2 years on from the Abraham Accords: Where next?

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2 years on from the Abraham Accords: Where next?

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ELNET UK is proud to be working with the UK Abraham Accords Group to mark the second anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords, a genuinely historic set of agreements. The signatories’ commitment to “maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East and around the world based on mutual understanding and coexistence, as well as respect for human dignity and freedom, including religious freedom” has led in practice to the normalisation of relationships at an economic, diplomatic, and cultural level with some of the most influential countries in the region.

United States, United Arab Emirates and Israel


The benefits are already very clear, just two years on from the signing of the first agreement. There has been concrete progress in securing new economic opportunities, new airline routes, and geopolitical influence – not to mention the crucial issue of national security. And it is the hope of many advocates of the Accords that they will set the template for further diplomatic agreements and normalisation with other major nations in the Middle East.


As we look back on the last two years of the Accords, and forward to the future, we have gathered unique insights from the Foreign Secretaries of Bahrain, Israel, Morocco, the UAE, UK, and from Dr Liam Fox, Chair of the UK Abraham Accords Group. Shakara, a partnership of young leaders in Israel and the Gulf discuss their experiences and hopes. These perspectives on the workings of the Accords and the potential paths ahead are vital in helping us all understand the direction of travel around the Abraham Accords. We hope you find their contributions illuminating.

First direct commercial flight from Israel to the UAE carries an American and Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi

Rt Hon Joan Ryan, Executive Director ELNET UK

There is no doubt that the Abraham Accords has been a great political and diplomatic success. At an economic level, too, there is increased trade and investment activity between the member states.

Accords needs to offer a better future that would not exist in their absence. It is both a communication and a policy challenge to which all involved need to respond quickly and effectively.

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In particular, it is essential that tangible benefits are felt on “the Arab street,” creating economic and social


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In areas such as education, small business start-ups and access to finance there must be an attempt to open new avenues of opportunity which are clearly associated with the Accords, particularly for the next generation who will ultimately determine whether or not they remain a permanent political fixture. Every joint business venture, every diplomatic initiative and every security collaboration should consider how the benefits can be sold to young Arabs and Israelis so that they feel they have a genuine stake in the process. The hope that any advantages will be self-evident is naïve at best and highly risky at worst. There needs to be a conscious effort to sell every advance to “the street” in a way that connects with the hopes of the young and Theaspirational.Abraham

It is essential, however, for the long-term success of the project that the benefits go beyond wealthy Israelis being able to holiday in Dubai or Emirati and Bahraini companies collaborating with the Israeli tech sector.

opportunities for those who may otherwise feel left behind.

Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Chairman, UK Abraham Accords Group States,

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The recent security Memorandum of Understanding agreed between Israel and Bahrain, as well as the burgeoning Negev Forum, highlight ongoing efforts to counter shared threats to regional stability. Catalysed by the Accords, Israel’s normalisation agreement with Morocco has facilitated increased security cooperation.

The UK government is committed to working with Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco to realise the opportunities presented by the Accords to advance regional stability and prosperity. Together, we will ensure that the Accords continue to go from strength to strength in the years ahead.

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First direct commercial flight carrying Israeli tourists arrives in Dubai

The UK is proud to be a steadfast supporter of the historic Abraham Accords, one of the greatest success stories in the Middle East for a generation.

In this digital age, the prosperity of our economies are dependent on a modern and resilient cyber security framework.

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With increasing threats to cyberspace, the UK and Abraham Accords members are united in the importance of maintaining high technological standards and protecting our shared cyberspace.

Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Prime Minister, UK

Looking forward, we must ensure that the Accords continue to highlight the benefits of economic and security cooperation to those countries yet to normalise relations with Israel.

Security remains a key foundational element underpinning the Accords.

The Accords have proved transforma tional. Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have grasped the economic promise of the Accords through new trade, investments and energy agreements, all of which are already providing tangible benefits. The introduction of direct flights has led to people-to-people links, ensuring the Accords mature into deep and abiding friendships between different societies and cultures. And the Accords have also facilitated increased cooperation on sustainability to address mutual climate challenges.


Sir Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, UK

In the two years since the signing of the Abraham Accords we have seen remarkable progress and the deepening of diplomatic relationships between countries where collaboration and cooperation were once unthinkable.

The Accords mark a diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East and are undoubtably a victory for diplomacy over conflict and an example for the rest of the world to follow.




previously there was none. They have provided opportunities for cultural exchange and allowed industries and companies to work closely together to develop new medicines, research, and new technology.

United States, Morocco and Israel normalisation call

Crucially, they have provided a platform for peace and a framework to tackle challenges that demand cross-border cooperation. From easing regional tension, combating terrorism and extremism to mitigating the impact of the climate crisis.

But while it is right that we celebrate this achievement and mark this important anniversary, we must not be complacent. The Abraham Accords are not the end of the process but the first steps towards wider peace and stability in the region, culminating in the longstanding goal of advancing a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Over the past two years they have provided new economic opportunities, new investment and have encouraged innovation and collaboration where

And in doing so, we will always value the support of our friends in the United Kingdom.

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First direct commercial flight from Abu Dhabi to Israel arrives in Tel Aviv

region, and the benefits it can bring. To harness this enthusiasm, and to channel it in ways that make a positive difference to the Middle East, we must continue to showcase the success of these relations, and their clear, tangible benefits to our peoples’ everyday lives. To this end, Bahrain and Israel recently signed a pioneering Joint Warm Peace Strategy, streamlining our cooperation in education, healthcare, trade, and many other fields so as to directly improve the lives of our citizens. Meanwhile, the two countries have also joined the Negev Forum; a regional network bringing together like-minded countries and delivering joint projects to benefit our peoples and the entire region.

The signing of the Accords on 15th September 2020 unleashed a wave of optimism at this new chapter for our

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This is exactly how our message of peace, prosperity and optimism will resonate across the Middle East, winning hearts and minds, spreading cooperation, and providing the best possible incentive for others to join us.

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HE Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain

For the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Abraham Accords represent a beacon of hope for the entire region; an opportunity for a more peaceful and stable Middle East in which all its peoples thrive and prosper together. They embody the longstanding vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa for a better future for the Middle East, and underscores Bahrain’s deep-rooted culture of coexistence, tolerance and dialogue.

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Israel’s Foreign Minister and Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid make first official visit to the UAE

The signing of the normalization agreements with the UAE and Bahrain and then the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Morocco marked a watershed moment for the Middle East that ultimately came to represent the beginning of a new chapter for the region. In a matter of months, mutual diplomatic missions were opened, and dozens of new agreements covering a wide range of issues were signed.

The inauguration of the permanent Negev Forum has further cemented a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, and a strong commitment

However, it is not enough for us –government officials – to meet. Our next challenge is to weave relations between our peoples. We need to get to know one another and learn about each other’s traditions and history. It is our responsibility as governments to facilitate meaningful interactions between our people and allow them to find common grounds and mutual interests, so they can build long-lasting relationships.

Individuals throughout the region should be able to see the positive impact of peace, whether it is access to better education, culture, and quality of life. At this two-year mark, we encourage our partners beyond the region, such as the US, Europe, and elsewhere, to support projects that promote these values and bring people together. Strong people-to-people ties will enable us to truly achieve the prosperous and interconnected region we all strive for.

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to peace, prosperity, and fighting extremism. The agreements also opened opportunities for deepening the relations with Israel’s existing partners, Egypt and Jordan.

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Idan DeputyRoll,Foreign Minister, Israel

Agreements between Morocco and Israel are set to yield dividends on multiple strategic levels. In less than two years, our two countries have

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The 2020 Trilateral Declaration in which Morocco re-established its diplomatic relations with Israel marked a significant landmark in our shared history. Through a mutual commitment for peace and prosperity, the unique ties between our countries continue to grow as we explore new fields of cooperation, all the while shedding light on our shared history and legacy. As His Majesty King Mohammed VI described it, the Trilateral Declaration was not a decision of opportunity, but truly, a decision based on conviction.

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Two Israeli carriers launch direct commercial flights to Marrakesh from Tel Aviv

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signed landmark agreements in various fields and critical sectors including research and development, water management, defence and security, tourism and food security. These mutual commitments are cementing our relationship for decades ahead.

The resumption of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel also contributes to strengthening Morocco’s commitment towards a durable peace in the region. The agreement to reopen the Al Karama or Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan is one of the recent roles that His Majesty King Mohammed VI has played in promoting peace in the region. Morocco will pursue its endeavor in supporting a just, lasting and equitable peace based on the two-state solution: the State of Israel, and an independent Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967, both living side by side in peace and security.

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On this 2nd anniversary of the Abraham Accords, Morocco looks forward to further opportunities that will strengthen our commitments and continue our journey together toward greater understanding and closer friendship for the benefit of all.

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have also been central to regional efforts to unlock the potential of Arab youth and strengthen a shared

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Such high-level cooperation between our nations reflects our countries’ commitment to deepening relations that will serve our people, economies, and societies for generations to come.



pursuit of prosperity and development. Youth have enormous capabilities to bring peace to the Arab world, and we aim to ensure the greatest benefit to the Middle East and beyond.

There were 2727 direct flights to the UAE in 2021 with 143 weekly flights

The region’s peoples have already begun to reap the political and economic advantages of the Accords. At the start of 2022, trade between our nations had grown by 500% compared to Q1 2021, with non-oil bilateral trade amounting to more than two billion pounds from September 2020-March 2022.

With the signing of a historic Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in February, the UAE and Israel will work to enhance market access for exporters, attract new investment, and create opportunities in key industries, including energy, environment, and digital trade.

The signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020 marked a courageous and important step towards achieving peace in the Middle East and enhancing stability and security for the region’s peoples. It has also stimulated trade and economic cooperation between the UAE and Israel, with benefits derived across all major sectors, from the energy and resources sector to healthcare, advanced technology, agriculture, and space

HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates

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But negative sentiment, ignorance and misunderstandings mean that many in the Arab world are hesitant to engage with Israelis, making the P2P approach crucial. It is unlikely for Arab and Israeli citizens to meet organically without concerted efforts to bring them together. Sharaka organises events celebrating each other’s holidays and VIP delegations to visit each other’s countries. We also led a delegation of Arab-world media and social media figures to learn about the Holocaust, and more.

2 Years of the Abraham Accords: People to People Peace as a top Priority Dan Feferman and Dr. Ahmed Khuzaie

One area already developing relates to Israel as the “Start-up Nation”. Israel is imparting its technologies and innovation culture on its new friends. Such engagement can provide real benefits to people across the region.

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While the advancement of the Abraham Accords has been impressive, public opinion remains largely negative across the region. Only a quarter of Emiratis and a 5th of Bahrainis support normalization, although more support non-governmental cooperation with Israelis. To ensure the continuation and success of the Accords, public opinion must be engaged.

This can be achieved through people to people (P2P) engagement, which our organization, Sharaka (meaning “Partnership”), seeks to facilitate. Sharaka works to bring people together from numerous fields and backgrounds to establish enduring ties. Such efforts should be encouraged by regional and international governments looking to bolster the Accords.

Building strong ties in the cultural, edu cational, scientific, and commercial fields will guarantee that the Accords reach beyond diplomatic engagement, giving people the opportunity to develop deep roots of their own to ensure the continuing success of these new relationships.

Dan Feferman and Dr. Ahmed Khuzaie are the Directors of Global Affairs and US Affairs, respectively, at Sharaka, a joint Arab-Israeli NGO that promotes P2P peace.


Arik Levy’s multi-disciplinary work can be seen in prestigious galleries and museums worldwide. Renowned for his product design, Levy nevertheless feels “The world is about people, not Havingobjects.”moved to Europe from his birthplace Israel in 1988, the award-winning artist is now based in Southern France. Following a spell in Japan, Levy returned to Europe to design sets for contemporary dance and opera.

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ELNET and the UK Abraham Accords Group, together with the UK Board of Deputies, are delighted to have commissioned artist and sculptor Arik Levy (through Designers in the Middle) to create a unique sculpture in recognition of the 2nd anniversary of the Abraham Accords. The sculpture will be awarded to each of the signatory countries at a special diplomatic event later this Designersyear.inthe

Middle is a non-political platform that encourages the language of collaboration within a geography. Since 2015, founders Rona Meyuchas Koblenz and Suzanne Trocmé have invited creatives from the Middle East, Levant and Magreb to speak about threads that pull through contemporary design.

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Public talks programmes have been delivered in Jerusalem, Dubai, New York, and in London. 2021 marked the

first physical exhibition of a body of work at for the London Design Biennale with collaborators hailing from the UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, as well as Qatar, curated and documented by the founders in film and audio as a “digital casbah” for participants who are unable to travel, for whatever reason.

Levy has penned many books about his communication through art and design, and remains committed to public sculpture, as well as industrial design: “Life is a system of signs and symbols,” he says, “where nothing is quite as it seems.”

Arik Levy is Chevalier des Arts at the Lettres de la République Française.

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Statistics: Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the Abraham Accords Peace Initiative

www.elnetwork.uk I www.abraham-accords.uk

ELNET UK is part of a non-partisan, pan-European, not-for-profit organisation which works to develop relationships between the UK and Israel, based on shared values and interests.

The UK Abraham Accords Group is a non-partisan, non-profit UK based organisation dedicated to supporting the implementation and expansion of the historic peace agreements known as the Abraham Accords.

Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Prime Minister, UK Sir Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, UK HE Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain Idan Roll, Deputy Foreign Minister, Israel Nassur Bourita, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Morocco HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates Dan Feferman and Dr. Ahmed Khuzaie, Sharaka Designers in the Middle & Compac Arik Levy, Artist & Sculptor

With thanks to: