A new Middle East 1

“Do I wake or sleep?”

Anyone who has lived through, or followed, or has learned about the history of Israel since its establishment in 1948 – the wars with the Arab armies, the campaigns of terrorism, the concerted efforts by the misnamed and utterly iniquitous United Nations to destroy the only democratic state in the Middle East – might well be asking himself that question now.

It seems more like a dream than reality that two Arab states have normalized relations with Israel, doubling the number now at peace with the Jewish State. It is an astonishing development, almost miraculous. And the near-miracle worker, the negotiator who brought it off, is President Trump.

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(L-R)Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan hold up documents as they participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Goodwin writes at the New York Post:

The Palestinians could have had their own state several times over the last two decades, but could never take yes for an answer, so now the train of history has left them standing at the station.

They accuse their fellow ­Arabs of betrayal and stabbing them in the back. But in fact, it is two generations of Palestinian leadership that have betrayed their own people and forfeited their veto over peace.

They lost that veto because Donald Trump took it from them. The president … offered the Palestinians a deal, the “deal of the century,” he called it, but they responded with insults and intransigence. It was a huge mistake …

The world watched in astonishment as two more Arab countries took the historic step of normalizing relations with the Jewish State. The likelihood that others will soon follow, possibly including Saudi Arabia, means that Israel will no longer be a pariah in its own neighborhood.

It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of these agreements.

The Mideast has long been the world’s hottest hot spot and now, seemingly all of a sudden, peace is breaking out. … The agreements will push the anti-Semites at the United Nations to find a new scapegoat for the world’s problems. …

Iran, of course, is the other major loser of the day. The Arab monarchies it has threatened repeatedly are lining up to join America and Israel in an alliance against the mad mullahs. As Trump put it in his remarks, “We’re here to change the course of history.”

Big decisions have big consequences and Trump’s Mideast policy is remarkable not only for its success, but also for its unprecedented approach. The contrast with Barack Obama is especially dramatic.

Until Obama, recent presidents of both parties followed a similar script of supporting Israel while being a buffer between it and its hostile Arab neighbors. The goal was to be an “honest broker” while guaranteeing Israel’s security as long as it respected American interests in the Arab world. Those interests included oil and, increasingly, funding for the perpetually bankrupt Palestinians, who returned the favor with massive corruption and by making “martyr” payments to the families of terrorists who killed Israelis.

The success of the negotiations was made possible to a large extent by the release of America from dependence on Arab oil. And it is again thanks to President Trump that America is now energy-independent.

The antagonism of the Arab states to Israel had been deliberately exacerbated by Barack Obama. He pursued an anti-Israel policy, “apologizing for past American behavior and promising to restrain Israel and forcing it to make concessions to the Palestinians”.

Incredibly, [Obama] even urged the Palestinians not to negotiate with Israel until Israel stopped constructing and expanding settlements in the West Bank. Obama openly disliked and insulted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, once forcing him to leave the White House through a back door, and secretly used American funds to try to defeat Netanyahu in an election.

His record was perfect — a perfect failure. There were, for example, zero serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration.

Yet that wasn’t Obama’s only mistake in the region. He showed a repugnant soft spot for Israel’s greatest enemy, Iran, despite the warning of Netanyahu and others that the nuclear deal paved the way for weapons that would be an existential threat to Israel.

And a danger to the US itself –

Obama … coddled the mullahs, no matter that they used the money he gave them to spread terror far and wide. Their role in both Syria and Iraq, for example, has posed direct threats to our allies and interests.

Trump … deliberately reversed all those policies. He moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, correctly predicting that threats of Arab violence were false. He approved Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, another American first.

As he recounted Tuesday, the president thought funding the Palestinians also was wrong. Beyond the “martyr” payments, he noted that Palestinian leaders refused even to negotiate with his administration. Why, he asked, should we reward their bad behavior?

He held Iran to the same standard. Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal, imposed harsh economic sanctions and eliminated Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Force general who played a role in the deaths and injuries of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq.

American strength is what most appealed to the Arab states. They fear Iran more than Israel and, whatever their history with Israel, now openly recognize it as a full partner against Iran.

The agreements signed at the gathering on the South Lawn of the White House are fittingly called the Abraham Accords. They mark a new era of trade, tourism and opportunity for millions of Jews, Muslims and Christians in the region.

Trump clearly savored the moment but, ever restless, says he’s not finished yet. He told reporters he believes the Palestinians eventually will want to negotiate and predicted that, if he wins a second term, he will make a deal with the Iranians, too.

The changes, he said, are just the start of a “new Middle East.”

Only a fool would quibble on a day as big as this one.