On September 14, 2023, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller put out a statement about the third anniversary of the Abraham Accords. The statement highlighted the transformative impact of normalization between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco. A month later, concerns arose about the potential impact of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 on the success of the new peace ties.
The US aimed to invest in the Accords and expand them, but Iran sought to prevent Israel-Saudi Arabia normalization. The US reaffirmed its support for a “peaceful, secure, and prosperous Middle East” in September. Additionally, there was talk of a new trade route linking India to Europe via the Middle East, building on the I2U2 partnership of India, Israel, the UAE, and the US.
The challenges facing the Abraham Accords
Prior to October 7, there were signs of challenges for the Abraham Accords. The Negev Forum, which was meant to bring multiple countries together, was not progressing as planned. The spring of 2023 also brought challenges, with increased Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad attacks in the West Bank, designed to draw Israel into more fighting and create tensions in the region.
These challenges are contrary to the goal of the Accords to promote stability and coexistence. However, the past year has shown that there are powerful spoilers, such as civil war in Sudan and insufficient investment in the Accords and their expansion. The October 7 attack also raised questions about security in the region, impacting defense discussions and drills in the region.
While Israeli peace partners have been supporting Gaza with humanitarian aid, there is also criticism and concern following the October 7 attack. The war in Gaza is aligned with Iran’s goals of expanding the conflict and disrupting peace and normalization deals. This goes against the peaceful trend of the Abraham Accords, highlighting the need to invest in peace and reduce extremism in the new year.