Six men, some in suits and some in Arab dress, sit at a round table
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and Bahrainian Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani hold a meeting during the "Negev Summit" at Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert region in southern Israel, Mar. 28, 2022. (Photo/JTA-Israeli Foreign Ministry-Handout-Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

‘Negev Summit’ to become regular event for Israeli and Arab parties to the Abraham Accords

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The historic “Negev Summit,” a meeting between Israeli leaders and their counterparts from Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, is set to become a regular event, rotating among the participating countries, Israeli officials announced Monday.

Leaders of the participating countries and Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, announced the regular meetings about regional security during a joint press conference at the conclusion of the first convening of Arab and Israeli leaders.

“This meeting is the first of its kind but not the last,” said Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “Last night we decided to make the Negev Summit into a permanent forum.”

The convening, and the announcement, are significant because they indicate that the Abraham Accords, peace agreements signed in 2020 that normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, are more than symbolic agreements. The countries at the summit discussed their growing ties with Israel and their desire to create a united front in opposition to Iran in the region.

The meeting took place in Sde Boker, a city in Israel’s southern Negev region that was also the home and burial place of Israel’s founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion.

News from the summit was interrupted Sunday night by a suspected terrorist attack in the Israeli city of Hadera, which resulted in the deaths of two police officers. In his remarks, Lapid said those participating in the meeting would not be intimidated by terror.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani began his speech Monday morning by condemning the terror attack. “I would like to start by condemning the terrorist attack which took place last night, claiming the lives of two border policemen. And I would like to convey our condolences to the bereaved families and reaffirm our firm stance against terrorism and all its forms,” he said.

In his remarks, Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita called the summit the “best response” to the attack in Hadera.

Several of the diplomats, including Blinken, also spoke about the Palestinian people and called for continued work towards a two-state solution.

Shira Hanau
Shira Hanau

Shira Hanau is a reporter at JTA. She was previously a staff writer at the New York Jewish Week and has written for the Forward, Columbia Journalism Review and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.