Faith and business are powerful forces for peace

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Are we moving towards a more peaceful Middle East?

24 Aug, 2020

Into the Open

Economist, Aug. 22, 2020: The Israel-UAE deal is good news for a troubled region, even if tensions remain high elsewhere in the Middle East

Although not universally hailed as a breakthrough, the peace accord between Israel and the UAE “is good news for a troubled region,” according to the Economist:

Some are calling it a “breakthrough”, others a “turning-point for peace”. But the deal is not remarkable for how it might transform the region. Rather, it reflects remarkable changes that have already taken place. A part of the world once defined by Arab-Israeli hostilities is no longer so; countries increasingly look towards the future, not the past, when shaping their policies. In a perennially troubled neighbourhood, this decline in tension is worth celebrating, even if other dangerous fault-lines remain.

It was no secret that Israel and the Gulf states had grown closer of late. Motivated by a common enemy, Iran, their armies and spy agencies swap intelligence. Recently, Israeli officials began popping up in Gulf capitals. But the UAE’s decision to take its relationship public will bring more benefits for both sides. Israeli business people are excited about their access to Dubai, the region’s financial hub—which happens to be in dire need of a clean-up (see article). Deals have already been signed between Israeli and Emirati firms. It feels like a much warmer peace than that between Israel and Egypt. Other Arab states are talking about following the UAE’s lead.

Read the full story (paywall).