Anyone who has spoken to Israeli diplomats today will quickly find that they are confident and satisfied with what is happening in the Middle East. This satisfaction is no accident.
Indeed, the infamous crisis and conflict region is clearly facing a fundamental revolution.
If the signs aren’t deceptive, the contradiction between the Arab-Muslim world and the Jewish state may soon be a thing of the past, images of the enemy giving way to a new look at potential partners – maybe even friends.
It all happens at a breathtaking pace. Yesterday the Emirates ended their rivalry with Israel, today it is Bahrain and tomorrow the Sultanate of Oman or Sudan could follow suit.
Is Saudi Arabia coming soon?
With Donald Trump’s express blessing, the US has just removed the African country from the terrorist list. Observers see this as another important gesture to make it easier for the rulers there to move to Israel after decades of confrontation.
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It has long been rumored that even the Saudis, led by the heir to the throne Mohammed bin Salman, would publicly usher in a period of normalcy as soon as it seemed appropriate to them as custodians of the central Islamic shrines.
US President Trump is one of the driving forces behind normalizing relations between the Arab world and … Photo: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
So the new Middle East is taking shape step by step. And it could be – with all the risks that such a fundamentally new beginning always entails – a huge opportunity that ultimately benefits everyone.
For the Jewish state, the benefits are clear. You free yourself from a ten-year hold on your enemies by softening their phalanx. Israel always thought of itself as a fairly comfortable villa in the thickets of a jungle.
Now this jungle is getting some very welcome lightholes, not least securing key allies in the fight against Iran, which the Gulf monarchies see as truly dangerous.
The atmosphere of the Arab “street” could change
Not to mention the wide range of economic opportunities that cooperation with the Arab world brings. And that, blessed with raw materials, will also benefit from partnering with the high-tech nation of Israel, if Corona allows it.
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That is a level of the new normal. In addition, there may be a very different dynamic that could have a lasting impact on societies in the Arab states. The critically acclaimed “street” mood towards Israel may still be negative. But it doesn’t have to stay that way in the long run.
Because at best, trade also means change. The people of Abu Dhabi and those in Khartoum will soon find that the new normal pays off for them in everyday life.
Hotels in the Emirates are already switching to kosher food, so their Jewish guests feel comfortable. The former enemy thus becomes a welcome customer. Who says no?
Kosher food in Dubai: Arab hotels cater to the needs of Jewish guests Photo: Giuseppe Cacace / AFP
There is also something else. Contact with a country like Israel, where democracy, the rule of law and liberalism are self-evident, can also be a role model for those who have survived without all of this to this day.
The Arab Spring started ten years ago, accompanied by the hope of greater freedom and all too often led to an icy winter of repression.
Now, in view of the new Middle East, no one should categorically rule out the possibility of at least a gentle spring awakening. One that will benefit everyone in the region.