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A vision of peace, prosperity amid the pandemic

/ 05:02 AM September 19, 2020

The establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain is a watershed moment for the Middle East. While this region of the world is often thought to be somewhat of a dysfunctional family, the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement represents a conscious decision to instead be a normal one. It is a historic event that marks a new beginning for the region, and in addition to peace, will bring about tangible results that will be felt immediately.

The peace agreements represent an alternative and paradigm-shifting step forward for the region. It has fostered a revolutionary opportunity for other Arab nations to establish formal ties with the State of Israel, a concept previously deemed far-fetched and impossible. It provides a striking alternative to those radical forces who oppose peace and prefer to perpetuate war until victory is won, over resolving conflict in a peaceful manner and reaping the benefits that cooperation can provide. Our sincere hope is that other countries will see the connections we’ve forged between our peoples and economies through these agreements, and realize the benefits that they, too, could enjoy.

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This historic event is an important stage in ending the conflict in the Middle East, and we believe that this kind of agreement will effectively serve to immunize countries against the calamity that comes with extremism, for which peace is the only remedy.

The United States played a leading role in brokering the Accords, and remains a true ally of all sides and a central player in the region.

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Ultimately, the peace agreements represent an alignment of values. Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain are all facing the shared challenges of climate change, diminishing resources, and most pertinently, of coronavirus. It is essential that we focus on agreement over disagreement, and combine our capabilities for the well-being of our citizens. This is exactly what this agreement has achieved. The Abraham Accords Peace Agreement should be the guiding light for all other nations of the region of the good that can come from making peace with Israel.

The agreements also open abundant opportunities for trilateral cooperation between Israel, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. Both Israel and the UAE have strong and strategic areas of cooperation with the Philippines. We are positive that this milestone will expand new developments between our countries in the areas of agriculture, tourism after the pandemic, energy sector, trade and investments, and overseas Filipino workers.

Combining forces and finding common ground have never been more urgent than now, in the midst of a global pandemic.

Israel has granted significant assistance to the Philippines to help its fight against COVID-19. We have donated personal equipment to the first responders of the Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police and learning equipment to help support the Department of Education.

These initiatives represent just a drop in the ocean of what is to come out of the potential peace treaties between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain.

This week, as we celebrate the beginning of the new Jewish year, let us hope and believe that the coming year will bring peace, security, prosperity, and most importantly, good health to all the people in Israel, the Philippines, and all over the world.

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Rafael Harpaz is the Israeli ambassador to the Philippines.

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TAGS: Abraham Accords Peace Agreement, Bahrain, coronavirus pandemic, Israel, Middle East, United Arab Emirates
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