One year ago today, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed the Abraham Accords in Washington, DC, initiating a process of normalisation with Israel that was subsequently joined by Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. The UAE leadership that day produced a genuinely historic achievement, one that opened new possibilities for peace and prosperity for Emiratis and Israelis, and for people throughout the entire region.
Now, one year later, we see the fruits of this brave step. As State Department spokesperson Ned Price noted last month, the relationship between Israel and the UAE is flourishing. Commercial and people-to-people ties, for example, are thriving. A $1.1 billion UAE-backed investment in Israel’s offshore natural gas extraction is in the works. Israeli travellers are now ferried by regular, direct flights, letting them enjoy the UAE’s famous tourist spots and incredible hospitality; and the availability of kosher food throughout the Emirates shows that this is a two-way investment in each other’s cultures. The impressive high-tech communities in the UAE and Israel jointly launched the UAE-Il tech zone, an innovative platform that facilitates technological and entrepreneurial collaboration between the two countries.
The UAE and Israel formally opened their respective embassies in the past year, solidifying their shared commitment to peace and prosperity in the region.
Just last week, some Emiratis joined Jews who marked the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, breaking bread together in the spirit of new beginnings. Israel will also participate in the Expo 2020 Dubai and showcase their technology to new markets. These are not simply symbolic achievements, but the foundations of a new, lasting partnership with the potential to spread peace and prosperity across the region.
The United States hopes other nations in the region will seize the momentum initiated by the UAE and choose a similar path of peace and prosperity. We are encouraged by signs that this is already happening. The peoples of the region deserve nothing less.
Today we applaud the UAE for being a diplomatic trailblazer. And we commit to continue walking this path toward peace and prosperity with the governments and people of the UAE and Israel.
Sean Murphy is Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in the UAE