by: Ilse Strauss
Monday, 26 October 2020 | In the fateful summer of 1967, the Jewish state’s fighting force managed to beat back a horde of invading Arab armies for the second time in less than 20 years. Once the din of the Six Day War died down, Israel offered to give up the land gained over the six days of fighting—including Judea and Samaria—in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors.
The said Arab neighbors convened the 4th Arab League Summit in the Sudanese capital to deliberate Israel’s outstretched hand of peace. Their answer came in the form of the Khartoum Resolution, infamous for the “Three No’s”: no to peace, no to recognizing Israel and no to negotiations.
Half a century later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a pre-recorded video statement on Friday evening, the three historic no’s have turned into three historic yes’s. “Today Khartoum has said, ‘Yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel and yes to normalization with Israel.’”
The prime minister’s announcement of the US-brokered normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and Sudan was released while Netanyahu was on a conference call with US President Donald Trump, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sudan’s transitional leader, Lt.–Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
President Trump invited the White House press corps into the Oval Office, put the three leaders on speaker phone and then broke the news of Sudan becoming the third Arab nation in three months—after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain—to put an end to more than seven decades of an anti-Israel narrative, rejectionism and all-out war to take Jerusalem’s outstretched hand of peace.
In his video statement, Netanyahu—seated against a backdrop of the flags of Israel, the US and Sudan—hailed Khartoum “joining the circle of peace” as an “incredible transformation.”
“This is a new era,” the premier continued. “An era of true peace. A peace that is expanding with other Arab countries—with three of them joining in recent weeks.”
According to Netanyahu, delegations from the two newly friendly nations will meet “in the coming days” to “discuss cooperation in many areas, including agriculture, trade and other areas important to our citizens.”
The prime minister also highlighted one of the immediate benefits of the deal. “The skies of Sudan are open to Israel today. This allows for direct and shorter flights between Israel and Africa and South America.”
“What excitement!” a clearly elated Netanyahu concluded. “To many more [peace deals].
The terms of the peace deal between Israel and Sudan may be a bit more complex than the accords with the UAE and Bahrain.
A transitional government currently leads Sudan after long-time president Omar al-Bashir—who stands accused of organizing war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court—was deposed in a coup d’état last year.
As head of the transitional government, Hamdok aims to transform the country toward a more open and peaceful democracy. However, all decisions require ratification by a yet unformed transitional parliament. The bottom line? The normalization process may happen at a much slower pace.
The normalization does, however, come at a pivotal point for Sudan’s transitional leadership. The dire economic conditions crippling the country have sparked a large number of protests sweeping Khartoum. With the terms of the deal stipulating debt relief, aid and investment from Israel, specifically in the fields of agriculture and technology, Jerusalem may very well help bring the transitional government back from the brink.
In fact, Netanyahu announced yesterday that Jerusalem would dispatch a portion of the Jewish state’s abundance to Khartoum. “We are looking forward to a warm peace and are sending [US] $5 million worth of wheat immediately to our new friends in Sudan,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.
In the warm glow of the peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain, both President Trump and Netanyahu vowed that more peace partners would soon follow in the Gulf states’ footsteps. They were right. Which introduces the question: who is next in line for peace?
Posted on October 26, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 26, 2020)
Photo Credit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia
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