Jerusalem: The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to establish diplomatic relations marks a watershed in relations with Arab countries, but Palestinians say this makes a just settlement of the Middle East conflict even more remote.
The UAE has proposed a decision to upgrade its long-term ties with Israel as a way to encourage peace efforts and withdraw from the table the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank planned by Israel. “7878787878787878
From the perspective of Palestine, not only did the UAE not stop its mergers, it undermined any hope of establishing a viable independent state. This also undermines the consensus of the Arabs that it recognizes that Israel is only in exchange for concessions in peace negotiations, which is a rare leverage for the Palestinians.
“I never expected this poison dagger to come from an Arab country,” Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official and veteran negotiator said Friday. “You are rewarding aggression. … You have destroyed, with this move, any possibility of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”
President Donald Trump has presented the U.S.-brokered agreement as a major diplomatic achievement and said he expects more Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit. Israel has quietly cultivated ties with the UAE and other Gulf countries for several years as they have confronted a shared enemy in Iran.
In Israel, the agreement has renewed long-standing hopes for normal relations with its Arab neighbors. Netanyahu has long insisted, contrary to generations of failed peace negotiators, that Israel can enjoy such ties without resolving its conflict with the Palestinians. For now, he seems to have been proven right.
“It’s hard to claim right now that the 53-year-old occupation is ‘unsustainable’ when Netanyahu has just proved that not only is it sustainable, but Israel can improve its ties with the Arab world, openly, with the occupation still going,” wrote Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.
But the Middle East conflict has never occurred between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the latter has never fought a war and has no borders. The nature of the agreement may force the Palestinians to strengthen their positions and redouble their efforts to isolate Israel.
The Palestinian Authority issued a stern statement on this move, calling it “betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause.” This term is clearly inciting Arab and Muslim sentiments throughout the world.
The Palestinians called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the 57-member Islamic Cooperation Organization to condemn the move. But in these forums, they will compete with the oil-rich UAE, because after reaching an agreement with Israel, the UAE has strong financial resources, allies in the entire region, and even greater influence in Washington.
The international campaign is “meant to isolate the Emiratis so that other countries will not take the same step,” said Ibrahim Dalalsha, a Palestinian analyst. “Whether it will succeed in this or not, it remains to be seen.”
Iran and Turkey lashed out in the UAE (rivals in the region), accusing them of betraying Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.
However, the agreement and the decision to suspend annexation have been welcomed by many people in the international community, including Egypt and the Gulf Arab countries in Bahrain and Oman. Many countries, including Germany, France, Italy, China and India, expressed hope that this will help restore the peace process.
The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, an area captured by Israel in the 1967 war. Trump’s plan will allow Israel to retain almost the entirety of East Jerusalem, including the holy sacred sites for Christians, Jews and Muslims, and annex a third of the West Bank. The Palestinians angrily rejected the proposal.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Germany to congratulate Israel on the “historic” agreement reached with the UAE and reiterated the two countries’ support for the two-State solution.
“We stand by our position that only a negotiated two-state solution can bring lasting peace to the Middle East,” Maas said in a statement. “Together with our European partners and the region we have campaigned intensively in past months against an annexation and for the resumption of direct negotiations.”