Opinion and Editorial

People’s peace, indeed, is a popular peace

Last updated on September 15, 2021 at 12.12 am

The Abraham Accords are often called the People’s Peace where politics and conflict have taken a backseat. Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo elucidates it in an exclusive interview to Khaleej Times.

One of the architects of the accords that was signed a year ago, Pompeo’s insights into rapprochement efforts between the UAE and Israel, with the active backing of the United States, makes for compelling reading and explains why such a deal was important to break the cycle of war.

The Middle East, for decades, has often been seen from the prism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alone. But with this pact, these partners for a new Middle East have signalled their desire to move on and not to be entrapped by the vagaries and votaries of war.

It is often asked if such a peace be enduring and stand the test of time and geopolitical shifts. Then there are regime and government changes that happen. Ideologies make such a peace hard to sustain, according to the diplomatic rulebook.

Violence often threatens such peace. To make things worse, the dark side of history is dug up by critics to besmirch that hard-fought peace won with much compromise and courage. Indeed, it takes grit to fight for such a peace and hold one’s ground as the pall of war hangs heavy in the region. It is also important to see such a peace from a different perspective, away from a war economy that encourages more animosity and conflict between people and nations. A people’s peace is different from a political peace, or a mere diplomatic thaw in relations between two sides who are on the opposite sides of the divide. Such a peace focuses less on differences and more on the common good.

How can we benefit from interacting with each other to promote understanding that will prevent war? How do we boost trade and tourism to drive economic and social progress? Those were the questions the UAE, Israel, the US and Bahrain pondered before signing the accords at the White House last year. They concluded that such an endeavour was worth it and they have been proven right. What next, the people might ask.

Morocco and Sudan have since joined the Accords. At an ideological level, such a deal prevents the clash of civilisations and brings the Abrahamic religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity closer. They have derived strength from a common patron and have enhanced their understanding of each other.

Trade and cultural ties have improved. Israeli encroachments into Palestinian land have been stalled as agreed upon by the two sides. It gives the UAE more influence in the region as a soft power. For the people of the UAE, Bahrain, Israel, Sudan and Morocco, this is indeed popular peace.