The escalating war between Israel and Hamas has the potential to test the limits of the Abraham Accords. That agreement made history in 2020 when a group of Arab nations normalized relations with Israel. There’s still optimism that the accords can lead to stability in the region and potentially expand even as the war escalates
The Abraham Accords celebrated its third anniversary in September. The U.S.-brokered treaty involving Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE set a goal for expanding diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab nations.
The Biden administration continued talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the budding relationship at the U.N. in late September.
“I believe that we are at the cusp of an even more dramatic breakthrough, a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia, such a peace will go a long way to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. It will encourage other Arab states to normalize their relations with Israeli, it will enhance the prospect of peace with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said to the body’s general assembly at the time.
Three weeks later, the barbaric Hamas terror attacks in Israel shook the region and the world. Speaking in Saudi Arabia, Jared Kushner defended the importance of the accords in the wake of the attacks, accusing Hamas of trying to upend the stability the accords created.
“In light of the attack, the Abraham Accords are more important than ever. Israel has to have the security to not be threatened by its neighbors and to be able to protect its citizens. That is absolutely crucial and nonnegotiable, and I do think a lot of the world agrees that’s something that should exist,” Kushner said.
“The second is the Palestinian people have to have the opportunity to live a better life. I think that if you go through the element, it’s not just saying let’s create a state, it has to be a state that can function and thrive. Because if you don’t crate that, then the people will again find ways to blame other people instead of the leadership that’s putting it there,” he added.
The war with Hamas has delayed normalization efforts with Saudi Arabia, one of the most influential countries in the Arab world. Former Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said the prospect for peace with Saudi Arabia remains strong.
“We need to understand the reality in the Middle East. I think now currently we see the process was put on hold, but after the war, we can renew the process, and I hope we can have a peace agreement with Saudi, it’s in the interest of the US, Saudi, and Israel,” she told CBN News.
Iran remains a destabilizer in the region potentially trying to upend any expanded peace talks between Israel and other Arab nations.
“The Iranians saw that, knew what that would mean. Basically, it would be the beginning of the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict more broadly, which means greater unity and stability on that side of the Gulf, which poses a great danger to the Islamic Republic of Iran which has every interest in destabilizing,” said Jonathan Isaacson, the chief policy and political affairs officer for the American Jewish Committee.
U.S. National Security spokesman John Kirby told reporters this week that the effort for an expanded normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia remains ongoing.
“We are still committed to it. It’s clear to us that the Saudis are still committed to it, but obviously, we are all focused on what is going on there in Gaza,” said Kirby.
The UAE was the first Arab country to directly condemn Hamas and one official made a statement this week saying the Abraham Accords are here to stay, despite the UAE’s criticism of certain Israeli military tactics.