The Abraham Accords with Nir Boms & Najat Al-Saied | March 17, 2021
On March 17, Professors David Schanzer and Abdullah Antepli were joined by Nir Boms (a Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University) and Najat Al-Saied (a political communication and development researcher) to discuss the Abraham Accords, the historic set of agreements normalizing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The conversation began with a discussion about what Israel sees itself in gaining from the Accords, with Dr. Boms noting that it is fundamentally an attempt for normalcy by Israel, with the hope that it will set a formula for different relations in the region. This was contrasted by the perspective of the UAE and Bahrain with Dr. Al-Saied suggesting that the Arab Gulf States are pragmatic and business-minded. She said that the UAE sees the treaty as a part of its modernization and development, and the sixteen areas of collaboration in the agreement are economically beneficial; in fact, the normalization of economic relations between UAE and Israel led to an estimated 500 million USD in bilateral trade and investment.
The discussion then turned to the implications of the agreements on the region, noting that the Accords are transactional in nature but also suggest a motivation for states in the region to figure out how to work together and focus on issues in the Middle East larger than the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Dr. Boms suggested that, on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it could provide a pathway for the conflict to be brought into the right scope among other issues. Dr. Boms and Dr. Al-Saied then answered questions from students; the Q&A discussion covered the potential for cultural shifts as a result of the Accords, the involvement of civic society in the implementation, and how the governments of the states can set the example for moving forward.