Relations with Israel have long been a major election issue in the United States and some European countries. Now the same is happening in a number of Arab states, as well.
Libya looks to be the next Arab state to join the Abraham Accords, which have to date facilitated peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
The North African nation has suffered two devastating civil wars in recent years, including an “Arab Spring” uprising that saw long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi deposed and killed. Those contesting Libya’s upcoming presidential election on December 24 know that the country’s rehabilitation can be greatly accelerated by normalizing relations with Israel.
The apparent frontrunner in the election is General Khalifa Haftar, who has made the idea of peace with Israel one of the major planks of his electoral platform. Israeli media revealed last month that the general has even hired an Israeli consulting firm to advise his campaign.
“Only a normalization agreement with Israel, which will bring Libya into the Abraham Accords, can catalyze Libya’s rehabilitation plan, which stands at hundreds of billions of dollars,” Haftar was quoted as telling his supporters recently.
Opposing Haftar in the election is Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
Where the younger Gaddafi’s stands on peace with Israel is a little less clear, though he reportedly hired the same Israeli consulting firm that is advising Haftar. That Gaddafi would consider peace with Israel wouldn’t be so surprising, as his father long held somewhat more conciliatory views of the Jewish state than did his contemporary Arab dictators.