Jim Denison on Why Is the Israel-UAE Agreement So Significant?

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 U.S. 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.

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” (5:60).

Two: Many Muslims believe that Israel stole its land in 1948 from its rightful Palestinian owners and continues this “theft” with its expansion into the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Three: Muslims are committed to the ummah, the global Islamic community. What happens to one Muslim happens to all Islam. As a result, Israeli “aggression” against the Palestinians is an attack on Islam. Since the Qur’an mandates that Muslims defend Islam (2:190–191), many Muslims believe they are required to oppose Israel.

Four: Some Muslim leaders (primarily Shiites in Iran) believe that the “Mahdi” (their Messiah) will not return so long as Islam tolerates the existence of Israel. They claim that if Muslims would ever attack Israel, the Mahdi would then appear to protect Islam from retribution. As you can see, this makes the possibility that Iran could possess nuclear weapons especially threatening to Israel.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post, Jim Denison