Abraham Accord provides the prospect of a happy coexistence

Diplomatic breakthrough that gave a platform to build regional peace hailed at London forum

Bloomberg Best of the Year 2020: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, from left, U.S. President Donald Trump, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Bahrain's foreign affairs minister, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, United Arab Emirates' foreign affairs minister, during an Abraham Accords signing ceremony event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg
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Choosing to come together at the signing of the Abraham Accord allows Bahrain, Israel and the UAE to hold the middle ground against the narrative of extremism and build a new approach for peace in the region.

During a discussion at London's Emirate Society, Reem Al Hashimy, UAE's Minister of State for International Co-operation, and Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary general, said the pact had far-reaching implications.

"We must keep the dialogue going," Ms Al Hashimy said. The agreements are "not about one static moment, they are about a continuity of a series of forms of engagement".

Ms Al Hashimy continued: "We hope by crossing this threshold we have broken a taboo. We want a Middle East that is not rooted in sectarianism, violence and insecurity. We want a happy coexistence."

She said the UAE was very keen to see a more peaceful Middle East, a more stable Middle East that was less affected by extremist language and ideology.

"The Palestinian plight cannot continue as is and we are hopeful that this accord is used as an opportunity to advance their own conversations with the Israelis. At the end of the day this has to be about what they want and we certainly hope the opportunity will be there for them and others too."

'Diplomatic victory' 

Mr Ban, the former UN chief, said the agreements offered a platform to build regional peace and expand personal and political co-operation throughout the Middle East.

Calling the accord a "diplomatic victory", he  said the opportunity could be extended to other regions and conflicts.

"All the regional problems can only be solved by dialogue and compromise," Mr Ban said.

"In this regard I am encouraged that the signing of the Abraham Accord may have halted the planned annexation of the West Bank. This would have been an inflammatory action that could have raised tensions and division and undermined the two-state solution at an important juncture.

"In this connection, I greatly hope that the Emirati and other Arab leaders can leverage their new and constructive relationship with Israel to build on the Abraham Accord to rekindle efforts towards a two-state solution. The dignity and rights of all people in the Middle East, including the Palestinians, must be ensured."

Britain's chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, also addressed the webinar and drew parallels with his own experience of Anwar Sadat arriving in Israel in 1977, the fall of Apartheid in 1990s South Africa, and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in Ireland, where he was a cleric at the time.

He said the agreements "were not just an end in themselves but rather they are charged with potential".

A framework for progress

Mr Mirvis said Jews and Muslims were part of the same family and this needed to underpin and inspire their future relationship.

"There is engagement and understanding on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism."

He praised the "brave public leadership" for reaching the agreement and said "faith leaders must take their cues from this example".

Abraham Accords signing gallery