As the Israel-Hamas war continues, Donald Trump, who is campaigning for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said that when he was president, he brokered a deal to protect Israel.
“With the historic Abraham Accords, I even made peace in the Middle East, we’re gonna have peace in the Middle East,” Trump said at a Dec. 2 rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “So, for four straight years, I kept America safe. I kept Israel safe.”
Trump has repeatedly said this since Hamas attacked Israel Oct. 7.
The Abraham Accords normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and some Arab countries in 2020, but did not achieve peace across the Middle East. Many experts told us that the Palestinians felt that the agreements bypassed them and inflamed their relationship with Israel.
“In reality, the accords simply elevated and formalized relations between countries that already maintained backchannel ties,” said Omar H. Rahman, a U.S.-based research fellow at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a think tank in Qatar. “Moreover, none of the parties to the Abraham Accords were ever engaged in military conflict against each other, so framing normalization as peace is a gross misrepresentation of what the agreements actually achieved.”
Abraham Accords did not address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
In 2020, leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco signed the Abraham Accords. The countries agreed to peace and cooperation with Israel, establishing embassies in one another’s countries, preventing hostile activities and fostering tourism and trade cooperation.
A Trump campaign spokesperson cited a statement from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, which praised the accords as a tool to achieve prosperity and stability in the region. The UAE described the accords as a “historic normalization agreement” and its relationship with Israel as a “warm peace.”
In 2020, Trump said the agreements would “serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”
Some experts from the outset said that Trump’s statement was overblown or that the accords did not amount to Middle East peace. Coinciding with the signing, Gaza fired rockets toward Israel and Israel fired back.
Steven Cook, an expert on U.S.-Middle East policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in 2020 that the accords were not a peace treaty because Israel and the United Arab Emirates were not at war.
The agreements established cooperation among Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco, and Trump deserves credit for that, said Aaron David Miller, a former adviser to Republican and Democratic secretaries of state on Palestinian-Israeli negotiations who is now a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
But Hamas’ attacks on Israel “demonstrated with terrifying clarity, peace in the Middle East between Israel and all of its neighbors is still a very distant goal,” Miller said.
Each of the Arab nations involved in the Abraham Accords signed for its own reasons, said Gerald M. Feierstein, a U.S. ambassador to Yemen under President Barack Obama and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, a nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
For Bahrain and the UAE, ties to Israel strengthened their security in relation to Iran. Arab countries also hoped for economic benefit through trade and investment ties to Israel’s high-tech economy. The UAE wanted access to advanced U.S. military equipment, the F-35 fighter jet and MQ-9 Reaper drones. Morocco sought and received U.S. recognition of its sovereignty in the western Sahara.
Accords did not bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians
Trump told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” in 2020 that “certainly a piece” of the accords was to pressure Palestinians into peace negotiations with Israel.
That strategy failed.
“The Abraham Accords did not achieve peace in the Middle East or help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Osamah Khalil, a historian of U.S. foreign relations and the modern Middle East at Syracuse University.
Trump’s actions sidelined Palestinians, including his decision to eliminate funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
The accords did not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and emboldened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex the occupied West Bank, Khalil said.
Guy Ziv, associate director at the Center for Israel Studies at American University, said that “the Palestinians were sidelined throughout the Trump era.”
The Arab-Israeli conflict retains three major conflictual relationships: Israel-Lebanon (and especially Israel-Hezbollah), Israeli-Palestinian and Israel-Syria, said Jeremy Pressman, Middle East studies director at the University of Connecticut.
“None of these three conflicts improved as a result of the Abraham Accords,” Pressman said.
The Abraham Accords remain in effect under Biden.
Trump said “with the historic Abraham Accords, I even made peace in the Middle East.”
The accords, signed among Israel and a few Arab countries in 2020, established cooperation, but the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco were not at war with Israel. The accords bypassed several conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump did not achieve peace across the entire region.
We rate this statement False.
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