Opinion: The new accord with the United Arab Emirates will not only allow Israel to keep an eye on the Iranian threat in its own land, but it will also serve to open the door to treaties with other Gulf states and even the Palestinians
https://www.ynetnews.com- Alex Fishman
In the last year, the Carnegie Institution of Washington reported annual trade between Israel and the Gulf states of more than $1 billion
A large portion of this sum is due to deals made between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in the field of security.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed
The newly announced bilateral agreement – which shines a light on a previously secret relationship that has known its fair share of ups and downs since the signing of the first Oslo Accords in 1993 – will not have any significant impact on the business-security relations between the two countries.
The deep and obvious strategic interest of both countries is rooted in their cooperation against Iran, Hezbollah and other global jihadist organizations such as ISIS.
This shared interest between the two states has helped Israel’s defense industries and companies engaged in advanced agriculture to prosper.
Additionally, over the last two years, Israel has expanded its economic-military dealings in the Gulf States thanks to a new venture. The UAE is, for example, seeking to produce its own weapons instead of purchasing from others.
This includes an upgrade to its old armaments and this is where Israel’s arms industry comes in.
In the past these same industries reportedly helped upgrade the UAE’s F-16 fighter-jets. Upgrading the UAE’s weapons now will surely prove to be a lucrative business opportunity for Israel.
The reports regarding the business-military relationship between the two countries mention sales of missile defense systems, precision-guided armament, building a comprehensive border defense system, producing UAVs and drones, and developing other technological systems for homeland defense.
According to these same reports, Israel has also contributed its knowledge and systems in the field of cyber and electronic warfare.
This hefty list is a testament to the fact that Israel’s defense establishment – which approves classified military exports to the Gulf states and especially to the United Arab Emirates – see these states as posing no threat to Israel.
The agreement with the United Arab Emirates will only strengthen Israel’s response to the threat from Iran, which has entrenched itself right in Israel’s backyard in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, and turned them to a constant security threat to Israel.
Official Israeli presence in the UAE, near the Iranian border, serves to present the same security risk for Iran. This is in addition to the Iranian claim that Israel is using Azerbaijan, a country adjacent Iran, to disrupt the peace at the border.
In order for Israel to best utilize its presence in the area, intelligence collaborations are required between Israel and the Emirates, which apparently already exist.
The agreement between the UAE and Israel has made Iran much more susceptible to Israel’s eyes and ears. This collaboration could definitely weaken the threatening Shiite axis.
The UAE has spent the last few years deepening its involvements in the Middle East and in Northern Africa. This includes building military bases and naval ports in various countries in these areas.
For Israel, an ally which has proxies in the most important areas of conflict, is an indispensable Strategic asset and ally.
Furthermore, the UAE has greatly enhanced its diplomatic activism in the Palestinian Authority. They cannot stand the President of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas. They loath Hamas, and will actively support any pragmatic movement in the PA who will work to advance peace.
This is why Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan is getting preferential treatment within the UAE.
Even though the initial Palestinian response is to burn the pictures of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the UAE can, with the aid of its mighty financial systems– help calm the flames.
The agreement with the UAE could serve as the domino that would encourage other states in the Gulf to sign an open treaty with Israel, consequently leading to an agreement with the Palestinians.
Who knows, maybe the next state to sign a treaty with Israel will be Bahrain. Maybe it will be Sudan? And maybe even Saudi Arabia.