Middle East

How Obama Unwittingly Brought Israel and the Arabs Closer to Peace

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Former-US President Barack Obama was harshly criticized in Israel for his handling of the Iran nuclear crisis, and in particular for the terms of the deal he eventually brokered with the Islamic Republic.

That agreement was a major focus of the 2016 US presidential election, with now-President Donald Trump vowing to pull America out of it, which he did in May of this year.

At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggests that Israelis should perhaps also be thankful for Obama’s blunder.

While the Iran nuclear deal undoubtedly left Israel vulnerable, it also improved relations between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors.

“It was a bad agreement in every respect except for one – it brought us closer to the Arab world on a scale that we never knew, and one of our goals is that it continues,” Netanyahu told a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) gathering at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Sunday.

“There is a gradual normalization with leading countries in the Arab world,” Netanyahu continued, hinting at the numerous reported clandestine meetings between top Israeli and Arab leaders in recent years.

Most of the neighboring Arab states are Sunni Muslim, and they fear nuclear weapons on the hands of Shiite Iran.

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