The Abraham Accords - Moving from cold peace to true peace - opinion

We must look forward with a mentality that does not ignore the past but focuses on the present and targets the future.

President Isaac Herzog welcomes UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, last month. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog welcomes UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, last month.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Recently, I have been writing a lot about Emirati-Israeli relations and following the numerous comments on the important visit to Israel of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation. The debate that took place in Arab social media two years after the signing of the Abraham Peace Agreement reflected several things.

First, the agreement was not a protocol event that was forgotten after it was signed. It was a first step toward building normal relations with Israel. The visit reflects the UAE’s vision of its relations with Israel as an economic and strategic partner.

It contained a clear symbolic message that the UAE is not taking the step toward peace with Israel for a few photo-ops. Rather, I am fully convinced of the usefulness of this step and its importance for the future of the region.

Secondly, Emirati-Israeli relations are taking a different path and are characterized by a vibrant interactive nature that has become a reality in the geopolitical space of the region. In one respect, the visit means that there is a common will to develop these relations. Talking about them also means that they are influential relationships in their regional environment.

Moving from cold peace to true peace means thinking about the future, leaving the past behind and looking for new horizons of cooperation in the interest of societies, coexistence and stability in our region.

 Israel met with Bahraini, Emirati, Moroccan, Egyptian and US officials in Manama, concluding the Negev Summit Steering Committee.  (credit: ISRAEL FOREIGN MINISTRY) Israel met with Bahraini, Emirati, Moroccan, Egyptian and US officials in Manama, concluding the Negev Summit Steering Committee.  (credit: ISRAEL FOREIGN MINISTRY)

The visit, which lasted several days and was also attended by bin Zayed Al Nahyan, accompanied by a high-level economic and political delegation, confirms that there is an action program that the UAE side wants to discuss, which in turn confirms that the Abraham Agreement is a different situation in the relations between Israel and its Arab regional environment.

Peace is not just a slogan floating in space with no place on earth. As an observer, I am not disturbed by the different views on the Abraham peace and I look at the visit from a different angle, namely that Emirati diplomacy in the region continues to take the initiative and follow a path that it determines for itself without regard to irrational considerations.

The geopolitical conditions in our world can no longer afford to remain inactive in the face of rapid strategic changes at all levels. The worsening crises in our world, be they economic, security or political, require solutions and alternatives beyond traditionalism and dependence on futile calculations. Israel, for its part, is not what it used to be.

Israel's new position in the Middle East

Israel today is a different country than it was yesterday. That is a fact that must be acknowledged. It thinks and acts today like a normal country that tries to use its capabilities and resources to grow, develop and maintain its security and stability.

There are many changes in international relations, mainly due to the changing geostrategic situation in the world. Today, it makes no sense to continue to face them with the slogans of the past and with extremist ideas that are self-centered, national or ethnic, that reject coexistence and oppose tolerance, even though the bearers of these ideas themselves live in a state of conflict of their own people and religion. Militant groups and organizations live in a chronic conflict with their own people for power and influence.

We must also ask about the relations between states hostile to Israel on religious or ideological grounds with their neighbors and other nationalities practicing their religion or other religions, and how they occupy the territory of other states and justify for themselves what they deny to others. The point here is not to legitimize one situation without the other, lest my words are misunderstood.

But the rights of the Palestinian people are the same as the rights of the people and the state of the UAE in the three occupied islands, no different. I do not want to delve into the details of the past. The most painful thing about our region is living in the past and clinging to its slogans.

Above all, we must look to the future with all the vision it needs. We must look forward with a mentality that does not ignore the past but focuses on the present and targets the future, looking with a mind’s eye at the tens of millions of young people in the countries of the region, who are gradually losing their hope for a better tomorrow and looking for the luminous energy that will allow them to live with dignity instead of falling into the clutches of terrorist groups, throwing themselves into illegal death boats or getting captive to drugs.

The writer is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate.