Arab Nations Join with Israel to Form a Middle East NATO
In such a dangerous time for Israel, the nation has forged unlikely alliances with its neighbors. These alliances will likely serve Israel well in the future, especially as the nation faces aggression from Palestinians and Iran.
From All Arab News. Amid the nightmare in Ukraine and the worsening Iran threat, the two-day Negev Summit – held on Sunday and Monday – was a stunning success….
But the truth is that the summit – hosted by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and bringing together U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt – provided tangible evidence that not everything in the Middle East is clouded in darkness….
Here are four reasons that the Negev Summit was so historic and hopeful.
First, the summit laid the groundwork for a Mideast NATO, a “new regional architecture” to protect moderate Arab countries and Israel from the existential threat posed by the Iranian regime.
Last August, I wrote that Israel’s new government – including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Lapid – were trying to work with moderate Arab countries to begin building a Middle East version of NATO.
On Monday, Lapid underscored that message, announcing that the summit would become “a permanent forum” – a series of ongoing meetings at the ministerial level – to build what he called “a new regional architecture….”
And Iran would be its focus….
“Israel’s meeting with top diplomats from the U.S. and four Arab countries…is one of the strongest signs yet that the country is beginning to reap the dividends of normalization deals, confirming a profound realignment of Middle Eastern powers,” reported The New York Times….
Second, the summit represented the first time that three of these Arab foreign ministers had ever set foot in Israel.
For most of Israel’s existence since 1948, the Arab world was either in a hot war with Israel, or a cold war.
Then came Egypt’s peace breakthrough with Israel at Camp David in 1978, followed by the formal peace treaty in 1979. Then came Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Then the Abraham Accords in 2020.
Now, finally, despite being neighbors for so long, the chief diplomats of these countries finally came – as one – to visit Israel together.
- UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (widely known as Sheikh Abdullah, or by his initials “ABZ”) had never been to Israel before.
- Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita hadn’t either.
- Nor had Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
- Only Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani had ever visited Israel before, and his first visit was just last year.
These Arab leaders didn’t come to the Jewish state as adversaries or strangers.
They came as friends….
Today’s event was truly a historic one, a day to remember with another milestone being realised. It sent a clear message of #peace and #hope for all. #Negevsummit #Bahrain #UAE #Israel #Egypt #USA #Morocco pic.twitter.com/hDtFrrems3
— Khaled Al Jalahma (@BahrainAmbIsr) March 28, 2022
Second, the summit was held in the town of Sde Boker, in the sprawling Negev desert in the south of Israel.
Why was this important?
Because Sde Boker is where Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben Gurion, went to retire.
Because Ben Gurion was the man chosen by the Jewish people to turn Theodor Herzl’s dream into a reality….
Most Arab leaders fought virulently against Herzl and Ben Gurion, literally and figuratively.
But now Arab leaders are slowly but surely making their peace with Zionism….
Third, the summit was just the first event of many to come.
The Arab ministers and Lapid all agreed that this was not a one-off event.
It’s the beginning of a process to work on security issues, economic and trade cooperation, and even inter-faith relations….
Fourth, even though Jordan’s foreign minister did not attend, there was a good reason for that.
During the summit, King Abdullah II crossed the Jordan River and visited Ramallah.
To meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
To try to work together to prevent an ugly spike in terror during the upcoming Passover, Easter and Ramadan holidays.
Think about that.
While four Arab foreign ministers and a U.S. Secretary of State were meeting in the hometown of Israel’s founding prime minister, the King of Jordan was on the West Bank, meeting with the Palestinian president, trying to advance peace and security….
Share this article to encourage your friends and family!
(Excerpt from All Arab News. Photo Credit: Canva)
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