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The secret, visionary decision that launched the Abraham Accords

15 26 13
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As we mark the one-year anniversary this week of the signing of the Abraham Accords – the first Arab-Israeli peace and normalization agreements since Jordan’s deal in 1994 – the inside story of how they came about can finally be told.

As a dual US-Israeli citizen, an Evangelical, and an author, I had a rare front-row seat to see the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain join Egypt and Jordan as partners for peace. It all began in October 2018 when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, invited me to bring the first-ever delegation of Evangelical Christians to visit the UAE, and spend two hours with him in his palace.

Widely known by his initials MBZ, he is the powerful son of the UAE’s modern founder, the beloved and visionary Sheikh Zayed, who passed away in 2004. Few world leaders I have met have been more intriguing, influential, or innovative.

MBZ shuns the spotlight, rarely gives interviews, and almost never gives speeches. He prefers to operate behind the scenes. But he is most definitely the man driving his country’s impressive modernization reforms and its meteoric rise as a power player in the Gulf region. A moderate Muslim, MBZ has a passion to expand freedom and opportunity for his people. He also vigorously opposes radical Islamism in all its forms.

During that meeting, the Emirati leader stunned us by confiding that he had decided to make peace with Israel. He had come to believe it was in his people’s national interests, and he said he was looking for the right moment to make his move. As people who had been praying for peace as we are commanded to in the Bible, we were electrified. However, the ground rules were that our meeting was, at the time, off-the-record. Thus, while we were sitting on a huge story, we could not break the news. That said, we continued to pray and stay in touch with MBZ’s team, and watch him closely.

It is true that there were three men whose courage and counterintuitive leadership fundamentally turned the tide of history by embracing the Abraham Accords: President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, as well as MBZ. Yet based on extensive and detailed conversations with senior players in all three countries, it became clear to me that MBZ made the first set of critical strategic decisions that led to the game-changing peace deal.

First,........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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