Irish Examiner view: Middle East relations are one positive in Trump’s legacy

Israel is now moving towards establishing normal diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan
Irish Examiner view: Middle East relations are one positive in Trump’s legacy

US president Donald Trump has made some unexpected progress in his administration with regard to the Middle East.

As polls indicate that Donald Trump will lose next month’s US presidential election, it is fair to say that millions of people around the world will be glad to see the back of him. There is little doubt that he has been the most divisive American president of modern times. He has alienated America’s friends, and diminished his country’s standing globally.

However, he has made some unexpected progress in his administration with regard to the Middle East. A succession of US presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, to Barack Obama, have attempted — and failed — to break the cycle of violence in the region. Donald Trump is no different. Yet, Israel is now moving towards establishing normal diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, while a number of other Arab countries may follow suit.

It is, of course, a wild exaggeration for Trump to declare the deal his administration partly brokered as "the dawn of a new Middle East”. Israel still controls the lives of almost three million Palestinians in the West Bank and, along with Egypt, imposes a land and sea blockade on nearly two million Palestinians along the Gaza Strip.

While Israel remains an occupying force, it is impossible to see an agreement being reached with the Palestinians. Nevertheless, the normalisation of relations between Israel and these Arab states is of historic significance.

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