Robert Greenway served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Middle Eastern and North African Affairs at the National Security Council under President Trump. He was a member of the team that negotiated the Abraham Accords. He knows what he’s talking about through personal experience. He brings us up to date on the status of this Trump diplomatic triumph.
Sept. 15, 2020.
I sat on the White House lawn w/ 100s of others.
We were there to witness history in the making.
It was the signing of #AbrahamAccords—the result of creative diplomacy by US 🇺🇸 & inspired leadership of UAE 🇦🇪, Bahrain 🇧🇭 & Israel 🇮🇱.
PEACE. SALAAM. SHALOM. pic.twitter.com/HNfNGB1W1S
— David Harris (@DavidHarrisAJC) September 14, 2021
Greenway: For generations, we imagined what achieving peace in the Middle East could bring to the region and its people. Today, with vast natural resources, aspirational societies, and a growing population with approximately 65 percent under the age of 30, Middle Easterners are postured to move forward and seize new opportunities to build on the region’s limitless potential—and a transformative agreement.
As we mark the first anniversary of the Accords signing it’s important that we assess its impact and potential. The Abraham Accords provide a pathway to the end of decades of conflict and a future of peace, tolerance, and opportunity in the Middle East and around the world.
To sustain and accelerate the transformation, we have established the Abraham Accords Peace Institute as an international, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the implementation and expansion of the historic peace agreement.
The Institute will increase the probability that these relationships will flourish, conflict will subside, and new opportunities and relationships will be created. It will pursue four interdependent pillars. It will work to grow trade between the participating countries, increase tourism between the countries, foster people-to-people development to build stronger bonds between the countries, and promote normalization through studies on the opportunities intrinsic to the Accords attracting additional signatories.
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics has reported over $570 million in business with the UAE alone in the last year and projections by Israel’s Finance Ministry reflect it’s likely to reach $1 billion by the end of the year, and $6.5 billion by 2025. While new trade and capital flow hold the potential to immediately benefit Accords members, they also stand to have a significant spillover effect on the entire region and broader global economy as it recovers from the pandemic.
On August 31, 2020, Israel’s flagship carrier El Al operated the first-ever direct commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, followed by a first flight from Israel to Manama on October 18. The UAE’s Etihad Airways launched its first commercial flight to Israel a day later, on October 19. In another first, Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to the flights—and importantly agreed to allow all such flights from Israel. Israel’s first direct flight carrying over 100 tourists recently landed in Marrakech Morocco reflecting the potential of both tourism markets.
Normalization could create as many as 4 million new jobs and $1 trillion in new economic activity in the coming decade. Every tourist who takes a flight between these previously disconnected countries becomes an ambassador for the Abraham Accords, regional harmony, and the potential they represent for the region and the world. These individuals bring their experiences back to their communities and share them with their friends on social media. Tourism is a key driver of stronger bilateral relations, understanding between people, and commercial activity…
The Abraham Accords, and the Institute which bears its name, hold the potential to serve as the foundation for a peace process in the Middle East by demonstrating the tangible benefits of interpersonal ties, trade, commerce, and mutual cooperation. This will help seize this historic opportunity to unleash the Middle East’s potential, to keep America safe, and to help the region turn the page on a generation of conflict and instability.