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The Abraham Accords: A Blessing for the Middle East

Blossom Stiefel, CJUI Member

A new landscape gives Israel and the Arab States of the Persian Gulf boundless opportunities for cooperation, trade, diplomatic initiatives and so much more.

On September 15, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain signed an historic peace agreement at the White House. This agreement, to be known as the Abraham Accords, will increase prospects for peace, stability and prosperity throughout the Middle East. The UAE has ended its boycott of Israel, enabling trade and commerce between the oil-rich Emirates and Israel, home to a thriving tech start-up ecosystem. A joint statement on behalf of the United States and Bahrain stated, "This is an historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East. Opening direct dialogue and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security and prosperity in the region."

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, Serbia agreed to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; Kosovo agreed to recognize Israel, becoming the first Muslim-majority country to do so; and Oman and Sudan are on their way to fully recognizing Israel. Morocco, while not ready for open ties, may agree to allow direct flights to and from Israel, it was reported in September.

This historic pact marks the first time since the treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994 that Israel and an Arab nation have joined to establish diplomatic relations, and the first time since the 1979 Israel/Egypt peace accord that an American President has personally participated in negotiations during the entire process.

When news of the UAE deal broke, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that it was different from Israel's agreements with Egypt and Jordan, in that it didn't involve any territorial concessions. The desire for full relations appears to be genuine on all sides. Netanyahu said, "This is going to be a different peace. It will be a warm peace, economic peace in addition to diplomatic peace, peace between nations."

Netanyahu is very optimistic that the agreement will be followed by more Arab nations "joining our region's circle of peace."

American and Israeli officials heaped praise on the Abraham Accords after the first-ever flight by an Israeli airliner to the UAE, carrying a delegation to mark the historic occasion. "For me to fly over here today was a tremendous honor," said Jared Kushner, President Trump's advisor and son-in-law, who played a key role in brokering the peace agreement. "I believe that this agreement has the ability to change the whole course of the Middle East."

"We believe that additional Arab and Muslim countries will soon follow the United Arab Emirates lead and normalize relations with Israel," U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said. "This trend will put the region on a truly transformative path of stability, of security and of opportunity. This agreement represents the most significant step towards peace in the Middle East in over 25 years. At long last nations are putting aside old ideas and old grievances and embracing a better future ... Working together, the UAE and Israel will be more secure than ever. Together they'll form a united front with the United States against Iran."

"You are now about to open the door to a different kind of peace – peace with investments, peace with tourism, peace with very many fruits that will be shared here with our two peoples, and with all the peoples of the region," Netanyahu said.

"This is a gigantic and historic blessing. This is an historic day. I have worked on it for very many years in the belief that peace for peace would bring about a great turning point here, and that the Arab peoples are capable of accepting the State of Israel as an existing fact and as a major partner," the Prime Minister added.

The dominoes are falling: this is very good news for the entire world.

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