The Abrahamic Accords dividend: better relations with Great Britain

The Abraham Accords are not only good for Israel and the Arab countries involved, but they have also led to an improvement in Israel’s relations with third countries that no longer care about how close relations will be with the Jewish state in the Gulf. Persian, former ambassador to the UK. Mark Regev said.

Regev, in a one-on-one Zoomcast from the Jerusalem Post, said that this effect was actually felt in Britain even before the agreements were formally signed in 2020, but after Israel quietly established relations with several countries in the Arab world.

In 2018, Regev, currently a senior visiting researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, recalled that he went to an RAF air base for the first joint exercise between the IAF and the RAF, and the first time pilots of the IAF. they flew over British soil.

“In the British Army there was always respect for Israel, for the IAF, for Israeli intelligence and elite Israeli combat units, and in Israel, there was always respect for the British,” he said. “But in the past, there were political limitations on the relationship, and those political limitations were based on the reality that Britain had some very strong friends in the Arab world, countries where they have very lucrative economic relationships and historical friendships and associations. “

Over the past decade, Regev said, the part of the Arab world closest to Britain also turned out to be the part of the Arab world most open to relations with Israel. “So if in the past part of the British government put its foot on the brakes to prevent the Israeli-British relationship from moving too fast because they were concerned that there might be a backlash from Britain’s traditional partners in the Middle East, it would. What we have now is that those Arab partners of Britain suddenly became Israel’s best friends. ”

This, even more than Brexit, explains the strengthening of ties between the two countries over the last decade.

“There are people in the British government who were concerned that getting too close to Israel would affect their relations with the Arab world. And when that stopped being a problem, that allowed other things to move forward and allowed Israeli-British relations to move forward in a very natural way. “

Regev said the positive trajectory in the relationship started before the 2016 Brexit vote and while Brexit may have helped strengthen the trend, it was not the result of Brexit. He also said that when it comes to political issues such as the diplomatic process with the Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem, there are not many differences between the positions taken in London and those taken by the EU in Brussels.

However, Regev said that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of his great friendship with Israel whenever they met, always mentioning the three weeks he spent volunteering at Kibbutz Kfar Hanasi in his youth.

“There is a warmth there, a friendship towards Israel, and I think also a friendship towards the Jewish people,” he said. “Is that always articulated in the policy that we agree on on each issue? Obviously not.”

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