Trump’s ‘Abraham Accords’ Announces Peace Between Israel and the United Arab Emirates
Yesterday, Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to a historic peace agreement, marking a stark shift in the Middle East and a critical foreign-policy victory for United States President Donald Trump. Nicknamed the Abraham Accords, the deal will see the full formalization of ties between the nations, including direct flights between the states, exchange of diplomats and embassies, security cooperation and an economic partnership.
“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders,” read a joint statement by President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.A.E. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. “All three countries face many common challenges and will mutually benefit from today’s historic achievement.”
To this point, the only other Middle East nations to make peace agreements with Israel are Egypt (1978) and Jordan (1994).
The deal with Abu Dhabi is the first time Israel has made peace with an Arab nation that doesn’t share its border and, critically, a powerful Gulf state that is actively fighting against Iranian influence.
A Victory for President Trump
Aside from withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal, mediating this peace agreement is likely President Trump’s most significant foreign-policy achievement of his time in office.
Praise for the deal came from across the board, including the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Joe Biden. Biden released a statement praising the U.A.E. for taking the “brave and badly needed act of statesmanship,” but claimed the agreement was built upon the work of past administrations.
Notorious anti-Trump New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, “For once, I am going to agree with President Trump in his use of his favorite adjective: ‘huge.’ … It is not Anwar al-Sadat going to Jerusalem—nothing could match that first big opening between Arabs and Israelis. It is not Yasser Arafat shaking Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn—nothing could match that first moment of public reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. But it is close.”
While foreign policy is unlikely to be a key feature of the upcoming election, the peace agreement will shore up President Trump’s evangelical base, which sees American support for Israel as one of the most important issues. A full signing of the agreement at the White House with Netanyahu and bin Zayid present will take place just before the election, reminding the American voter of President Trump’s victory.
A Victory for Prime Minister Netanyahu
For the past year, President Trump’s team has been working closely with Emirati officials and Israeli leaders to solidify warming ties between the states into an official agreement. When the Trump team announced his “Vision for Peace” on January 28 in the White House, he drew special attention to the attendance of the U.A.E. crown prince, highlighting that the deal had at least some endorsement from the Arab world.
However, over the past few months, Israel has aggressively pushed to implement the first part of the agreement, which would see Israeli sovereignty applied to parts of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. The loud noise that Israel was about to have Trump’s blessing of the annexation of West Bank territory caused a chorus of backlash against the deal by the Arab world.
Now, in announcing the deal, the annexation plans for the West Bank have been suspended. “As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the president’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world,” the joint statement read.
The word suspend was deliberately chosen in the text to show that annexation might still happen in the future, but it is off the table for now. And for that act, Israel now has peace with an Arab state.
This is a tremendous victory for Netanyahu and marks a huge shift from the Arabs’ decades-old negotiating position, which conditioned peace with Israel upon the retreat of Israeli forces from the West Bank. Raphael Ahren noted this change in his piece for Times of Israel, “Upending Traditional Views on Peacemaking, Israel-U.A.E. Deal Truly Heralds New Era.” Ahren wrote:
Stunningly, Abu Dhabi’s groundbreaking decision to fully normalize relations with Jerusalem did not require any tangible concessions of Israel. Netanyahu did not agree to withdraw from one centimeter of West Bank territory. He did not evacuate a single settler. He didn’t even have to pay lip service to the idea of Palestinian statehood or pledge allegiance to the two-state solution.
All Netanyahu had to do to clinch a deal few would have thought possible last week was to agree to hold off on unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank. Not to abandon the plan altogether, but merely wait.
With Prime Minister Netanyahu’s approval rate shrinking in Israel over his handling of the coronavirus and the growing uneasiness of the public over forced annexation, the peace deal with virtually no cost to Israel is a boon for his continued leadership over Israel.
More Peace Deals Soon
The strategic decision to halt the annexation of the West Bank also allowed Mohammed bin Zayed the ability to save face for the agreement. He tweeted, “During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The U.A.E. and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.”
And with the dam broken on accepting Israel without demanding hard-hitting concessions on the Palestinian issue, other Gulf states could soon follow. Freidman noted:
This deal will certainly encourage the other Gulf sheikhdoms—Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia—all of which have had covert and overt business and intelligence dealings with Israel, to follow the Emirates’ lead. They will not want to let the U.A.E. have a leg up in being able to marry its financial capital with Israel’s cybertechnology, agriculture technology and health-care technology, with the potential to make both countries stronger and more prosperous.
Bahrain is tipped to be the next Gulf state that follows the Emirati lead as early as this year. President Trump said, “Now that the ice has been broken, I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates.”
Formalizing an Anti-Iranian Alliance
As noted by many commentators, one of the main reasons Abu Dhabi is willing to side with the United States and Israel is to create a united front against the rise of Iran.
In some ways, Biden’s comments that past administrations contributed to this deal between Israel and the U.A.E. are accurate, but not for the reason he thinks. The Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran sought to re-create the Middle East where the neighborhood was “shared” between Iran, the Gulf states and Israel. This was a huge shift in American policy that rewarded the terrorist state of Iran while degrading America’s relationship with Israel and the Gulf states. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in his latest personal, President Obama’s decision to empower Iran to hurt Israel was deliberate.
Terrified by the U.S.’s pro-Iran policy was the U.A.E., which is currently at war alongside Saudi Arabia against the Houthis, an Iranian proxy in Yemen. This growing Iranian power led the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia to partner increasingly with Israel, a nation that was willing to be a bulwark against the growing Iranian empire.
This peace agreement between Israel and the U.A.E. is thus an acknowledgment of the need to counter the radical Islamic state of Iran, rather than evidence of newfound love of the Jewish state. Ghaith al-Omari, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, confirmed this, saying on Thursday, “Iran is at the center of the convergence of interest between Israel and the U.A.E., both of whom see it as an existential threat, and this step will bolster the anti-Iranian axis.”
And because this is a relationship of convenience, Israel should be wary about being overly jubilant over the longevity of a peace deal with any nation in the Gulf.
As stated, this alliance is not motivated by an Emirati change of heart toward Israel, but is an outgrowth of the desire to formalize an anti-Iranian alliance.
Biblical prophecy also shows why Israel should be concerned.
Danger for Israel
In his booklet The King of the South, Mr. Flurry explains that two alliances between Middle Eastern states will form in our day. The first is a radical Islamic alliance led by Iran known as “the king of the south.” Daniel 11:40 mentions that the king of the south has an offensive foreign policy that pushes the region to the brink of war. Other nations included in this alliance will be Iraq and the nations along the west coast of the Red Sea passageway, as well as Libya.
The second alliance is found in Psalm 83. The psalms are not typically prophetic in nature, but Psalm 83 is different. As Lange’s Commentary and the Anchor Bible relate, there is no case in history where the alliance of nations mentioned in Psalm 83 has ever come together.
“For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them …” (verses 5-8).
Many of these ancient names refer to nations that still exist in the same territory. Ishmaelites is the prophetic term for the Arabs of modern Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. And all the Middle Eastern nations listed in this psalm fall into what many consider the “moderate Arab” camp, where mainly Sunni Islam is prevalent today. Also notice that none of the nations mentioned in Daniel 11:40-42 as comprising the king of the south, such as Iran and Egypt, are listed here.
Put together, these two passages of Scripture describe the two alliances forming in the Middle East. One is the pro-Iran alliance and the other, an anti-Iranian alliance.
The Gulf nations that are warming toward Israel, such as the United Arab Emirates, are part of the anti-Iranian alliance. However, although the Psalm 83 alliance may unite to counter Iran’s rise, the Bible reveals that its main purpose will be to fight Israel.
“They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” (verses 3-4).
These nations, the very ones that Israel is ready to sign a peace deal with, are eventually going to attack Israel.
These verses indicate that the moderate Arabs, in an alliance with Germany, will take “crafty counsel” among themselves to destroy Israel. The scene in Psalm 83 is not one of enemy nations confronting each other in prepared war.
It is one of deception.
An enemy alliance conspires to destroy a double-crossed Israel. And it does all this just after the Iranian-led king of the south has been destroyed.
In this peace deal between the Gulf states and Israel we see all the hallmarks of the fulfillment of this prophecy. And based on these prophecies, we can expect Israel’s relationship with the moderate Arab states in the Gulf to indeed become stronger as they work to counter Iran’s rise. But we can also expect that once the great Iranian threat is defeated, many of Israel’s allies will turn on it in what will be the great double cross of history.
This is what your Bible states will happen. All of these prophecies are explained in Mr. Flurry’s booklet The King of the South—free upon request.
Certainly, it is hard not to celebrate when there are announcements of peace between Israel and Arab states. Yet the Bible tells us to beware when you hear a lot about peace. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote of false prophets “saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). This is especially true when talking about peace in the Middle East.
These prophecies show that long-term peace will not come to the Middle East through this peace deal or future ones with Israel and the Gulf states. But there is comfort in knowing that events in the region are lining up with the prophecies of your Bible.
For more information of where this double cross of Israel involving the Arab states will lead, please request The King of the South.