US diplomat: Abraham Accords are what 'we all dreamed about'

At the one-year Knesset commemoration, US Chargé d’Affaires Michael Ratney speaks about the positive changes the Accords have brought.

Dan Verbin ,

Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony
Abraham Accords Signing Ceremony
Official White House Photo Andrea Hanks

The US Embassy in Jerusalem's Chargé d’Affaires Michael Ratney described the changes that have taken place since the signing of the Abraham Accords in August 2020 as “Inspiring.”

Speaking at the one-year commemoration event at the Knesset Abraham Accords Caucus, Ratney said that the accomplishment of the Accords have created an unparalleled situation in the Middle East.

“I’ve been an American diplomat in the Middle East long enough to remember how hard it was to travel in the region, not just if you were an Israeli, but even if you were an American with any trace of travel to Israel in your passport,” Ratney said. “But now you can go to Ben Gurion Airport, and on some days choose from six non-stop flights to Dubai. Or flights to Abu Dhabi, to Manama, to Casablanca, as well as flights to Cairo and Amman.”

He said that the flights “represent the sort of real human interaction, and the genuine regional economic integration, that we all dreamed about in the years since Camp David in 1979” and “in the years since Israel’s founding.”

He described the benefits from the Abraham Accords are tangible.

“Trade and investment are booming, creating new economic opportunities. Aviation links are expanding. Cultural programs are bringing people together. Academic and civil society ties continue to expand.”

Noting that Israeli tourists have “flocked to the UAE in record numbers,” the diplomat noted that that Israel’s participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai demonstrated pioneering Israeli technology to new world markets.

“The circle of peace created by the Abraham Accords also has positive effects beyond the Middle East. Israel now enjoys diplomatic relations with Kosovo, which established its embassy right here in Jerusalem,” Ratney said. “And Israel is also deepening its historic cooperation with its neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, to provide greater security and prosperity for the region.”

Ratney belies that the Abraham accords are “not an end in itself, but a very auspicious beginning.”

“We should all recognize the contributions and dedication of those who helped bring Israel and the region to that beginning,” he said. “The Biden Administration now continues working to expand normalization efforts, to deepen Israel’s existing relationships, and to bring new countries into the fold.”

With the unfolding developments unprecedented, Ratney remarked that he was increasingly viewing the outcome of the Accords as a normal occurrence.

“Maybe normalness can be one of the greatest benefits of normalization,” he said. “Neighbors in the region, now partners, meeting, discovering each other, finding opportunity, working together, making friends.”

He added: “We look forward to building on this progress in the months and years ahead – establishing new partnerships, deepening relationships, lowering barriers, bolstering security, connecting the region, connecting this region to world. And letting people – real, normal people – see the benefits of peace for themselves. That is not just a fanciful vision of a better Middle East. It’s a reality.”