How the Abraham Accords Can Ease the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

June 28, 2022 | Peter Berkowitz
About the author: Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019 and 2020, he served as Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. His writings are posted at

According to numerous critics, many of whom have positions at prestigious think tanks and publications, the normalization agreements the Jewish state reached with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain constituted an abandonment of the Palestinians. Peter Berkowitz argues that, to the contrary, the Abraham Accords can help to improve the lot of the Palestinians, and to reduce the intensity of their conflict with Israel:

Such tendentious claims—which presuppose that the Israel-Palestinian conflict stands at the center of Middle East politics and that unless Palestinians’ maximal demands are met, the region must stand still—reflect the all-or-nothing stance that has for decades impeded Palestinian progress. Contrary to [the] assertion that Israel embraced the Abraham Accords to disguise its reign over Judea and Samaria, it was the Iran threat and commercial opportunities that impelled Bahrain and the UAE to break with the past and establish official diplomatic ties with Israel.

Notwithstanding Palestinian intransigence, signatories to the Abraham Accords should in the words of the Israeli commentator Micah Goodman, take steps to “shrink the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” They could start with building roads, bridges, and tunnels to connect directly the many noncontiguous parts of the West Bank largely under Palestinian Authority (PA) control—the areas designated A and B by the Oslo Accords. This enhanced transportation network, which would become part of the PA, would improve Palestinian mobility by reducing the need for Israeli checkpoints while maintaining Israeli security.

Other measures to shrink the conflict include providing more West Bank land for Palestinian building to accommodate population growth, enhancing the Allenby Bridge border crossing on the Jordan river to make it easier for Palestinians to reach Amman’s international airport and to travel abroad, promoting economic development throughout the West Bank, and enabling Palestinians to transport goods for international trade more efficiently to Israeli ports in Haifa and Ashdod.

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