Why UAE peace with Israel could be warmer than with Egypt, Jordan

The receptiveness of Emirati society and the readiness of the successful business community, which is thriving in a safe environment, are among the factors set to consolidate the peace agreement.
Thursday 17/09/2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (R) participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, September 15. (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L), US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (R) participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House in Washington, September 15. (AFP)

ABU DHABI – Emirati-Israeli peace is likely to be warmer and more beneficial to both sides than were the Egyptian-Israeli and the Jordanian-Israeli deals, Arab experts say.

On the Egyptian and Jordanian tracks, Tel Aviv acted as if the two peace accords were more of security understandings than a gateway to coexistence and normal relations in the region.

Analysts say Emirati society is more receptive to interacting with visitors encouraged by the authorities’ keenness on cultivating and perpetuating a culture of peace, tolerance and recognition of the other, especially those of different faiths, a tradition started and promoted by the state’s founder the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.

In addition, the UAE appears poised to cooperate with Israeli businessmen in various investment fields.

Analysts point out also that one of the most important factors towards the success of the Emirates’ peace agreement is the existence of effective Emirati security services capable of controlling the situation in every corner of the country.

In this regard, they indicate that the equation based on the existence of a society that believes in a culture of peace and tolerance and of successful Emirati business community thriving in a safe environment, will undoubtedly consolidate the peace agreement signed between the two countries, September 15, on the White House lawn under the auspices of US President Donald Trump.

Arab experts believe the two peace treaties between Israel, on the one side, and Egypt and Jordan, on the other, have turned into mere pieces of paper with limited benefits after the different signatories failed to go beyond the security cooperation aspect.

They explain that this was mainly due to the fact that the Egyptian people were not originally prepared to accept peace with Israel, especially in light of the significant influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on society. The late President Anwar Sadat did not stop the rise and growth of the Muslim Brotherhood because he wanted to use the Islamist organisation against leftist detractors and Nasserite remnants.

Moreover, extremist movements, especially at the beginning of Hosni Mubarak’s era, were able to carry out several terrorist operations, either by killing foreign tourists or attacking hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh. This prompted Israel to prevent its citizens from traveling to Egypt.

In this regard, it was remarkable that in the first years following the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, there was a significant influx of tens of thousands of Israeli tourists on a daily basis staying at the resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada and El Gouna. Most of these tourists came in drones mostly attracted by gambling in the casinos of Egyptian resorts. But a series of terrorist attacks on Egyptian hotels and the quasi absence of a real security presence at these places drove the Israeli tourists away. They preferred to head to Turkey instead.

In the case of Jordan, the public mood became gradually hostile to the peace accord signed with Israel in Wadi Araba in October 1994. In addition, and despite the great efforts made by the late Jordanian monarch King Hussein to maintain warm relations with Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom still lacked a culture of peace, and the decline in Israeli-Palestinian relations was reflected in the Jordanian interior.

A 1997 incident had further damped Jordan’s relations with Israel. In March of that year, a Jordanian soldier named Ahmad al-Daqamseh opened fire on a group of Israeli girls on an excursion to the Jordanian region of Al-Baqoura. In a gesture to repair the damage done to Israeli-Jordanian relations, King Hussein travelled to Israel to offer his condolences to the girls’ families, but the incident was a turning point in the relations between his country and its Jewish neighbour. Israeli tourists became very wary about vacationing in Jordan.