What provokes me most of all at the moment is for anyone to respond to the treachery of the UAE and Bahrain and their normalisation of relations with Israel by denying that it is treachery on the basis of the benefit expected as a result. If the treachery is committed in exchange for specific political or financial gain, so the theory goes, then it is acceptable; but if the gain is insufficient, then the treachery is condemned.
To paraphrase a well-known English proverb, there is no such thing as a "free" normalisation; nor, indeed "paid for" normalisation, for the simple reason that normalisation with the Israeli occupation authorities is a betrayal of God, His Messenger and the Muslims. This would still be the case even if it was in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from Jerusalem and all the territories occupied in 1967, including the removal of all illegal settlements. All forms of normalisation with the occupation are the same, whether they are by Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims, or all three.
The UAE claims that peace with the Israeli occupation will not affect its position on the Palestinian issue. How can this be the case when it gives the occupation legitimacy over our territories occupied in 1967 as well as Arab cover for all of Israel's crimes, including the siege of the Gaza Strip, the Judaisation of holy sites, the killing and maiming of civilians, and the establishment of its settlements in the West Bank? The most recent crime is the demolition of artesian wells in the Jordan Valley in order to destroy agriculture and livestock and drive Palestinian residents of the Valley to go elsewhere in preparation for the annexation of the area under so-called Israeli sovereignty. This is ethnic cleansing by any other name.
As Palestinians, our positions must be principled and permanent, not animated and temporary knee-jerks, because there are intentions to make the PLO the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people according to a Palestinian decision and not one made by the Arab League. The PLO must be truly reformed, and this begins with reforming its principles, starting with withdrawing recognition of the legitimacy of the occupation state under any circumstances. If this condition is met, along with other conditions, the PLO will become the legitimate gateway to dealing with the Palestinian cause. The legitimacy gateway cannot be the same gateway to normalisation with the occupation, and those who pass from within the gateway are blessed, while those who do not are cursed.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that the Arab race towards Israel is the last phase of the conspiracy that began when the nascent Israeli armed forces — 67,000 strong — defeated seven Arab armies totalling less than 13,000 soldiers. Hence, we must expect more Arab concessions, and this must be faced by Palestinian national unity based on adhering to our people's constants and overriding interests.
The Oslo Accords, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, the normalising countries and the Arab League can all go straight into the dustbin of history if they decide to stand by the occupation against the Palestinian people. Whether paid for or free, normalisation is treachery, and there is only one end in sight for traitors.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.