Opinion |

Israel, UAE and Bahrain: Celebrate a Momentous Diplomatic Breakthrough for the Middle East

The friendship on display at the ceremony was extraordinary. Normalizing relations between Israel and the Arab states, a warm peace, should be a stimulus, not an impediment, to progress on the Palestinian front

Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Benjamin Netanyahu,UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani before the signing of the Abraham Accords, the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020.
Benjamin Netanyahu,UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani before the signing of the Abraham Accords, the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020.Credit: Alex Brandon,AP
Tony Blair
Tony Blair

The watershed agreements signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and Israel and Bahrain, represent the most momentous diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East for over a quarter of a century, and this should be celebrated.

I have long believed that reaching an agreed solution to the Palestinian issue will not be possible without the direct engagement and cooperation of the Arab world.

These agreements provide the opportunity to establish a new framework for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and we should work on creating the right conditions so that peace and normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states can serve as a stimulus, rather than an impediment, to progress on the Palestinian front.

The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab states also provides an enormous opportunity to build cooperation based on a shared outlook, crucial for promoting the security, stability and economic wellbeing of the region.

With a generation of bold and courageous leaders seeking to create modern societies based on religious and cultural tolerance and co-existence, and modern economies based on diversification and the embrace of technological advances, Israel and the Arab nations like the UAE and Bahrain have a huge amount to gain by working together.

The ceremony itself was an extraordinary event not simply because of its objective significance, but because it was obvious that this peace has the capability to be warm.

People from both sides mixed openly and willingly. Friends are being made. And friendship is the true basis for building peace. Not the letter of an agreement, but its spirit.

These landmark agreements are therefore important in their own right; but they also serve as a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region for the benefit of future generations.

Tony Blair is the former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and former Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East. He is the Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. Twitter: @InstituteGC



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews

 A Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, Poland.

Israel and Poland Fight Over History, Truth - and Israeli Students

A collage of the Bentwich family throughout the generations.

Unique Burial Plot in Jerusalem Tells Story of Extraordinary Jewish Dynasty