Q. Israel is now having working relationship with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE etc all Sunni nations, but not with Iran, a Shia nation(so called moderate in Islamic terms). What maybe the reasons for the same?
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Replied by Hirak J Das

The fundamental reason for Israel’s isolation in the West Asian region is the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories. The pan-Arab and pan-Islamic solidarity for the Palestinian cause in the Arab world has been gradually overshadowed by newer concerns about transnational terrorist groups, Islamist mass movements like Muslim Brotherhood; nuclear proliferation, post-oil economic prospects, etc. Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco have adapted themselves to the changing realities. It is important to appreciate the context of the peace deals which are all based on strategic and economic considerations.

Israel after signing the peace deal with Egypt in 1979 essentially diluted the possibility of direct state-based warfare with Arab states. Egypt in exchange retrieved the Sinai peninsula from Israeli occupation as well as securing yearly military aid worth US$ 1.3 billion from the US. The normalization by Jordan and Gulf states occurred in the backdrop of the 1993 Oslo Accord that entailed Israel’s acceptance of Palestinian political autonomy and eventual statehood. The positive and reconciliatory environment opened inroads for Israel to carry out intelligence and security cooperation with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Oman since the mid-1990s. Israel in the recent period has proved useful for Gulf states’ economic diversification plans that have improved access to technology, investments, trade, communications, arms, surveillance tools, etc.

Iran’s post-1979 political foundations are based on mass Shiite religious revival with significant emphasis on pan-Islamism, anti-imperialism, and the idea of exporting the revolution. The issue of Palestine and the Islamic control of Jerusalem is central to Iran’s revolutionary ideology and it has supported Palestinian resistance groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah. Iran is committed to destroying Israeli nuclear hegemony and it has obstructed the Jewish State’s efforts to get accepted as a normal actor in the region. In this context, Israel shares common concerns with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and funding for proxy groups.

However, there are no permanent friends or enemies in international politics. So, in the future, when circumstances change possibly due to the realization of Palestinian statehood or regime change in the Islamic Republic, reconciliation is not unlikely between Israel and Iran.

Date : 07/12/2021
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