Israel and UAE flags

United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are New Peace Partners―L’Chaim!

Penny S. Tee Article

Peace with Israel and anyone is great news, don’t you think? United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, Peace partners? I am looking forward to seeing the progress. There isn’t much to write about at this point because not much has had the chance to happen nor to be announced, but a Peace partnership deserves to be celebrated. There is even talk of others joining the club. Wouldn’t that be terrific!

As you know, I always sign off my articles with “May you live in Peace, שלום, سلام,” and to see those three words, Peace, Salaam in Arabic and Shalom in Hebrew emblazoned on the El Al first plane landing in the UAE from Israel, well I was thrilled.

Of course, Israel and the UAE never have been at war, but opening to more opportunities between the two countries is moving in the right direction.

Unfortunately, no one is surprised that instead of helping their people and moving toward Peace, during this same time, Hamas continues to send rockets and explosive-incendiary balloons against Israel. Twelve rockets were just fired against Israel by Hamas on August 26, 2020. My B.F.F., Iron Dome intercepted nine of them, and thankfully no one was killed, but property was damaged.1

Also, dozens of explosive-incendiary balloons have been floated into Israel in the past few weeks. On August 24, 2020, in one day alone, these balloons caused at least 28 fires. Sometimes these “kids’ toys” do not explode when they set down. You never know where these deadly weapons will land―one was found next to a children’s playground and another in a tree. What would have happened if a child playing in the playground was first to discover this balloon instead of the Israeli bomb squad?2

And of course, Israel defends itself and the atmosphere between Palestinians and Israel worsens. I hope all these recent terrorist aggressions are not foreplay for war. The Palestinians have been offered Peace so many times over the years and they refuse to even negotiate. When will the Palestinian leaders care more about their people, then themselves?

These selfish priorities seem to be pervasive amongst political leaders no matter what country. Can their Arab brethren ever convince the Palestinians to work on Peace instead of making life harder on their people? We will see, but do not hold your breath. Oy.

And a week ago in Israel, Rabbi Shai Ohayon, a father and husband who was only 39 years old was stabbed to death. Living like this with continuous attacks (missiles, car rammings, and fires set by exploding incendiary balloons) is unfathomable to us in the United States, and I am grateful that is the case.  Rabbi Ohayon was on his way home from the yeshiva (Jewish Orthodox college or seminary), left early to buy groceries for his young family of six, and was murdered by a terrorist after he got off the bus.3 It’s too sad.

You may ask yourself Penny why do you write about this in an article about Peace? I asked myself the same question. Because it is the reality of how Israelis live, and we should not lose sight of the crazy atmosphere that they must contend with in their daily lives. Sadly, they have too many enemies to keep at bay.

Let’s go back to encouraging news…

Meir Ben-Shabbat of Israel, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed from the UAE, and Jared Kushner of the United States, met for talks. The AFP reported that “during the visit they discussed cooperation in investment, finance, health, space exploration, civil aviation, foreign policy and tourism and culture.4 It sounds like a great leap forward.

Today, there’s even more good news with Saudi Arabia. They are allowing flights to go directly back and forth between the UAE and Israel over their air space. This will allow for cheaper, shorter flights, and tourism can open between the two countries.5

While Saudi Arabia seems to be warming up to Israel, they must move carefully in a balancing act. They are considered the “leader of the Islamic world.”6  They backed the  Arab Peace Initiative, in 2002, which asked for Israel’s full “withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967 and an equitable solution for Palestinian refugees, in exchange for peace and the full normalization of relations.” Peace negotiations with Israel would be interpreted by the Palestinians and others in the Arab world as a betrayal.7

But if this Peace wave could continue in the region, wouldn’t that be great? Peace should only spread as easily as COVID, a tiny Yiddish female’s voice whispers in my ear. I don’t know who she is, must be kind of a memory of what my mother or grandmother would have said. Oy.

Since this agreement just happened, every day new prospects are opening. I am looking forward to more and more possibilities of Peace. Are you, too?  Given the stress and constraints of COVID, while I’m at it, I hope for new possibilities and Peace for you as well.

May you live in Peace, שלום, سلام,

I invite you to Join Me on My Journey…

Endnotes

1 Israel Strikes Hamas Terror Targets After 12 Rockets Fired From Gaza,” Hamodia, August 21, 2020, https://hamodia.com/2020/08/21/israel-strikes-hamas-terror-targets-12-rockets-fired-gaza/

2 TOI Staff and Aaron Boxerman, “Israel strikes targets in Gaza after incendiary balloons spark 28 fires,” Times of Israel, August 24, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-strikes-hamas-targets-in-gaza-after-explosives-balloons-spark-28-fires/

3 By Adina Hershberg, “Rabbi Shai Ohayon Killed in Terror Attack,” Aish.com, August 30, 2020, https://www.aish.com/jw/id/Rabbi-Shai-Ohayon-Killed-in-Terror-Attack.html

4 By Sarah Stewart, “US-Israel delegation leaves UAE after ground-breaking visit,” AFP, September 1, 2020, https://news.yahoo.com/us-israel-delegation-leaves-uae-155338082.html

5 By Anuj Chopra,  “Saudi Arabia opens airspace for UAE-Israel flights,” AFP, September 2, 2020, https://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-opens-airspace-uae-130630356.html

6 By Anuj Chopra,  “Saudi Arabia opens airspace for UAE-Israel flights,” AFP, September 2, 2020, https://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-opens-airspace-uae-130630356.html

 7 By Anuj Chopra,  “Saudi Arabia opens airspace for UAE-Israel flights,” AFP, September 2, 2020, https://news.yahoo.com/saudi-arabia-opens-airspace-uae-130630356.html

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