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Blinken (L) with Israeli foriegn minister Yair Lapid. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken will hold a virtual meeting on Friday with his counterparts from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords.

Why it matters: This is the most active and public show of support by the Biden administration for the agreements, which were President Trump’s landmark foreign policy achievement.

Behind the scenes: Israeli, Emirati and Bahraini officials were pressing the Biden administration for the last two months to hold some kind of commemoration. Officials from the three countries tell Axios the Biden administration was non-committal and only in recent days suggested holding the virtual meeting.

  • “The event will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords and discuss ways to further deepen ties and build a more prosperous region," a senior State Department official told me.

Flashback: The Abraham Accords were signed on Sep. 15, 2020 at the White House by former President Trump, then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain.

  • The accords included the normalization of relations between Israel and the two Gulf states.
  • The next month, Israel and Sudan announced they would normalize relations.
  • Then in December, after the U.S. elections, Morocco renewed diplomatic relations with Israel in return for the U.S. recognizing the disputed Western Sahara as part of Morocco.

The big picture: Biden supported the Abraham Accords as a presidential candidate and reiterated his support after assuming office. But the Biden administration was reluctant to use the term “Abraham Accords,” which was directly connected to Trump’s legacy.

  • Still, the Biden administration took several steps to stabilize the agreements, including by allowing a deal to sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE to go through and by maintaining Trump's recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in the Western Sahara
  • The Biden administration also followed through on a $700 million aid package to Sudan promised by Trump as part of the normalization deal with Israel.

What's next: The Biden administration is still working to finalize the Israel-Sudan agreement and to organize an official signing ceremony, as the Sudanese have requested. Administration officials say they're also working to convince more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel.

Worth noting: Principal deputy assistant secretary of State for Near East affairs Yael Lampert attended a ceremony on Tuesday hosted by the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace, which was founded by Jared Kushner and former U.S. envoy Avi Berkowitz, who brokered the deals.

Go deeper

Dec 22, 2021 - World

Trump's remarks on U.S. Jews spark anti-Semitism accusations

Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty

A short excerpt from my interviews with Donald Trump has created a heated debate in the U.S. in recent days, particularly in the Jewish community.

What Trump said: "People in this country that are Jewish no longer love Israel. … I’ll tell you, the evangelical Christians love Israel more than the Jews in this country," Trump said in April during an interview for my book, "Trump’s Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East."

Dec 22, 2021 - World

Inside Jake Sullivan's meetings in Israel on Iran

Sullivan (left) meets Bennett. Photo: Israeli Government Press Office via Getty

Four senior Israeli officials who attended meetings in Jerusalem with national security adviser Jake Sullivan tell Axios they came away reassured that the U.S. is ready to take a harder line on Iran if necessary and to take Israel’s views into account.

The big picture: Sullivan sketched out three possible near-term scenarios on Iran’s nuclear program in the meetings, two officials say:

Dec 22, 2021 - World

Israel rolls out 4th COVID vaccine dose to over-60s

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett receives a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in the central Israeli city of Kfar Sab in August. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Tuesday he's ordered the rollout of a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in response to the threat of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

Why it matters: Israel is believed to be the first country to offer a fourth coronavirus dose to citizens.