“Normalization” is one of the central terms used in the discourse about Israel and its Arab neighbors and, since the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel was signed in 1979, Arab leaders and their spokespeople have repeatedly declared that there will never be normalization, meaning neighborly relations between Israel and the Arab world, that will include the signing of diplomatic relations and the exchange of ambassadors until there is a solution to the Palestinian issue.
In reality these declarations are only partially valid since there has been a dialogue that has taken place with Arab countries since the 1950s and, during the last two decades (mainly after the signing of the Oslo Accords), the contacts between Israel and a not insignificant number of Arab (and Muslim) countries has grown.
A ground-breaking study in this area, which was first published in 2018, proposes a new conceptualization of the term “normalization” that is based upon the political, economic, social and other changes that have taken place in the Middle East since the beginning of the third millennium.
The goals of the research in this area are as following:
- To identify the connections that exist between Israel and the Arab countries.
- To analyze the reasons, interests, advantages and disadvantages that this dialogue provides to Israel and the Arab countries.
- To develop and broaden additional models and conceptualizations in the context of normalization.
- To map out alliances (permanent and temporary) that established between Israel and Arab/Muslim countries (including non-state players).
- To examine the parameters of the discourse taking place in the social networks in Arab countries involving links with Israel.
As the year is almost over, it is perhaps an appropriate time to note that along with the geopolitical challenges Israel will have to face in the upcoming year of 2019, it also has a new series of achievements to its credit. Among other changes, 2018 has been a significant year for the process of