Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) want a full-time envoy working to encourage more countries to join the Accords.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Two congressmen reached across the aisle Tuesday to introduce legislation that will create an ambassador-level position to work full time on strengthening the Abraham Accords.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Mike Lawler (R-NY) proposed creating the position of Special Envoy, who would “serve as the primary advisor to, and coordinate efforts across, the United States Government relating to expanding and strengthening the Abraham Accords,” as the bill says, and “engage in discussions with nation-state officials lacking official diplomatic relations with Israel regarding the Abraham Accords.”
Through the Accords, since the end of 2020, Israel has normalized diplomatic relations with several Arab countries that do not border the Jewish state: The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, with Sudan agreeing to join but not yet signing on the dotted line.
The two congressmen want to expand that circle because, as Lawler said in announcing the bill, “Advancing the Abraham Accords will lead to a safer and more prosperous future for Israel and all nations in the Middle East.”
They explained further in their joint statement that “the Abraham Accords have given birth to a new Middle East, which is unfolding in real time. However, these breakthrough diplomatic agreements cannot be allowed to wither away due to bureaucratic neglect or negligence.
“Regardless of the administration, too often we see progress muddled by bureaucracy in which many people have power but there is no actual responsibility. There must be a clear delineation of power coming from within the federal government, such as an ambassador-level special envoy position, because the Abraham Accords are so monumental.”
In an interview with Jewish Insider, Torres specifically mentioned Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, and Saudi Arabia, the Arab country with arguably the most international clout, as two of the most important targets.
Calling Riyadh “the holy grail,” The New Yorker echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told CNN in an interview last month that making peace with Saudi Arabia would “effectively bring the Arab-Israeli conflict to an end.”
Jewish groups leaped to praise the initiative.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “More peace in the region will decrease hate and increase hope. That’s good for all parties.”
“We applaud Reps. Torres and Lawler for spearheading an initiative to ensure these officials have the necessary tools to continue their important work,” said Jason Isaacson, the American Jewish Committee’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer.
“These normalization agreements — combined with the creation of regional bodies and incremental openings from other Arab League states — are already yielding tangible benefits and promise to lead to new opportunities and a widening of the circle of peace,” he added.
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