by: Kate Norman
Wednesday, 16 September 2020 | On Tuesday, September 15, history was made as leaders from Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain met in Washington DC to sign the landmark Abraham Accords, making the UAE and Bahrain the third and fourth Arab states to normalize relations with the Jewish state.
US President Donald Trump joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani on the south lawn of the White House to sign the historic agreements, which, Trump said, “mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”
“These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free from the failed approaches of the past,” Trump said in a speech before the signing ceremony. “Today’s signing sets history on a new course. And there will be other countries very, very soon that will follow these great leaders.”
The UAE and Bahrain follow Egypt and Jordan, who signed their respective treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994—more than a quarter of a century ago. “Now we have achieved two in a single month,” Trump noted, “and there are more to follow.”
Sitting before the flags of their nations, the four leaders signed multiple agreements, each in Hebrew, English and Arabic.
The US, Israel and the UAE signed a full treaty of peace, diplomatic relations and full normalization, according to the White House website. The US, Israel and Bahrain signed declarations of peace—simply because Bahrain entered the peace deal later, leaving less time to hash out a detailed peace treaty. All four men then signed the Abraham Accords—named after the patriarch Abraham, an important figure in all three faiths.
“Today, we are ready—we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world,” Emirati Foreign Minister Bin Zayed said in his speech.
With smiles on their faces, they nudged each other and asked for help finding where to sign on the documents in their unfamiliar languages. Once all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed, they traded the pens they had used to sign the historic documents—each tucking the memento in the breast pockets of their suits.
Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out how the historic accords will bless the Middle East. “First, because this peace will eventually expand to include other Arab states, and ultimately it can end the Arab–Israeli conflict once and for all,” Netanyahu said. “Because this is not only a peace between leaders, it’s a peace between peoples—Israelis, Emiratis and Bahrainis are already embracing one another. We are eager to invest in a future of partnership, prosperity and peace.”
Before the ceremony, Trump and Netanyahu met in the Oval Office, where Trump said five more countries are slated to come to the table “down the road,” the Jerusalem Post reported. The next potential nations to make peace with Israel include Oman, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
While the documents of peace were being signed in Washington, rockets were being fired from Gaza toward Israeli communities near the border. Nonetheless, this marks a significant shift in Arab–Israeli relations. Gone are the days of the Palestinians holding a veto over peace in the region. Arab states are now willing to normalize relations with the Jewish state before ending the Israeli–Palestinian conflict—a significant departure from past Arab protocol.
“Instead of focusing on past conflicts, people are now focused on creating a vibrant future filled with endless possibilities,” Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner—a key figure in the peace negotiations—said in a statement.
Posted on September 16, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 16, 2020)
Photo Credit: The White House/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
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