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An historic day and an incredible peace

The Zionist Federation of Australia warmly welcomes the signing of an Israel–UAE treaty and a Bahrain–Israel normalisation agreement, and congratulates the leaders of all three countries.

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said, “From its very establishment, the State of Israel has sought peace with its neighbours. When Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence in 1948, he said, ‘We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness’. This offer of peace never wavered even though, over 72 years, Israel had to overcome a legion of challenges as it maintained its right to exist as a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.”

Mr Leibler continued, “These are truly historic times, and we congratulate the leaders of Israel and especially of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, for taking these courageous steps that further the interests of peace and of the future prosperity of their people.”

The sight of an Israeli leader, together with leaders from so many Arab countries together, smiling, with a shared vision and shared commitment to mutual peace and prosperity is one that the Australian Jewish community – indeed, Jews across the world – have hoped to see for decades.

As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the signing ceremony, for thousands of years, the Jewish people have prayed for peace. For decades, the Jewish state has prayed for peace.

The agreements signed today are not merely evidence of a growing pragmatism in the Arab Middle East, but proof that Israel is being welcomed as a valued member of the region. These agreements include articles on commerce, the opening of embassies, cultural exchanges, direct flights, and cooperation on health and security. They are not agreements for a ‘cold peace’, but the sign of warming relations.

Neither Israel nor its new Arab partners are ignoring the need to find a viable, negotiated outcome to the Israeli–Palestinian dispute. Indeed, just as Egypt has become a key mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, because of its presence in Israel, so too will the UAE. Its leaders have called on Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel, as does the leadership of the ZFA.