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UK conference calls for criminalising normalising relations with Israel

No to normalisation, normalisation is treachery. Image used by social media activists to show their disgust at the idea that Saudi Arabia may be building diplomatic ties is Israel. [Mr Brary/Twitter]
No to normalisation, normalisation is treachery. Image used by social media activists to show their disgust at the idea that Saudi Arabia may be building diplomatic ties is Israel. [Mr Brary/Twitter]

Experts discussed on Saturday the reasons behind the “Arab normalisation with the Israeli occupation” and noticed a concurrence between the growth of the phenomenon and the rise of what they called “the current of counterrevolution forces and countries” in the region.

In a special seminar, in conjunction with the commemoration of the Land Day, organized by the Arab Centre for Research in London, on Saturday evening, experts and analysts addressed the phenomenon of Arab normalisation, and considered that the Arab regimes have mutual interests with Israel in putting down the Arab uprisings that have called for democracy, as these uprisings have posed a threat to both sides. “The Arab regimes have combated these revolutions to remain in power, and Israel considered this revolutionary tide as an introduction to the birth of democratic governments that would reflect the aspirations of their people, and will therefore necessarily stand with the Palestinian people against it.”

The threat of normalisation on European institutions

In this context, Professor Kamel Hawash, Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, talked about the threat the European institutions operating in UK and Europe, in general, are facing as a result of this Arab rush towards normalization. He considered that “the Arabs’ tendency towards normalisation with Israel gives it a strong impetus to support its narration of events. In addition, convincing the Europeans to boycott Israeli goods while the Arab countries themselves are importing and marketing these goods is a very difficult task.”

In his paper, Hawash concluded that “Arab normalisation undermines the efforts of solidarity campaigns to pressure Western countries to change the policy toward Israel because it leaves solidarity activists alone in a confrontation with their governments and the pro-Israel lobby. In addition, instead of relying on Arab pressure on their governments, their demands are more easily rejected under the pretext that these demands are higher than those of Arabs and Palestinians themselves.”

READ: UAE minister calls for Arab openness to ties with Israel

A threat to Arab national security

The seminar also included an in-depth discussion about the political and economic threats of normalisation. In his paper, Researcher Firas Abu Hilal enumerated the US-Israeli benefits from normalisation, including: “Seeking to end the state of popular Arab rejection of the occupation state, thus reducing the security and political fears resulting from this state of rejection, and opening Arab markets for Israeli products, especially in the field of spying and cybersecurity, which would grant the occupation economic benefits first, and second security benefits, through its companies’ control over the field of cyber spying in the region.

Abu Hilal also considered that “the greatest goal of normalisation is the creation of an Arab-Israeli military and political alliance to be specifically directed against Iran. This has been called, on more than one occasion, as an “Arab-Israeli NATO”, through which creation Trump’s administration seeks to form a military alliance to exchange intelligence information between the Arabs and Israel to help counter their “common enemy, Iran.”

The lecturers condemned the Arab alliance with President Donald Trump, who recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the Golan Heights as part of Israel. They also called on the Arab summit that is being held in Tunisia to “straighten the course, stop normalisation, and make recommendations and resolutions that consider normalisation as a national betrayal and a threat to Arab national security.”

READ: Thousands show solidarity with Palestine in London

The opening of Gulf markets to Israel

In his paper, Researcher Mohammed Ayesh focused on the economic goals that Israel seeks to achieve from the Arab normalization with it, and that it considers “an opportunity for the Israeli economy to benefit from the Arab region and its markets which constitute important consumer centres, especially the Gulf states that have the largest, richest, and most important Markets in the Middle East.”

Ayesh added that “Israel has been struggling over the past years to take advantage of the unique geographical location that it has been maintaining thanks to its Mediterranean ports. Here we can understand the importance of a treaty like the Wadi Araba Treaty, for Israel.”

Dr. Afaf Al-Jabri, a lecturer at the University of East London, commented on the researchers and considered that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a “liberation struggle with human dimensions” and that Israel is “a racist entity and there should be no fear to describe it as such when talking about it to foreign media outlets.”

READ: The implications of normalisation with Israel

Al-Jabri also considered that “it should be stressed that the conflict is not with the Jews, but rather with the racist Zionist occupation project.”

According to the forum’s managers, the seminar’s outputs will be published and sent to the Arab League, Palestinian decision-makers and leaders, to be as an argument that pushes them to “reconsider their matters and take comprehensive measures to consider normalisation a national betrayal and a major threat to Arab national security.”

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