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Cooperation Beats Confrontation in the Middle East

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Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, U.S. President's senior adviser Jared Kushner and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of United Arab Emirates Anwar Gargash hold a meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. Ministry of Presidential Affairs/WAM/Handout via REUTERS

No accomplishment of Donald Trump’s turbulent term has drawn more fulsome, broad-based praise than the recent agreements between Israel and the Arab states of Bahrain and United Arab Emirates.

All three nations are centers for regional progress and prosperity, drawn together by the prospect of economic and security cooperation against terrorist threats from nearby Iran. The Trump administration succeeded with a fresh approach to peace-making—building common interests rather than insisting that an Israeli-Palestinian settlement must precede any other agreements.

Israelis across the political spectrum feel deeply encouraged, with other nations like Kuwait and Morocco possibly concluding their own deals and enhanced prospects for a negotiated settlement with West Bank Palestinians.  After all, the Palestinian Authority already controls seven times the land area and three times the population of the flourishing state of Bahrain. One day, we can hope they embrace a similar lesson: that cooperation works better than confrontation.

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