Menorah lighting with UAE, Bahrain and Israel ‘showcased strength of Accords’
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Menorah lighting with UAE, Bahrain and Israel ‘showcased strength of Accords’

Middle East Minister James Cleverly recalls event last year with three envoys to mark the historic agreement

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Tzipi Hotovely, James Cleverly, UAE Ambassador Mansoor Abulhoul and Bahraini Ambassador Sheikh Fawaz Al-Khalifa at the Chanukah event
Tzipi Hotovely, James Cleverly, UAE Ambassador Mansoor Abulhoul and Bahraini Ambassador Sheikh Fawaz Al-Khalifa at the Chanukah event

Middle East minister James Cleverly has recalled the “wonderful and moving” moment that Ambassadors from Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain came together for last year’s virtual Chanukah menorah lighting event initiated by the Jewish News.

Speaking in a House of Commons Abraham Accords debate, secured by the MP Robert Jenrick, Cleverely said: “For me, perhaps one of the most wonderful and moving moments is when I had the pleasure, during Chanukah last year, to be present at the virtual lighting of the Menorah.

“It was an event where I, the Ambassadors to the Court of St James from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel came together in this iconic Jewish festival.

“It showcased the strength of commitment from all sides to this agreement to reinforce the longevity and prosperity of their relationship.”

Last December’s online event was the first time the Ambassadors to the UK have publicly come together, representing a new era of normalisation between the nations since the Abraham Accords were signed.

Assessing the impact of the Accords, the minister said they were “indeed an historic moment, beginning a new chapter in Israeli foreign policy and regional collaboration, hopefully bringing us all a step closer to resolving one of the major issues driving instability and conflict in the Middle East.”

Cleverly revealed on Monday that he would be making his first visit to Israel in December as a minister, although he was visited as an MP before.

He said December’s visit would mean he will have “completed the trio of the Abraham accords’ initial signatories, having visited the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain earlier this year. ”

The minister added: “I look forward to discussing what further opportunities the accords bring, not just regarding our respective relationships with Israel, the Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but to see what we can do to use the accords to further peace and prosperity in the region more widely.

“Of course, we have encouraged other nations to seize this opportunity and to normalise their relations with the state of Israel. We urge further direct engagement and call on all parties to work together to tackle the immediate and long-term threats to peace and security.”

Restating the UK’s commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Cleverly added:”Echoing the words of Israel’s Minister of Defence, Benny Gantz, the accords have opened a ‘window of opportunity’ to advance steps towards a political Middle East peace process.

“We want to see greater co-ordination and co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians, particularly on economic initiatives, to help improve the day-to-day lives of Palestinians and build increased dialogue.

“It is incumbent on us all to seize the opportunity afforded to us by the accords and make meaningful progress towards sustainable, long-term peace in the region.”

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