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Howard Morry


by Howard Morry, Sept 15, 2020

Howard Morry, Co-Chair of the Arab-Jewish Dialogue and a former president of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, gave his reaction to the Winnipeg Jewish Review regarding the historic deal reached on Sept 11 between Israel and Bahrain that is set to lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Morry's comments are as follows:  


"Andy Warhol once said “one’s company, two’s a crowd and three’s a party”. That quote accurately captures Bahrain’s decision to be the second Arab country in 30 days to normalize relations with Israel.The concern was that other Arab states would be too scared to follow the UAE’s announcement. But the myth of the “Arab street” has taken on water ever since the U.S. accepted Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and Jerusalem without a major incident.


"Of course, proponents of a peaceful Middle East will be able to really celebrate with the announcement of the Arab country that follows Bahrain. That country may be Oman, it might even be the real prize, Saudi Arabia. It also might be a Muslim-majority country outside the Arab world. Kosovo, which is almost 100 percent Muslim, just agreed to normalize relations with Israel as part of a Trump-brokered deal with Serbia.


"We can almost hear the breaking of the dam, as Arab and Muslim majority countries finally decide to advance their national interests through relations with a technological powerhouse like Israel that is also a gatekeeper to better relations with the U.S., especially if Trump wins re-election. Egypt came to that conclusion in the '70s and Jordan in the '90s. And since then, Israel joined the Arab world behind the scenes in standing up up to Iran’s predatory behaviour in the region.


"The only thing standing in the way of the dam breaking is the promise the Arab and Muslim-majority countries made to Yasser Arafat to hold out normalization as a carrot for Israel to cut a final status deal with the PLO. But the problem with giving the PLO a veto over the Arab and Muslim world acting in their own national interest is that the PLO has rejected all of Israel’s offers over the past quarter century, and in fact, stopped negotiating with Israel altogether over a decade ago.


"Moreover, when the Palestinian people’s “sole legitimate representative” makes demands, they are ones that Israel says they can never accept, which means that the Arab Israeli conflict - not just the Palestinian Israeli conflict - might never end."


"If other countries join the UAE and Bahrain - and as Warhol says, the party begins - the Israeli Palestinian conflict will finally be uncoupled from the Arab Israeli conflict. While that will certainly give the PLO less power to impose a solution, it will give the Arab states a role in helping to build a nation-state for the Palestinian people that answers to the people, and not to self-appointed saviours like Hamas or the PLO who have their own agendas."

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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.