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Normalisation with Israel and the Palestinian response

September 18, 2020 at 6:27 am

A protest against the UAE-Bahraini normalisation with Israel at the UAE embassy in South Africa on 15 September 2020 [BDS South Africa]

There has been a breach in the Arab Front in favour of Israel against Palestine. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has caused a wide rift in the Gulf for the benefit of Israel, through signing the so-called Peace Treaty between two parties that are not even at war. They used specific details in the title of the treaty calling it “peace in exchange for peace” and “peace in exchange for economy”, thus issuing excuses that are unacceptable and can never be convincing under any pretexts.

At the Madrid Conference in 1991, headed by the US and the Soviet Union at the time, the “Land for Peace” slogan was used, stipulating the withdrawal of Israel to the 5 June 1967 borders, among other things. Yitzhak Shamir, the prime minister of Israel at the time, made a fundamental change to the slogan of the proposed conference, calling it “Peace for Peace”, meaning that Arabs and Palestinians must surrender to the Zionist plans in the Middle East, and not just in Palestine.

In other words, after 29 years the UAE, under the leadership of Mohammed Bin Zayed, adopted the Likud project “Peace for Peace”, which Shamir called for in Madrid in 1991.

Despite King of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa’s well-known relations with the Zionist lobby in the US, and with the Israeli leadership, of which all experts in Arab-Israeli affairs are aware since the early 1990s, he was unable to speak of those relations in public, despite leaking information about them here and there.

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In 2019, King Hamad Bin Isa hosted Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar in his palace in Manama. Before that, in 2018, a special invitation was sent to New York Rabbi Marc Schneier, who was accompanied by a large delegation of Jews to Bahrain. Bahrain’s crown prince attended celebrations and Jewish festivals in California, and his Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa does not hide his contacts with the Zionists in New York and Washington during sessions of the General Assembly, which he attends every year.

King Hamad Bin Isa met with Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in California, as well as the Assistant Director of the Centre Rabbi Abraham Cooper. Both met with the king in Manama in 2017 and told the media that the king expressed to them his absolute rejection of the Arab boycott of Israel, and that he was ready to break it.

So, there is nothing new about Bahrain’s recent normalisation with Israel and the exchange of diplomatic representation with the Zionist entity. It is not surprising that the king would go to Washington to attend the humiliating ceremony for Gulf rulers who are normalising with Israel in the White House in Washington. King Hamad Bin Isa is a narcissist who loves to appear with important people, and to him, this is an opportunity. But the truth is that it will be a meeting of defeated followers.

The king of Bahrain believes that Jewish money will pour onto him like rain. But he knows, or perhaps he does not yet know, that Israel does not value Bahrain at all. Bahrain is a land ridge in the middle of the sea that has no significant strategic weight, just as it had been in earlier times when it was a state belonging to the emirate of Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The question that is being raised among the Gulf and Arab public, and elites in general, is: what is the response of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian factions? Denunciations, condemnations, protests, demonstrations, appeals – all are no longer useful.

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What is the decisive and influential response to the White House celebrations in Washington, which took place on Tuesday in the presence of Arab normalisers and representatives of semi-Arab governments, among others? My opinion is that President Mahmoud Abbas and his office members should move to Gaza and announce an end to the division between Gaza and Ramallah, to return to the Palestine Liberation Organisation charter, and to cancel the Oslo Accords and its outcomes – because the Israelis have practically cancelled that agreement unilaterally. Abbas must deliver his speech, which is expected to be delivered in New York at the General Assembly, from Gaza.

Egypt may prevent him from reaching Gaza, so he can deliver his speech from Ramallah, and the world will hear it and will have a great international reaction. It will overshadow the festival of Bin Zayed, Bin Isa, Netanyahu and Trump, provided that the speech is written by a group of those who work in politics, history, international law and sociology, and not by Abbas’s writers, or according to his mood.

It is a historical position in response to the Gulf Zionist claims, that what they achieved was a commendable historical event. So, will President Abbas do it? Or will he miss the chance and continue to wait for donor countries to give him small donations?

Starting on Tuesday, the first day of the session of the United Nations General Assembly, some Arabs will be parading what they have done to maintain international peace and security, and to establish peace in the Middle East through the signing of peace treaties with Israel. They will approach the problem of the Palestinian people timidly, only in order to save face.

Finally, Arabs and Muslims are awaiting the decision of Abbas’s authority in this regard. Otherwise, the Palestinian people will not exist any longer, and the perpetrator will be the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, on top of the crime of the little kings and princes.

Translated from Al-Sharq, 16 September 2020

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