Cooperation on Climate Is Emerging in the Middle East

“Of course it depends on the specific project, but these arrangements and agreements can have a positive impact on meeting the challenges of the climate crisis, but only if the governments involved make regional climate resilience and security a clear priority,” said Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East, which helped develop Project Prosperity.

H2Pro’s Moroccan deal was signed last year in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh, which played host to COP27, the annual global climate summit. The conference — the first since both the pandemic and the Abraham Accords — marked a coming-out of sorts for Israel’s green-tech sector.

“For the first time ever, Israel showcased a full-scale pavilion at COP and we are already working on plans for COP28 next year in Dubai,” said David Saranga, head of digital at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who attended the conference and whose digital diplomacy heavily focuses on sustainability issues. Mr. Arad of H2Pro said, “because of the Accords, we no longer had to operate behind the curtain or under the radar at COP” when negotiating deals with former Arab rivals.

Despite the accords’ initial successes, it will be difficult to maintain the current relationships and expand to additional nations without the participation of the Palestinian Authority, experts said.

“First and foremost, we must see cooperation between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians,” said Mr. Bromberg. “Their presence is critical in ensuring that projects like the Project Prosperity move forward.”

The arrival of Israel’s new hard-line government also makes it more difficult for the Jewish state to formalize relations with additional Arab nations, particularly with the regional leader, Saudi Arabia.

While some nations may be tempted by the potential economic benefits, that may not be enough to entice holdout nations to put their hostilities aside, experts said. “A fair peace between the Palestinians and Israelis will increase the likelihood of expanding the scope of the Abraham Accords,” said Dr. Al-Ketbi.

David Kaufman is a New York-based writer and editor who regularly contributes to The New York Times, The Financial Times, Air Mail and the New York Post.


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