The Text of the Abraham Accords Emphasizes Not Just Common Interests, but Mutual Respect

Until last week, the actual text of the agreement signed on the White House lawn between Israel on the one hand and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other was not available to the public. Now that it is, it is clear just how revolutionary this event is—contrary to those critics who have claimed that it is merely a pro-forma acknowledgment of political realities. Alan Baker explains.

[The accords] include in the ninth preambular paragraph a specific and unique reference to the Arab and Jewish common heritage, as descendants of Abraham, and the concomitant need “to foster in the Middle East a reality in which Muslims, Jews, Christians, and peoples of all faiths, denominations, beliefs, and nationalities live in, and are committed to, a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding, and respect.”

Preambular paragraphs nine and ten refer to efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, realistic, and enduring solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict that “meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both peoples, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability, and prosperity.”

The use of the term “realistic” in this context is indicative of an acknowledgment by both parties of the need for practical and pragmatic ideas to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, rather than unrealistic claims, empty clichés, and buzzwords.

In other words, the Abraham Accords constitute an acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state and a permanent fixture in the Middle East, and the rejection of the anti-Semitism that has permeated Arab societies for the past century. Baker continues:

The instruments signed in Washington [thus] represent a significant symbolic and substantive breakthrough in the relationships between Israel and the Arab world. This will undoubtedly be further developed as the relationships strengthen, and mutual confidence and good faith are enhanced. It is regrettable that critics of this development and the documents signed in Washington prefer to allow partisan views and personal antagonism to color their reasoning, rather than to acknowledge this development on its merits.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Bahrain, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Muslim-Jewish relations, United Arab Emirates

 

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam