By Noah Gal Gendler*
The peace agreement between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain is a historic moment that brings together the most advanced states in the Middle East for the good of humanity. Combining forces and finding common ground has never been more urgent than now, in the midst of a global pandemic, and the Abraham Accord is set to generate immediate results.
The leaders of Israel, the United States and the UAE hailed the agreement as an “historic diplomatic breakthrough that will advance peace in the Middle East”, “chart a new path”, and “unlock the great potential in the region”. Moreover, the Health Ministers of both Israel and the UAE have already agreed to cooperate on health issues, particularly coronavirus, as well as to set up business delegations and a student exchange program.
In the first commercial agreement after Israel and the UAE announced the normalization of relations, UAE’s APEX National Investment company and Israel’s TeraGroup firm signed an agreement to jointly research and develop a coronavirus testing device that will diagnose the disease more quickly and accurately. The two countries have also committed to work together on medical research and pharmaceuticals, collaborating particularly in the development of treatments and vaccine trials for COVID-19. Apex National Investment has further signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, setting up Israel as a new major destination for medical tourism from the UAE. Both countries have suffered under the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and it’s therefore fitting that the first field of cooperation be in healthcare.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates are both young countries that have managed to develop dynamic and thriving economies in just a few decades. Both are at the cutting-edge of innovation and technology and share in the same entrepreneurial spirit, and both will gain from the expansion of trade and commercial ties. The Israeli Economy Ministry has estimated that Israeli exports to the UAE could jump to $500 million a year, and that Emirati investments in Israel could reach some $350 million a year. The cyber security, medical, financial, and communications industries are expected to benefit in particular from the newfound expansion of trade and investment between Israel and the UAE.
These initiatives and collaborations represent just a drop in the ocean of what is to come in the normalization of relations between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain. The citizens of all three countries will quickly see their lives enriched as a result of this agreement, paving the way for increasingly more countries in the region to realize the vast potential that exists in making peace with Israel.
The challenges we are facing today know no borders, and it is essential that we combine our capabilities for the benefit of all of our citizens. We call on all those following this historic moment to voice their support for the agreement, and to encourage others to do the same./ADN
*Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel to the Republic of Albania