September 15, 2020 — Washington, D.C.
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, saluted today’s signing at the White House of the Abraham Accords, formalizing the normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and between Bahrain and Israel.
AJC CEO David Harris and Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer Jason Isaacson attended the signing ceremony on the White House South Lawn. Isaacson has led AJC engagement with Bahrain, the UAE and other Arab countries in the region for more than 25 years.
“History was made today thanks to the dedication of President Trump to advance Arab-Israeli peace, to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vision, and to the wisdom and courage of UAE and Bahraini leaders to embrace Israel,” said Harris.
The Abraham Accords, signed by President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani, lay the foundation for diplomatic, economic and other ties between Israel and two Gulf states.
Harris, who together with Isaacson, was present at the White House in 1994 for the Israel-Jordan agreement that preceded the peace treaty, and in 1993 for the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accord, noted that “the progression in the peace process is very powerful. The Abraham Accords mark the warm peace that is so critical to advancing understanding and deepening ties between Israel and the Arab world.”
“We’re here this afternoon to change the course of history. After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” said President Trump. “Thanks to the courage of the leaders present, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and backgrounds can live together in peace and prosperity.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called today’s agreement “a pivot of history,” adding that the momentum to advance peace could end “once and for all” the Arab-Israeli conflict. “To all of Israel’s friends in the Middle East, those who are with us today and those who will join us tomorrow, I say, ‘As-salamu alaykum.’ Peace unto thee. Shalom.”
UAE Foreign Minister bin Zayed said, “Today, we are already witnessing a change in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope around the world.” The accords, he said, “will continue to have a positive impact, as we believe that its reverberations will be reflected on the entire region.”
Bahrain Foreign Minister Al-Zayani called today’s signing “a moment of hope and opportunity for all the peoples of the Middle East” and “a historic step on the road for genuine and lasting peace” across the region. “For too long, the Middle East has been set back by conflict and mistrust, causing untold destruction” and thwarting hopes of the region’s “youngest and brightest,” he said. “Now I am convinced we can change that.”