By Congressman Jason Smith
When the lead in The New York Times is to praise something accomplished by the Trump Administration, you know that the ‘something’ must have been a big deal. That was the case this week as those of us who are a fan of peace, stability, and democracy were greeted with the massive development that President Trump had helped broker a historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A deal which is built around full recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and a normalization of relations between the two countries to promote additional peace and prosperity in the Middle East. The agreement is being hailed as one of the most significant in the last 25+ years in the region and marks a huge movement towards more Arab states recognizing Israel’s importance.
For too long, American foreign policy in the Middle East had been focused on the next best way to appease the leaders in Iran, thinking that was the way to bring peace. In reality, it is isolating those who think like Iran and encouraging more states in the region to join with us in recognizing Israel which will bring lasting stability in an area marked by thousands of years of conflict. In the Middle East, the UAE now joins with Jordan and Egypt in fully working with and recognizing the Jewish state of Israel and shows the benefits of seeking engagement versus conflict. Namely, the countries have agreed to the exchange of embassies, ambassadors and the flow of goods and ideas including healthcare, education, and national security. Most importantly, the deal sets a roadmap for all others in the region of the benefits to your country and your people if you decide to diplomatically work with Israel, versus continue to be marred in the views and conflicts of old.
Stability, Security, Opportunity – those are the themes of the deal which show the potential for a new day of economic prosperity. For any country, full diplomatic relations with Israel bring great benefits beyond peace, it means a new exchange of ideas, diplomatic and trade relations and access to new markets, new security technology and a step forward for your country. For the United States it means another Middle Eastern country joining with us to recognize one of the strongest defenders of democracy around the globe. America is safer when her allies are safer and this deal serves as a major step towards additional peace in a region historically unstable with conflict. The Israel-UAE agreement will shape the course of events in the Middle East for decades to come as it most importantly provides the playbook for other Middle Eastern countries to follow, and provides an updated example to them of the benefits of engagement with Israel.
Ending the catastrophic and dangerous Iran Nuclear Agreement, relocating the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, helping broker the historic Israel-UAE deal, these string of foreign policy successes for President Trump in the Middle East are the most historic and consequential of our time. All of this comes as he continues to keep an eye on the larger threat of China and their communist influence in the region. Just this week the U.S. and Israel announced the nearing of an agreement to build out additional cellular and internet capabilities in our countries without the use of any Chinese technology. When those who are losing influence in the region as a result of these deals are China, Iran and terrorist groups like Hezbollah, you know what you are doing must be right. The world is a safer and more peaceful place than it was one week ago and America is more secure with the President’s leadership on the world stage.