According to the New York Times, opinion in the Arab world is divided over the nuclear proliferation deal between Western powers and Iran; with some Arab states believing the deal will empower Iran and increase Middle Eastern instability.
According to an article by Ben Hubbard of the NY Times, Saudi Arabia and its regional allies see Iran as the driver of much of the region’s violence and oppose the nuclear deal which they view as flawed.
Similarly, the state of Israel has expressed concern regarding Iran’s nuclear deal with Western powers. Therefore, there seems to be an alignment of positions between Israel and many in the Arab world against Iran’s potential development of nuclear weapons technology. This new alignment provides a unique opportunity to restructure the relationship between Israel and the Arab League.
Today, the Arab League continues to deny the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. In fact, two years ago, Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo released a statement proclaiming that the Arab League refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state. However, considering mutual opposition to Iran’s nuclear deal, the time has come for the Arab League to accept Israel as a Jewish homeland and form a new Middle Eastern order.
A new path is necessary that will lead towards greater acceptance and recognition of Israel while protecting Palestinian human rights. Specifically, it is proposed that the Arab world offer Israel membership in the Arab League.
There are seven reasons for the Arab League to admit Israel.
First, by granting admission to Israel, this would help create an Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran’s nuclear deal and pave the way toward comprehensive and long-term peace and stability. As an Arab League member, Israel would be able to freely engage in direct strategy sessions with Arab states. The Arab League would be transformed into a forum for regional strategy and cooperation.
Second, Israel, as a member of the Arab League, would boost the economies of Arab countries and move towards an Arab-Israeli trade agreement. Products made in Saudi Arabia, for example, could be marketed in Tel Aviv and vice versa. Furthermore, the Middle East would evolve into a stable economic zone and attract more foreign investment. By joining the Arab League, Israel and the Arab world would effectively end the self-destructive boycott of Israel. Business and investment would be separated from political conflict. (No more BDS)
Third, approximately twenty percent of Israel’s population is made up of Arab citizens. Accepting Israel into the Arab League would grant acceptance to Israel’s Arab population as well. Logically, the Israeli Arab is a fundamental member of the Arab world. It therefore follows that this population should have a voice in the Arab League. By granting membership to Israel as a whole, both Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs would have a forum to discuss military, political, social, and economic matters.
Fourth, Israel, as a member of the Arab League, would likely increase military and security cooperation throughout the Middle East, stabilizing the balance of power in the region and building mutual trust. In fact,
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, one of Israel’s largest weapons developers would be able to market products to the Arab world such as ‘Iron Dome: Defense Against Short Range Artillery Rockets’. This technology would offer strategic protection against a potentially aggressive Iran which has a well-develop missile capability.
Fifth, the Arab League and Israel would jointly develop a agenda in the war against terrorism. Terrorism has negative ramifications for both Israel and the Arab League, and most people in the Middle East seek a safe and stable region in which security is preserved. A joint Arab-Israeli war on terror would help to crush terrorism and vanquish purveyors of political violence.
Sixth, the Arab League would benefit from Israel’s expertise in the high-tech industry. From computer software to Internet security protection, Israel is known as one of the world’s high-tech leaders and the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. As a member of the Arab League, Israel would be able to market its advanced technology to Arab states.
Finally, Israel and the Arab League together would be able to develop a joint tourism policy. It should be called the “Middle Eastern Trade Initiative”. Currently, the situation of conflicts in parts of the Middle East prevents some tourists from visiting the region. By accepting Israel as a member of the Arab League, the Arab world would send a message to potential tourists around the world that the Middle East welcomes tourism and leisure investment.
The acceptance of Israel into the Arab League would lead to a reinterpretation of both Israeli nationalism and pan-Arab nationalism. The very concept of Israeli nationalism, for example, need not be viewed negatively by the Arab League. Instead, perhaps the Arab League can view Israeli nationalism as a successful blueprint for its own self-determination, military success, and economic development.
Since Western powers have proposed a nuclear deal with Iran, the Arab League and Israel need a strategic realignment to bring about a new order in the Middle East.
The situation in the Middle East is like a high stakes chess match; and Israel and the Arab League must not allow Iran to achieve check mate. The time has come for a new strategy and a new alignment of power and peace in the Middle East.