Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Abraham Accords Deserve a Nobel Prize | Opinion

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As first reported by Reuters, former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz have been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize by Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School. The pair joins former president Donald Trump, who has been nominated for the prestigious honor several times since the initial signing of the Abraham Accords in September of last year.

President Trump, Kushner and Berkowitz are being honored for their leading roles in negotiating the historic Abraham Accords. The accords established normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, the first of their kind in more than 25 years.

There are many leaders from around the world who deserve credit for the Abraham Accords, but none more so than Kushner, Berkowitz and the 45th president of the United States. The Trump administration implemented a groundbreaking policy in the Middle East by focusing on turning the Arab world toward Israel and away from the terror regime in Iran. That policy resulted in more Middle East peace deals signed in 5 months than had been signed in the previous 70 years.

In a difficult year dominated by a deadly pandemic, the Abraham Accords stand out as a bright spot. In his letter to the Nobel Committee, Professor Dershowitz wrote that “The Abraham Accords was the single most important peace-oriented event of the year 2020.” He continued, “There’s no other event in the world that compares to it in importance.”

That perspective can be easily extended—the signing of Abraham Accords as a whole is the most important peace-oriented event of this generation.

Considering our highly politicized environment, it is important to note that even President Joe Biden has praised the accords, calling them a “historic step.” The Biden administration has already said it intends to follow the path forged by Trump, Kushner and Berkowitz to pursue further agreements.

Berkowitz, Kushner and Hook
(L-R) Avraham Berkowitz, assistant to the president and special representative for international negotiations and senior advisor to President Donald Trump Jared Kushner with Brian Hook, U.S. special envoy for Iran on August 13, 2020.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Thanks to the Trump administration, if the Biden team is serious about its intentions to bring more peace to the Middle East, the opportunity for additional agreements is ripe. The Abraham Accords have shown Arab countries that peace with Israel can be accomplished safely, and will lead to further deals that can improve the security of the entire region. These lessons appear to have been internalized in the Arab world. There has already been speculation that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Mauritania are considering normalizing with Israel as well.

In contrast with Israel’s past agreements with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994), the Abraham Accords have created a warm peace between its signatories instead of focusing solely on national security. Despite COVID complications, more than 50,000 Israelis visited Dubai in the final quarter of 2020, Emirati investors have invested millions of dollars in Israeli culture and Moroccan officials have promoted tourism between the two nations. There have been multiple first-time flights on Israeli carriers, and Saudi Arabia has allowed Israeli planes to routinely fly over its airspace.

It can easily be argued that the Middle East has never seen transformational change like the Abraham Accords, and the people-to-people interactions they have spawned. Just last week, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Sharaka, a group formed in the wake of the accords to encourage Gulf-Israel interactions, organized an online event with Auschwitz survivor Vera Kriegel. Ms. Kriegel spoke about her horrific experiences during the Holocaust to young people from Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. Many of the participants commented that they had never been taught about the Holocaust before.

Perhaps the most exciting element of the Abraham Accords is that they have only begun. The openings and brightness they will create are just beginning to be realized.

The promise of peace is only stymied by the limits of our imaginations, and its negotiators deserve our praise. That is why the Abraham Accords (and its negotiators) deserve to be recognized with this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Boris Epshteyn is a political strategist, attorney, and investment banker who served as Special Assistant to President Trump.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/abraham-accords-deserve-nobel-prize-opinion-1567176 on .

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