Emiratis and Bahrainis on what the Abraham Accords mean for them


There have been agreements between governments, agreements between companies and air links between cities since the signing of the Abraham Accords.

But it is the relationships built by ordinary people that will be the legacy of the agreements, which were signed two years ago this week.

Emiratis and Bahrainis who have visited Israel say they have found a common interest and friendship, not to mention high-tech companies and a thriving economy.

A shared kitchen and sometimes a common language can only help too, they say.

The agreements were signed on September 15, 2020 at the White House between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel. Morocco followed soon after.

The agreements make us realize whatever difficulties we have with the Israelis on different subjects, it is possible that they will be resolved.

Nawaf Al Sayed, Bahraini lawyer

A work in progress

Emirati entrepreneur Reem Al Musabbeh, a chemical engineer, has founded several companies, including Retech, which creates mobile apps, websites and provides business consulting services.

His trip to Tel Aviv’s nonprofit Start-Up Nation Central was just the start of an interest in Israel, providing insight into how businesses can solve problems together.

“Israel is well known for innovation, which is one of the reasons why I want to learn more about its technology, its entrepreneurial spirit and the start-ups emerging from it,” she said. .

“What I’m trying to achieve is to better understand their culture, their technological knowledge, what makes them different and to bridge the gap.”

Speaking to ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, she pointed to the similarity in customs, traditions and food, she said.

Ms. Al Musabbeh strongly believes that new friendships are forged face to face.

“I’m going to be honest and tell everyone, I’m not a politician to talk about what’s going on between the two sides,” Ms Al Musabbeh said.

“What I believe is that regardless of the number of papers signed, it’s a matter of a person’s conscience and their state of mind.

“It will take time to build bridges between people. But I believe there is hope for people to try this because at the end of the day it is for the future of the youth and the betterment of the country.”

“Not everyone shares my point of view”

Nawaf Al Sayed, 49, a Bahraini lawyer, said the agreements will make the Middle East a safer place.

“We need calm in this region, we need peace,” he said. The National.

The ties between leaders and companies are gradually giving way to something more organic, he said.

“Economic relations are a first step, people can also be interested in culture, understand Israelis, understand Judaism,” Al Sayed said.

“The agreements make us realize that whatever difficulties we face with the Israelis on different topics, it is possible that they will be solved – not easy but possible to solve.”

Ms. Al Sayed enjoyed meeting Israeli entrepreneurs interested in bringing technology companies to Bahrain.

He takes the opportunity to talk about his Arab heritage, his vision of life and documents Jewish history and culture.

Not everyone had the same view of agreements, he said, and old attitudes took time to change.

“Israel is a reality to be experienced and discovered,” he said.

“It is sometimes difficult to be the one who speaks about these ideas but I always explain to my colleagues and friends that the Abraham Accords are a reality.

“We live in this reality, so we have to keep our emotions aside, be practical and understand the scientific, historical and political factors involved.”

The Emirati Majed Al Seyabi visited Israel and believes that it is necessary to strengthen the dialogue between the young people of the two countries.  Victor Besa / The National

Speeches by UAE leaders encouraged Emirati father-of-four Majed Al Seyabi to be part of the change the pact meant.

“I started thinking that personally, as an individual Emirati, I should be part of the Abraham Accords and have a connection with the Jewish people and with the Israelis,” said the Abu Dhabi resident, who works as an office manager for a general manager at a petrochemical company and has interests in real estate.

“I am passionate about this relationship, I want to build it. I believe that I have the responsibility to establish links, promote culture, coexistence and strengthen peace between people.

Mr. Seyabi posted photos of his visit to Israel on social media. He is unfazed by comments from people who disagree with him working with the Jewish community in the UAE and abroad.

“I am very passionate about the youth relationship between our community and the Israeli community because it promises the continuity of the Abraham Accords,” he said.

“I feel that I have the opportunity to convey kindness, tolerance and our Emirati way of life. I believe that the relationship between people is the key.

That the beginning

An 85-person delegation from the American Jewish Committee is in the United Arab Emirates this week to celebrate the second anniversary of the accords.

The private non-profit organization opened its 13th global office in Abu Dhabi earlier this year with the aim of promoting a better understanding of the Jewish faith and influencing opinion and policy.

“The accords are a historic achievement that have really changed the way people think about peacemaking in the Middle East,” said Marc Sievers, director of the committee.

“They were the act of great imagination and courage on the part of all those who signed them. The first decision maker was (President Sheikh Mohamed) since the United Arab Emirates were the first to announce their agreement to normalize relations, the Bahrainis followed and the Moroccans afterwards, so we celebrate that.”

Mr Sievers said tourism, business and educational opportunities had opened up and the group wanted to promote people-to-people exchanges.

“We will engage with government officials and citizens, especially young people,” he said.

“We hope to expand our contacts in this country and in other parts of the Gulf.”

Updated: September 13, 2022, 09:53


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