US must continue progress of Abraham Accords, senator says after Israel visit

US congressional delegation meets Israeli leaders after Hamas attack

US Senator Jodi Ernst meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the Hamas attack. Photo: Office of Senator Joni Ernst
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The co-chair of the Congressional Abraham Accords Caucus is urging the expansion of the pacts after leading a delegation to the Middle East for meetings with senior officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Senator Joni Ernst led a group of US politicians to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and Israel “to build upon her work to support peace in the region and deter Iranian aggression from threatening Americans and our partners and allies,” her office said on Thursday.

Ms Ernst met Israeli leaders and American citizens in Israel after the Hamas attack.

“Being in the region, I am reminded of the reason we must continue the progress of the Accords and why it is critical to affirm our commitments to our allies and partners, especially Israel," she said in a statement.

“Iran cannot face the strength of our nations when we are working hand-in-hand to accomplish our security goals and to protect American lives."

The war between Israel and Gaza, at a scale unseen in the past 50 years, has raised questions about Washington's priorities for the Abraham Accords, which led to the UAE and Bahrain signing their first agreements with Israel.

The Accords have strong bipartisan support in Congress, and President Joe Biden's administration has so far centred its regional policy around the goal of expanding them to Saudi Arabia.

Optimism about a Saudi-Israel agreement had been increasing in the days leading up to the Hamas attack, but the violence has complicated that.

In a statement, the government in Riyadh responded to the attack as the result of “continued occupation and deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights".

Ms Ernst continued the push from Washington to establish those ties.

“The world has witnessed the horrors of an emboldened Iran unleashing its terror proxies in the Middle East, taking American lives and wreaking havoc on one of our strongest allies," she said.

"As the co-chair of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, I was proud to bring bipartisan support to Israel in the face of aggression."

Updated: October 11, 2023, 9:08 PM