THE touchdown of an Israeli El Al airlines aircraft at Abu Dhabi airport marks the first commercial flight that has opened a bold, new path in the Middle East.
Throughout the past decades, it was more like a minefield, through which walking openly was not possible, because illusion and fear dominated the minds of those who sought to walk through it. However, all of that remained in the past as soon as the wheels of that plane touched the ground of the Arab airport.
Through this step, which some would consider as a small step, great progress has been achieved towards getting out of the darkness of the past and entering the light of peace. This is because, through this step, the Arabs and Israelis can put aside their misgivings and start direct dialogue, not only in the matter of commercial and diplomatic relations, but also in pursuit for establishing peace through which the natural rights of both sides are guaranteed.
This will spare them both the agony of succumbing to intellectual terror and betrayal from extremists on the Arab and Israeli sides, as well as allow serious discussions on a two-state solution.
It is true that several Arab countries preceded the United Arab Emirates in this bold initiative. By visiting Jerusalem, the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat achieved what the three Arab-Israel wars failed to achieve.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan managed to regain its occupied territory, and Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman and Morocco managed to establish relations with Israel.
To be frank, throughout the past quarter of a century, this pushed everyone to go round a vicious circle, and it led the Israeli far-right to trample on moderation and proceed with measures that undermine acceptable settlement between the two sides.
Nonetheless, the UAE halted the horses of the extremists in this regard through a step that is worth studying and learning in order to figure out how to take advantage of this historic moment in changing the path and opening the horizon for what suits the current era.
The Israeli delegation sensed that the Arabs are not seeking bloodshed and killing, and that the rhetoric of the past era does not represent them anymore. Therefore, it is possible for the Arab aspirations to start looking into the future instead of spending on armaments in a bid to be at par with Israel’s military power.
By the way, this objective has not materialized in the Arab world despite the hundreds of billions spent in the last seven decades for purchasing military tools.
We should instead admit that it would have been possible for the Arab world to avoid facing devastation and bloodshed from the four wars held from 1948 to 1956, followed by the Six-Day War in 1967, and then finally the decisive war in 1973, if only they had abandoned their illusions and accepted the partition agreement.
The “New Middle East” is not merely an American demand for those who think so, but it is also an Arab and Israeli option. It is the demand of all those who are today criticizing the move made by the UAE, such as Turkey, which is screaming against the UAE despite having established diplomatic, military and commercial relations with Israel, as well as Iran, which continues to maintain secret relations with Tel Aviv to this day.
Sooner and not later, those who are currently against the move made by the UAE will realize its importance and even support it.
Indeed, the boldness in the stance taken by the leadership of the UAE – from its President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed – deserves high appreciation and admiration.
They are striving to build a modern state and working on making their country a peace habitat and the land of reconciliation.
Today, this country is sending the whole world a message that means “Common Word between Us and You” which everyone must conform to. Hence, we say to the UAE – “Thank you for this great achievement.”
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times