The United Arab Emirates(UAE) and Bahrain have signed an agreement to normalize the relations with Israel aimed at establishing formal peace and corporation relations. This agreement sought to end the decade-old taboo and conflict with the Palestinians in Arab diplomacy as the priorities and powers shifted to the Middle East Region.
President Donald Trump hosted a White House ceremony celebrating the historical agreement between Israel and the other two Gulf Arab nations. "We are here this afternoon to change the course of history, ” Trump said at the beginning of the ceremony. He further added that the deal would lead to greater cooperation on investment, tourism, security, technology, energy, and other arms which will facilitate good relationships between the nations and would be the beginning of a new phase of relationship in the middle east
This would make the United Arab Emirates only the third Arab country to have normal diplomatic relations since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
The pact came into existence when the Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani. The agreements were signed separately by Israel with both UAE and Bahrain and the US joined all the three in signing a common document known as the Abraham Accords, which the white house describes as a “ declaration of peace”. It was signed in English, Hebrew, and Arabic languages.
Because of the Palestine territories, Israel has always been seen as an outcast yet as mostly autocratic Arab government. Israel is also aiming at having support from Oman as well as Saudi Arabia as it believes that they would also sign the deal because of their shared concern about Iran’s rising military influence.
Israel considers Iran as its enemy and has bombed Iranian forces in Syria. Iran is a threat to both the Arab and Gulf regions and this pact is seen as the expansion of the anti-Iran alliance.
Why is this agreement hailed as “ historical”?
This agreement has been termed as historical as it ended the decades-old taboo between the Arab countries. The agreement is a historic diplomatic breakthrough that would advance peace in the Middle East region. Before the UAE and Bahrain, the only other Arab countries in the Middle East to recognize Israel officially were Egypt and Jordan, who signed peace treaties in 1978 and 1994 respectively. This was also surprising as persuading two Arab states to engage in this kind of relation with Israel, without a solution to the Palestinian situation marked it as a signed agreement of unity in the Middle Eastern Region. Trump also hailed the agreement by stating that after decades of division and conflict, the countries marked the dawn of a new Middle East. “ We are here to change the course of history,” he added.
India’s response to the agreement
India’s geopolitical interests are in close alignment with West Asia. With the change in the geopolitical shift in the Middle Eastern region, the agreement came as the historical one. India’s foreign policy has always been based on the factors of peace and harmony and thus this step was welcomed by India.
Geopolitically West Asia has an important position in international relations due to its proximity to the Arab regions. India has its diplomatic as well as trading links with the Arab and Gulf countries hence its support for the deal was welcoming. Being one of the largest producers of oil, the Arab regions have always helped India strategically in energy resources.
Minister of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava stated that “ India has constantly supported peace, harmony, stability and development in West Asia and in that context, India welcomes the full normalisation of ties between UAE and Israel as both the nations are strategic partners of India”. India’s statement on this agreement was not surprising as the nations in the agreement have become good friends of India in recent years.
Although it is a diplomatic win for Netanyahu, he faced great criticism from its home country for the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and he is facing a corruption trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust that have led to frequent street protests. Netanyahu denied the charges against him and stated the deal is the best for the nation.
Further the Palestinians also criticized the agreement and stated that it is a betrayal for them, they cautioned that the ties with Israel should not be embraced until the Palestinian statehood is achieved. It was regarded as a biased agreement and they stated that this would destroy their hopes to be independent and this will further violate international law.The prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammad Shtayyeh, stated that it would be a “black day” and “added to the calendar of Palestinian pain”.
Palestinians view the new agreements as weakening a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
The Iranian leadership also condemned the agreement as this would lead to more complexity and would lead to economic and strategic strain for them.
With this historical agreement, the geopolitical situation has changed its course and it is being seen as the new phase of diplomatic relations in the Middle East Region. The signing of the agreement of Israel with the other two Gulf Nations was a surprise for the world. The US president hailed this agreement and termed it as the “ historical movement”. He further added on expecting a few other countries to join hands at this Middle East Peace Treaty.
This has been seen as a big boost for Trump in the course of the election scheduled on 3 November. This will increase maximum pressure on Iran and thus it is beneficial for Trump strategically as he has projected himself as the greater deal maker. The "Abraham Accords", is a significant shift in the balance of power in the Middle East and is being presented by the Trump White House as a major foreign policy coup.
By: Nikita Sen