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The Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in Jerusalem’s Old City The Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is seen in Jerusalem’s Old City, Sept. 9, 2013 (AP photo by Sebastian Scheiner).

A Cold Peace Gets Even Colder

Monday, March 22, 2021

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Managing Editor Frederick Deknatel highlights a major unfolding story in the Middle East, while curating some of the best news and analysis from the region. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Middle East Memo by email every week.

When Israel struck deals to normalize relations with four Arab countries last year, expectations were fairly tempered—at least outside of the Trump White House, which had brokered them, and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, where Benjamin Netanyahu was eager to reap the political windfall. Some of that skepticism about whether this really was a new era of Middle East peace had to do with the blatant quid pro quo terms of those agreements, as the Trump administration had essentially bought Israel diplomatic ties with more of the Arab world. In exchange for recognizing Israel, Morocco got U.S. recognition of its sovereignty claims over the long-disputed territory of Western Sahara; Sudan got billions in U.S. financial assistance and removal from Washington’s state sponsors of terrorism list; and the United Arab Emirates got contracts for armed Reaper drones and the F-35. ...

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