ISLAMABAD   -   The emerging trend of Arab-Israel normalization was a prelude to a new order in the Middle East, which would leave the Muslim world further divided, concluded a webinar held here yesterday.

The webinar was hosted by Islamabad Policy Institute, a local think tank, on ‘Implications of Arab-Israel Normalization for Muslim World’. 

Speakers from Turkey, Palestine, Iran, and United Kingdom took part in the webinar in addition to the local speakers.

The webinar was held to deliberate on the development and the future direction of the events.

Dr Levent Bastürk, a Turkish academic, said the normalization agreements would not remain limited to few countries, but would eventually evolve into a regional alliance. He said that while the developments would alter Iran’s threat perception and behaviour in the region, it is also aimed at restricting Turkey’s regional ambitions.

Dr Kayhan Barzegar, a Tehran-based Middle East expert, said the development would add to extremism and terrorism in the region by promoting division in Arab and Muslim world.

About Iran, he said it would completely change the calculus of Iran’s defence strategy and complicate ties with UAE.

Dr Barzegar contended that the process started by the Arab rulers would not be sustainable as the people have rejected it. “Region is not ready for such a compromise,” he said.

Dr Khaled Qaddoumi, a leader of the Hamas resistance movement, said the Arab rulers’ action was not representing the sentiments of the masses. He said that the so-called normalization process was initiated to distract American and Israeli public from their respective domestic crisis and bail out President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of London Islamic Human Rights Commission, and Ali Mehr, a local Arab affairs analyst, said the silence of the Muslims on the happenings in the past emboldened the Arab rulers to move for normalizing with Israel.

Executive Director IPI Prof Sajjad Bokhari said the Arab monarchs were eyeing a new regional order in which they can foster greater cooperation with Israel against their common regional foe - Iran. 

He noted that the major challenge for the Arab rulers would be the legitimization of the erstwhile enemy i.e. Israel before their publics.

He said the message for Palestinians from delinking of Arab-Israeli normalization and progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track is that their cause is no more a priority for them.