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Normalisation and the betrayal of Palestine by Arab despots

This picture shows the plaque identifying the newly opened Israeli embassy in the Bahraini capital Manama, on 30 September 2021. [MAZEN MAHDI/AFP via Getty Images]
This picture shows the plaque identifying the newly opened Israeli embassy in the Bahraini capital Manama, on 30 September 2021. [MAZEN MAHDI/AFP via Getty Images]

Pinning Palestinians down while applying harsh measures of violent repression accompanied by a fanatical settler movement of arch-racists given free rein to attack and plunder, is a notorious game Israel has made a daily ritual.

In fact the routine of inflicting war crimes has all the hallmarks of a rogue regime entirely caught up in a misplaced belief that to engage in ethnic cleansing is a religious obligation.

Conflating Judaism with the racist political ideology of Zionism has been part of a strategy designed to deceive, distort and divert. It has its roots in the first Zionist congress held on the eve of the 19th century.

That this is well documented and widely known. Indeed awareness of Zionism's goal to dismember and dislodge Palestinians from their centuries old homeland and forcibly impose a foreign entity known as Israel, has always been a bedrock for resistance.

Israel has thus always been considered an enemy thrust upon a native population through the most horrific forms of terrorism. The memories of Deir Yassin remind the world of bloody massacres committed by Zionist terrorists which wiped out hundreds of villages to colonise Palestine.

That more than seven decades later the expansionist goals of Zionism are still being pursued at great human cost to successive generations of indigenous Palestinians is reflected in daily atrocities.

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None of these facts – as attested to by historians as well as the United Nations – are contested, though of course Israel and its supporters seek to distort such truths as anti-Semitic.

Yet against this background of terrorism and current conditions of siege, occupation, killings and mass imprisonment – recorded and broadcast via mainstream media for all the world to witness – it is bizarre that a handful of Arab regimes have broken rank with Palestine's freedom struggle. This, at a time when even the Israeli daily Haaretz describes atrocities by Israel as "a pogrom".

The treachery associated with what has become known as "normalisation" is an outrageous manifestation of betrayal and collaboration. The UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have in effect confessed that the protection of their shaky thrones counts for more than the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

The flags of US, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem's Old City on September 15, 2020 in a show of support for Israeli normalisation deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. - The decision by the UAE and Bahrain to normalise ties with Israel breaks with decades of consensus within the Arab world that a peace deal with the Palestinians is a prerequisite for establishing relations with the Jewish state. (Photo by menahem kahana / AFP) (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

The flags of US, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem's Old City on September 15, 2020 in a show of support for Israeli normalisation deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

As unelected, self-imposed despots fearful of democratic values, they have bargained that "normalisation" with the usurper of Palestine will "guarantee" safety and protection for them. In other words, just as Egypt has done, these oligarchs have outsourced their intelligence networks and security apparatus to Israel, knowing full well that in doing so, they have abandoned Palestine.

Though the abnormality of implicit recognition of an illegal colonial enterprise has been in sharp contrast to countless Arab League resolutions, the deal of "normalisation" pushed by Trump and vigorously backed by the Biden administration has exposed these leaders as surrogates of western imperialism.

The case of Bahrain's role in the "Abraham Accords" reveals the soft underbelly of Arab dictatorships. Besides being financially dependent on its neighbours, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain's alliance with Israel is designed to entrench its power and crush any resistance to authoritarianism or efforts towards freedom and democracy.

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In this context one may justifiably condemn Bahrain's gross insensitivity and abject abdication of Palestine's freedom struggle as treacherous.

Showcasing Israeli war criminal Lapid's visit to Manama where he opened the Israeli embassy is utterly outrageous. This follows the opening of a Zionist embassy in Abu Dhabi and one is likely to be established in Rabat. Sudan has reportedly said it has no plans to open an embassy in Khartoum.

Not surprising therefore that the Arab street across these capitals have vowed to end "normalisation". The iron-fisted grip held by Arab despots notwithstanding, human rights movements (many banned and leaders exiled) have declared their outright rejection of America's much-vaunted Abraham Accords.

Stirrings in Sudan are becoming more vocal despite Khartoum's attempts to silence critics. In Bahrain the main opposition group, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, declared Lapid's trip as a "threat", saying: "This is provocative news and this trip is completely rejected, and he (Lapid) should not set foot on Bahraini soil."

Their message is clear: "Any (Israeli) presence on Bahraini soil means incitement."

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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AfricaArticleBahrainIsraelMiddle EastMoroccoOpinionPalestineSaudi ArabiaUAE
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