(Nov. 29) If the Biden administration doesn’t imitate the Obama administration by getting in the way of progress, Israel will continue to prove itself a partner for Middle East peace, not a source of belligerence.

The latest example of Israel’s cooperation with the Muslim world came last week when it signed an energy-water accord with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. A company owned by the UAE government will build a solar energy plant in Jordan, which will sell the energy to Israel. Israel will then quadruple the amount of desalinated water it provides Jordan, up to 200 million cubic meters annually. If Israel’s current desalination plants don’t provide enough water, the Jewish state may build a new facility.

This is the epitome of a win-win-win deal. Israel is land-poor, but because its own pluck and diligence have made it an economic and technological marvel, it can help neighboring countries improve their quality of life. That, plus the fact that a number of Arab or Sunni Muslim nations share Israel’s concern about Iranian Shiite hegemony, means that many of those nations have good reason for respectful cooperation with the government in Jerusalem.

Hence the Abraham Accords, the name now collectively given to agreements signed in 2020 between Israel and, respectively, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, and, perhaps soon, Oman. (Israel already enjoyed formal relations with Jordan for a quarter-century, but the Abraham Accords also effectively enabled those relations to improve.) As longtime Jerusalem Post analyst Herb Keinon noted in an excellent Nov. 25 column , the Abraham Accords proved how blinkered and wrongheaded Barack Obama’s administration had been, especially under Secretary of State John Kerry, when it deliberately stood athwart such Israeli-Arab diplomacy.

In 2016, Kerry insisted that Israel would and could never achieve a separate peace with remaining Arab nations “without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace.” Even as Kerry and Obama wrongly and unsuccessfully pressured Israel to kowtow to the Palestinian Authority, Israel was improving back-channel cooperation with a number of Arab states. Indeed, two years before Kerry’s ignorant statement in 2016, Israel’s ministers were happily advising select American visitors of the growing rapprochements. Yet Kerry not only refused to recognize these developments, but also put diplomatic roadblocks in their way…. [The full column is here.]


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