Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed strong reservations over the so-called Abraham Accords and their potential to bring about peace without addressing the problem of Israel’s never-ending occupation.
“We do not see any prospects for the peace process, and therefore, we believe that the Abraham Accords cannot contribute to resolving the crisis,” said Al Thani while speaking in Doha yesterday during the second day of the Global Security Forum.
Questioning the core assumption of the accords signed by the UAE, Bahrain and Israel last summer, Al Thani added: “We should not focus on economic normalisation and forget the [Israeli] occupation of Arab lands.”
Morocco and Sudan joined the agreement later following geo-political horse trading, with the former US administration of Donald Trump recognising Rabat’s annexation of Western Sahara, in violation of international law, and Sudan’s removal from the US terror list.
Critics of the Accords have slammed the Arab states not least because the economic model for peace which does not address the core problem of Israel’s brutal military occupation, has shown to be an abject failure.
The 1993 Oslo process, they point out, was born out of such optimism. They argue that it’s wishful thinking to believe that a nation can emerge and flourish under a brutal military occupation before a political settlement can be found to end it. Such agreements are said to be prime examples of putting the proverbial cart before the horse.
Doubling down on this failed formula, the Crown Prince of UAE, Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Israel’s Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid, published a joint article in the Financial Times last month hailing the Accords as “a catalyst for wider change in the Middle East.”
None of the examples they cited in the article indicated that the Accords had been a “catalyst.” They mentioned an Emirati musician playing in occupied Jerusalem; a kidney transplant facilitated by a joint UAE-Israel donor programme; the normalisations positive role in uniting warring Democrats and Republicans in Washington and the general positive reaction the Accords has received in Europe.
Despite normalisation, the UAE has publicly maintained support for the creation of a Palestinian state and justified the Accords saying that it would help to end Israel’s annexation of large swathes of the occupied West Bank.
In the weeks since Al-Nahyan and Lapid published their article, Israel’s ultra-nationalist pro-settler Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rejected the creation of a Palestinian state. His Interior Minister, Ayelet Shaked, has been equally belligerent to any idea of Palestinian sovereignty while touring the UAE.