Is it a peace deal or a normalization deal?
https://www.jpost.com-By YAAKOV KATZ
It is a question many people have been wondering over the last two weeks, ever since Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a historic deal to formalize diplomatic relations between the two countries.
On the other hand, how can there be peace when there was never war? For there to be peace between countries, they would have first needed to have been hostile with one another.
Thankfully, that was never the case between Israel and the UAE. Yes, the UAE refused to publicly open diplomatic ties with Israel. But it never fought Israel, like in the case of Egypt and Jordan, two countries that fought multiple wars against the nascent Jewish state with the declared goal of destroying it.
When deals were reached with both – Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 – those accords heralded in an era of peace. Weapons were put down, border crossings were opened, and embassies were established.
With the UAE, there are no weapons that need to be laid down. Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi have never been at war and have never had an openly hostile relationship. Unlike Egypt, which fought Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, the UAE has never fired a missile at Israel or threatened its existence.
While Israel’s peace with Jordan and Egypt are both pillars of stability for the Middle East – they have enabled Israel to downsize its defense budget, to invest in other areas and to focus on other threats – they mostly manifest on a government-to-government level.
When it comes to people-to-people, though, there is very little exchange, very little tourism (except for the Sinai) and very little trade (except now for gas).
With the UAE, there is no bad blood. There is no bad history. The PLO didn’t find refuge there and use it to launch attacks against Israel, like in Jordan, and its military forces didn’t fire artillery shells at Israeli communities, like from Egypt. Instead, it is a country with which Israel can start a clean slate and build a new alliance.
While Israelis have gotten used to the cold peace with Jordan and Egypt, the relations that were being built in Abu Dhabi during the historic visit on Monday are expected to be warm between two nations whose peoples are already looking forward to respectively visiting and investing in Dubai and Tel Aviv.
And who knows? Maybe the warm ties that Israel establishes with the UAE will trickle across the region to the average Jordanian and Egyptian. So, whatever you call what is happening, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. The Middle East is changing before our eyes.