Israel-Arab peace, in the Middle East context, actually exists

Special to

By Alexander Maistrovoy

Those who talk about peace between the Arabs and Israel don’t know the half of it. In fact, this peace exists – moreover, in recent years it has become significantly stronger.

Obviously, this is not the peace in the style of post-modern culture – peace with open borders, visa-free travel, conferences, symposia, theatrical performances with naked participants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.  /Kobi Gideon/GPO
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz. /Kobi Gideon/GPO

It’s a type of peace where the partners do not trust each other, fear each other and try to outsmart each other.

Peace in which partners, circumstantially, find themselves in the same boat. A kind of peace, which always existed, which will never cease to exist despite utopias.

Peace which works best according to the proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Both Israel and the Arab regimes are facing the same menace:

  • Iran and its Shi’ite axis with “Hizbullah”
  • A three-headed hydra of Sunni fundamentalism: “Muslim Brothers”, the Salafis and the “Al Qaida”
  • Cowardice and treachery of the West, coupled with vicious pseudo-liberal Marxist theory.

Mix all these with Neo-Ottoman ambitions of Turks, threatening both Israel and the Arabs, and Kremlin’s support of Iran and the picture becomes clear. Basically, Arab leaders and Israel don’t have any allies in the world. They are on their own and can only survive by cooperating with each other — secretly, quietly, but rather actively.

This collaboration has begun in the middle of the recent decade when Arabs and Jews were faced with Iranian expansion. In 2006, Mubarak and Saudi Arabia could hardly conceal their desire for Israel to crash “Hizbullah” and stop Iran’s expansion to countries of the “Fertile Crescent.” It happened again in 2009 during “Operation Cast Lead” — Mubarak and the Persian Gulf regimes were dismayed at Israel’s failure to destroy Hamas completely.

The rapprochement has been intensified, when after replacing Bush, Obama has pursued a policy of appeasement. It has become very clear to all the rational players in the Middle East that they couldn’t rely on the USA. The mass-media talked about Israeli Air Force stations based in Saudi Arabia and the secretive arrangements between Jerusalem and Riyadh regarding the “air corridor” over the kingdom. At the same time, Mubarak put his words to actions, by starting to build “an underground iron wall” in Rafah to curb smuggling weapons into Gaza.

The very fact that the Obama’s administration has made a bid on “Muslim Brothers” brought both sides even closer. Furtive, and at the same time, intensive Israeli cooperation with Egypt has significantly weakened after the overthrow of Mubarak, however it has resumed with renewed vigor after the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi by generals led by Abdul Fatah Sisi. In one month the Egyptian army has destroyed tunnels, putting Hamas to the brink of bankruptcy and forcing it to turn to Iran for aid.

The monarchs of the Persian Gulf have been much more decisive than the Europeans, who are paralyzed by fear in the face of aggressive Islam. In July, prior to imposing sanctions against “Hizbullah” the Gulf Cooperation Council added “Hizbullah” to a list of terrorist groups. In early August, Bahrain blocked access to websites associated and related to “Hizbullah” and “Al Qaida”, and the Minister of Information, Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, promised to end any dispersal of extremist ideology throughout the kingdom.

The military regime of Egypt, Jordan and the Persian Gulf governments are much more suitable and natural partners for Israel; definitely better than Europe with its schizophrenic dichotomy and its division of “Hizbullah” into “military” and “political” wings. (As if you can declare war on the Wehrmacht without declaring war on the Third Reich).

Pathological obsession of the West with the “peace process”, on the one hand, and “human rights”, on the other, converted Jerusalem and Cairo into natural allies, forced to confront politics of stupidity and hypocrisy.

How should Sisi react to Obama’s decision to suspend the delivery of F-16 to Egypt; to the pleading of Catherine Ashton for the “Muslim Brotherhood” – her and William Burns’ talks with Morsi; EU blackmail; the U.S. decision to cancel the military exercises with Egyptian army; and, lastly, to the threats to cut military aid to Egypt? Probably, the same way Israel did in its response to Washington and Brussels’ attempts to twist its hands. Sisi said that the U.S. turned its back on Egyptians, and the people of Egypt will not forget it.

Most Israelis are also unlikely to forget the willingness of the EU and Obama’s Democrats to get rid of their only one innate ally in the region in the name of rapprochement with political Islam. Until recently it was hard to imagine a situation in which Israel and Saudi Arabia jointly support the Egyptian regime – but today it is fait accompli.

As in antiquity and the middle ages a lack of full-fledged relations does not hinder active cooperation. Arabs can vilify “Zionists” as much as their heart desires, but this is a mere pretense. Just like Mao’s threats to wipe out USA did not prevent him from creating a unified front with the United States against the Soviet Union. In reality, Arabs and Israel have been cooperating rather successfully in all aspects of life for a long time.

In recent years the Saudis, Kuwait and UAE exported polyethylene, glass, wood furniture, diamonds, styrene, and devices for the video games to Israel, and in turn purchased fertilizers, computers, X-ray and recording equipment, antennas and repeaters, medical devices, etc. Arabs are especially interested in agricultural technologies, and primarily in the irrigational ones.

Not only that, but according to information released in the United Kingdom, Israel has supplied arms and military equipment to Arabs governments. For example, Egypt, UAE and Morocco imported electronic warfare systems and equipment for pilots; the United Arab Emirates bought radars, radar jamming systems, and aerial refueling. Algeria purchased Israeli air surveillance systems, computerized helmets for pilots, electronic equipment for cockpits, radars, navigation and communication.

Media reported about joint attempts by Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan to design and create early-warning system of Iranian ballistic missiles launch. According to these reports, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will provide intelligence to Israel, and Israel, in return, will grant access to its high-tech missile defense systems and early-warning radar stations. Behind the scenes Jordan successfully collaborates with Israel in the intelligence field and the Israeli drones monitor the border of the Hashemite Kingdom with Syria. This is the real peace, which includes political, commercial, military and intelligence ties and relations.

Someone may say that there is a “Palestinian problem.” Of course, it exists – mainly for Western and Israeli politicians, journalists and intellectuals obsessed by “Palestinian State.” But the Arab countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and Algeria — today are not interested in Palestinians; they don’t care about them. Their urgent goal is to survive in a dangerous and rapidly changing world. Furthermore, they do not want any Palestinian state, because it would immediately become a source of instability, the conductor of militant Islam and the Iranian Shiites. No one is interested in another headache by creating additional hotbed of Islamism like the one that already exists in Gaza.

As for the Palestinians — they have been hostages of their own obsession. Half a century ago there wasn’t Palestinian people at all. The idea of “the Palestinian national liberation movement” against “occupation” was born as a way to manipulate the painful guilt of the West. Palestinians, initially, didn’t differentiate themselves from the other Arabs.

“…Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people”, said Farouk Kaddoumi, then head of the PLO Political Department, to Newsweek in March, 1977. After the Six-Day War member of the Executive Council of the PLO Zouhair Muhsin was even more explicit: “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”.

PLO is the tip of an Arab battering ram aimed at the Jewish state. Today Palestinians became a people – as people they need to define what they want: to be an instrument of foreign forces and Islamists, dreaming of a “Great Palestine from the River to the Sea”, or gain independence as a small but viable state. It’s impossible to combine both desires. They can continue to parasitize on the handouts of the West, but the West could get weary of them.

As for Arab rulers, they don’t need “Palestinian State” anymore. For these rulers, Israel, although informally, is much more reliable and predictable ally than a questionable malware formation at the heart of the Middle East.