Building on the Abraham Accords’ Success

Nov. 15 2022

Two years on, Jerusalem’s agreements with multiple Arab states have started to prove their durability; yet, argues Meir Ben-Shabbat, much still must be done to deepen these newly established relationships and to broaden them to include more countries. Ben-Shabbat notes those factors that have slowed such developments and suggests what both the U.S. and Israel can do to encourage them. He also stresses the role of Muslim-majority countries outside the Middle East:

While it is not counted among the Abraham Accords countries, Chad should also be noted in this survey of Israel’s changing relations in the region. Led by the late Idriss Déby, this nation made its way to Jerusalem on its own, neither with a regional framework nor a supportive U.S. position. Diplomatic relations were resumed in November 2019 but kept at a low profile. In May 2022 Israel’s ambassador to Senegal presented his letter of accreditation to Chad’s current president, Déby’s son Mahamat. The focus now should be on building trust in the peace process by manifesting the fruits of peace to the people in Chad. If the people see the balance sheet of normalization with Israel as negative, this could increase the risk of negative momentum, which could block and harm the achievements of the Abraham Accords.

Ben-Shabbat has several recommendations as to how Jerusalem and Washington can proceed in other arenas, among them:

First, do not take the Abraham Accords for granted or assume they are irreversible. The acts of signing the Accords did generate a true sense of celebration, gave rise to a new spirit, mobilized fresh energies, restored optimism, and offered new hopes. But as in matrimony, real life begins after the party, including the challenges of consolidating the relationship, enhancing and expanding it, preserving its vitality, its spirit, and its passion.

Second, change course on Iran. The U.S. administration should take the next steps from its current, growing expression of frustration and displeasure with Iran, given its involvement in the war against Ukraine. A firm approach toward Iran . . . would serve the broader interests of the American administration and respond to the main challenges the West faces: weakening Russia’s ability to pursue the war, taking actions to resolve the global energy crisis, reversing the Gulf states’ drift toward Russia and China, blocking Iran’s destructive ambitions, and enhancing the process of normalization.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Abraham Accords, Africa, Iran, U.S.-Israel relationship


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process