US President Joe Biden has given yet another shard of proof that his policies will follow the legacy of his predecessor Donald Trump. In his first call with the UAE's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Biden stressed the importance of normalising relations with Israel within the context of "deflecting tension" and "bringing peace" to the Middle East.
"In that regard, the President underlined the strategic importance of the normalisation of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel," said the White House. "He expressed his full support for strengthening and expanding these arrangements."
Former Trump adviser Jared Kushner, meanwhile, announced the launch of the privately funded Abraham Accords Institute for Peace. "Peace" in this context, of course, is a euphemism for profitable trade deals at the expense of the Palestinian people. Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi will be involved in the organisation, along with Arab diplomats. Robert Greenway, who was top adviser to Trump on the National Security Council, will be the organisation's executive director.
This is a far cry from what the initial statements announcing the Abraham Accords would have had us believe. The suspended formal annexation of Palestinian territory was a purported win for the Palestinian people, even as Israel embarked upon additional settlement expansion and de facto annexation of Palestinian land. But why should Palestinians complain if the UN has given its blessing to additional human rights violations for profit?
Now, it seems, the Palestinians are being marginalised even more for a greater "peace project" that is nothing but a façade for political and economic alliances. The so-called "strategic importance" is a collective effort to ensure that the Abraham Accords are dissociated from the Palestinians as much as possible. For the Arab governments entering into such agreements with Israel, there is no contradiction. After all, the Palestinian cause has, for decades, become a subject of endless meetings rather than genuine efforts for a political agreement based upon an end to Israel's colonisation plans.
Meanwhile the Palestinian Authority's objections to the normalisation deals carry neither political nor diplomatic weight, as leader Mahmoud Abbas is still scrambling over the two-state paradigm in the international arena. There has been no attempt by the Palestinian leadership to link the political emergence of the two-state "solution" to the normalisation agreements, and to the fact that decades of negotiations have led to the current de-facto annexation of Palestinian land.
For all Biden's rhetoric about the two-state compromise, it is clear that Trump's legacy still holds sway over US policy. In February, the former US Ambassador to Israel, arch-Zionist David Friedman, gave an interview in which he simplified the Abraham Accords thus: "What we demonstrated by being so pro-Israel is that we can be a good friend to an ally that needs our help."
While indeed beneficial for the countries signing up, the ultimate aim of the normalisation deals is to protect Israel's colonisation process. And in protecting Israel through trade agreements, Palestinians have little left but their legitimate rights, which the UN does not acknowledge except in its statistical references or reports which exist to embellish the international organisation, but not to protect the oppressed of this world.
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