One Year Later, the Abraham Accords Have Brought an Economic Bonanza to Israel and Its New Gulf Partners

A year ago last Wednesday, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and the U.S. formally signed normalization agreements at the White House. Zev Stub discusses the trade that has flourished since then:

According to data published by [Israel’s] Central Bureau of Statistics, trade in goods between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reached about $610 million from January to July 2021. Israel exported $210 million and imported $400 million, with diamonds comprising about half of all trade. Those numbers don’t include high-tech-services exports, which comprise a significant share of bilateral trade, the Israel Export Institute noted.

Both sides are very optimistic about future trade growth, with hopes of exceeding $1 billion this year and reaching $3 billion within three years, trade organizations say. That means that if year one was filled with lots of talk about peace, relationships, and potential, the coming years will yield significant returns.

Israeli businesses are starting to see the UAE not just as a new market, but as a hub where they can access markets in South Asia, East Africa, India, and Bangladesh for the first time. “These are markets with billions of people, and you can’t work with them from Tel Aviv,” says Dorian Barak, co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council. “The UAE is the place where everyone congregates to do business, and Israel has finally been admitted to that club.”

On Monday, Abu Dhabi’s economy minister announced that he hoped for $1 trillion in trade with the Jewish state over the next ten years.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Israeli economy, United Arab Emirates


Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria