Dr. Salem Al Ketbi
Dr. Salem Al KetbiCourtesy

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attracted the attention of observers and experts from around the world at the recent Negev Summit, especially when he expressed regret for the loss of “43 years” (since the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel).

“During these years we have failed to get to know each other better, to work together and to change the narrative on which generations of Israelis and Arabs were raised,” he said. “What we are trying to do today is to change that narrative and create a different future.”

Indeed, this speech deserves all this attention, not only because it is transparent, courageous, insightful and clear, but also because it breaks the wall of silence and points the way to a genuine regional peace. It speaks out what many cannot. HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s speech at this historic summit contains hard and indisputable facts.

Israel is already a part of the Middle East. Failure to open channels of communication between it and the Arabs does not deny this fact and does not mean that it does not exist. Those who claim this are deceiving themselves and others.

Those who continue to rely on the slogans of the past and tickle the emotions with the rhetoric of “resistance” are nothing but an insult to the millions of people in the Palestinian Authority and a political gain that many regional parties seek.

Acknowledging the facts and starting from them to seek real paths to peace is the only way out of this absurdity that bleeds a just cause and exploits the pain of its true holders. An important sign and fact in this conversation is that changing the future begins by changing reality.

Any attempt to create real peace in the Middle East must begin by changing the stereotypes that generations have created in our region and creating a culture of coexistence that is different from the culture of marginalization, exclusion and violence used by extremist and terrorist organizations that use the Palestinian Arab cause as fodder for political and religious profiteering.

The UAE remains true to its values and principles and places dialogue, peace and coexistence at the center of all diplomatic efforts.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the new Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, are aware that the UAE is making every effort to build peace and reduce tensions and conflicts.

Those who take note of the UAE’s recent advances to all regional and international capitals can easily see how the UAE diplomacy is convinced of the principles of the Document of 50, which sets the country’s strategic course in all fields. The UAE is moving at all stages, trying to find a balance at the regional and international levels.

“Creating a different generation” is a goal that the UAE has been pursuing for many years and for which it has laid the foundations. The UAE’s development model has become a model for Arab and Islamic countries. It gave a kiss of life for Arab youth.

Setting an example is an Emirati commitment to spread faith in coexistence among millions of young people in our region. Those who doubt the UAE’s intentions and seriousness in establishing peace and regional coexistence should remember that the UAE’s rapprochement with Israel coincided with its rapprochement with its vicious neighbor Iran, which was a strong signal of reassurance that the UAE was not targeting anyone.

Those who question the logic of the UAE regretting the loss of years and treaties since the signing of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel should remember that during this long period there has been no settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but there has always been fighting and violence.

Betting on time, repeating the same slogans and playing politics with a just Arab cause will not solve it. It will not bring either side security.

Dialogue is lacking. This culture has become the biggest shortcoming in our region, which hardly knows this culture anymore, whether it is due to the widespread ideology of extremism and terrorism, or to the transformation of the central Arab issue, the Palestinian Arab issue, into an object of internal strife and gaining power and influence without regard for their interests and the need to treat their demands with integrity and seriousness.

Yes, the UAE is strongly, clearly and openly committed to a new narrative that forms the basis for the coexistence of the peoples of the Middle East. This is not an easy task.

But it is a good opportunity for the UAE because it is the most qualified, the most accepted, and the most capable of convincing everyone of its ability to articulate a clear vision of the future in this region that sends the world nothing but news of conflict, crisis, violence, killing, and bloodshed.

While Emirati airline Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is reported to have canceled its participation in Israel's Independence Day flyover this year, reacting to Temple Mount and Old City violence, this will hopefully be a specific issue, not affecting the larger picture.

Dr. Salem AlKetbiis a UAE political analyst