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The Slow but Steady Progress to Israel’s Peace with the UAE

Simon Henderson

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The Hill

August 14, 2020

Years of burgeoning trade and quiet U.S. diplomacy helped lay the groundwork for a move that is only partly focused on improving the bilateral relationship.

President Trump’s announcement Thursday of a U.S.-facilitated diplomatic breakthrough between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is a reminder of the John F. Kennedy quote: “Victory has a hundred fathers, but failure is an orphan.” I suspect we will see many of those fathers emerge in the next few days. Much humble spadework has been done to get to this point. In 2008, after a trip to Abu Dhabi, I ran into an Israeli diplomatic acquaintance who puzzled me when he said he, too, had been there—using his own name and an Israeli passport. He explained that under pressure from Washington, U.S. allies in the Gulf had been urged to at least exchange perspectives with their Israeli counterparts so the two sides would better understand each other...

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