The announcement that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reached a peace deal and will establish bilateral relations with Israel has sent shockwaves across the Muslim world and the raised fear of damage to the Palestinian cause.
The world has reacted over the development with many calling it as backstabbing the Palestinian cause, while others like Pakistan have issued vague and ambiguous statements. Muslims countries have rejected establishing ties with Israel for its occupation of Palestine, and deep-rooted religious and political issues with the Zionist state.
UAE has become the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel, and also the third Arab nation to reach such a deal with Israel, after Jordan and Egypt. Another Muslim country having diplomatic relations is Israel, although they have worsened in since years.
The “Abraham Agreement”, announced by United States President Donald Trump, secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he agreed to delay the annexation as part of the deal with UAE. The deal came after a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the accord. “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the UAE, Israeli and US trilateral, surprising announcement,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Abbas, calling the dea a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee who has served in various leadership positions in Palestine, said the UAE’s announcement was the equivalent of being “sold out” by “friends”.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, defended the deal. The decision by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayan to normalise ties with Israel reflected “badly needed realism,” he said.
“While the peace decision remains basically a Palestinian-Israeli one, the bold initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed has allowed, by banishing the spectre of annexing Palestinian lands, more time for peace opportunities through the two-state solution,” Gargash said in a series of tweets.
“Developing normal ties in return for this is a realistic approach forwarded by the Emirates,” he said. “The successful decision is to take and give. This has been achieved.”
Jordan, Bahrain, Oman
Jordan said that the UAE-Israel deal could push forward stalled peace negotiations if it succeeds in prodding Israel to accept a Palestinian state on land that Israel had occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
It said the agreement must be followed by Israel ending any unilateral moves to annex territory in the occupied West Bank that “obstruct peace prospects and violate Palestinian rights”.
The Gulf state of Bahrain welcomed the accord between the UAE and Israel. Bahrain praised the United States for its efforts towards securing the deal.
Oman said it backed the normalisation of ties between the neighbouring UAE and Israel, and hoped the move would help achieve a lasting Middle East peace.
A foreign ministry spokesman expressed the sultanate’s “support for the UAE’s decision regarding relations with Israel.” Saudi Arabia has not yet commented on the deal.
Iran strongly condemned the agreement between Israel and the UAE to normalise ties, calling it an act of “strategic stupidity” that will only strengthen the Tehran-backed “axis of resistance”.
The Iranian foreign ministry denounced the deal as an act of “strategic stupidity” from Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. “The oppressed people of Palestine and all the free nations of the world will never forgive the normalising of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime and the complicity in its crimes,” a ministry statement said.
“This is stabbing the Palestinians in the back and will strengthen the regional unity against the Zionist regime.” Iran’s Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated to the country’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the deal between Israel and the UAE on normalising ties was “shameful”.
Turkey said history will not forget and never forgive the “hypocritical behaviour” of the United Arab Emirates in agreeing to a deal with Israel to normalise relations.
The Palestinian people and administration were right to react strongly against the agreement, the foreign ministry said. “History and the conscience of the region’s peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour of the UAE, betraying the Palestinian cause for the sake of its narrow interests,” it said.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement that such development has “far-reaching implications”. It added “Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. Peace and stability in the Middle East region is also Pakistan’s key priority.”
“Pakistan’s approach will be guided by our evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, security and stability are preserved.”
On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence and was recognized the same day by United States President Harry S. Truman. The state had its roots in the Zionist movement which called for the exodus or Arabs and the settlement of Jewish on the lands.
This gave birth to the Palestine-Israel conflict. During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel expanded its borders, capturing territories from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. The solution to the conflict was seen in the two-state solution with old Jerusalem as the capital.
In 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed between PLO President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabik brokered by US President Bill Clinton. There is no progress and Palestinians have been increasingly isolated ever since Trump came to power and showed him as strongly ally of Israel.
The recognition of Israel by UAE and possibility by other Arab countries will push the Palestinian cause on the backburner as they are pushed out of their own homes. Questions are raised whether the Arab nations are worried about the Palestinians or narrow vested interests.