Editor’s note: This opinion piece was written by Anat Sultan-Dadon, Israeli consul general to the Southeast United States, and was published originally in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
History was made Tuesday. The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is a monumental achievement, marking the beginning of a new era in the Middle East.
The Abraham Accord, signed at the White House, is testament to the determination of all parties involved to choose peace, prosperity and bridge-building over divisiveness. The United States has played a key role in brokering this historic accord, and remains a true ally of all parties to this agreement, a determined advocate for peace and stability in our region. It is most fitting that such a historic event takes place this week as we approach Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. I can think of no better way to receive the New Year than with the continued pursuit of peace.
The accord represents an alternative and paradigm-shifting step forward for the entire region of the Middle East. It provides a revolutionary opportunity for other Arab nations to join in establishing formal ties with the State of Israel. It provides a striking alternative to those radical forces who oppose peace and prefer to perpetuate war over peaceful conflict resolution for the benefit of all involved. The accord effectively strengthens the power of moderatism in the face of the extremism and terror that Iran and its proxies sow across our region. Prosperity over destruction is a choice to be made. Now, Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain join hands in choosing prosperity and cooperation, the fruits of which our respective peoples will enjoy through economic ties and a wide range of mutually beneficial areas of cooperation. In working together we are all better equipped to advance common interests and address common challenges. Our sincere hope is that other countries in our region will choose to join us.
This landmark agreement is no less significant regarding the Palestinians and their choice for the future, as it provides them with a renewed opportunity to return to direct negotiations with Israel. Israel is today, as it has always been, ready to return to the negotiating table, with the principles of the American administration’s Peace Initiative serving as a practical and realistic basis for such negotiations. In light of the Abraham Accord, achieving a lasting resolution between Israel and the Palestinians can be a part of the new reality.
Ultimately, the Abraham Accord represents an alignment of interests and values. Israel, the UAE and Bahrain all face common challenges such as security, climate change, and more recently, COVID-19. It is essential that we focus on agreement over disagreement, and combine our efforts and capabilities for the well-being and benefit of all our citizens. We call on all who are witnesses to this historic agreement to recognize the significance of this moment, to publicly express their support and to encourage others to follow.
In the State of Israel’s declaration of independence, we stated that our hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors. In 1979 peace became a reality between Israel and Egypt. In 1994 it became a reality between Israel and Jordan. Today, the UAE and Bahrain have joined Israel in adding further hope and a future of much-needed cooperation to our region. May the language of peace prevail and continue to spread across our region. Peace. Shalom. Salaam.