Building an Arab-Israel Bloc: Can It Compensate for a Reluctant Washington?

Building an Arab-Israel Bloc: Can It Compensate for a Reluctant Washington?

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Over the past few months, Israel and its Arab partners—old and new—have ramped up their diplomatic engagement. U.S. and Israeli officials met with leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, and UAE in various locales, while Abu Dhabi finalized a milestone free-trade deal with Jerusalem. At the same time, however, the Iran nuclear negotiations are floundering, and Arab partners say their strategy is motivated by fear of American retrenchment from the region.

To discuss what these trends mean for the Middle East security paradigm and U.S. strategy in the region, The Washington Institute held a virtual Policy Forum with Nickolay Mladenov, Ebtesam al-Ketbi, Zohar Palti, and Karim Haggag, moderated by David Makovsky, the Institute's Ziegler Distinguished Fellow. on May 10, 2022.

Nickolay Mladenov is the Segal Distinguished Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute. Previously, he served as UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, foreign and defense minister of Bulgaria, and a member of the European Parliament.

Ebtesam al-Ketbi is founder and president of the Emirates Policy Center and the first Arab woman to lead a think tank. She also serves on the board of directors of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and is a founding member of the Emirates Human Rights Association.

Zohar Palti recently served as head of the Political-Military Bureau in Israel’s Ministry of Defense. Previously, he led the Mossad Intelligence Directorate and served as deputy head of the Research Division in the IDF Intelligence Corps at the rank of colonel.

Karim Haggag served for twenty-five years in Egypt’s diplomatic corps. He is currently a fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Middle East Initiative and a professor of practice at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo.