The Palestinian Refugees in Light of the 2020 Abraham Accords

  • Rami Goldstein

    Dr. Goldstein teaches in the Political Studies Department at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.


Since 1948, attempts have been made to solve the Palestinian refugee problem. All have failed. Complex international and regional constraints complicate the issue, as do internal political constraints on both Israeli and Palestinian sides. In light of the positive changes in the broader Israeli-Arab conflict—the signing of the Abraham agreements in 2020 by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and the subsequent normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco—the purpose of this article is to address this question: Is there any possibility of arriving at a lasting resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem? The main argument is that although the Abraham Accords do not directly address the Palestinian refugee problem or intend to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these accords will produce, in the long run, a new political vision of the Middle East and may contribute to a solution to this complex issue.

The plight of the Palestinian refugees is one of the core issues of the Israeli-Arab conflict, in general, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in particular.1 Since 1948, these refugees have been a source of instability and insecurity in the Middle East. Some analysts have even framed the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinian people, and between Israel and several Muslim-majority states, as posing the greatest threat to global peace.2 Since the beginning of the 20th century, the world has witnessed many cases of forced migration, and even at the beginning of the 21st century, extremely difficult situations have arisen, such as those in Syria, Libya, Sudan, Myanmar, Yemen, and Ukraine. However, the issues surrounding the Palestinian case bear a number of unique characteristics, making the search for a durable resolution to the conflict more difficult than in other situations of forced migration.

Throughout its existence, the state of Israel has been dealing with the issue of Palestinian refugees, but it has refused to take responsibility and address the issue in the light of political and national considerations. One of the main obstacles to a solution is the Palestinians’ consistent demand for the “right of return” of all Palestinian refugees (including their descendants)3 to the territory of Israel, as defined by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).4 Because the 1951 convention relating to the status of refugees5 and the international refugee regime do not apply to Palestinians, at least as long as UNRWA continues to provide assistance, and since the conventions of statelessness also do not apply to this group, the consequence is a sui generis Palestinian refugee regime.6 As of December 31, 2019, the total number of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA was 6,293,390.7 Israel argues that, if it allowed a large number of Palestinian refugees to return, it could undermine the status of the Jewish majority in Israel and cause a civil war. Another important factor is that about 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs, of whom the vast majority define themselves as Palestinians.

The international and regional constraints (especially the geopolitical constraints) and various demographic and psychological barriers regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in general, and the issue of the Palestinian refugees, in particular, are considered to be the main obstacles to a solution. Mistrust between the parties is rife, in addition, making any resolution even more distant.8 Since 1948, a long series of arduous attempts have been made. All have failed.

In light of the positive changes in the broader circle of the Israeli-Arab conflict, namely the signing of the Abraham agreements with Israel in 2020 by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, and the subsequent normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco, the purpose of this article is to address this question: Is there any possibility for a lasting resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem?

The main argument of this article is that, while the Abraham Accords do not address the refugee problem directly, they constitute a paradigm shift, offer a new political vision, and hold the enormous economic potential to contribute to a solution to this difficult and complex problem.


The first major international meeting to deal with the issue of Palestinian refugees was the Lausanne Conference of 1949,9 followed by various international peace initiatives, most with the participation of the United States. Some were secret, like the Alpha Plan of 1955.10 Other initiatives prior to the Six-Day War did not reach the level of discussion at any international conference. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s five principles for peace in 1967 was another US effort to find a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. It was followed by UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, and the Rogers Plan of 1969. According to Resolution 242, Israel was required to withdraw from territories seized during the 1967 war. All countries involved were required to end the state of war and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region and their right to exist in peace within recognized and secure borders. The Security Council declared the need to “guarantee freedom of navigation on international shipping lanes in the region” and demanded that “a just solution to the refugee problem” be reached.

In the later stages of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, international efforts to stop the fighting intensified. The US government and the Soviet Union jointly proposed Resolution 338 in the UN Security Council on October 22, 1973, calling on all parties to cease hostilities and terminate all military activity immediately. This resolution also called for the implementation of Resolution 242 in all its parts and decided that “immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.” A new direction was heralded by the historic visit to Jerusalem by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in November 1977, paving the way for the Camp David peace agreement of 1978 between Egypt and Israel. The framework called for negotiations among Israel, the Palestinians, and their neighbors. It also invoked the concept of “the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” Section A(3) of the peace agreement reads:

The solution from the negotiations must also recognize the legitimate right of the Palestinian peoples and their just requirements. In this way, the Palestinians will participate in the determination of their own future.

The Reagan Plan was a peace initiative put forward by US President Ronald Reagan on September 1, 1982, following the agreement reached on the relocation of the PLO leadership from Beirut to Tunis during that year’s Israeli war on Lebanon. After an outbreak of Palestinian violence in Gaza—the First Intifada—in December 1987, the United States renewed its efforts to broker some kind of solution. In March 1988, US Secretary of State George Shultz presented a new plan, which combined elements of the Camp David accords, the Reagan Plan, King Hussein’s proposals, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres’ ideas for an international conference. By March 1991, the Persian Gulf War had created a more favorable context for peace-making efforts by the George H.W. Bush administration. Eight months of intensive shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State James Baker culminated in the Madrid Peace Conference in October 1991. By 1993, however, the Washington talks had become deadlocked and were overtaken by clandestine Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Jordanian negotiations. These paved the way for the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, the so-called “Oslo Accords,” of September 1993 and the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty of October 1994.

The Oslo Accords were intended to provide a blueprint, given its requirement for a series of interim confidence-building steps that would help Israeli and Palestinian leaders absorb the political costs of the compromises needed to finally achieve peace. Issues such as borders, the return of refugees, the status of Jerusalem, and Jewish settlements in the occupied territories were reserved for final-status talks, to be negotiated and concluded within five years of the signing.11

The use of a “terrorism strategy” by the Palestinians was the main reason for the collapse of the Oslo Accords. It should be noted that Yasser Arafat was the only one capable of bringing about a profound change in PLO policy and imposing the Oslo Accords on his colleagues, who were not very interested in it. As former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres noted, Without Arafat, the Oslo Accords would not have been signed; with Arafat, they could not have been fulfilled.12 The Oslo Accords of 1993, the Camp David II Summit of 2000, and the Clinton Parameters of 2000, which were discussed at the Taba conference of 2001, were key landmarks in the attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the refugee problem. There were also the Abu-Mazen–Beilin negotiations (1995)13 and the Olmert–Abu-Mazen talks (2006–08), both of which were direct secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. From the Arab (Saudi) peace initiative (API) of 2002 to the Bush Roadmap of 2003 and the Annapolis Process of 2007, to the Kerry Principles of 2017 and Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan of 2020, American administrations and other parties strove unsuccessfully to fashion rational solutions to the conflict. In order to encourage negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and restart a new plan for peace, in March 2021 the Chinese foreign minister proposed a five-point initiative to achieve security and stability in the Middle East, one advocating mutual respect, upholding equity and justice, achieving non-proliferation, jointly fostering collective security, and accelerating development cooperation. The Chinese government offered to host officials from both sides.14


The UAE and Bahrain reached an agreement to normalize relations with Israel. An official ceremony was held in Washington on September 15, 2020, where the parties signed the general peace agreement known as the Abraham Accords. Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain agreed on full normalization of diplomatic relations, as well as a shared commitment to promote stability through diplomatic engagement, increased economic integration, and closer security coordination. These agreements were followed by others between Israel and Morocco and Sudan. The Trump administration, which brokered these accords, declared that there was a possibility that other Arab countries would join them.

The parties signed bilateral agreements regarding investment, security, hi-tech, telecommunications, healthcare, culture, energy, the environment, and other areas of mutual benefit. Israel and especially the UAE agreed to cooperate to expeditiously deepen and broaden bilateral investment relations and give high priority to concluding agreements in finance and investment, recognizing the key role of these agreements in the economic development of the parties and the Middle East as a whole. The parties also affirmed their mutual desire to promote tourism cooperation as a key component of economic development and closer person-to-person and cultural ties. Another primary concern of the parties was their desire to enhance and expand cooperation in innovation, trade, and economic relations.15

The Abraham Accords, founded upon shared geostrategic security concerns and economic and trade interests, constitute the first major breakthrough for regional peace since the Oslo Accords.  As more Arab nations are expected to sign new normalization agreements with Israel (among them Saudi Arabia and Oman), this could unlock the business potential and create new opportunities for trade and investment across the whole Middle East and North Africa region. This could also create a new chapter in Arab-Israeli ties and politics. An example is the memorandum of understanding of April 2021 between the Israeli Delek Drilling Ltd. and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Petroleum to sell Delek’s stake in the Tamar eastern Mediterranean natural gas field for $1.1 billion. The deal, if finalized, would be among the most significant developments since Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize ties in 2020.16

As part of the accords, the economic agreements with Israel are in the near future supposed to include double taxation and free-trade agreements. These agreements can be considered a “dividend of peace” that will strengthen ties between the region’s economies. While the new trade and capital flows will immediately benefit Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and the other Arab states that might join the accords, they also stand to have a significant spillover effect on the entire Middle East, parts of Africa, and the broader global economy.17 The Abraham Accords have thus expanded the scope of potential multilateral engagement.18 These agreements can be an opportunity to help find a lasting solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

In view of the ecological characteristics of the Gulf states and Israel, with desert terrain and rising temperatures, both sides could collaborate on climate-change projects, including water desalination and advanced agriculture. In the field of energy, Israel could also see the UAE and Bahrain as additional sources of oil and its distillates.19

Another significant economic project is an oil transportation route planned to connect the UAE to the Israeli Port of Eilat, from which the oil is to be delivered to Ashkelon via a pipeline originally built to transport Iranian oil by the imperial regime in Iran. This pipeline is intended to deliver energy and oil exports to the West via the Eilat-Ashkelon route, using oil tankers that will avoid the Suez Canal. In the future, a proposed land pipeline will transfer oil from Saudi Arabia. Other planned projects are related to railway lines between the Gulf states and Israel’s Mediterranean coast. The main line from Haifa Bay to the Persian Gulf is considered one of the strategic projects for cooperation between the UAE and Israel. In order to establish such projects, enormous investments will be needed,20 but these projects can benefit Israel, the Arab-Israeli sector, and the Palestinians, as well as Jordan and other states in the region.

The Abraham Accords can also promote social and human-rights issues. For example, during the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council on September 20, 2021, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the UAE, Israel, and the Kingdom of Morocco, as well as 50 other countries, submitted a joint statement on the role of “Women in Peace and Diplomacy.” This document was part of the general debate on the promotion and protection of all human, civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to development. In this context it is true that “the emphasis on interfaith initiatives in the Abraham Accords also underscores the utility of people’s diplomacy and civic engagements.”21

The magnitude of the financial dimensions of an agreed-upon resolution for the Palestinian refugees is a significant element of any peace agreement. With their economic potential, the Abraham Accords offer a new vision for resolving the conflict, promoting a future international mechanism or an international fund to help compensate and rehabilitate the Palestinian refugees. Israel could promote aid from the Emirates and other Arab states for investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and allow the UAE or other partners to present themselves as honest brokers between Israel and the Palestinians.22

If the new relations between Israel and the neighboring Arab states evolve into deeper economic integration, some analysts indicate that the economic benefits for Israel’s partners in this endeavor could be particularly significant, creating approximately 150,000 new jobs for just those four current signatories. This number could grow to more than four million new jobs and more than $1 trillion in new economic activity if over a decade the accords grow to include 11 nations, a goal that some have speculated is possible.23

Some observers argue that the Gulf states’ decision to normalize relations with Israel is a stunning blow to the Palestinian issue and a direct representation of how much that country and Arab interests have shifted, and it seems that many other Arab states might realize that they are prepared to disengage from the Palestinian cause.24

Although mutual security concerns over Iran and Islamic extremism have gradually brought Israel and the Gulf nations closer, a paradigm shift has occurred. From a “land for peace” paradigm and the “three no’s decision” of the Arab League summit held on August 29, 1967, in Khartoum,25 there has been a shift toward a “peace for peace” paradigm. But this does not mean that any improvement in Israel’s relations with the Gulf states and with other Arab states will only take place at the expense of the Palestinians. The landmark Abraham Accords can also offer an opportunity for Palestinians.26 It is well known that Qatar (which is not part of the Abraham Accords) transferred money to government employees and poor families in Gaza, which is run by the Islamist organization Hamas, as part of a cease-fire deal, and this helped for a short period to ease tensions and reduce violence within the immediate circle between the Palestinians and Israel, until the outbreak of the hostilities in May 2021 (Operation Guardian of the Walls). In the wake of the Abraham Accords, the UAE has been in contact with the Palestinians in Gaza about various potential infrastructure projects, especially in the energy field.27

Beginning on May 10, 2021, thousands of rockets were launched by the Iranian-backed Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the Gaza Strip, targeting Israeli towns and cities, including the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv metropolitan areas, triggering heavy air strikes from Israel in retaliation. While the events that led to the violence in May 2021 are unique, the broader pattern of events is not. This violence is part of a recurring pattern determined by structural factors in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the refugee problem. If the events in Jerusalem had not triggered the Hamas rocket fire and Israeli escalation, something else almost certainly would have.28

In practical terms, the Abraham Accords are based on a foundation of realpolitik. Political realism has focused on the differential growth of power and interests among societies as a key to political change. The security and power dilemma29 is an integral part of the Abraham Accords. Seeking to enhance moderate Arab states such as the UAE and Bahrain, with particular sets of interests, and the differential growth of Iran’s nuclear power and the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, has led to a change in the balance of power.30 On January 17, 2022, the Iran-backed Houthi militia launched missile attacks on Abu Dhabi, killing three civilians and wounding a handful of others. A week later, another missile attack was launched by the Houthis, but US and Emirati air-defense systems intercepted them.31 The UAE has been attacked once more with ballistic missiles, coming as Israel’s President Isaac Herzog conducted his first visit to Abu Dhabi at the end of January 2022. The goal of these Houthi terrorist attacks is to economically harm the UAE. Nevertheless, in order to increase their security, the UAE and Bahrain have tried to expand their political, economic, territorial, and security control with the new alliance. Israel and Bahrain signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2022, officially establishing security ties between the two countries. This historical occasion is a significant milestone in the Middle East. Given Israel’s contemporary problems with Iran, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians, Israel had its own particular interests behind its signing of the Abraham accords.

Despite all the difficulties, reducing political tensions in the greater circle of the Arab-Israeli conflict puts serious political constraints on Israel and can help resolve the conflict in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. The Palestinian issue remains at the heart of the conflict and cannot be avoided.

The Abraham Accords, based on a struggle for power and security, have the potential to offer a new vision for resolving the conflict, taking normalization between governments as a route to normalization between peoples. If the parties use them wisely, their agreements could positively influence Israeli-Palestinian relations, offering a new framework for negotiations and accelerating progress toward a two-state solution.32 The gathering of the US secretary of state, Israeli foreign minister, and four Arab foreign ministers in Israel at the Negev Summit, which took place in Israel (March 27–28, 2022), was an unprecedented event. The summit can be considered another important pillar in strengthening relations between Israel and its partners in the Abraham Accords. The possibility of reaching a settlement between Palestinians and Israelis is still crucial. True peace and stability in the region cannot be reached without ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in general and the Palestinian refugee problem in particular.


The Abraham Accords have brought about fundamental changes in Middle East politics and a paradigm shift from a solution of “land for peace” to “peace for peace.” In light of the positive changes in the broader circle of the Israeli-Arab conflict, namely the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020 by the UAE and Bahrain, and the subsequent normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco, the purpose of this article was to address the question of whether there is any possibility of arriving at a lasting resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

The Abraham Accords were not intended to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict nor the Palestinian refugee problem. The deadly violence of Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021 made that clear. The difficulty is even greater: some of the core issues like territory and borders are interrelated with the refugee problem. In these circumstances, it is even harder to isolate the refugee problem from the other core issues of the conflict. However, reducing political tensions in the greater circle of the Arab-Israeli conflict puts serious political constraints on Israel and can help resolve the conflict in the closer circle of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship. The Abraham Accords can help to locate a trade-off for the refugee issue, as our analysis indicates that there is an opportunity to bridge the gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian parties on the core issue of refugees.

The magnitude of the financial dimensions of an agreed-upon resolution for the refugees is a significant element in any future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The Abraham Accords, with their enormous economic potential, offer a new vision for resolving the conflict. They can promote a future international mechanism or an international fund to compensate and help rehabilitate the Palestinian refugees. Israel could promote aid and investment from the Emirates and other Arab states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, thus improving their economic situation and creating a suitable platform for a future peace agreement, based on a two-state solution. This matter should not be perceived as utopian. A solution to the refugee problem will be possible if the issue is part of a comprehensive peace package and linked to the resolution of the other core issues.

A struggle for power and security lies at the heart of the Abraham Accords, and regardless of other ultimate economic and social considerations, the survival interests of both Israel and the moderate Arab nations remain their immediate goal. Thus, a “just, agreed, fair, and realistic” resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem, one that will eliminate a main source of instability and insecurity in the Middle East, is in the interest of all parties involved. Moreover, power and the desire for security are the central forces driving decision makers in the Middle East. Economic policy will ultimately include not only economic considerations—increasing wealth—but, mainly, security considerations. These factors are in the interests of all sides, including the Palestinians, and can be seen as key to political change.


1 In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are five core issues: territory (borders), security arrangements, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees.

2 Bennett Clinton, “History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” in In Search of Solutions: The Problem of Religion and Conflict (New York: Routledge, 2008), 139-172.

3 Francesca Albanese and Lex Takkenberg, Palestinian Refugees in International Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020); Efraim Karsh “The Privileged Palestinian,” SSRN Electronic Journal 25, no. 3 (2018),

4 UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV) on December 8, 1949. It is a United Nations agency and humanitarian organization that was mandated to carry out “relief and works programs” in support of Palestinian refugees.

5 UN General Assembly, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1951, United Nations, Treaty Series 189, 137,

6 Rami Goldstein, “Legal Dilemmas of the Palestinian Right of Return,” In The Politics of Forced Migration: A Conceptual, Operational and Legal Analysis, (Baltimore: Publish America, 2004), 397-429.

7 “In Figures as of December 31, 2019,” UNRWA, June 2020,

8 George J. Mitchell and Alon Sachar, A Path to Peace (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2017). Mitchell and Sachar hold the opinion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is much more complex and difficult than was the Northern Ireland conflict in the 1970s. The conflict is more entrenched, the hostility is deeper, the mistrust greater, the destruction more widespread, and the deaths more frequent.

9 In the Lausanne conference (April 1949) Israel was prepared to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a comprehensive peace, but the Arab states rejected the proposal. See: Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

10 Jacob Tovy, Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Issue (New York: Routledge, 2014). Israel was supposed to accept 75,000 Palestinian refugees according to the Alpha plan.

11 Martin S. Indyk, “The Day Israeli-Palestinian Peace Seemed Within Reach,” Brookings, September 13, 2018,

12 Michael Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres: The Biograph (Tel Aviv: Yediot Aharonot Press, 2007), 640-641.

13 The Abu-Mazen–Beilin negotiations of 1995 have often been cited as potential solutions to some of the outstanding issues in the future peace negotiations. According to this initiative, Palestinian refugees would receive compensation and implement their right of return in the Palestinian state. For further information, see Yossi Beilin, Touching Peace from Oslo Accord to a Final Agreement (London: George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999).

14 “World Insights: Chinese FM Proposes Initiative for Middle East Stability, Expects Enhanced Cooperation,” Xinhuanet, March 27, 2021,

15 “The Abraham Accords Peace Agreement: Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel,” Department of State,

16 Ari Rabinovitch, “UAE’s Mubadala in Talks to Buy $1.1 Bln Stake in Israeli Gas Field,” Reuters, April 26, 2021,

17 Daniel Schatz, “The Abraham Accords: Politico-Economic Drivers and Opportunities,” Trends, November 15, 2020,

18 Eric Canal, Forgues Alter, and Narayanappa Janardhan. “The Abraham Accords: Exploring the Scope for Plurilateral Collaboration Among Asia,” Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs 15, no. 1 (2021): 41-52,

19 Shmuel Even, Tomer Fadlon, and Yoel Guzansky, “The Economic-Strategic Dimension of the Abraham Accords,” INSS, October 12, 2020,

20 Dubi Ben-Gedalyahoo and Amiram Barkat, “Will Israel Be the Biggest Beneficiary of the Traffic Jam in the Suez Canal?” Globes, March 30, 2021. Such projects can benefit Israel and the Palestinians but damage Egypt’s economy, since they may lead to a decrease in the movement of ships passing through the Suez Canal. This concern grew in light of the huge Taiwanese container ship wedged in the Suez Canal in March 2021. The blockage has been the source of much worry and frustration for the global shipping industry.

21 Hae Won Jeong, “The Abraham Accords and Religious Tolerance: Three Tales of Faith-Based Foreign-Policy Agenda Setting,” Middle East Policy 28, no. 1 (June 6, 2021): 48,

22 Massimiliano Fiore, “The Abraham Accords and the Palestinian Issue,” E-International Relations, November 1, 2020,

23 Daniel Egel, Shira Efron, and Linda Robinson, “Peace Dividend: Widening the Economic Growth and Development Benefits of the Abraham Accords,” Rand Corp Santa Monica, CA (2021): 1-2.

24 Aziz Ur Rehman, “Causes Behind the Abraham Accord and Its Consequences for the Peace Process in the Middle East,” The Middle East International Journal for Social Sciences 2, no. 2 (2020): 73-83; Aaron David Miller, “In Trumpian Times, Israel and a Gulf State Find Common Ground,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 13, 2020,; “The Abraham Accords: A Boon or a Curse for the Palestinians,” Middle East Policy Council, September 22, 2020,

25 The “three no’s” are: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.

26 “Abraham Accords are ‘Opportunity’ for Palestinians: Israel,” The Straits Times, December 6, 2020, It is well known that there is not much sympathy in the UAE and other Gulf states for Hamas and the Palestinians, as the Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War of 1991 and as Hamas has close ties with Iran.

27 There were reports that the United Arab Emirates is said to have warned Hamas that its planned investments in the Gaza Strip may not move forward if it does not maintain calm in the territory. See “UAE Said to Warn Hamas Planned Gaza Infrastructure Projects are in Danger,” The Times of Israel, May 15, 2021,

28 Zack Beauchamp, “The Gaza Doom Loop,” May 13, 2021,

29 Amitav Acharya and Barry Buzan, The Making of Global International Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019).

30 For further discussion on security and rationality considerations in political realism, see Jack Donnelly, Realism and International Relations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

31 Ghaida Ghantous and Alexander Cornwell, “U.S. Condemns Deadly Houthi Attack on Abu Dhabi; UAE Reserves Right to Respond,” Reuters, January 18, 2022,

32 Fiore, “The Abraham Accords and the Palestinian Issue.”


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Goldstein, R. The Palestinian Refugees in Light of the 2020 Abraham Accords. Middle East Policy XXIX. no. 2 (2022).

©2022, The Author. Middle East Policy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Middle East Policy Council.

  • Rami Goldstein

    Dr. Goldstein teaches in the Political Studies Department at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

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