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Israel Joins the UAE-Based International Security Alliance in Latest Move of Normalizing Ties

The ISA, founded by Israel and France in 2017 to help combat organized crime, also works to stop “radicalization and violent extremism”.

In furthering their diplomatic friendship, Israel has now officially joined the UAE’s International Security Alliance (ISA) group, an Abu-Dhabi based organization aimed at helping combat organized and transnational crime, as well as helping stem “radicalization and violent extremism”. ISA was created by the UAE and France in 2017, and with Israel joining is now a 10 member organization (alongside the UAE, France, Bahrain, Italy, Senegal, Spain, Singapore, Morocco, and Slovakia).

Israel’s Public Security Minister Amir Ohana has described their partnership with ISA as “an important step in promoting peace and security in our region”. During an ISA forum last Wednesday, Ohana also stated:

On behalf of the government of Israel, we are proud that you (the UAE) have chosen us to be members of this important alliance. Progress with the Arab world alongside the excellent relations with our European counterparts will allow us to contribute to an alliance that touches on some of the most important issues in the areas of safety and homeland security.”

Ohana’s counterpart in the UAE who helped organize this new partnership is Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister. Al-Nahyan has also highly praised this new move, stating that this alliance with Israel will be “for the good of the world and humanity at large”. The UAE’s state-owned WAM news site also reported that the Sheikh stated that “having Israel as a new member will be an addition and strength to the alliance in seeking to achieve the objectives for which it was founded”.

The ISA, which Israel is now a part of, states that its mission is to combat transnational organized crime, and to help prevent “radicalization and violent extremism”. The organization also works in managing border relations as part of its mission to help fight against transnational crime. While the UAE’s own human rights record and move to normalize ties with Israel is itself deeply worrying, the shock of allowing Israel to be an active member of an organization fighting “violent extremism” would almost be comically ironic if it were not seriously dangerous – given Israel’s track record of severe human rights abuses and violent oppression of the people and lands of Palestine, this new move to normalize ties with Israel is a deep betrayal to both the Palestinians living under Israel’s colonial rule and to Muslims around the world who continue to fight for Palestinian rights.

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The Arab Gulf, followed by a growing number of other Muslim-majority nations, are paving the way towards normalizing ties with Israel without addressing the Israeli state’s deeply troubling treatment of Palestinians. The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and most recently Morocco have all signed deals with Israel to normalize diplomatic relations – and this is only since August. By normalizing ties with Israel, these countries are in fact accepting, allowing, and even supporting Israel’s current treatment of Palestinians.

While many human rights organizations do argue for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine (which would include recognizing the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders), normalizing ties with Israel while it is still actively pursuing a course of colonial-settler apartheid is not the answer towards peace in Palestine. With countries like the UAE normalizing the state of Israel as it stands today while Palestinians continue to be oppressed, jailed, killed, and colonized by the state of Israel, this essentially allows and stands in partnership with Israel’s continued human rights abuses.

The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, and other worrying countries with close ties to Israel despite having Muslim majority populations are all on a course of complete appeasement – and whatever lucrative financial, political, or military gains that may come with a partnership with Israel, it seems that power-grabs are now more important than basic human rights.

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