Middle East Experts Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Daniel Shapiro Discuss Historic UAE-Israel Accord with Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba on Latest Episode of Podbridge

September 21, 2020

Former senior US Middle East envoys consider how the Accord will advance a “warm peace”

Podbridge is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast services.

WASHINGTON, DC (21 September 2020) – The normalization of diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is a regional game-changer with significant strategic implications that will advance peace in the Middle East. Speaking together days after the historic UAE-Israel Peace Accord was signed at the White House, leading Middle East policy experts Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and Daniel Shapiro agreed the Accord signifies a starting point for achieving a more stable, collaborative, and prosperous region.

The three former US government officials shared these insights on the latest episode of Podbridge, a new podcast series presented by the UAE Embassy and hosted by UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba.

A “fundamental psychological threshold was crossed with this agreement,” said Dennis Ross, Counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who served as a Middle East advisor for four US presidents. “The Accord creates a real possibility for American diplomacy to broker peace among the Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, and build a bridge to a very different kind of future.”

Martin Indyk, Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former United States Ambassador to Israel, noted that the UAE-Israel accord will have significant strategic implications for the Middle East.

“The fact that the two most capable states in the region, the UAE and Israel, are now openly able to work together… will provide a much firmer pillar of stability that, with US support, can do much to stabilize the Middle East,” said Indyk, who served as the US special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from 2013-2014. “It will enhance the capabilities of those states in the region who share the same vision of a more peaceful, prosperous and stable environment.”

“There was great excitement about the deal” in Israel, added Daniel Shapiro, a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University who served as the United States Ambassador to Israel from 2011-2017. The UAE-Israel Accord “opens possibilities for people-to-people relations, cultural exchange, trade, tourism, technological partnerships and investment, through which  Israelis and Emiratis will be able to advance their interests and make a broader contribution to the region and the world.”

First announced last month by the leaders of the US, Israel, and the UAE, the Peace Accord is the first diplomatic agreement between Israel and an Arab state in over twenty-five years. As a result of the Accord, Israel and the UAE will open their economies to one another, allowing goods, services, and investment to flow freely between the two countries.

Greater trade and investment, along with the exchange of scientists, business leaders, students, academic experts, religious leaders, and tourists, creates immediate and meaningful security, economic, and social benefits for the UAE, Israel, and the wider region.

“The UAE after September 15 is going to be very different,” predicted Ambassador Al Otaiba. “It’s not taboo anymore for young people in our part of the world to look at working, investing, trading and studying with Israelis. Breaking that ideological barrier… is probably the most significant aspect of what we just did.”

“I’m very confident that this is going to be a mutually-beneficial relationship for a very, very long time,” Ambassador Al Otaiba concluded.

Podbridge is available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and other podcast services. For more information about Podbridge, visit and receive updates on Twitter @UAEUSAUnited and on Facebook.