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, a key point in the UAE-Israeli Peace Accord.
The good news came as an official Israeli delegation, accompanied by Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the US president Donald Trump, began an official visit to herald the newly established ties between the two countries.
The courageous decision by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to initiate this historic move reflects a much-needed, pragmatic vision for the future of the region
The UAE-Israel Peace Accord certainly is a sovereign decision and within the right of the UAE. The country has the right to establish diplomatic relations with Israel or any other country it chooses, in accordance with its national interests.
Moreover, having bilateral ties with Israel should not surprise anyone — the UAE was preceded in this by several Arab and Muslim states, including those who pretend to be against the accord such as Turkey, Qatar among others.
Fortunately, the Arab public opinion understands that, despite the initial emotional reaction fuelled by certain online and social media outlets, run by such radical groups as the Muslim Brotherhood, to please their masters in Turkey and Iran.
Middle East peace process
The UAE decision, however, was not taken overnight. It was a thoroughly thought and calculated move that would reap benefits for the country and the region. It was taken with the wider picture, the Middle East peace process, and the rights of the Palestinians, in mind.
The courageous decision by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to initiate this historic move reflects a much-needed, pragmatic vision for the future of the region.
The accord is the starting point for a strategic shift in the region, based on mutual benefits that will contribute greatly to the development, security, and stability of our region.
Regional investment ventures
It will also lead to major bilateral, and even regional investment ventures that will create much needed job opportunities for the youth in the Arab world and the Middle East, especially in vital and future-looking sectors such as education, technology, energy, tourism and environment.
Most importantly, the accord has given a new lifeline to the peace process, which has been dormant for long. The accord will reinitiate peace talks and reinvigorate the American engagement in the process, something that is badly needed to preserve the rights of the Palestinian people to their own independent state with Jerusalem as its capital as per the international resolutions.
The UAE will never waver on these rights. The UAE has always been a strong advocate for Palestinian rights and shall remain so. Bilateral ties with Israel will not change that. On the contrary, it will give the UAE a crucial leverage to bring everybody to the negotiating table.