A new Middle East. That is what was created on Tuesday at the Israel-UAE-Bahrain normalization deal signed at the White House. It is a new Middle East because what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did with the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain was to create not just a new reality that brings stability to the region against the looming threat from Iran, but it also presents the world with a new vision of what is possible. It shows what can be achieved when countries who for over 70 years failed to find common ground, come together in a show of peace, normalization and solidarity.
What the UAE and Bahrain essentially did on Tuesday was to abandon the ways of the past, which mandated a rejection of Israel, a rejection of normalization with the Jewish state and a rejection of peace.
That is all Israel has ever really wanted. It never sought war, conflict or strife. When David Ben-Gurion accepted the Partition Plan of 1947, he did so knowing that the state envisioned by the United Nations would be small and hard to defend. But, if the Arabs accepted the plan too, that would create a new reality. They, of course, did not, and instead embarked on a war to try and annihilate the nascent Jewish state.But Israel didn’t want war. It tried over the years to reach deals with its neighbors. And while it took time and too much bloodshed, Jordan (after three wars) and Egypt (after four wars) eventually came around. They, too, recognized what Menachem Begin famously declared in 1977: “No more war, no more bloodshed.”