What the Abraham Accords mean for Middle East

The Abraham Accords was signed by Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House under the facilitation of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, September 15. Photos: Net

Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain on Tuesday, September 15, signed what many termed as a historic deal, known as the Abraham Accords.

The deal was signed between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the White House.

 

The agreement was facilitated by U.S. President Donald Trump, and it is meant to establish formal ties between Israel and the two Gulf Arab nations.

 

As the wind blew the flags of all four nations, Trump, Netanyahu and the UAE and Bahraini foreign ministers addressed an invited crowd seated in seasonably cool sunshine on the White House South Lawn.

 

In formal remarks each leader delivered in turn from a podium set on the White House balcony looking down on the audience, both Trump and Netanyahu said that other Arab countries were prepared to take the same step.

The United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain all signed the Abraham Accords – named for the three Abrahamic religions rooted in what is now Israel and surrounding lands – that lays the ground for diplomatic, economic and other ties between Israel and the Persian Gulf neighbors.

The two Arab states then signed bilateral agreements with Israel in a historical gesture.

Bahrain and the UAE, both tiny but oil-rich monarchies, bring to four the number of Arab states that have formal ties with Israel. Others are Egypt and Jordan, since 1979 and 1994, respectively.

Watershed moment

Ron Adam, the Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda described the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the two countries as a watershed moment for the Middle East.

“While this region of the world is often thought to be somewhat of a dysfunctional family, the Abraham Accords represents a conscious decision to instead be a normal one,” he told The New Times.

It is an historic event that marked a new beginning for the Middle East region, and in addition to peace, is expected to bring about concrete results.

This means the creation of embassies, commercial air routes, tourism, security and intelligence ties, and access to Israel’s high-technology products and marketplace.

As the ambassador highlighted, the Accord represents an alternative and paradigm-shifting step forward for the region.

“It has fostered a revolutionary opportunity for other Arab nations to establish formal ties with the State of Israel, a concept previously deemed far-fetched and impossible,” he noted.

For decades, most Arab leaders refused to recognize Israel until Israel allowed the creation of – and made peace with – an independent Palestinian state.

Israel also agreed to suspend a nascent plan to annex the West Bank.

“The Accord effectively strengthens the power of moderatism in the face of the extremism that Iran and its proxies sow across the region,” Adam said.

“Our sincere hope is that other countries will see the connections we’ve forged between our peoples and economies through this agreement, and realize the benefits that they too could enjoy,” he added.

The Accord is seen by many as an important stage in ending conflict in the Middle East, and there is a belief that it will effectively serve to immunize countries against the calamity that comes with extremism, for which peace is the only remedy.

The envoy sees the agreement to serve the Palestinians by presenting them with a unique opportunity to return to direct negotiations with Israel.

“Israel is ready to do so, and will come to the negotiating table with the principles of the American administration’s Peace Initiative,” he noted.

jbizimungu@newtimesrwanda.com

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