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Why is the Israel-UAE treaty so significant? Explaining what happened, why it matters, and what Christians can learn today

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and White House adviser Jared Kushner make statements to the press about the Israeli-United Arab Emirates peace accords, in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)

I spent a day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) several years ago. Our hosts demonstrated the hospitality for which the Arab people are justifiably known.

It was obvious, however, that this was a Muslim nation governed by Sharia law. Flogging, stoning, amputation, and even crucifixion are legal punishments. Apostasy from Islam is a crime punishable by death. 

It was therefore a great surprise to hear on August 13 that the UAE and Israel had decided to normalize relations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to suspend plans to annex parts of the West Bank in exchange for the UAE’s formal recognition of Israel. 

As a consequence, the first commercial flight from Israel landed in the UAE yesterday with a delegation of Israeli and US officials. The UAE is now the third Arab country to officially recognize Israel, following Egypt and Jordan. 

Why is this development so significant for not just the Middle East but for America and the world? This topic is too complex to explain completely in a single article, but we can summarize some of the key factors today. (For more, see my book, Radical Islam: What You Need to Know, and this article on our website.) As we’ll see, principles at work here apply to Christians seeking to follow and serve Jesus in these chaotic days. 

A map of the Middle East with the United Arab Emirates and Israel highlighted. (Modified Adobe stock image)

Why are Muslims opposed to Israel?

Why have so many in the Muslim world been united against the State of Israel? At least four factors are at work. 

One: The Qur’an says of the Jewish people, “Evil indeed are their works” (5:63). Islam’s holy book calls the Jews “apes” (2:65; 7:166) and “swine”…

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