A Historic Turning Point in Arab-Israeli Relations?
The ‘normalisation’ of diplomatic relations between several Arab countries and Israel in late 2020 was described at the time as ‘historic’. Four experts consider whether it will lead to long-term change.
‘The Abraham Accords represent a shift in the policies of the Arab despots’
Avi Shlaim, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (Penguin, 2014)
In the second half of 2020 four Arab states signed the so-called Abraham Accords, normalising ties with Israel: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Only Egypt and Jordan had previously concluded peace agreements with Israel. Was this a critical mass, a historic turning point in Arab-Israeli relations?
In my opinion the Abraham Accords do not merit the grand epithet of ‘historic’ because they do not touch the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Palestinian problem is the core of this conflict and has been the central issue in Arab politics since 1945. Until very recently, there was a broad consensus in the Arab world in favour of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel as the price of peace with the Jewish state.