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‘The dawn of a new Middle East’: UAE, Bahrain, Israel Sign Historic Peace Accords

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The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a historic peace agreement at the White House Tuesday, agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. The historic accords were brokered by the Trump administration as part of its plan for Middle East Peace.

“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history,” Trump said at the signing ceremony. “After decades of division conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East. Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds live together in peace and prosperity.”

The agreement, dubbed the “Abraham Accords,” means the countries will establish corresponding embassies, exchange ambassadors, welcome tourists, and engage in bilateral trade relations. Trump says it’s just the start to making peace across the entire region.

“Together, these agreements will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, something which nobody thought was possible, certainly not in this day and age, maybe in decades from now, but one founded on shared interests, mutual respect, and friendship,” Trump said.

He added, “For generations, the people of the Middle East have been held back by old conflicts, hostilities, lies, treachery, so many things held them back, actually lies that the Jews and Arabs were enemies and that Al Aqsa mosque was under attack.”

“These lies passed down from generation to generation fueled a vicious cycle of terror and violence that spread across the region and all over the world,” Trump said. “These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free from the failed approaches of the past.”

“The people of the Middle East will no longer allow hatred of Israel to be fomented as an excuse for radicalism or extremism.”

President Donald Trump hosted delegations from the three countries in the Rose Garden, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed, and Bahraini foreign minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani.

“This is unimaginable a few years ago, but with resolve, determination, a fresh look at the way peace is done, this is being achieved,” Netanyahu said, thanking President Trump and his administration for negotiating the deals.

The Israeli PM emphasized that the deal is just the start to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict “once and for all.”

Emirati foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing today a new trend that will create a better path for the Middle East. This peace accord, which is a historic achievement for the United States of America, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates will continue to have a positive impact as we believe that reverberations will be reflected across the entire region.”

Bahraini foreign minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani said, “Today’s agreement is an important first step. And it is now incumbent on us to work urgently and actively to bring about the lasting peace and security our peoples deserve,” adding that a “just” two state solution between Israelis and Palestinians can be achieved.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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