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Suspending annexation will not cleanse UAE crown prince’s sins

US President Donald Trump leads a meeting with leaders of Israel and UAE announcing a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Israel and the UAE, in the Oval Office of the White House on 13 August 2020 in Washington, DC. [Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images]
US President Donald Trump leads a meeting with leaders of Israel and UAE announcing a peace agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Israel and the UAE, in the Oval Office of the White House on 13 August 2020 in Washington, DC. [Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images]

US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that his administration had achieved a “historic breakthrough” deal that would witness the United Arab Emirates (UAE) exchange official and overt diplomatic relations with the Israeli occupation state, in return for Israel delaying its plans to annex large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Trump posted a copy of the joint statement of the US, Israel and the UAE regarding the deal on his Twitter account. “HUGE breakthrough today! Historic Peace Agreement between our two GREAT friends, Israel and the United Arab Emirates!” he tweeted.

“This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region,” the statement communicated.

“As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim World.”

READ: UAE says Israel agreement removes time-bomb of annexation 

UAE Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed celebrated this deal which he claims “stopped” Israeli annexation, alluding to the fact that he had achieved a great victory. “During a call with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories,” he tweeted.

Bin Zayed is hoping to cleanse his sins as he is viewed by most Arabs and Muslims as one of the strongest US hands in the Middle East and one of the best friends of the Israeli occupation state in the region.

This deal, however, does not cleanse his sins, and it is not at all considered an achievement for Bin Zayed, rather a “big achievement” for Netanyahu, as Bin Zayed claimed that the annexation had stopped, while the joint statement clearly stated it was “suspended”.

The suspension is not a triumph for Bin Zayed for two reasons – one being that the annexation was already suspended. Some reports claim that it is still on the table, and some believe otherwise. Nevertheless, it still exists in the mindset of the Israeli occupation leaders.

The city hall in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv is lit up in the colours of the United Arab Emirates national flag on August 13, 2020. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The city hall in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv is lit up in the colours of the United Arab Emirates national flag on August 13, 2020. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The second reason is that the annexation will one day resume, sooner or later. Therefore, Bin Zayed has not made any real, or even fantasy, achievement. Meanwhile, the deal is an achievement for Netanyahu, because according to the statement, it will reinforce the involvement of the UAE in the security cooperation with Israel.

“This normalisation of relations and peaceful diplomacy will bring together two of America’s most reliable and capable regional partners. Israel and the United Arab Emirates will join with the United States to launch a Strategic Agenda for the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade and security cooperation,” the statement expressed.

How can Bin Zayed dare to believe that he has secured an accomplishment for the Palestinians, while he is putting the lives of Palestinians living in the UAE under stress? Palestinians in the UAE face many difficulties in applying for passports to renew residential permissions, suffering from delays and potential interrogation.

Hamas on UAE-Israel deal: Treacherous stab in back of Palestinians 

“It is impossible that the UAE accept any treatment of the Palestinians inside the official and governmental institutions without several investigations and even arresting the owner of this treatment,” Abu Fahd Dababshah, a Palestinian who previously resided in the UAE stated after leaving the Gulf State. “The suffering is escalating and the situation is gradually tense.”

How can Bin Zayed consider himself successful in advancing the cause of the Palestinians, while he is approaching their enemy to cultivate good relations? As UAE Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba wrote in the Washington Post: “Israel is an opportunity, not an enemy.”

Regarding his aggression on democracy and freedoms within his country, the UAE’s crown prince is committed to battling against any people in the Middle East fighting for freedom and democracy. No less is his fight against the Palestinians who will never forget his undermining of their democratic experience since 2006.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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