When Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the world held its breath. Shortly afterward, he moved the United States embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem as a political statement. Some applauded the president and others were fearful of a future war. Over the last three years, it seems that the president of the United States has been scheming his way into a Middle East deal.
On September 15, 2020 Donald Trump sat down in Washington DC with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, and with Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates. Along with Bahrain, the parties signed what is now known as the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement. Even more noteworthy, the agreement was signed in English, Hebrew, and Arabic as a sign of unity.
As Jeffery Goldberg writes in The Atlantic, peace treaties are historically signed by warring parties but in this case, the signing parties are not at war—not physically anyways. Much like the Cold War, which also signed a peace treaty, most of the battles have been fought behind documents, wordplay, and displays of power. It is also an incredible symbolic movement to name the treaty after Abraham—the father of monotheism. As stated in the Accords as a paragraph reading, “Recognizing that the Arab and Jewish people are descendants of a common ancestor, Abraham…”
But what does this historical document mean for the world? For starters, Israel is normalizing relations with Gulf Arab nations. In the past, Israel has signed agreements with nations such as Egypt and Jordan but has had little luck with UAE and Bahrain. Although there have been unofficial contacts between the countries, the Abraham Accords explicitly mention the likelihood of posting ambassadors and other high-level officials. These accords also open possibilities of investments, tourism, cultural exchanges, and even direct flights between Israel, UAE, and Bahrain. Additional clauses in the Accords include emphasis of peace, stability, and cooperation.
Not everyone, however, is pleased with the new peace treaty. The Palestinians and Iranians seem to be the butt of the joke as they come out of the process empty handed. Like so, coincidentally when the White House held a ceremony for the celebration of the peace treaty, the Palestinians fired rockets into Israel. They stated that in their opinion, the accords are a betrayal to their cause.
It should be noted that Israel has tried to strike peace treaties with Palestinians in the past. There have been a few rounds of deals between the two, but the Palestinians never agreed even though Israel was willing to give up certain land in exchange for better relations with Arab nations. Palestine now also claims that the Abraham Accords reward Israel with land they claim as their own.
Iran—seen as the boogeyman between the signing parties—seemed to play a role in bringing the countries together. According to many sources, Israel and the UAE have come together to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region. As the saying goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Despite certain growing tensions, the general outlook has been a massive sigh of relief. People have rejoiced at the thought of a brighter, more peaceful future. Across the UAE, Israel’s national anthem was played through the streets of Dubai or even at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi. Likewise, in Israel, the UAE anthem has also circulated when the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra performed in solidarity with the UAE.
The Middle East is not the only region celebrating the treaty, as the United States—specifically the president—is viewing this a massive win for his candidacy. This could not have come at a better time for Donald Trump who has been receiving immense criticism over his handling of the coronavirus and witnessed his polls plummet over the last few months. He is also facing the 2020 elections against Joe Biden this upcoming November 3rd.
Despite the positive outlook with these results, it would be naïve to assume Trump manufactured this political coup just to get his ballot ratings up. It seems he set his plan in motion in 2017 when he declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Unfortunately, due the political climate clouding American’s atmosphere, this Peace Agreement has not been sufficiently covered throughout mainstream media.
The Abraham Accords did however, put Donald Trump on the Nobel Peace Prize shortlist. It is not the first time during his presidency that Trump has been nominated for the notorious peace prize. The first time being when he met Kim Jong Un in North Korea in 2019. Although, the likelihood of him winning the prestigious award is quite small.
Trump also intends—assuming he gets reelected—to strike a deal with Iran. As he states, “I’m going to make a deal that’s great for Iran.” Of course, this does not elaborate much on the subject as Trump apparently keeps his ideas up his sleeves and refuses to divulge with the public. He also briefly mentions the likelihood of including Saudi Arabia into a deal. The Trump administration is hoping that other countries including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Oman, are more likely to recognize Israel as a state because of the Accords. The only deduction that can be concluded is that Trump hopes to stabilize the Middle East through Treaties and diplomacy. Whether this is accomplished remains uncertain, especially with the 2020 election around the corner.
But this isn’t about Donald Trump or the United States. Trump may have initiated the treaty to take place in Washington DC, but this issue is about the Middle East and how the Accords will bring a more serene future. The Middle East has long been plagued with turmoil, political corruption, and war. This is the time when things can begin to change and the people of Israel, UAE, and Bahrain can set an example to surrounding regions. Perhaps, like dominos, they will all fall in embracing a brighter future where the people can flourish and thrive.