Something extraordinary is happening in the Middle East — and for once, it is something good.
Over the past several weeks, Arab and Muslim countries have been stepping forward to offer peace and good relations with Israel.
First there was the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is establishing “full normalization” with the Jewish state, and will formalize an agreement at the White House later this month.
Then there was Kosovo, which is establishing relations with Israel and putting an embassy in Jerusalem under the terms of a deal brokered by the Trump administration last week.
Then Chad, a majority-Muslim nation, announced earlier this week that it will be putting an embassy in Jerusalem. Saudi Arabia announced that it will allow Israeli commercial flights above its airspace — not just to Dubai, but to all eastbound destinations.
The Palestinian Authority tried to convince the Arab League to denounce the UAE’s peace deal. The Arab League refused to do so.
And on Friday — the 19th anniversary of 9/11 — Bahrain announced that it, too, would normalize relations with Israel. It was a profound statement of peace, defying the efforts of terrorists to set the world on a path to endless religious war.
Other nations, too, are stepping forward to improve ties with Israel: Serbia is moving its embassy to Jerusalem as part of the Serbia-Kosovo agreement, and the African nation of Malawi is following suit.
The acceptance of a Jewish State in the Middle East by its Muslim and Arab neighbors is emboldening other countries to develop the closer links with Israel they have long desired but which they have feared to forge.
More nations, both in the Middle East and beyond, are likely to follow suit in the coming weeks.
This is a miraculous development, one that the foreign policy establishment in Washington, DC, said was impossible. But it is happening, thanks to President Donald Trump.
Trump’s achievement is all the more remarkable given the history of the last two decades. Nineteen years ago, as terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the Palestinians were already a year into the second intifada. They walked out of peace negotiations and began a campaign of suicide bombings that claimed thousands of lives.
The left, and the foreign policy establishment, believed that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was crucial to winning the war against terror. So President George W. Bush called for a Palestinian state, and created a “road map” for peace. The Israelis accepted it. The Palestinians rejected it, and continued carrying out terror attacks, funded by Iran and other regimes.
Bush praised Israel for withdrawing from Gaza in 2005. But Palestinians did not move toward peace. Instead, they launched thousands of rockets. And when Barack Obama came to office, he and Biden pressured Israel to make more concessions.
Trump set aside the dogma that insisted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the key obstacle to peace in the Middle East. He reversed the Obama-Biden policy of pressuring Israel to make concessions to a Palestinian Authority with no desire to negotiate. And he stood up to the Iranian regime, a common threat to the region.
The shift began when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and moved the U.S. embassy there in 2018. The State Department and the Pentagon had opposed the move, warning of terrorism against American diplomatic missions. Nothing like that happened.
Instead, the world was put on notice that America’s relationship with Israel is stronger than ever, and that it is based on a common Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition that sees the peace of Jerusalem as the path to peace on earth.
At roughly the same time, President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. The media had falsely portrayed Obama’s key foreign policy “achievement” as a win for peace. In fact, it only emboldened the regime further, allowing it to carry out terror and mayhem across the region with U.S. dollars. The deal did not stop Iran from developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, and did not even stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in the long run. It virtually guaranteed future conflict.
With new sanctions, Trump sided against Iran’s government and with the pro-democracy forces within the country. When Iran tried to goad the U.S. into war, hoping to isolate the Trump administration from its European allies, Trump did not take the bait. Instead, he pulled back from air strikes that would have caused civilian casualties, and launched a targeted strike against General Qasem Soleimani instead.
The clear message: unlike Iran’s leaders, America cares about the Iranian people.
These actions set the stage for Trump to introduce his peace plan for the region. It offered the Palestinian people a state, but not a veto over progress for everyone else in the Middle East.
The Palestinians could have political sovereignty, and billions of dollars in new foreign investment, but they would have to stop trying to destroy Israel first. When Mahmoud Abbas, 84 years old and in the 16th year of his first four-year term as president, leaves the scene, perhaps Palestinians will accept.
Meanwhile, peace is breaking out all over the region. The Trump administration has been able to restart talks with the Taliban. More troops are coming home from Iraq.
It is important to note that Biden, his advisers, the Democratic Party, and left-wing groups like J Street have opposed the Trump administration’s successful Middle East policy at every turn.
Not one elected Democrat bothered to attend the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, or a party by the Israeli embassy in Washington to mark the occasion. The George Soros-backed J Street, which endorsed Biden, has poured scorn on every nearly new peace deal with Israel.
Biden claimed Thursday, absurdly, that President Trump has “put Israel in danger.” He fails to understand it was the Obama-Biden administration’s policies, especially the Iran deal, that put Israel in danger, emboldening Iran and Palestinian terror.
Once the coronavirus pandemic eases, travel and commerce will soar within the Middle East. Muslim pilgrims will travel to Jerusalem to pray at the Al Aqsa mosque. Arab teenagers will surf the break at Herzliya. Israelis will party in Dubai and spend the High Holidays in Manama. Generations of Jews and Arabs will grow up together and build a better future.
All of this is within reach — as long as we do not reverse course and return to Obama’s policy of appeasing Iran and radical Islam.
American voters have a unique opportunity to ratify President Trump’s policy this November. Not only has he kept the U.S. out of more wars — and the troops are coming home — but he has also created a unique opportunity to achieve the dream of peace for Israel and the Jewish people.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.