Israel-USA-UAE meet

September 1, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Head of the Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi, National Security Adviser and head of the National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, has met with his counterpart, UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, US Senior Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner and US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, in the UAE National Security Advisor’s palace in Abu Dhabi.

Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Also participating in the meeting were US Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, US Ambassador to the UAE John Rakolta, Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz and other officials.

In Israel,  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a historic day, a joyous day for all citizens of Israel, a day of victory, the doctrine of peace for peace.

I spoke today, a few minutes ago, with the members of our delegation in Abu Dhabi. On my instruction, the head of the delegation, Meir Ben-Shabbat, invited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation to Israel. I can tell you that we will give them a red carpet welcome just like they welcomed us. I look at this again, as I saw the El Al plane land in Abu Dhabi, in daylight, and I saw our flags unfurled – I was moved and I felt enormous pride. I am certain that all of you, without exception, felt the same thing and certainly felt that this is a special day and the start of a new era in our history.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Koby Gideon

I have been working for this day for a quarter-century, for 25 years. I must tell you that for me as well, this is a personal and a national day that have joined together. Twenty-five years ago I wrote in my book “A Place under the Sun” (Makom tachat Hashemesh) the following words: ‘It is possible to have a peace that does not entail dangerous concessions on Israel’s part. A peace that rests on constant Israeli deterrence, a peace based on our growing strength and power. If in the next generation the Arabs come to recognize that Israel dwells in safety in the Middle East and is destined to remain there forever, it is possible that there will be a psychological revolution in the stand of the Arab states regarding Israel’s right to exist.’

I wrote: ‘I believe that the Arabs will not bang their heads against a wall forever. A State of Israel that has eight or ten million Jews living in it in a few decades will be able to enjoy prosperity, momentum and independence. Precisely because the Jewish state will be so strengthened, most of the Arab world will, in the end, be obliged to make a true peace with it.’ And then I added: ‘This outlook absolutely contravenes the widespread concept which holds that Israel will only secure peace if it appeases the Arabs with far-reaching concessions that will weaken it and shrink it. On the contrary, a lasting peace will only be achieved if the Jewish people convince the Arabs it must live with them and alongside them, that here it is and here it will remain.’

Senior US Presidential Advisor Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat meet with United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

I wrote these things a quarter-century ago and since then I have been working without respite with map and compass to achieve them. I wrote this in the knowledge that peace is made with the strong, and that economic power brings military power which becomes diplomatic power.

He added: “We needed to turn Israel into a very strong country. The first thing we needed to change was its cartelized, socialist, bureaucratic economy to as free an economy as possible. Therefore, when I was elected a year after I wrote those words, I stood before the US Congress in my first speech there, and I said that we needed to halt the US economic assistance to Israel, that we have matured, that we would turn Israel into a free market economy that could hold its own with the economies of the world. This is exactly what we did.

The first thing I did, when I returned to Israel, was to cancel the restrictions on foreign currency, the first thing. There was much opposition, very great by the way, from officialdom. I cancelled the restrictions on foreign currency and afterwards I dramatically cut taxes and we increased competition. We cancelled cartels and we did all the things that have turned Israel into a high-tech power. The start-ups could not have been active here with a 68% or 75% marginal tax rate, that is absurd. We changed Israel. We turned it, first of all, into a strong economy. This created the strong technology that – of course – created our strong military capability.

But this was not enough because we did something else in these 25 years – we led the struggle against Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons. We have reached this day because I went on your behalf, citizens of Israel, and I stood with full force against Iran. I went to the American Congress, again in front of both houses, and I demanded the cancellation of the nuclear agreement.

I want to explain to you that it was these strengths that laid the foundations of a completely different system of relations with many countries in and beyond the region. They laid the foundations of this historic day which we are now experiencing.

There are many things that I cannot yet tell you about but I believe that in time they will come to light. But you can see the changes for yourselves – some of them, the tip of the iceberg; you have seen them in recent years.

In March 2018, was the first Air India flight to the State of Israel through Saudi Arabian air-space. Every day Israeli citizens fly through Saudi air-space, still not in Israeli planes, until today; this has changed. In October 2018, I made an official visit to Oman at the invitation of the late Sultan Qaboos. In January 2019, I met with the President of Chad, a very large Muslim country in Africa, with which we resumed relations. In February 2019, I met in Uganda with the head of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. Ten days later I was at the Warsaw Conference together with representatives of a dozen Arab countries, an open visit. In August 2020, a few days ago, I held a conference call with our friend President Trump and the head of the UAE, Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Today we watched the historic first open commercial flight of Israel through Saudi Arabian air-space to Abu Dhabi.

This is a very important preparatory visit. I have asked our delegation to work as quickly as possible to prepare for the possibility of going to Washington and signing an official peace agreement soon. Our delegation is currently holding discussions with its counterparts on opening direct air routes, on visitors’ visas for Israelis, on trade and innovation, on opening representations, on cooperation on the issue of the coronavirus and on many other subjects. Because this will be a different kind of peace.

This will be a warm peace because it is based on economic cooperation with an entrepreneurial economy similar to ours, with very great economic abilities and considerable funds that is also looking for investment horizons. For the first time, the State of Israel, which has received investments from all over the world, is going to receive investments from the Middle East, from within the Middle East – this is a great change. This is a peace that will create jobs, encourage initiatives, and expand both our economy and that of the UAE. This is a peace that brings peoples together. There are meetings with leaders. I have met with very, very many leaders in the Arab and Islamic worlds, many more than you think. But this is a peace that will facilitate direct and unmediated meetings between citizens of Israel and the populations of those states. This is tremendous. This is peace for peace.”

 

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