HISTORIC: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, meet for the first time in Berlin, and together visit the Holocaust Memorial there.
Symbolic gestures are often overrated. Not this one. The Arab leadership and German leadership largely joined forces to destroy more than 1/3 of the entire Jewish nation during World War II. The fact that representatives of the German nation and members of an Arab country met with Israel’s Foreign Minister in Germany, and attended a Holocaust memorial is important. It is in no way cynical. It represents an appreciation of the horrible past that these two countries shared in perpetrating, and a hopeful future that all three countries will work to build.
Germany is no longer the threat that it once was. It is probably more of an ally to most Western countries today than it is a foe. But the Middle East is more complex. The domino effect that Israel’s peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain seem to be creating is absolutely historic. It is important on multiple levels. First off, it shows that things are improving. Secondly, it shows that more countries have finally accepted Israel’s existence as an irreversible fact. Lastly, it proves an age-old truth about worldwide diplomacy. When the interests of two enemies supercedes their previous cause for enmity, they can become allies – at least temporarily.
Israel’s peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain may not last for generations, but it may lead to a more relaxed and less belligerent Middle East for a few decades.