If there is one thing the past month has taught us, it is that the Abraham Accords is a durable agreement that has already survived a war between Israelis and Palestinians, plus the elections and replacements of leaders in two key countries involved in its formation.
ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel C. Rosenberg told the Israeli paper, Haaretz, that Israel’s official state visit to the United Arab Emirates this week sends an important message that “the Gaza war tested the Abraham Accords – and the accords survived, and are still thriving.”
Even though former prime minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, was the central Israeli figure for the Abraham Accords, the “historic and dramatic” legacy of the U.S.-brokered normalization agreements between Israel and – so far – four Muslim nations, goes “far deeper” than any one person, Rosenberg said.
And, despite some anxiety about bidding farewell to Netanyahu, Evangelical Christians are excited about how these agreements will advance peace in the region, the author added.
“I think Evangelicals are excited about any move the Arabs and Israelis make to build on the Abraham Accords. And I think it is a great thing that the accords haven’t been a partisan-dividing point in Israel. It is something that generates excitement from right, center, and left in Israel,” Rosenberg said.
The Haaretz article, “No Bibi? No Problem: Trump Allies Celebrate Israel’s New Breakthrough with Gulf States,” was published as Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was set to make his – and Israel’s – first official state visit to the UAE on Tuesday.
Rosenberg noted that Netanyahu “has no one to blame but himself” for not leading the first official state visit.
“While Netanyahu deserves a Nobel Prize, along with the other parties for his role in the accords, he made a very serious error by cancelling his trips to the UAE to take credit for the accords. He cancelled four trips,” Rosenberg noted. "To cancel four times on a peace partner was not the Bibi we knew and loved. That was an unforced error which has become a huge opportunity for the Bennett-Lapid team. They will help consolidate the gains that Netanyahu won in the Gulf. And it will begin to show to the rest of the world that Bennett and Lapid can play on an international stage.”
Netanyahu and former U.S. President Donald Trump were some of the architects of these deals, but now a new American president and Israeli prime minister are in power. Nevertheless, Rosenberg sees only forward motion with these deals – not a reversal.
In fact, Rosenberg expects Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to make a follow-up visit soon and possibly also to the White House as well, after receiving an invitation indirectly from U.S. President Joe Biden who met with outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Washington yesterday.
Evangelicals – sad to see Netanyahu go – are at least placated by Lapid and Bennett’s embrace of the Abraham Accords. Rosenberg called them “natural heirs of this accord and very well-suited to build on them.”
David Parsons, vice president of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, also told Haaretz that no matter who is in Israeli leadership, “we feel the Abraham Accords will be good for Israel and we support any progress possible.”
Evangelicals do feel, however, that both in Washington and in Jerusalem, they’ve lost a position of power without Trump and Netanyahu at the helm.
“We do love former Prime Minister Netanyahu because of his policies, as well as his outreach to Christians. But we all knew a day would come when the mantle would pass to someone else,” Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg and Parsons both believe the new Israeli leadership will likely reach out to start building a relationship. On the other hand, regaining a seat at the table in the Biden administration will be harder to come by.
“There are so many issues in which our community will oppose Biden: on abortion, on excess spending, on Iran,” Rosenberg added. “But if he does things that are right, like building on the Abraham Accords, I, for one, will say so.”
Rosenberg, who was present at the White House for the historic Abraham Accords signing in September, has also been to the Emirates twice since then.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.