Special: Obama opposed peace move, says Ex-Israel minister

Issac John /Dubai Filed on November 6, 2020
Photo by M. Sajjad

"They didn’t support and resisted all overtures from our side," Kara told Khaleej Times.

The historic peace accord reached between the UAE and Israel on September 15 had been delayed for years due to the stiff resistance put up by the US administration of Barack Obama, a former Israeli minister has revealed.

“Obama and some European countries including France vehemently thwarted Israel’s peace initiatives on grounds that a peaceful resolution of Palestinian issues should take precedence over any other regional accords,” said Ayoob Kara, a former Israeli minister of communications and a staunch political supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This region lost so many years of peaceful prosperity as a result of this stand taken by Obama and his allies. They didn’t support and resisted all overtures from our side,” Kara, who is one of the architects of the peace process between the UAE and Israel, told Khaleej Times.

He said seven more Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, would sign the peace accord within a month after the US election if President Donald Trump, who has “laboriously” brokered the historic Abraham Accord with the UAE, is re-elected.

“The peace process may face some setback or slow progress if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins. But it is now an irreversible journey of progress and prosperity for both most countries of the Arab world and Israelis.”

The former minister, who precisely predicted in 2019 in an interview that the landmark peace accord with the UAE and other Gulf countries would be signed this year before October, hinted that Prime Minister Netanyahu would be visiting the UAE for a summit “very soon.”

A Druze politician, who speaks Arabic “more fluently than Hebrew” and a veteran Knesset member, Kara was among the first two ministers from Israel to make an official visit to the UAE in October 2018 amid tight security to speak at the International Telecommunication Conference in Dubai. “It was a first-time experience for the UAE to host an Israeli minister for addressing a meeting.”

Kara, a three-time minister and a Knesset member for more than 15 years, said he was in a way instrumental in blazing the peace trail by starting the process of thawing the relations between Gulf Arab countries and Israel with a “health diplomacy” way back in 2010 when he took a Bahraini oil minister and family for treatment at an Israeli hospital. “It was an unprecedented and challenging task. No other Gulf-Arab minister had ever been to Israel before. I got the full support of my prime minister to provide the best medical care to the ailing member of the Bahraini royal family.”

“I consider the peace and co-existence between the people of our region as a major priority for all stakeholders thwarted. The peace accord is just the beginning of an era of game-changing advancements for both the UAE and Israel in all sectors, in particular technology, food and cyber security, farming, artificial intelligence, and using ICT sector to transform the region,” says Kara, who is the founder president of Economic Peace Centre, an initiative to foster bilateral economic and business relations between the GCC and Israel.

He said the recently formed Abrahamic Business Circle led by Dr Raphael Nagel and Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori is launching a fund to support and promote two-way business collaboration and joint ventures. Several business leaders, including Shonak Reshamwalaa of TechxDefcon1, are the driving forces behind the venture seeking to promote bilateral trade and cross-border investments, which are estimated to hit $10 billion.

According to Israeli estimates, trade with the UAE could eventually reach $4 billion a year and create 15,000 jobs.

“It is a win-win scenario for everlasting prosperity through peaceful co-existence. While the UAE will serve as a key springboard for Israel to reach out to the rest of the Arab world, both nations will stand to benefit from the culture of innovation and high-tech ecosystem,” says Kara.


Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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