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Is Middle East Peace Approaching?

With the normalization of relations between Israel and some Arab countries, is it possible that Trump and Netanyahu are building peace in the Middle East? .

Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump

Israel is enjoying an unprecedented moment in foreign relations with its Arab neighbors and opens the possibility to improve relations with the United States. / Photo: Flickr-The White House

Latin American Post | Jorge Iván Parada

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Leer en español: ¿Se aproxima la paz en Oriente Medio?

A few weeks ago in Al Mughayir, north of the Palestinian administrative capital -Ramala-, a 13-year-old boy was shot to death during clashes with the Israeli army. Ali Ayman Abu Alaya, as the boy was called, was taken to a hospital, where he eventually passed away. The Israeli armed forces deny that they used lethal ammunition during the clashes.

Ali's death is not an isolated accident; over the years, hundreds of Palestinians have been injured or killed in clashes between them and the Israeli army, especially in the context of protests against the establishment of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. According to Deutsche Welle, the uproar in Al Mughayir was a demonstration of opposition to this practice by the state of Israel.

Also read: Middle East: The education of children living the conflict is endangered

However, Israel is enjoying an unprecedented moment in foreign relations with its Arab neighbors. Recently, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco have reached historic agreements with the country, which has allowed the normalization of their bilateral relations.

Both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed the "Abraham Accords", mediated by the United States, which create commercial and diplomatic ties with Israel, in exchange for it not annexing some Palestinian territories. For its part, Morocco will also establish relations with this country in exchange for the United States recognizing the Moroccan claim on Western Sahara.

Does this mean an approach to the long-awaited peace in the Middle East? Ana María Córdoba, professor and researcher at the Faculty of Communication of the Universidad de la Sabana in Colombia, thinks that this is not the case. "Peace is not necessarily with neighboring countries, but internally," says the professor about the situation in Israel and Palestine.

"As long as Hamas, Hezbollah and fundamentalist groups exist, it is very difficult for there to be peace in the Middle East," explains Córdoba, who is actively investigating the details of the conflict in this area.

In addition to this, the fact that these diplomatic advances between Israel and its Arab neighbors have as a consequence the weakening of the Palestinian cause means a step further from political stability in the region. According to the BBC, the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, describes these agreements as a sign of "the Arab fracture". Less international support could mean a resurgence of actions by groups like Hamas or Hezbollah.

However, despite the normalization of Israeli relations with its neighbors, this does not mean that the image of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, is being rehabilitated. This, coupled with the growing polarization among Israelis over his government's colonial policies, shows that the road is not easy for Netanyahu's conservative agenda to be established in the region.

“The image of Netanyahu is falling internationally because it carries the growth of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, the closing of the wall and the situation in Gaza. Although he signed peace agreements, he continues to have many difficulties at the international level ”, explains Córdoba.

But, don't these peace efforts by Israel and even the government of Donald Trump deserve recognition for contributing to the reduction of the conflict in the region? In theory, both the outgoing US president and the Israeli Prime Minister could be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, although Professor Córdoba does not believe this to be the case. "Trump is very badly positioned in the international community and to [win a Nobel Peace Prize] a lot of political lobbying is needed."

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