It has finally happened. An Arab country has finally gone public with a serious suggestion that it is time to end the hostilities and recognize the state of Israel.
From Tovah Lazaroff’s article in the Jerusalem Post:
Oman publicly called on Middle East countries to accept Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday made a historic visit to the Arab Muslim state, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
In a speech he delivered at the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain, Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf bin Alawi said, “Israel is a state present in the region, and we all understand this. The world is also aware of this and maybe it is time for Israel to be treated the same [as other states] and to also bear the same obligations.”
Netanyahu traveled to Oman at the invitation of the country’s leader, Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said, so that the two could discuss regional issues.
“We are not saying that the road is now easy and paved with flowers, but our priority is to put an end to the conflict and move to a new world,” bin Alawi told the summit.
Oman is relying on the United States and efforts by President Donald Trump in working towards the “deal of the century” (Middle East peace), he added.
Bahrain’s foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa voiced support for Oman over the sultanate’s role in trying to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace, while Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said the kingdom believes the key to normalizing relations with Israel is the peace process.
The three-day summit was attended by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and his counterparts in Italy and Germany also participated, but Jordan’s King Abdullah II canceled his appearance after a flash flood near the Dead Sea killed 21 people.
That is genuinely stunning news.
It would be hard to overstate the significance of an Israeli Prime Minister being invited to, and peacefully attending, a meeting of Arab countries on Arab territory.
And the subject matter – recognition of Israel and prodding of Palestinian Arabs to make peace? Though any such peace is, at this time, almost certain not to happen, it establishes a precedent for the Arab world to accept the legitimacy of peace with Palestinian Arabs because it establishes a precedent to accept the legitimacy of Israel itself.
To date, the only such “peace proposals” from the Arab world have been that Israeli Jews accept terms which would make them a minority in their own country – thus obviously unacceptable. There is no mention of such an absurdity here.
This meeting probably will not receive the media attention it deserves in the United States…because it would require our mostly Trump-hating mainstream media to put President Trump in a highly positive light so close to the mid-term elections. But the breakthrough here is nothing short of historic.
Let’s hope it is just the start, and that progress will be swift and decisive.