It allowed the five Middle Eastern states — Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Israel — to collectively encourage the United States to remain engaged in the region, despite its focus on Russia and China. And it gave them the chance to lobby Mr. Blinken not to lift sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a key Iranian military force, in exchange for Iran’s curbing its nuclear ambitions.
“What we are doing here is making history — building a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation,” said the Israeli foreign minister, Yair Lapid, who organized the conference.
“This new architecture, the shared capabilities we are building,” he added, “intimidates and deters our common enemies, first and foremost Iran and its proxies.”
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the summit was the fact that it took place at all.
When Israel signed normalization agreements with the U.A.E., Bahrain and Morocco in 2020, with the help of the Trump administration, it was unclear how sustainable or meaningful the relationships would be. The fact that all three gathered for the first time on Israeli soil, nearly two years later, shows how cemented those ties have become.
The presence of Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with Israel in 1979, also highlighted how the 2020 agreements have encouraged Cairo to breathe new life into a relationship it had long neglected.
“This is our first time” in Israel, Sheikh Abdullah said in his closing statement. “If we are curious sometimes, and we want to know things and learn, it’s because although Israel has been part of this region for a very long time, we’ve not known each other. So it’s time to catch up.”