On Tuesday in a White House ceremony, President Donald Trump made history. The United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates signed the Abraham Accords. Bahrain has also joined the Accords.
In Jerusalem, this beautiful display of flags lit up the night to mark the historic occasion.
Such a beautiful message of peace: The walls of the Old City in Jerusalem were lit tonight with the Israeli, American, Emirati and Bahraini flags.
This is the wind of change. pic.twitter.com/7gc10JO4XV
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) September 15, 2020
Seeing the flags of Arab countries projected alongside the Israeli flag on the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem to mark a new peace agreement was all but unthinkable a month ago. It’s history in the making, whether the so-called mainstream media acknowledges it or not.
If this had happened during the Obama administration, you can be sure this moment would deserve multiple special reports and hour-long specials on cable news. It would be hailed up there along with the moment Obama promised the seas would stop rising.
The Abraham Accords is the crowning achievement of the Trump administration’s foreign policy efforts to date. It is a real peace that will bring enormous benefits for the region and for Americans. Real peace means less war, obviously, and in the American context that means a greatly reduced possibility of having to send our sons and daughters off to fight in the Middle East again as we have so many times before.
This could only have happened in the context of President Trump making certain sure moves to change the context in which negotiations could take place; notably consistently and vocally backing Israel, ending the disastrous Obama capitulation to Iran, and building up America’s domestic energy industry. Those moves together strengthened America, exposed the folly of the former administration and its weak-kneed dealings with Iran, and changed the economic picture at home and around the world.
A newly assertive and self-powered America under Trump would kneel to no one. It had no need to depend on anyone to fuel its military. It would stand economically strong, powered by its own ingenuity, ready to seek and advance its interests and those of its true friends anywhere and everywhere. A strong America presents new opportunities for our friends and new challenges to our enemies.
Israel has long been a friend of the United States. So have the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other Gulf States that are more threatened by an aggressive Iran than by peaceful and industrious Israel. All these nations are strategic partners of the U.S. They could be friends among themselves, which would serve their and our interests. It has long been in those states’ interests to make peace with Israel and present a united front against the totalitarian autocracy in Tehran. They needed a strong America to make it possible. The Abraham Accords mark their recognition of these facts on the ground.
It’s common practice to name a historic diplomatic agreement after the place where it was established. In 1978, when President Jimmy Carter negotiated the historic peace between Israel and Egypt, that deal was called the Camp David Accords because that’s where Carter hosted the negotiations that led to the agreement. But the Trump administration has, as is its habit, taken a different course.
The name given to the Abraham Accords is a reference to the shared history of the cultures involved. According to the Book of Genesis, Jews and Arabs share a common father, Abraham. The conflict goes back that far, thousands of years, to the birth of Ishmael.
Branding the new agreement the “Abraham Accords” puts that shared history, and not the accident of where the negotiations happen to have occurred, front and center. It’s also a call to the other Arab states in the region to re-join the family of Abraham and make peace with Israel. Rumors abound that Sudan and even Saudi Arabia are moving toward joining the agreement.
The Abraham Accords respect Jewish and Arab history and may serve to isolate the Palestinians and the Iranians. This would be no accident. The Palestinians share the same history as the other Arab lines. They can make peace and eventually join the Accords, or they can choose not to and be increasingly isolated.
So far, the Palestinians have chosen isolation. Time will tell whether they stay on that path or come in from the cold. A weakened Iran, under heavy sanctions and facing off against united Gulf States and Israel, all equipped with the F-35 and other advanced weapons and a strong America that is now the world’s largest energy-producing nation, will be in less of a position to use the Palestinians as pawns to cause trouble for Israel.
President Trump deserves immense credit for both negotiating and branding the Abraham Accords. It’s a genius bit of communications that may pay dividends for generations.