Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to the cooperation between Israel and the emerging Saudi-Egypt-UAE alignment, on display during the last Gazan conflict, as the best hope for peace going forward. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu said:
Ladies and gentlemen, despite the enormous challenges facing Israel, I believe we have a historic opportunity. After decades of seeing Israel as their enemy, leading states in the Arab world increasingly recognize that together, we and they face many of the same dangers, and principally, this means a nuclear-armed Iran and militant Islamist movements gaining ground in the Sunni world. Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership, one that would build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Together, we can strengthen regional security, we can advance projects in water and agricultural, in transportation and health and energy in so many fields.I believe the partnership between us can also help facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Now, many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace can help facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world. But these days, I think it may work the other way around, namely that a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate an Israeli-Palestinian peace. And therefore, to achieve that peace, we must look not only to Jerusalem and Ramallah but also to Cairo, to Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere.
The cooperation between Israel and the Arab regional powers during the last Gaza conflict was something that any previous Administration would have given its eyeteeth for—but one that, during the conflict at least, we appeared determined to cold-shoulder. Fortunately, as Netanyahu’s speech indicated, the continuing common danger posed by Iran and ISIS means that this alignment will probably continue beyond that conflict.So perhaps the United States will have another chance to take advantage of these circumstances. And it looks like the Arab States and Israel might decide to work on the problem together, even if we don’t support them. Strange new world.