Formal, peaceful, normal relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, as well as between Israel and Bahrain, became possible when those two Persian Gulf countries concluded that linking their ties with Israel to the Palestinian issue was useless.Not only would this linkage have done nothing to promote progress on the stagnant Israeli-Palestinian track, but it also would have prevented Israel and the UAE, as well as Israel and Bahrain, from being able to benefit one from the other. So first Abu Dhabi, and then Manama, decided to decouple, or delink the issues. In doing so, they followed the Indian model.When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi first assumed power in 2014, he instituted a policy toward Israel known in India as “de-hyphenation.”India’s policies toward Israel, he made clear, would from then on be independent and stand on the Jewish state’s own merits, separate and independent from India’s relationship with the Palestinians. India’s relationship would no longer be with Israel-Palestine, but rather separately with Israel and with the Palestinians.Hyphenating the ties with Israel – linking them to ties with the Palestinian Authority – essentially prevented India from pursuing a pragmatic policy of what was in India’s best interests. So Modi changed course, and since then India’s ties with Israel have soared.The Emiratis and Bahrainis are now doing the same thing – and it is about time that the European Union follow suit.It is about time that the EU decouple their ties with Israel from the Palestinian issue.Because linking the two, as they have done for years, has done nothing to help move Israel and the Palestinians closer to a diplomatic solution; has led to a loss of European impact in the region because Israel does not trust the EU as an honest broker; and is harming both European and Israeli interests – as both sides could benefit by working even closer together.It is hard to believe that the Emiratis or Bahrainis care less about the Palestinians than EU bureaucrats in Brussels, or various politicians in Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg or Sweden. Yet while key players in the Persian Gulf – with a wink from Saudi Arabia – have concluded that they can pursue independent policies with Israel and the Palestinians, there are powerful forces inside the EU insisting on keeping the two issues intertwined.The normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain has placed the idea back on the European agenda of resuscitating the long dormant EU-Israel Association Council.The 1995 EU-Israel Association agreements that govern relations between Israel and the union call for an annual meeting of Israel and EU foreign ministers, called the Association Council, to promote dialogue and boost ties.But this forum has not met since 2012, first because of Israeli anger at EU guidelines stipulating that its agreements with Israel would not apply to the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and second because of EU opposition to Israeli settlement policies.The failure of the Association Council to meet for nearly a decade is reflective of a wider problem: the EU’s insistence on linking an upgrading of bilateral relations with Israel on Jerusalem’s compliance with the EU’s view of how a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should look.In other words, if Israel does what the EU says – if it creates a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital – then there will be an upgrade of ties. If not, there will always be something holding those ties back.It’s a good thing the UAE and Bahrain did not adopt this model. Had they done so, there would have been no peace signing ceremony on the White House lawn last week.There is a new momentum amid those pragmatic countries in the Middle East interested in stability in the region. The EU has paid some lip service to this; now it should back up its words with actions and realize that since the old paradigms did not work, it’s now worth trying new ones – including not tethering its own ties with Israel to the Palestinian issue.