Israel–United Arab Emirates peace agreement

adminAugust 21, 20206min

The peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, also known as the Abraham Accord was agreed on August 13, this year and is expected to be signed in early September at the White House. The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said that the agreement will formally normalize the relationship between his country and Israel. 

This moment has an historical significance if we remember that in 1971, the year in which the UAE became an independent country, its first president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, had referred to Israel as „the enemy”.

From then, their relationship evolved and in 2015, Israel announced that it would open a diplomatic office in the UAE, which would be the first time in more than a decade that Israel had an official presence in the Persian Gulf.

They have been quietly strengthening ties for several years as they start to cooperate in military segment amidst rising tensions with Iran. They start to cooperate also against the COVID-19 pandemic and even the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, had traveled numerous times to the UAE to discreetly obtained health equipment from it.

This is a landmark agreement given that the UAE is only the third Arab country and the first in the Gulf region to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. According to a jointed statement of Trump, Netanyahu and Zayed „This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region”.

Within this agreement, UAE and Israel would establish formal diplomatic relations and in exchange, Israel would suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, which means that it would suspend declaring sovereignty over the West Bank’s areas and would focus its efforts on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.

They also declared that delegations from both countries would meet in the coming period of time to sign bilateral agreements regarding „investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit”.

This agreement has the power to fast-track important changes that are already under way in the region, which means that the Saudi bloc, which includes Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and others countries from the region, aligned their interests with that of the U.S. and Israel, so their support for Palestine, which Arab powers had historically upheld, is dwindling. Meanwhile, Turkey and Iran emerge as the strongest supporters of the Palestinians in the Muslim world. This is a tripolar contest, which is already at work in a conflictual area. 

Unlike the past two Arab-Israeli peace agreements, Palestinians do not figure prominently in the current one and has not made any actual concession to them. The annexation plan was a threat and its withdrawal was packaged as a concession, which the EAU accepted.

As expected, the international reactions didn’t fail to appear. Many countries from the region, among which Palestine, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Yemen condemn the agreement and saw it as a violation of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. Some of them considered it a „treacherous stab in the back of the Palestinian people”.

On the other side some of the international actors with interests in this area, like Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, received with appreciation the agreement and said that is could have the potential to determine the rise of prosperity and stabilization in our region. Other world powers who support the agreement are USA, UK and most of the European countries, like Italy, Germany, France and Spain. Even the UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed „any initiative that can promote peace and security in the Middle East region”.

The rest of the countries, like China, South Africa, India, welcomed the agreement but still support the Palestinian people and their suzerainty.

Until September we wait for more international reactions from the rest of the world and even some evolutions between those involved in the agreement situations or which have some interests in the Middle East.

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