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Why Trump's Mideast peace deals matter

David Harsanyi on

After Israel's resounding victory over the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies in 1967, the Jewish state again offered the Arab world peace in exchange for recognition. And it was again rebuffed. Instead, the Arab League convened in Khartoum to formulate a consensus response that became known as "The 3 Noes" -- no recognition, no negotiations and no peace with Israel.

Needless to say, this posture left little room for positive dialogue.

Indeed, three years before Israel had ever attained its "occupied" territories in the West Bank, the Arab League had already created and funded the Palestine Liberation Organization, a nationalist terror group that would not only operate within Israel but develop the tactics that would subsequently be adopted by Islamists around the world.

Arab states, including those in Gulf, would support and fund this violence against Jewish civilians for decades.

Fast-forward to 2020. Earlier this month, the Palestinians, who had held veto power over Arab foreign policy for years, demand nothing less than a full condemnation of the Israel-UAE normalization. The Arab League gave them nothing.

Instead, a couple of weeks later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, and Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani of Bahrain all came to Washington to sign the Abraham Accords, in which all three promised to "to take the necessary steps to prevent any terrorist or hostile activities against each other on or from their respective territories, as well as deny any support for such activities abroad or allowing such support on or from their respective territories."

 

It takes only a rudimentary knowledge of modern Middle East history to comprehend the immense changes going on in the region -- and yet this seems lost on many contemporary journalists.

There are likely a number of reasons that normalization deals between Israel and Arab nations haven't received the attention and praise they deserve. The first is the most obvious: Few in legacy media want to credit Donald Trump -- certainly not during a presidential campaign. Had Barack Obama facilitated a deal between Israel and any Arab nation, it would have dominated coverage. Rightly so.

Many reporters, think-tankers and D.C. foreign-policy experts are part of a hive mind in which the word "peace" means little more than the creation of Palestinian state and an embrace of Iran. And Washington's foreign policy consensus has taken a body blow. In four years, Jared Kushner has done more to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East than the entire Brookings Institution foreign policy team has in a lifetime.

The John Kerrys of the world have long argued that wider peace would not be possible without acquiescing to the Palestinians first. They were wrong. After the Trump administration moved the American Embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, the same people warned that an eruption of violence would envelop the Middle East. They made the same claim after Trump assassinated Qasem Soleimani. Wrong. And wrong, again.

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