The political landscape in the Middle East has gone through astonishing changes over the last 10 years. Every Arab country in the world used to be Israel’s enemy. According to Jon Purizhansky, it is no longer the case. Gulf monarchies have not only become Israel’s strategic allies but have come out in the open by proclaiming that peace with Israel will create nothing but benefits for their constituents.
More recent diplomatic exposure has brought the relationship between Israel and the Arab States out into the open and has signaled that the establishment of formal relations is just around the corner for the first time. Jon Purizhansky says that this development will not only change the Middle East – it will change the entire world
Recently, Israeli political leaders have held much-publicized meetings with the governments of Bahrain and Oman. There is talk about establishing formal relationships with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Jon Purizhansky says that the Iranian threat coupled with excessive regional instability and the mistrust between various nation-states in the neighborhood is driving this development forward.
Israel stands to benefit in countless ways from the alliance. Israel is constantly criticized for mistreating the Palestinians by the liberal West and by the Palestinians themselves. Clear demonstration of alliance and friendship between Israel and its non-Palestinian Arab neighbors destroys the flawed premise on which the anti-Israeli propaganda is built. Any reasonable person would conclude that “if the Arab States that lost land in wars with Israel even before the term “Palestinian” had been created want to be Israel’s friends now, then why can’t Palestinians do the same?” The growing alliance with the Arab states also points to the fact that Israeli strategic policies have worked.
If the Israeli government can show that the wealthy Arab countries of the region are willing to normalize relations with Israel despite continued settlement building in the West Bank and no peace on the horizon with Palestinians, then the criticism of Netanyahu holds no water, and he will have been proven right—at least in the medium term.
Jon Purizhansky points to Neganyahu’s recent statement that while other Israeli leaders had tried to bridge the relationship with the Arab and Muslim world through “concessions” to the Palestinians, he had adamantly refused to do so. “We believe in peace out of strength,” Netanyahu countered. “We believe in alliances born out of Israel’s value as a technological, financial, defense, and intelligence powerhouse.”
Jon Purizhansky identifies three premises on which the alliance between Israel and the Gulf States is based.
The first premise is Iran, the danger Iran’s policies pose in the neighborhood and the geopolitics of the Middle East after 2011.
Israel does not have to face Iran alone now. The Islamic Republic is a regional threat, giving Israel more legitimacy in how it responds.
The second premise is Israel’s ability to provide the Gulf states with most developed security systems, thereby ensuring that current ruling families will continue to rule.
The third premise according to Jon Purizhansky is Israel’s close relationship with the United States. By positioning themselves as Israel’s partners, the Gulf States will be able to score in Washington. They will also be able to link their own security with Israel’s security in the eyes of the US Government.
Jon Purizhansky says that although Israel is highly unpopular on the Palestinian street, inevitably Palestinians stand to benefit economically in many ways from the new Israeli/Gulf States alliance. There will be investments and jobs will be created on the Palestinian Territories. Absent force major circumstances, which are so common in the Middle East, economic prosperity will create a stronger desire for peace amongst the Palestinian masses. Undoubtedly, it will take years, but the Israel/Gulf States alliance is the sign of things to come – much waited for peace and prosperity in the Middle East.