The author of this piece is His Excellency Ophir Kariv, the Ambassador of Israel to Ireland
The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain is a watershed moment for the Middle East. It is a historic event that marks a new beginning for the region, and in addition to peace, will bring about other tangible results that will be felt immediately. Since the signing of what is known as the Abraham Accord, we have already witnessed exciting developments which would have been simply unthinkable just a few short months ago.
The Accord represents a paradigm-shifting step forward for the region. It has fostered a new opportunity for other Arab nations to establish formal ties with the State of Israel, a concept previously deemed, by many, as far-fetched. Moreover, the Accord effectively strengthens the moderates in the Middle East against the extremism that Iran and its proxies sow across the region. Our sincere hope is that other countries will see the connections we have forged between our peoples and economies through this agreement and realize the benefits for all parties.
This landmark agreement, most significantly, can also serve the Palestinians by presenting them with an opportunity to return to direct negotiations with Israel. Israel is ready and will come to the negotiating table with the principles of the American administration’s Peace Initiative. The peace deal provides a practical and realistic basis upon which the two sides can begin negotiations. The United States, which has performed a crucial role in previous peace agreements, also played a leading role in brokering the Abraham Accord, and remains a central player in the region supporting peace seeking powers.
Ultimately, the Abraham Accord represents an alignment of interests and goals. Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain are all facing the shared challenges of climate change, diminishing resources, and most pertinently, of Covid-19. It is essential that we focus on our commonalities, rather than our differences, and combine our capabilities for the wellbeing of our citizens. This is exactly what this agreement has achieved. The Abraham Accord should be the shining example, for all other nations of the region, of the good that can come from making peace with Israel.
Combining our strengths and finding common ground has never been more urgent than now, in the midst of a global pandemic, and the Abraham Accord is set to generate immediate results in this regard.
The leaders of Israel, the United States and the UAE hailed the agreement as an “historic diplomatic breakthrough that will advance peace in the Middle East”, “chart a new path”, and “unlock the great potential in the region”. Moreover, the Health Ministers of both Israel and the UAE have already agreed to cooperate on healthcare issues, particularly coronavirus, as well as to set up business delegations and a student exchange program.
We hope everyone watching this historic agreement will recognize the significance of this moment, express their support publicly, and encourage others to use the positive momentum it creates to follow the example set by the Abraham Accord.