A boat crosses a sound in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo/Andia-Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A boat crosses a sound in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo/Andia-Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Israel’s peace deals with UAE and Bahrain shape a new Middle East

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The recently announced peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors — the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — is a watershed moment in the history of the Middle East, allowing for the most developed states in the region to come together for the well-being of all humanity.

Coming together on the issues that plague us all has never been paramount. In the thick of a global pandemic, the Abraham Accord will propagate immediate beneficial results for the whole of the Middle East.

The leaders of the United States, the UAE and Israel have acclaimed the accord as a “historic diplomatic breakthrough that will advance peace in the Middle East,” “chart a new path” and “unlock the great potential in the region.”

The accord is already starting to yield fruit. The health ministers of Israel and the UAE have started laying the groundwork for combined efforts to combat the coronavirus. There also have been efforts to bring business delegations and student exchanges to each other’s nations to foster connections between them.

The first commercial agreement has already come to fruition: UAE-based APEX National Investment and the Israel firm TeraGroup have signed an agreement to work together on research and development of a coronavirus testing device that will diagnose the disease with more speed and accuracy.

Israel and the UAE have pledged to collaborate on medical and pharmacological research, particularly in the creation of treatments and potential vaccines for Covid-19. APEX National Investment also has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, designating Israel as a new major destination for medical tourism from the UAE. Both countries have been plagued by the coronavirus crisis, and it’s therefore befitting that the beginning of our cooperative efforts commence in health care.

The agreement paves the way for other countries in our neighborhood to see the many benefits of making peace with Israel.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates are both young countries that have created successful, thriving and dynamic economies over the span of just a few decades. Both of our nations are at the very cutting edge of innovation and technology. Our countries have a shared commitment to an entrepreneurial spirit and, through this, we look forward to what we will both gain from the expansion of our ties in commerce, trade and industry.

Israel’s Ministry of Economy has estimated that Israeli exports to the UAE could jump to $500 million a year, and that Emirati investments in Israel could reach some $350 million a year. The cybersecurity, medical, financial and communications sectors are but just some of the areas that stand to benefit from our new economic relationship with the UAE.

And these efforts are but just a fraction of what will become possible with the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.

The peoples of our three nations will see their lives greatly ameliorated by the virtue of this agreement and actual cooperation. It paves the way for other countries in our neighborhood to see the many benefits of making peace with Israel.

This agreement furthers the aspirations of our founders, who turned our countries to oases by making the desert bloom. They may have been more agriculturally focused, but we believe the blossoming of tech partnerships and mutual investments fulfills this desire, as well.

They sought the creation of a Middle East in which Israel would have positive relations with its neighbors, and together we could collaborate on innovation, defense, trade agreements. To create a Middle East — no matter your ethnic or religious ties — you are a worthy partner.

The most challenging issues we face today know no nation, border, ethnicity, race or religion. As such, it is essential that we join forces together to help all our peoples.

We beseech those watching this incredible and momentous occasion to continue this historic effort and join the movement to bring about lasting peace and prosperity in the Middle East, to proclaim support for the agreement and to persuade others to follow suit.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.

Shlomi Kofman
Shlomi Kofman

Shlomi Kofman is the consul general of Israel to San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest.