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More Positive Fruit from the Abraham Accords

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11 Feb 2021
More Positive Fruit from the Abraham Accords

One of the main developments in the Middle East of late is the Abraham Accords – Israel’s recent normalisation agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Since those accords were concluded last summer, Israel also has signed peace deals with Morocco and Sudan, while Kosovo just became the fifth Muslim-majority nation to recognise Israel in the past six months.

There are numerous signs that this positive momentum between Israel and the Arab world will continue, even amid concerns the new Biden administration will adopt a softer line towards Iran.

For instance, more than 50,000 Israelis flocked to the UAE and Bahrain to visit and shop over recent months, despite the coronavirus travel restrictions. Emirates and other Arabs also began showing up in Israel in greater numbers, with many coming to visit historic sites and pray at the Muslim shrines in Jerusalem.

Prominent Israelis also are increasingly being interviewed by Arab media outlets, and some are even getting their commentaries published in official newspapers. Last week, Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak and Dr. Jonathan Spyer, both fellows at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, wrote an analysis in a leading Saudi daily about Turkey’s recent recruitment of proxy militias in Syia, based on joint research with a UAE think tank.

Interestingly, after years of radiating hostility towards Israel, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has started making overtures for reconciling his differences with Jerusalem, a move which some experts see as a response to his fears the Israeli-Sunni Arab alliance now forming may outflank his designs for the region.

In another telling sign, dozens of Arabs from the surrounding nations took part in an online event on January 27th to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, where they heard a survivor of Auschwitz give her harrowing testimony of being a victim of Josef Mengele’s diabolic medical experiments. The Arab listeners were moved to tears and vowed to bring Holocaust education to schools and societies throughout the Middle East.

During the ICEJ’s recent Envision conference, we heard from Amb. Dan Shaham, who quietly served as Israel’s top envoy in the United Arab Emirates during the lead-up to the Abraham Accords. He described the recent move towards peace between the sons of Abraham as truly “prophetic”.

“After getting to know the Arabs over my two years in Abu Dhabi, I realised there are a lot of commonalities between us,” said Amb. Shaham. “Israelis are warm, open and friendly, and so are they. They want to develop their country and to create a new narrative for the Arab world, which is something we also understood as our role… So it was a meeting of minds between two peoples who were both ready for these changes.”

“There was also a value for the Arabs of just doing the right thing”, he added. “One of my friends told me: ‘We have relations with many Christian countries, why shouldn’t we have relations with the Jewish country.’”

American-Israeli author Joel Rosenberg also shared about his recent ground-breaking visits with Arab rulers who are now befriending Israel.

“Suddenly, we’ve seen these tectonic changes and the big question is: Why?” said Rosenberg. “The Arab leaders I have met are saying the world has changed. They have seen Israel become a military power in this region, but also an economic miracle. And they see Israel as an ally against the growing threat of Iran… They also are telling me they still support the Palestinian cause, but they have become frustrated with the Palestinian leadership for constantly rejecting peace with Israel.”

Meantime, during a visit to Ariel in the Shomron (northern West Bank) we also heard from Palestinian sheikh Nasr Abu Khalil Al-Tamimi, who said he not only accepts the Jewish people’s rightful place back in the Land of Israel, including in the settlements, but he also believes there is room on the Temple Mount for the Jews to rebuild their temple.
 

David Parsons is an author, attorney, journalist, and ordained minister who serves as Vice President and senior spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/

 

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