U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is considering the appointment of Dan Shapiro, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, as the State Department's new Abraham Accords liaison, according to a report in Axios media.
The move comes as U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to revitalize its foreign policy record and demonstrate its commitment to advancing the Abraham Accords ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
The historic Abraham Accords peace agreements are widely seen as one the Trump administration’s biggest foreign policy achievements. In addition, the Abraham Accords enjoys significant bipartisan support.
While there has been an apparent slowdown in normalization efforts since the formation of Israel's right-wing government last November, progress in the accords would help Biden demonstrate positive attention in the Middle East. This is particularly important following the China-brokered rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is widely viewed as a U.S. weakness in the region.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are pressuring the White House to further strengthen the accords. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a resolution endorsing the enhancement of the Abraham Accords.
In addition, senior White House officials are advocating for the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressly stated that such normalization is a goal of his administration.
In May, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham told ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg that the Biden administration is finally ready to make a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Blinken is reportedly considering Shapiro to step into the Abraham Accords liaison post due to the impending departure of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Yael Lempert, who has been responsible for managing the Abraham Accords and the Negev Forum. Lempert will allegedly be appointed ambassador to Jordan, according to Axios.
In February, a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ritchie Torres and Mike Lawler was introduced to establish the position of an envoy for the Abraham Accords at the State Department.
While Blinken has not made a final decision regarding Shapiro’s post, U.S. officials told Axios that, if established, it would be a senior advisor position with responsibilities beyond the Abraham Accords. Both Shapiro and the State Department declined to comment on the matter.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Dir.-Gen. Ronen Levy is reportedly in Washington to discuss strengthening and expanding the Abraham Accords. Levy helped prepare much of the groundwork for the Abraham Accords through secret negotiations with Arab nations who had no relations with Israel.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.