Today, in a historic event on the White House South Lawn, Israel will sign peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. We applaud President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for their leadership, vision and commitment to bringing this epochal change. We thank Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed of the UAE and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain for their leadership and determination to lead the way towards these tectonic shifts towards peace in the Middle East. We salute the American, Israeli, and Arab diplomats who were involved and skillfully contributed to finalizing the accords.

The ceremony at the White House will celebrate the first time Arab nations have established relations with Israel in nearly three decades, since Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. The unfolding events have shattered conventional wisdom and this diplomatic breakthrough will reshape the Middle East by marking a change in the decades-old status quo. Prime Minister Netanyahu called it a “tremendous turning point in the history of Israel and the Middle East.” The playing field in the region has been transformed and all the parties should acknowledge a new reality that favors dialogue instead of aggression, peace instead of conflict, prosperity instead of extremism.

A few contrary voices called the agreements of Israel with the UAE and Bahrain a “betrayal” to the Palestinian cause. That could not be further from the truth. Many years of failure showed the world that the corrupt Palestinian leadership exploited the conflict with Israel for personal gain on the back of the Palestinian people. Under the guise of a “peace process”, the Palestinian leadership held Israel and Israeli-Arab relations hostage. But the shackles have finally been removed and UAE and Bahrain demonstrate how courageous and visionary leadership can bring real change towards peace. 

We look forward to seeing more and more countries and leaders embracing this moment and paving the way towards a better future for their people and the region as a whole.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.