Until last week, the actual text of the agreement signed on the White House lawn between Israel on the one hand and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other was not available to the public. Now that it is, it is clear just how revolutionary this event is—contrary to those critics who have claimed that it is merely a pro-forma acknowledgment of political realities. Alan Baker explains.
[The accords] include in the ninth preambular paragraph a specific and unique reference to the Arab and Jewish common heritage, as descendants of Abraham, and the concomitant need “to foster in the Middle East a reality in which Muslims, Jews, Christians, and peoples of all faiths, denominations, beliefs, and nationalities live in, and are committed to, a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding, and respect.”
Preambular paragraphs nine and ten refer to efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, realistic, and enduring solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict that “meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both peoples, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability, and prosperity.”
The use of the term “realistic” in this context is indicative of an acknowledgment by both parties of the need for practical and pragmatic ideas to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, rather than unrealistic claims, empty clichés, and buzzwords.
In other words, the Abraham Accords constitute an acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state and a permanent fixture in the Middle East, and the rejection of the anti-Semitism that has permeated Arab societies for the past century. Baker continues:
The instruments signed in Washington [thus] represent a significant symbolic and substantive breakthrough in the relationships between Israel and the Arab world. This will undoubtedly be further developed as the relationships strengthen, and mutual confidence and good faith are enhanced. It is regrettable that critics of this development and the documents signed in Washington prefer to allow partisan views and personal antagonism to color their reasoning, rather than to acknowledge this development on its merits.