Bilateral agreement or one-sided decision: Abraham Accords a false peace

Tom Fowdy
A true and lasting peace is when both sides engage in a mutually acceptable compromise to avert conflict which takes into consideration their respective national interests.
Tom Fowdy

Toward the end of Donald Trump's presidency, the US administration rolled out a "peace process" that they called the "Abraham Accords" in September 2020.

Driven by the Christian fundamentalist and Zionist Inhibitions of Mike Pompeo, as well as Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the accords aimed to buy off states in the Middle East in exchange for securing recognition of Israel. This saw the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco all recognize Tel Aviv. An immediate geopolitical goal of the accords was an attempt to diplomatically isolate Iran, as well as other forces in the region which seek to resist Israeli occupation of Palestine.

However, the Abraham Accords were flawed for one significant reason. That being they offered a "one-sided" peace whereby Arab states simply recognized Israel without any change to the status quo or Israel's behavior in general. This was an absurd premise given the same administration had made the unilateral decision to recognize occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital, as well as continued occupation of and settlement building in the West Bank amongst numerous other things, in other words rewarding bad behavior. Ironically, it is well known in Western discourse that making a one-sided peace without any form of compromise or resistance constitutes "appeasement."

And that's precisely what the Abraham Accords were, appeasement. A true and lasting peace is when both sides engage in a mutually acceptable compromise to avert conflict which takes into consideration their respective national interests. But the Abraham Accords did no such thing, because Israel was not required to make any compromises and nor were the Palestinians by any stretch even part of the negotiations.

Rather, the US used unilateral diplomacy to buy off the participating governments, appealing to their individual motives. For example, recognizing Morocco's annexation of the Western Sahara. Thus, rather than serving the true interests of peace, the accords only increased the sense of injustice pertaining to Palestinians.

And it is for that reason that the Accords have acted as a profoundly destabilizing force that have directly contributed to the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Gaza strip. It should be noted on analyzing this that the term "unprovoked," as wielded by Western politicians, is inherently misleading, because such a term seeks to imply that the status quo was in any way, politically tenable or stable. The US had attempted to impose diplomatic isolation on Palestine while Israel continued its routine provocations and attacks against the West Bank, emboldened by a hardline Benjamin Netanyahu administration which had recently returned to power.

The United States in general has a diplomatic strategy of subtly "moving the goalposts" while in effect claiming to support a peaceful status quo, even as its own actions are in effect undermining that "status quo." The US will repeatedly claim in doing so that it is committed to diplomacy, but refuses to move on its position. This usually results in forcing the other party into a corner, leading to military action as a perceived last resort. The US then brands that party as the aggressor and pretends the outcome is "unprovoked."

As two other examples, the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out as a consequence of the US-led expansion of NATO, changing the status quo of Eastern Europe and crossing Russia's red lines. The US refused to compromise on this position, leading to the outbreak of war and Moscow's "unprovoked" invasion.

Secondly, the United States is currently undermining its commitment to the "one-China policy" pertaining to the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, doing so by boosting its military presence in the region, encouraging greater diplomacy with it and selling arms to the island. Despite the fact it is vowing back on its own foreign policy commitment, the US claims it "supports the status quo" and then accuses China of the one seeking to do so. Beijing is then accused of being the aggressor in a situation the US is fuelling the fire of, and likewise any subsequent breakout of conflict would also be described by the US and its allies as "unprovoked."

The same goes with Israel and Palestine. The United States has through the Abraham Accords legitimized aggression and open attempts to change the status quo by the other party, and in doing so has not promoted but effectively and actively undermined diplomacy by seeking to isolate the Palestinian State, thus appeasing aggression. Israel commits wrongs, but in fact finds itself rewarded in doing so, so why should they stop?

It is therefore a regrettable truth that this scenario sets the stage for war, and this is where we find ourselves in now. What the Western media will not explain to you is that things have got to a point where Palestinian people increasingly feel "there is no other way," because the backers of Israel, and for that matter Israel itself, have no interest in a mutually acceptable, balanced and compromise laden peace. Given this, the Abraham Accords were an unbalanced act of appeasement which set the stage for conflict.

(The author, a postgraduate student of Chinese studies at Oxford University, is an English analyst on international relations. The views are his own.)

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