In these challenging times, it is natural to seek out beacons of hope and optimism. People can focus on a beacon that is lighting the path to a better future in the Middle East. Two years ago, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed the US-brokered peace agreements known as the Abraham Accords.
The Sept. 15, 2020, ceremony at the White House was a historic event, one with the potential to transform the Middle East. On its anniversary, we celebrate the accords along with the remarkable achievements accomplished in just two years.
For years, Israel worked behind the scenes to build clandestine diplomatic and economic relations with other moderate states in the region. It took wisdom to ultimately recognize that Israel is an integral and permanent part of the Middle East with much to contribute to regional stability and prosperity. It took vision to prioritize the future and see what connects the peoples of the region. It took courage to accept that peace is not the shameful compromise that hostile elements claim it to be, but rather a victory for everything that is good in humanity.
The accords are strengthening bonds between nations and peoples. Since the first direct flight between Tel Aviv and Dubai in November 2020, more than 500,000 Israeli tourists and businesspeople have visited the UAE and Bahrain, connecting peoples and cultures like never before.
A shining example of the new moderate alliance that the Abraham Accords have fostered in the Middle East was the establishment of the Negev Forum. The first-of-its-kind Negev Summit was held in Israel this year, when the Israeli minister of foreign affairs hosted the US secretary of state and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt. This event led to the establishment of the permanent Negev Forum, which is building a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation.
The accords also created exciting opportunities for regional and multinational cooperation in the fields of energy, sustainability, tourism, security and much more. Thirty-four agreements have already been signed between Israel and the UAE on topics ranging from health and the environment to agriculture, water, tourism and more. Israel has also signed 22 agreements with Bahrain thus far, including in the fields of economy, tourism and communications.
Israel aspires to continue the regional development that started with the Abraham Accords and to expand the circle of peace and normalization.
Moreover, the normalization process serves to effectively consolidate moderate forces in the region in the face of shared threats, providing a counterbalance to the Iranian menace.
The courageous steps taken represent a decision to build a future together that will benefit all our people. They have lit the path to a new hopeful reality in the Middle East, one that will improve the welfare of its population, and bring peace, security and prosperity to all.
Omer Caspi is the representative of
Israel in Taiwan.
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