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HomeGeopolitical CompassArabian PeninsulaThe UAE's love affair with Israel

The UAE’s love affair with Israel

Author:  Joseph Massad

Affiliation: Columbia University

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Eye

Date/Place: August 21, 2020/UK

Type of Literature: Opinion

Word Count: 1881


Keywords:  Mutual Interest, Revolutionary Movements, Israel.


To preserve their rule, Gulf countries are willing to ally with anyone who will assure their regimes’ survival. It started in the 1950s and 1960s, as revolutionary movements in the Gulf in particular and the Arab world as a whole were crushed by focused efforts. In reality, this is the origin of Gulf abandonment of the Palestinian cause; financing the Palestine Liberation Organization wasn’t out of principle but out of interest, because it was feared that the PLO could support movements that may overthrow Gulf leaders. The PLO ended up disavowing these movements for the sake of continuing Gulf financing; this showcases the self-interested approach of the Gulf states to any event in the region. The Palestinians were seen as a threat, which was declawed after the Oslo accords and the Second Intifada. The post-9/11 period of anti-Arab hysteria witnessed serious opening to Israel as the Gulf sought to befriend Israel for the sake of avoiding US hostility. Gulf States, particularly UAE and Saudi Arabia, went to incredible lengths to topple Arab Spring movements, to crush Hamas and to contain Iran and Turkey. The result was establishing closer ties with Israel in a mutual interest as the enemies had changed based on existential threat. The result has been that allies like Iran and Turkey have been treated as hostile while Arab oppressors have become Israel’s open supporters.


By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Assistant



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