• Israel Gulf Report

Israeli diplomat: Our alliance with Gulf divides Middle East into two camps

By NOA AMOUYAL


The signing of the groundbreaking Abraham Accords has signified a demarcation of sorts in the Middle East dividing the region into two camps - one of modernization and one of terror - Israel's Acting Consul in New York said on Sunday.


"The Abraham Accords carries geostrategic importance," Israel Nitzan, who recently assumed the role from former Consul General Dani Dayan, said. "It is an agreement that is already drawing clear lines between two camps in our region - between the camp of pragmatism and peace, stability - in which you find the UAE, Israel, Bahrain. And the other camp, of course, is the camp of radicalism and war and instability led by Iran, Syria and Hamas."


Abraham Accords has the potential to change the entire dynamic in the Middle East

Speaking at a panel discussion hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council, Nitzan delivered his remarks alongside his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Abdalla Shaheen.


Nitzan added that the Abraham Accords has the potential to change the entire dynamic in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


"This agreement also gives Palestinians the opportunity to change their behavior and to adopt a more pragmatic and less rejectionist attitude and join this regional process. This is a paradigm shift and we hope our pro-Palestinian neighbors will want to join this camp," he added, continuing his two camps metaphor.


Shaheen added that he sees an overall fatigue for conflict in the region and, he too, welcomes the Abraham Accords and hopes it will help bring about a more peaceful region.


"I think people are tired of the conflict in that region. People want some positive change. And to do so, we must modernize the region. We see two strong future-oriented countries work together for a brighter future," he said, adding that Emirati tourists are eager to visit Israel and vice versa.


In fact, Shaheen said this is own mother is just one of the many who are clamoring to see what Israel has to offer and projected that once Covid-19 is under control, he anticipates a 50% increase in tourism from UAE to Israel.


Shaheen also added that he hoped the agreement with Bahrain and the UAE will be a model for other moderate Arab states in the Gulf and that, they too, will follow suit and normalize relations with Israel.


Ultimately, Nitzan argued, the reason why this agreement has so much potential is because it rests on shared values between the nations.


"The reason why this is such a ground-breaking development in the region is because both the UAE and Israel give priority to the well-being and needs of the people in the region. This is the first step in order to promote peace and security and stability in our region," he said.


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