This month, the world will celebrate the three-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s Abraham Accords.
While the Obama administration and others said Trump’s bold decision to keep his campaign promise and move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, would cause war in the Middle East, just the opposite happened. Many of these individuals said the same when the framework of the Abraham Accords was initially announced, but just as they were wrong before, they were wrong once again.
On Sept. 15, 2020, President Trump ushered in a new era of peace and collaboration in the Middle East among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco without a single bullet fired. Imagine that: Peace was achieved through America leading with strength, without any wars started, when the experts said the opposite would happen.
Furthermore, Trump and his administration provided the metaphorical runway and jet fuel for long-standing relationships among the Israelis, Bahrainis, and Emiratis that had been held in the darkness to take off into the light for the world to see, which has led to tremendous economic and societal expansion. As commercial ties grow, so will the strength of the bonds between the countries and their people.
Per the Abraham Accords Peace Institute, trade between the countries saw a major increase from 2021 to 2022, coming in at $3.37 billion in 2022, an 82 percent increase from 2021! Bahrain is set to utilize Israeli solar technology as a result of the Abraham Accords, and earlier this year, the Abrahamic Family House opened its doors to the world in Abu Dhabi. The center encompasses three separate houses of worship — a mosque, a church, and a synagogue, as well as shared spaces for gathering and dialogue. Based on these economic and societal indicators, the Abraham Accords have been a major success thus far.
Both authors have seen firsthand how Israel is liked and respected in the Arab world, which never would have happened if not for the Abraham Accords. Having served as a U.S. Army Reserve captain and intelligence officer in Saudi Arabia during the historic peace accords, Abraham Hamadeh had a unique experience serving in the Middle East, with Syrian ancestry and Arabic language skills allowing for much more personal interactions with Saudi Arabia’s security apparatus’ leadership — and they’re ready for peace.
A Jewish American who is an outspoken supporter of the world’s only Jewish state, Israel, Bryan Leib has enjoyed relationships and friendships with Arabs in America and throughout the Middle East, especially Saudis and Emiratis, for years that predate the Abraham Accords.
When President Joe Biden took office in January 2021 he had a prime opportunity to expand the Abraham Accords but unfortunately did not. The Biden administration took great pains not to acknowledge the Abraham Accords in the first year of his presidency, and that has created a chilling effect in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s decision to reorient America’s foreign policy toward appeasement with the Islamic Republic of Iran while largely ignoring America’s closest allies has been a catastrophic mistake.
As this three-year anniversary approaches, we applaud the courageous leaders Trump assembled to achieve this historic peace in the Middle East. Surely had it been Biden or anyone else, the Nobel Peace Prize Foundation would have already awarded its highest honor for the Abraham Accords. Its failure to reward these historic agreements and Trump with the honor only damages the credibility of the Nobel Foundation. Peace shouldn’t be political, especially in a world where it’s hard to come by.
Looking forward, we both agree that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is most likely the next Arab-majority country to officially make a peace or normalization agreement with Israel, but the chances the inept Biden administration will be the broker are slim. The leaders and people of Israel and Saudi Arabia may have to wait for Trump to get back into the White House to broker their peace agreement.
Or perhaps it will happen naturally sooner than we think. A plane carrying Israelis home from the Seychelles was forced to make an emergency landing in Saudi Arabia before flying back to Tel Aviv on Aug. 29. As ABC News reported, “The passengers told the Associated Press their experience in Jeddah was pleasant, with some Saudis even greeting them in Hebrew.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to express his “deep appreciation” to the Saudi government for its treatment of Israelis. In a sign of respect, Netanyahu sent out the post in Arabic.
In many ways, our America First agenda can be achieved through leading on the world stage with strong diplomacy and supporting our like-minded allies throughout the world. America First doesn’t mean America alone, and the Abraham Accords is just one example that proves it.