After several years of patient but focussed statecraft the Abraham Accords 7 memoranda were completed and signed in Washington on 15 September last year and at its conclusion in Manama on 19 October 2020.
The former US Administration hailed the Accords as a major milestone in the changing fortunes of the Bahrain Israel relationship. His Excellency Abdullatif Al Zayani referenced the Accord as a ‘Warm Peace’.
In this context utilising the name of the Prophet Abraham encapsulates the aims of the Accords and his larger mission of enabling Muslims, Jews and Christians to recognise commonalities and common interests.
This perhaps has never been more important than it is today. His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa recognised the importance of the Accords and of course, less we miss the wider issue, the importance of also moving forward for the Palestinian peoples stating that “we consider [a viable and independent Palestine] as a cornerstone for achieving a just and comprehensive peace”.
And whilst the new American Administrations cascade of Executive Orders undid much of the Trump Era legacy the Accords are not one of those. Indeed the Accords have the full support of President Biden.
So where to next for , especially in our context, the Accords and Australia’s role going forward.
In November 2020 thanks to the significant efforts and initiative of Ron Gerstenfeld DCM at the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, the Australia Bahrain Business Council, The Australia Israeli Chambers Simon White and the Israeli Australia Chamber of Commerce’s Paul Israel the first commercially led MOU was negotiated and executed between representees’ of these interests to promote and drive the Accords on a tripartite basis. As Ron termed it a “triangle of Trade”.
One of the main focal points for the practical realisation of the Accords is in the arena of commercialisation , Food Security and logistics.
The newly formed ‘The Australia, Bahrain and Israel Food Security Group’ has now been established to facilitate the Accords and bring together expertise from Australia, Israel and Bahrain in one holistic offering and purpose.
Bringing together experts from the 3 nations under ‘The Group’ will assist Bahrain to link in a very practical and commercially progressive manner with Israeli know how and expertise. It has the potential to create a regional Food Security Hub under the templates developed by the Group which will draw on the food security and agri related commercialisation expertise of Israel and the Food and agribusiness experience that Israel and Australia offer as global leaders.
It will also bring to bear the unrivalled commercial trading expertise of Bahrain which dates back as far as the ancient kingdom of Dilmun and has been perfected into an art by modern day Bahrainis. The potential is now to build upon the remarkable acceleration underway in the Bahrain SME sector led by the Bahraini SME Association and the Bahrain Economic Development Board.
Bahrain’s role as one of the centres of regional and international gatherings focussing on economic development security and freedom of religion would see it play the major role in developing out the proposed Food Security and agribusiness hub .
This would almost overnight create SME and strategic linkages trilaterally, give a much needed impetus to all nations Research and Development as well as creating trade and vocational training opportunities for all.
Most importantly it would be the initial powering conduit from which a myriad of relationships, trading and economic opportunities branching far beyond any initial remit would be established : a high profile ,readily commenced and far reaching catalyst.
As the holy Quran says in relation to Abraham succeeding his trials that “Abraham fulfilled his engagements”.
Let us now do likewise in our small way and fulfill our engagements.