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Opinion and Editorial

The UAE-Israel peace deal has a nice ring to it

Aradhana Sharma
Filed on August 19, 2020

I dialled a number not used for months on my phone's contact list. On the other side my friend excitedly screamed, "Who? You? I can't believe it."

On the evening of August 13, came the news of the peace deal with Israel. It may have been in the making behind the scrutiny of us commoners, in the corridors of power, for a while, but to us it came as a big surprise.

It was big news. A result of a 'historic agreement' between the United States, the UAE, and Israel. Comments are being written and will continue to be written about the reasons, implications, and more in the coming days and years ahead. Thomas Friedman, has called it a "geopolitical earthquake" in the Mideast, writing in his New York Times opinion piece. Others have asked if it would "re-establish" US President Donald Trump as a "deal maker"; what it would do for the embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and it will certainly provide the UAE a bigger role on the world stage.

I could weigh in on this and just say what it would personally mean for many of us, including the people of the countries involved.

I moved to the UAE from Israel about nine months ago. As you can probably guess, this means that I am neither an Emirati nor an Israeli. Many were a bit surprised, to say the least, when they got to know of our move. But life often brings interesting and unexpected turns.

We were ready to embrace it.

It was only when we started with the nitty-gritty of the move that we realised how strange this was going to be. Our friends and contacts would not be able to just pick up the phone and call us to advise us on what to plan for and expect. Our stuff needed to be shipped to a different destination before it could come into this country.

All through this process, we had Emiratis and other UAE residents who helped us. Once we moved here, it was quick settling down and making friends (And thank god for that; who knew Covid-19 would arrive and force us to stay indoors). From day one we felt that warmth and ease of living in this country. It is a hugely welcoming country and the Emiratis have great confidence in themselves and are not daunted by the fact that they are outnumbered by the number of expatriates living in their country. In fact, they wear it as a badge of honour that people from almost 200 countries have made the UAE their home and live here.

But even as I made new friends in my new home and got comfortable, I often missed those who I had left behind in Israel. They too had been just as warm and welcoming to me when I had moved to their country. It bothered them and me that we could not travel easily to meet each other or just make a quick call and speak.

On August 16, 2020, this changed. I dialled a number not used for months on my phone's contact list. On the other side my friend excitedly screamed, "Who? You? I can't believe it."

This new agreement is a big deal. It will probably have many ramifications in the months and years to come. I hope most of them will be positive for all those involved (including the Palestinians). But today, I just want to celebrate being able to make that phone call.

Aradhana Sharma is a resident of Abu Dhabi and writes a blog on her globetrotting experiences


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