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The Abraham Accords

  • Sep, 2020
  • 137
  • Editorial

“Jerusalem is the navel of the world” declared Pope Urban II while delivering the Sermon of Clermont in 1095.

Israel perhaps believes in, rather paradoxically, what a Christian pope implied - whoever controls Jerusalem; controls the world. Interestingly, the unfolding events during the last half a decade have hinted the veracity of the statement. Furthermore, the past of the city influences the future and its history remains conjoined with the present. However, there is a darker side to it. The city has often been haunted by the swords that stir up the embers of war. Though the city is holy, yet the endeavours associated to it are bloodcurdling. The city has often cried to be liberated. The cry for liberation has echoed in the “Deus Vult” slogan by Pope Urban II, it resonated in the clarion call of Saladin the great “Recognize your importance” and it has reverberated in the catchphrase “Free Zion.” The atmosphere of the holy borough and its history is one that merges myths and beliefs, holy compassions and messianic zeal, which transform into an intricate political wrangle of nationalism and faith. Economy, however, remains independent of all the wrangles. It can strike a peace deal and even override ideological adherence. Economy is the buzzword that can turn foes into friends and draw new battle lines as well. It can incite the power of recognition, spur the will to create asymmetric alliances, and even change the meaning of freedom; the Abraham Accord proved all three.

The Accord promises to establish regular relations between UAE and Israel. Israel's first official connection with a Gulf state, and third with any Arab state (the other two are Egypt and Jordan). These regular relations include corporate dealings, tourism, direct flights, scientific collaboration, and, in time, complete diplomatic connections at the ambassadorial level. The UAE is not likely, however, to establish their embassy in Jerusalem. A key element of the Abraham Accord, though not explicitly suggested, is augmented security assistance against regional threats. The Abraham Accord apparently came out of the blue. However, those aware of happenings in the Middle East had foreseen it. The relationship between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi had been growing secretively for many years. Israel and the UAE allegedly already have defense ties, but the accord announces them openly. Announcement by US President Donald Trump was only a ceremonial recognition of covert attempts. During the last year, efforts towards standardization had increased, with cultural exchanges between the Israel and the UAE. The efforts on mainstream and social media, also helped in for establishing relations.

Many have looked at the Abraham Accord with 'grief and fury.' Most of the Muslim world consider it a 'treasonous act.' President Mahmoud Abbas dubbed the accord “disgraceful” while Hamas has termed it as a “stab in the back.” Turkey threatened to suspend ties with the UAE, and Iran lashed out at the Accord by turning up the volume of its rhetoric. Some independent analysts have claimed that the accord does not reflect the views and emotions of Arab society.

However, Arab governments do not have the will and power to support the Palestinian cause. On the other hand, Turkey has been devoted to it throughout the decade. Turkey does keep diplomatic ties with Israel, but dissimilar to the UAE, it does not keep relations with Israel to build up any geopolitical scheme. Turkey's relations with Israel deliver promising outcomes for the Palestinians, as Turkey negotiates on behalf of Palestinians, while having mass backing from them. The Abraham Accord has been portrayed as a gift to the Palestinians because Israel has acceded to suspending settlement pursuits, temporarily. In this backdrop the accord is a direct challenge to Turkey's championship of the Palestinian cause.

An asymmetric alliance of countries that share the collective objective of restricting Turkey's sway in the region has been gaining strength in the near past. The Abraham Accord only shows that the secret alliance between UAE and Israel has now solidified. Israel and the UAE, together with Egypt, Greece, Saudi Arabia and France, share the objective of limiting Turkey's influence in both the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. These countries have come into diplomatic contact, with foreign ministers calling one another in the wake of aggressive steps by Turkey to get its sovereign rights in the Mediterranean. Egypt's maritime delimitation deal with Greece, Israel's sudden support of the Greek position against Turkey in the Mediterranean and constant contact between the Gulf and Greece may fall within the same scope as the Abraham Accord.

Analysts have also outlined the Abraham Accord as a step toward thwarting the Iranian influence. Indeed, th...

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