The Peace Accord Silences the Discourse of Hatred and Extremism

Hatred is the initial motive that leads to other evils such as extremism, radicalism and finally terrorism. Hatred originates as a result of continuous and violent collective incitement through discriminating against others who are seen as different in terms of race or faith. This manifests through distorting and demonizing others to the point where hatred becomes an irreversible doctrine that is hard to change, which requires a great deal of courage and will to address. This is the reason why several actors in the region and other parts of the world have unanimously described the UAE-Israel peace agreement as a “brave” step.

There is no doubt in the just cause of the brotherly Palestinian people and their right to have their own independent state. However, the mechanism to achieve that undeniable right should be subject to evaluation and revision when compared with the results it yields. The historical peace agreement, signed by UAE two days ago, charts a new path that can lead brotherly Palestinians towards the establishment of their independent state; a goal which seems to increasingly become prolonged due to their determination in following their current course without scrutinizing its practicality.

The UAE puts forward the idea of “investing in peace” instead of “investing in hatred”. It calls for ending the culture of incitement and demonization, referring to a reality in which each party views the other as an incarnation of the “absolute evil” whose existence cannot be accepted nor tolerated. Perhaps, we should have the courage to admit that the incitement of unequivocal hatred emanating from the Arab side stemming from the Palestinian cause, which instils feelings that have national, religious and racial dimensions, have been imposed on us by others. The religious incitement has fed into extremist and radical tendencies, resulting in the scourge of terrorism that has plagued our countries and societies in the first place. This has prompted accusations toward the noble Islamic religion and Muslims throughout the entire world.

The national and racial hatred unleashed against Israel has heightened and spread. We made enemies out of many of the countries of the world. As a result, attempts toward development have stalled and regressed. Furthermore, our own countries became a battleground for division, confrontation and civil wars. The Arab people have been marred by violence, poverty and displacement despite the vast wealth and resources of their countries.

The UAE-Israel peace agreement will serve to address hatred and root out the causes of extremism and radicalism that turn our children into tools for killing and destruction. Equally, the peace agreement offers the moderate Israelis an opportunity to observe major parts of the Arab world seeking peace. It also denies national and religious extremists in Israel the opportunity to incite hatred and extremism which reinforces the demonization of all Arabs and Muslims. It is on this basis that progress can be achieved towards peace and development throughout the whole region, allowing Palestinian rights to be reclaimed, as well as providing a healthy atmosphere that ensures the political flexibility that negotiators need to discuss thorny issues.

Finding ways of cooperation between UAE and Israel in fields such as education, scientific research, cultural exchange, technology, disease control and prevention, joint economic activities and tourism would help build genuine bridges between the two countries and nations. It would also enhance opportunities for communication and building human relations that impose limits on the discourse of extremism and incitement. If other Arab and Islamic countries join the peace process, they could pave the way for the emergence and development of a discourse that supports rapprochement, understanding and common interests.

Addressing the discourse of hatred is not an easy mission, given the incitement and unrest driven by regional powers that seek to achieve political gains while evading their own domestic crises. Through their endeavors, they have taken advantage of the prevailing state of fragility in the Arab world, especially those countries susceptible to external interference, ceasing every opportunity to manipulate Arab groups and militias. The UAE will enter this confrontation equipped with the courage it wields in facing challenges, believing that a better future for the region is dependent upon enhancing the culture of rapprochement and peace.