Trump haters at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and elsewhere portray the latest conflagration in Israel as evidence that former president Trump’s Middle East deals — the Abraham Accords — weren’t worth celebrating, after all. In my view, this line misapprehends what the Accords were about.
Trump may have overstated what the Accords meant. Like many a politician, and to a greater degree than most, he oversold nearly everything he accomplished.
However, these deals weren’t intended as a guarantee against periodic Palestinian aggressions and uprisings. They were about establishing military, economic, and diplomatic relations between Israel and the countries, most notably the UAE, that are Israel’s partners in the agreements. And, above all, they were about countering Iranian aggression in the region.
The current situation in Israel doesn’t mean that the Accords haven’t served these purposes. Nor does it mean they won’t continue to serve them.
The Post finds it significant that there have been mass protests against Israel in countries that signed agreements with the Jewish State. In addition, some of these governments have criticized Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians.
But the same can be said of some European countries. Israel might have hoped for better from its new Arab partners than from the Europeans. But I doubt Israel expected an absence of protests and criticism in the event that it needed to quell aggression from Hamas.
As things stand now, the protests, whether in Europe or the Middle East, are meaningless. There is this difference between them, though.
If the combination of Arab governments’ deals with Israel and large-scale anti-Israel sentiment in the countries that made the deals results in the overthrow or substantial weakening of one or more Arab governments, then Trump’s policy of brokering these deals will have to viewed in a very negative light.
I see no indication, however, that this unhappy outcome is in the cards. In all likelihood, the Arab populations in question will blow off steam, and then it will be back to business as usual — pursuant to the new normal brought about by the Abraham Accords.