Israel is moving rapidly to establish a three-way summit in Jerusalem with the foreign ministers of the United States and the United Arab Emirates, Kan 11 News reported Thursday night, citing senior Israeli officials. According to the report, the summit could take place as early as next week and will include Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This would be bin Zayed’s first official visit to Israel.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) March 24, 2022
Secretary Blinken will arrive in Israel in the next few days (Blinken to Arrive in Israel this Weekend). His visit was originally scheduled to include meetings in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, but those were canceled over tensions between the UAE and the US following the Biden administration’s lackluster response to the Houthi attacks on Abu Dhabi.
In fact, for the year and a half since the signing of the Abrahamic Accords, Israel has served as a kind of mediator between Abu Dhabi and Washington, and a Jerusalem summit, if it takes place, could go a long way to ease the tensions between the two traditional allies.
Blinken’s visit is taking place against the background of the approaching nuclear agreement with Iran, a subject of great disagreement and friction between the US and all its Mid-East allies, most notable Israel. The summit would be an opportunity for the two countries that stand to lose the most from the deal to exact detailed guarantees as well as concessions from the Secretary of State before the deal is finalized. This, too, would go a long way to ease tensions.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that the United States and its allies have made progress on the Iran nuclear talks, but several issues remain unresolved, and it’s unclear if they would be resolved.
Blinken will arrive in Israel on Saturday night and meet with Prime Minister Bennett, Foreign Minister Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and President Isaac Herzog. Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert said on Thursday that “Secretary Blinken is going to travel to Israel, the West Bank, Morocco, and Algeria from March 26th to March 30th,” and “during his visit to Israel and the West Bank, the Secretary will underscore the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israeli security, coordination on Ukraine and Iran, and work to build upon the gains from the Abraham Accords.”
Lempert also noted that Blinken will also meet “with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah as well as with representatives of Palestinian civil society.” She stressed that “he will also underscore the importance of the upcoming month when major religious holidays across faiths will be celebrated, and reiterate the importance of actions to build trust, and enhance stability and security, and the need to avoid steps that can inflame tensions on the ground.”