Following the UAE-Israel peace deal, Washington announced that Bahrain would be the next Gulf state to sign a peace agreement with Israel. This agreement represents a sovereign decision that is exclusive to its two parties, and no one has the right to interfere in such a political matter related to the sovereignty of those two states; as they are the only parties to decide on what serves their own interests.
As for the claims by the politicized so-called Muslims and their supporters that signing such an agreement is forbidden in Islam, they are baseless claims with no reference in Islamic history. In fact, many non-politicized scholars like Ibn Baz and Ibn al-Uthaymeen issued fatwas permitting reconciliation with Israel; something that proves such claims to be false. I believe that such a deal would lead to making tangible progress in an issue which Arabs, namely the Palestinians, failed to solve through wars and arms, while they have had some success through peaceful negotiations.
Anyone who has been following the Palestinian-Israeli issue, which has been ongoing for 72 years since 1948, can clearly see that the Palestinian cause is constantly deteriorating and that the interest of Israel has been better served. The clearest example on this is that the UN Partition Plan for Palestine had granted the Palestinians around 49 percent of the land and the Israelis were granted 51 percent, while today, Israel has taken over around 80 percent of the land. This means that all the wars between Israel and the Arabs were actually won by the former. However, Egypt, Jordan, and even the Palestinians have managed to restore lands that were previously occupied by Israel through negotiations.
For us in the Gulf states, Israel is not our number one enemy anymore. This was the case before Iran fell in the clutches of the Safavid Persian mullahs in 1979, who then started exporting the "revolution," and before Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the President of Turkey and started working on bringing back the Ottoman occupation that brought suffering to the Arab World, especially our countries.
It is up to us, and not to the governments of the Levant, Iraq, and North Africa, to assess the threats surrounding us and to set our priorities. The problem with the majority of the Levant countries, and all Palestinian factions, is that they insist to act as our custodians and set our priorities for us. They claim that the mullah-ruled Iran and Erdogan's Turkey do not constitute threats as Israel does. This custodianship is arbitrary, and we reject it altogether.
Another thing that those who reject peace and normalization of ties with Israel are not aware of nor do they practice it is that we, in the Gulf states, deem the comprehensive development of our states as a top priority. Israel is an advanced country with a leading position in all aspects, and we believe if we make way for peaceful cooperation with it, we will benefit from its advancement.
Those who antagonize Israel are not concerned with development and modernity as much as they are with raising revolutionary banners and making much ado that placed them at the bottom of the world's ranking when it comes to modernization and development. A simple comparison between the countries rejecting normalization with Israel, and the state of economic development, security, stability, and urbanization we have reached is enough to see the clear difference between us.
We are certain that our cooperation with advanced countries like Israel and the United States, the sponsor of this peace effort, will serve our national interests. We also expect this cooperation to support our national security efforts against our enemies and to reflect positively on our development, which we and the whole world see as the “legitimate” road toward survival and progression.
This piece was originally published in Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Jazirah.