by Chris Karenbaur
On August 13, 2020, President Trump’s team of ambassadors, headed by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, negotiated the Abraham Accords, a peace deal, to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UAE is the third nation to sign any peace deal with Israel and acknowledge it as an official nation. The other two nations to recognize Israel are Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
“It also potentially opens the door to other relationships with Bahrain, Oman or to other Gulf States. Maybe one day Saudi Arabia,” said Dr. Glenn Duerr, associate professor of international studies at Cedarville University.
“It’s even been rumored that a country like Sudan, that housed Osama bin Laden back in the 1990s, might even open diplomatic relations with Israel. Really, it’s an amazing step forward.” Said Duerr
The Abraham Accords formally opens trade and diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE. According to Dr. Kevin Sims, the senior professor of political science at Cedarville University, the Accords are equally beneficial to both sides.
“The deal creates some trade relationships between the two. United Arab Emirates is probably, I think, arguably the most western of the Arab states in the Middle East. A lot of commercialism,” said Sims. “Israel is probably the most advanced economically of the countries in the Middle East. They have a lot of things from technology, like computer technology and communication devices and that kind of thing.”
With this new peace treaty, Israel can now trade manufactured and agricultural goods for the UAE’s commercial goods.
Aside from the economic benefits, the Accords have political advantages. On Monday, August 31, the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE took place. This marked the official diplomatic relationship between the two nations.
On board were delegates from Israel flying to meet the Emirati diplomats. This flight, as Duerr explains, opened formal diplomatic relationships. In a diplomatic relationship each party has an ambassador and each ambassador “resides in or near an embassy.” Israel will have an embassy in Abu Dhabi and the UAE will have an embassy in Tel Aviv.
This commercial flight did more than open a diplomatic relationship with the UAE. It was allowed to fly through Saudi Arabia, which is the seat of Islam and historically Jewish Israel’s enemy. Before, Israeli flights could not safely fly through Saudi airspace. Through the Abraham Accords, the UAE has given Israel a potential gateway to peace with Saudi Arabia.
The Accords could also be a path to peace between Israel and Palestine. However, Duerr adds that in the near future, he does not see peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Despite the multiple advantages of the Abraham Accords, the biggest disadvantage is the Palestinians. For decades, the Palestinians have fought with Israel for the Holy Land of Jerusalem. Jerusalem sits on the border between Israel and the West Bank of Palestine.
The Jews’ claim is that the land of Israel and Jerusalem is the Promised Land given to them by God. However, the Palestinians have a historical claim because they resided there long before the Jews’ return in 1948. Since then, the two countries have fought over it. But now that the UAE recognize Israel as a nation, Israel has a more political right to the land than the Palestinians.
Sims further explains that, despite whatever agreement will come concerning the land, Palestine will probably be, “the big losers.” Especially since the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“The Palestinians are really struggling with this,” said Sims. “Because to recognizes the Jewish state, then, they feel they don’t have a home nation. The Palestinians don’t like the agreement because it gives legitimacy to Israel.”
Chris Karenbauer is a sophomore Journalism major and a writer for Cedars. She loves writing, traveling and reading. Her favorite book series is Harry Potter and favorite movies are the original Star Wars trilogy.