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An Accord: From Abraham to Arabia

On September 15, 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain met at the White House to sign a historic deal: the Abraham Accords, named for “the three Abrahamic religions rooted in what is now Israel and surrounding lands,” explains the Washington Post.

It’s a historic deal because the U.A.E. and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab nations to establish official diplomatic relations with Israel. President Trump declared that “there’s going to be peace in the Middle East” and noted that Saudi Arabia may join in the future.

(Read the official signed document here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/ABRAHAM-ACCORDS-DECLARATION.pdf)

Since the UAE and Bahrain have never been at war with Israel, the deal is not necessarily a peace treaty. However, its implications elevate Israel to be legitimate and form cooperation between the countries for education, trade, tourism, and security among other areas.

The Tree of Life, a famous tourist attraction in Bahrain. A 500-year-old tree in the desert and 7th wonder of nature.

One beneficial outcome that some analysts foresee is a stronger push against Iran by reinforcing unity among Israel, the U.A.E., and other countries who see Iran as a common threat.

F-35 US Fighter Jets

Another incentive is the possible weapon deal of the stealthy U.S. F-35 fighter jets and other weapons between the US and the UAE. But Israel raised concerns, given that U.S. law requires a “qualitative military edge” for Israel over the surrounding nations.

The Abraham Accords is also viewed as a major political win for President Trump just ahead of the election.

However, while some celebrated, others protested. Palestinian leaders called it a “stab in the back” and a “sad day,” viewing the Arab countries as traitors who once supported their fight for independence. Ammar Hijazi, assistant minister of multilateral affairs for the Palestinian Authority, even called the White House ceremony a “photo op” that “only crowns Israel as the policeman of the region” and paves the way for more U.S. weapons sales to the Arab countries. 

Palestinians protest against the Abraham Accords

For this reason, Qatar refused to normalize relations with Israel until the conditions of the Arab Peace Initiative are met. As a note, The initiative was written by Saudi Arabia and adopted by the Arab Countries in 2002, maintaining that “the Palestinians are granted their own state, within borders from before Israel conquered significant territory in a 1967 war, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Others point out that Israel agreed to suspend its annexation—or proclamation of sovereignty—of the West Bank, a piece of land where there is conflict between Israel and Palestinians, as part of the Abraham Accords. However, no one knows what “suspension” really means, how long it will last, and if peace and Palestinian security will be destroyed.

 

Tamara Cofman Wittes of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy expounds: “The reality of Palestinian politics is that the overall stalemate, the threat of annexation, and now the Emiratis and Bahrainis making their separate arrangements will cause the Palestinians to dig in. This all just reinforces an instinct toward resistance.”

Israel bombs Hamas military targets in Gaza

The Israeli TV stations that broadcast the ceremony that day paused for a report of fifteen rockets fired on two Israeli coastal cities by militants of the Islamic group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In response, the Air Force of Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza. Though there were only minor injuries, let’s hope that the true result of the Abraham Accords will not be the opposite of its intentions.

 

 

Sources:

Ap. “Israel Strikes Gaza after Rocket Fire during Signing Ceremony of Normalization Agreements at White House.” Anews, www.anews.com.tr, 16 Sept. 2020, www.anews.com.tr/world/2020/09/16/israel-strikes-gaza-after-rocket-fire-during-signing-ceremony-of-normalization-agreements-at-white-house.

“The Arab-Israeli Conflict Is Fading.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/09/19/the-arab-israeli-conflict-is-fading.

“Explainer: Israel, Annexation and the West Bank.” BBC News, BBC, 25 June 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-52756427.

France 24. “Trump Says Peace Deals Close between Israel and ‘Five or Six’ Other Countries.” France 24, France 24, 15 Sept. 2020, www.france24.com/en/20200915-trump-says-peace-deals-close-between-israel-and-five-or-six-other-countries.

Goldberg, Jeffrey. “Iran and the Palestinians Lose Out in the Abraham Accords.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 16 Sept. 2020, www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/winners-losers/616364/.

Goldberg, Jeffrey. “Iran and the Palestinians Lose Out in the Abraham Accords.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 16 Sept. 2020, www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/winners-losers/616364/.

Kaplan, Fred. “Trump’s New Middle East Accord Is a Big Deal. It Is Not a Peace Deal.” Slate Magazine, Slate, 15 Sept. 2020, slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/trump-israel-uae-bahrain-deal.html.

Karen DeYoung, Anne Gearan. “Israel Signs Deal Establishing Formal Ties with Two Arab States at the White House.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 16 Sept. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-israel-middle-east/2020/09/15/e4c2630a-f75c-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html.

Republic World. “IDF Confirms 15 Rockets Fired from Gaza as Netanyahu Signed Historic Accord in US.” Republic World, Republic World, 16 Sept. 2020, www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/idf-confirms-15-rockets-fired-from-gaza-as-netanyahu-signed-deal-in-us.html. 

 

Photo Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-52756427

https://www.f35.com/about

https://www.wefindyougo.com/best-tourist-places-in-bahrain/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-israelis-celebrate-palestinians-decry-disgraceful-uae-and-bahrain-deals/#gs.gg6d6e

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/09/19/the-arab-israeli-conflict-is-fading

https://www.anews.com.tr/world/2020/09/16/israel-strikes-gaza-after-rocket-fire-during-signing-ceremony-of-normalization-agreements-at-white-house

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/winners-losers/616364/

 

2 Comments

  1. Oliver+Munzer

    WOW!

  2. It’s so amazing that Trump was able to help this come about! Great article!

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