AUSTRALIAN Tal Becker was among the team of Israeli negotiators that successfully secured a deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Speaking to The AJN from Israel before flying out to Washington, the Leibler Yavneh College graduate called the agreement “unbelievably promising”.
“The foreign ministry has essentially been cultivating the relationship with the UAE for some 20 years. Following Oslo, discussions began, and it has flowered from there. If we hadn’t set that groundwork then we may not have been able to make the breakthrough,” he said.
“It was the natural culmination of that process, rather than the breakthrough that the rest of the world saw it as, because we really had been getting to know each other for a while.”
Becker made aliyah at age 22 after completing an arts/law degree at Monash University. A legal adviser to the Israeli foreign ministry, he not only assisted with the establishment of the relationship, but has been working heavily on the agreement signed in Washington DC and a set of further agreements that aim to substantiate and fully normalise the relationship. Becker acknowledged the “courageous decision” of the UAE and deemed the American contribution to the process as “exceptional”.
A member of the successive rounds of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Becker reflected on the impact of the agreement on Israeli-Palestinian relations, saying, “If you make normalisation and acceptance of Israel in the region feel real, then the opportunities of peace become something that Israelis can believe in … but we are also going to have to confront and find a way to engage in dialogue and reconcile with our Palestinian neighbours.”