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"Today's agreements signed at the White House normalizing relations between Israel and two Arab Gulf countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, mark a new and important shift in the region's geopolitics. This is the first time since the Arab Peace Initiative was agreed upon in 2002 by all members of the Arab League that two member countries normalized relations with Israel openly and officially.

They did so outside of the framework of the initiative which promises Israel full normalization in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.

Today, Arab-Israeli peace is no longer conditional on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and addressing the issue of Palestinian statehood, which has defined regional relations for decades. Both the UAE and Bahrain will now continue to deepen their economic and military cooperation openly with Israel which will shift the political and security dynamics in the region, particularly vis a vis Iran, which is a significant factor in bringing the two Arab gulf countries closer to Israel."

About the Author

Merissa Khurma

Merissa Khurma

Director, Middle East Program
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Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform US foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more