The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is a watershed moment for our shared region of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. While this region of the world is often thought to be somewhat of a dysfunctional family, the “Abraham Accord” represents a conscious decision to move to normalization. It is an historic event that marks a new beginning for the region, and in addition to peace, will bring about tangible results that will be felt immediately.
The Accord represents an alternative and paradigm-shifting step forward for the region. It has fostered a revolutionary opportunity for other Arab nations to establish formal ties with the State of Israel, a concept previously deemed far-fetched and impossible. It provides a striking alternative to those radical forces who oppose peace and cooperation. Moreover, the Accord effectively strengthens the power of moderate voices in the face of the fanaticism that extreme countries and their proxies sow across the region. Our sincere hope is that other countries will see the connections we’ve forged between our peoples and economies through this agreement and realise the benefits that they too could enjoy.
The Accord is an important stage in ending conflict in the Middle East and beyond, and we believe that these kind of agreements will effectively serve to immunize countries against the calamity that comes with extremism, for which peace is the only remedy.
This landmark agreement, most significantly, also serves the Palestinians by presenting them with a unique opportunity to return to direct negotiations with Israel. Israel is ready to do so and will come to the negotiating table with the principles of the American Peace Initiative. There is a practical and realistic basis upon which the two sides can begin negotiations. If the Palestinian leadership embraces this opportunity, a lasting resolution between Israel and the Palestinians will be much more attainable.
Ultimately, this historic development represents an alignment of values. Israel, Cyprus, the UAE, Bahrain and other neighboring countries are all facing the shared challenges of climate change, diminishing resources, and most pertinently, of coronavirus. It is essential that we focus on achieving agreement over disagreements and combine our capabilities for the wellbeing of our citizens. This is exactly what this agreement has achieved. We hope this will be a guiding light for all other nations of the region.
I welcome the strong words of support on the conclusion of the Accord, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, which emphasized that the establishment of relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain “constitutes another positive development for peace and stability in the region”.
As our region and our countries face serious security challenges, this historic step for peace and normalization of relations provides an opportunity for Israel and Cyprus to further develop wider cooperation. Together with the UAE, Bahrain and with other like-minded countries, we can connect people and cultures. This is important for Israel and Cyprus and will further contribute to stability, security and economic development.
We don’t close our eyes to the reality, as we see extremist countries playing a destabilizing role in the region. At the same time, we now have a landmark opportunity to promote our common positive agenda, on the bilateral level, the trilateral with Greece and regionally. All those who support our vision for Peace, Stability and Prosperity must recognize the significance of this moment, express their support publicly and encourage others to follow.
- Sammy Revel is the Ambassador of Israel in Cyprus