Abraham Accord: Monumental Moment for Mideasterners
More than just a headline? A man in Dubai is shown on August 14 reading about the decision by the United Arab Emirates and Israel to pursue normalization. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images)

Abraham Accord: Monumental Moment for Mideasterners

Benchmark of success will be people-to-people

The successful milestone’s credit really goes to President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed for marshaling silence among their emissaries.

Diplomacy is never achieved through leaks, speculation and mendacious media.

Looking at Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 as catalysts for people-to-people issues, they never amounted to more than a cold peace that stopped at the door to the partner-nation’s executive offices. The respective populations of those nations were in many respects denied the potential benefits – economic, educational and cultural – that should have rightfully been part of the (to use the language of the time) “peace dividend.”

To be sure, the United Arab Emirates is neither Egypt nor Jordan, where Israelis are tolerated rather than welcome. Few of those with whom we’ve spoken doubt that the much-anticipated flights between Dubai and Tel Aviv will quickly become the opening points for tourism and significant economic growth between both nations of similar population.

On Thursday, former White House envoy Jason Greenblatt told The Media Line on a Republican Jewish Coalition conference-call briefing that the people-to-people aspect of the agreement was key, and rued the endless airline connections necessitated by circuitous routing dictated by political considerations.

Mossad director Yossi Cohen was praised by Netanyahu for his clandestine meetings and door-openings to negotiate this deal for Israel, emphasizing the Mossad’s connections with, and entre to, the Arab world.

Although the UAE deal is no-doubt outing similar sub-rosa efforts to field other Gulf partners, President Trump, Jared Kushner and Netanyahu appear confident that the critical mass will give Bahrain, Oman, Sudan and other Gulf visionaries the political cover necessary to join in. Kushner has hinted at Saudi Arabia is also among them.

As wall-to-wall coverage of the Abraham Accord fills the media, one is hard-pressed to find a source that doesn’t in some form acknowledge Iran as the deal’s chief catalyst, along with Turkey’s Erdogan.

As wall-to-wall coverage of the Abraham Accord fills the media, one is hard-pressed to find a source that doesn’t in some form acknowledge Iran as the deal’s chief catalyst, along with Turkey’s Erdogan.

In once again proving that the Middle East is driven by the adage “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” mention is made of the predominantly Sunni nations choosing an Israeli alliance over solidarity with the Palestinians as the Iranian threat looms large and the idea of a regional war – or worse – takes on greater seriousness.

Where does this leave the Palestinians?

The deal’s construct not surprising.

The Trump Administration arrived on the Mideast scene with a new approach to an old quandary, refusing to extend for yet another four or eight years the intractable and failed Palestinian-first, putative “land-for-peace” formula responsible for frustrating presidents back to the Bush Sr. era and beyond. Rather, Team Trump’s plan was to reach agreements of varying scopes with the predominantly Sunni Gulf nations, establishing the truth of those new realities on the ground talked about since the Bush Jr. letter to Ariel Sharon, and leaving the Palestinians the choice of joining – or not.

Along the way, after recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump was seen as green-lighting Israel’s annexation of lands conquered in the 1967 war that are claimed by the Palestinians for their state-in-waiting.

What had been a diplomatic crisis for Messrs. Trump and Netanyahu became the missing link credited to a suggestion by the Emiratis: International pressure to abort annexation would be satisfied by the agreement, with Netanyahu holding the short straw in the form of anger among his right-wing base.

Amid the euphoria of a rare, upbeat media frenzy in the Middle East, Palestinian angst is palpable and growing.

Amid the euphoria of a rare, upbeat media frenzy in the Middle East, Palestinian angst is palpable and growing.

Although the Palestinian demand to end annexation is being met by the recent turn of events, officials are unambiguously open in charging that they have been “betrayed” by this new “normalization” enterprise. They are being exhorted to eschew the “days of rage” in favor of finding a common ground.

People-to-People

It’s been a while since the region was so awash with positivism. But looking into the future, the success of the Abraham Accord will be its people-to-people aspect.

Rather than being left trying to cash one’s peace dividend at the local bank, Emiratis will have visited Israel en masse and Israelis will have established business and technology partners in Dubai, with both sides enjoying and benefiting from inclusive international conferences and tourism.

But we’re not there yet. As politicians in the region are fond of saying, it’s not something until it’s something.

The author of this blog or other opinion piece is a third-party contributor who is independent of The Media Line Ltd and its partners or supporters. All assertions, opinions, facts, and information presented in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and are not necessarily those of The Media Line and/or all parties related thereto, none of whom assumes any responsibility for its content.

If you believe you have discerned any form of abuse, please contact editor@themedialine.org

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.