Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali, CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory has underlined that striving to preserve the peace is more important than making it and entails a greater responsibility because, when peace is made, signatory states take on additional responsibilities in expanding and consolidating the progress made through daily interactions.
Dr. Al-Ali said in an article entitled “The Importance of Preserving Peace on the Anniversary of Peacemaking” that sustaining peace is not an easy or automatic task. Indeed, it requires courage, political will and attention to other important factors that support such achievements. He noted that among the most important of those factors is refraining from considering a peace settlement as ideal without making the efforts, taking the actions and implementing the practices that establish its principles; that is, considering the practical and applied factors or foundations that preserve and consolidate that peace, including not limiting peace to the signatory parties and excluding other parties, and not imposing a potentially temporary peace by force.
In his article that he published to coincide with the high-level symposium organized by TRENDS Research and Advisory on September 21, 2021 to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Peace Accords between the UAE and Israel and the annual International Day of Peace, Dr. Mohammed Al-Ali pointed out that the signing of the Abraham Accords received a universal welcome due to the fact that the world is now seeking global, peaceful coexistence more than ever. As the world had experienced recent wars that have not yielded positive results for any party, global thought was giving greater emphasis to what we might call the possibility of peace and the desire to achieve it.
Dr. Al-Ali stressed that there are different degrees of peace: there is negative peace whose main function is to prevent violence and maintain a state of quiet in a way that prevents the escalation of tensions and conflicts; and there is positive peace that both prevents violence and enhances the means of understanding and cooperation with the aim of neutralizing the factors that could lead to renewed violence and conflict and achieving a sustainable resolution of conflict.
He explained that there is another concept known as ‘comprehensive’ or ‘integrated’ peace, one of the most important features of which being that those responsible for the process do not exclude any concerned political, ethnic or religious forces from the opportunities to join the process and involve all parties concerned on a “win-win” basis.
The CEO of TRENDS added that understanding peace and the importance of achieving it is a crucial factor in its sustainability. In addition, the factors of applicability of peace in general involve understanding the seriousness of the role of war in destroying societies, and understanding the role of wise leadership in not involving their people in conflict. He pointed out to the importance of maintaining peace if it is achieved and ensuring its sustainability.
Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali stressed that the most important element of maintaining peace is that it should not be concerned only with the signatory countries, but also with ensuring that its outputs should be of comprehensive benefit to all parties, whether they are involved in making it or not.
The article identified the factors for maintaining peace, which are the additional responsibility of peace-making states in terms of providing a comprehensive ground for all their institutions in order to establish the concept of peace, usually following periods of conflict or aggression. This goal requires efforts to change existing cultures and find commonalities to replace an atmosphere of antagonism with an environment in which the spirit of tolerance and cooperation prevails.
The article touched on the experience of the European Union since the end of World War II, explaining that one of the most important factors in preserving peace is its development as an intellectual, economic, humanitarian and political concept. Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali that if peacemaking countries only maintained understanding and cooperation among themselves within limited institutional frameworks without establishing a solid base of common interests based on economic and cultural ties, peace would remain restricted within that limited framework.
Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali then focused on the Middle East and said that the United Arab Emirates, followed by the Kingdom of Bahrain, initiated the establishment of peaceful relations with Israel and the start of a new path to achieve peace based on direct and constructive dialogue. He added that the terms of the peace agreement signed between the UAE and Israel reveals many reasons and ideas that stress the importance of seeking to establish peace in this region of the world. The article notes that the Agreement stipulates “the eradication of extremist ideology and an end to conflicts, in order to offer all children a better future”.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Ali said, "In my opinion, this paragraph is one of the most important clauses to be included in any peace agreement. After all, the ultimate goal is to offer children a better future away from disputes, conflicts and a hostile atmosphere, which is extremely important for this region in particular. He stressed that the Abraham Accords underline the conclusion that peace is not only the best solution, but the only solution, for breaking out of a vicious circle of violence, extremism and wars.
With regard to how the aforementioned agreements would be transformed into a lasting and sustainable peace that serves the Middle East and offers its future generations hope for a better future, Dr. Mohammed Al-Ali pointed out that there are several important factors, namely political will and a genuine desire to achieve and consolidate peace. This approach is a well-established principle for the United Arab Emirates that is characterized by balanced and peaceful internal and external policies and tireless efforts to spread a culture of peace and tolerance in the region and the world.
He added that the second factor is work to consolidate the foundations of peace by strengthening economic, cultural, media, technological and political cooperation in such a way that would benefit all parties and provide evidence to peoples that peace is in their interest.
The third factor is related to the capability of the signatory states to the Abraham Accords to resist the pressures that may be exerted by some forces and groups to thwart peace. Signing a peace agreement between any Arab country and Israel or with any other country is an accurate definition of a state’s freedom to exercise its sovereign right to take the decisions it deems fit to serve its interests and the interests of its partners.
In his article, Dr. Al-Ali cited the words of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, following the signing of the Abraham Accords, that: “the UAE has taken its sovereign decision for the sake of peace and the future”, noting that His Highness linked this to an emphasis on strengthening communication and consolidating the relationship between the Emirati and Palestinian peoples, given that peace with Israel is a step that supports the rights of the Palestinian people. The goal is to find alternative ways to reach a comprehensive peace that restores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people through constructive and direct dialogue. Comprehensive peace would not be achieved unless the Palestinians, as a people and as a state, are considered an integral part of the foundations of peace.
The article also touched on the assertion by His Excellency Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President, that the Palestinian issue will remain the central and pivotal issue for the Arab nation. He affirmed the UAE’s firm position in supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. This statement therefore summarizes the philosophy of the UAE and the other signatories with regard to the peace agreement, which also aims to serve the Palestinian cause and other Arab causes through the pursuit of peace and direct dialogue in contrast to confrontational options.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Ali’s article points out that Europe had been engaged in bloody and destructive religious and political wars, but when peace was won, it served the interests of the entire European continent and served its children’s right to a decent life for more than seven decades following the end of World War II.
The CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory stated that what made the peace achieved in Europe after World War II different was that the right of all peoples to live in peace without exception was emphasized, and this is the logic that ensured sustainable peace.
Dr. Al-Ali concluded his article by emphasizing that the current indicators in the Middle East are very promising, given that after a year of peace, the signatory countries and the region as a whole has begun to reap its fruits, noting that Israel has the desire to strengthen its relations with Arab countries. What is more important, however, is the existence of the political will to expand the scope of peace to include all concerned parties, particularly the Palestinian side. At the same time, the Arabian Gulf societies are promoting the ideas of tolerance, peace and peaceful coexistence with “others”, including the Israelis. These countries, which host communities from all over the world and honor their guests, are the most highly receptive to the concepts of tolerance and coexistence, which are an important basis for building sustainable peace in the region.