DThe diplomatic breakthrough between Israel and the Gulf monarchies has highlighted the divisions in relations between Palestine and the Arab government – and they still question whether the challenge to the Palestinian cause can be relied upon.
For years, Israel has been working hard with the Arab world, with Iran’s common enemy, the powerful Gulf states, and those interested in building its high-tech security and intelligence.
These efforts came to fruition when Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement with Israel at the White House last week to establish a free trade and diplomatic relationship.
Although the three countries have never fought a war and exchanged short profiles in the long run, while not a real peace deal, public relations has severed Israel’s isolation in the region – a significant contribution to the Palestinian leadership’s decade-long policy of independence.
“We certainly feel betrayed,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian politician, who called the deal “an encouragement to the Israeli government to continue its occupation.”
In 2002, under the Arab Peace Initiative, the Arab states declared that Israel would only achieve “normal” relations with the Palestinians in exchange for a statehood treaty and an end to the occupation.
He warned the Palestinian ambassador to the UK that the long-term policy was now out of control.
“Some argue that the‘ old ways ’have failed, now something new has been tried. But as a matter of fundamental logic, it is clear that Israel will not end this occupation because of the mercy of its heart – after all, there is plenty of room for it, “Hussein Jomlot wrote in the left-wing Israeli newspaper Heritage.
“It could have done it because of the appropriate incentives, but the incentives are now less because the UAE and Bahrain have rewarded Israel for something.”
Donald Trump said several more Arab states would soon announce their willingness to sign a similar agreement, suggesting more compromise changes.
In the West Bank and Gaza, “Abraham’s followers”, as Washington has dubbed them, are not surprised, but hurt.
“Relationships are based on genuine interests. No one cares about the Palestinian issue, “said Shadi Abu Samra, a 35-year-old social worker in Ramallah.” I’m not surprised at all. It was expected one day. Israel and the Gulf states have long-standing ties. “
Dalia Karajan, a math teacher in the same city, said she understood that the Gulf states wanted to form a front against Iran with the help of Israel and also to appease Trump, whose support includes pro-Israel evangelical Christians in the United States.
But his frustration is that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have claimed that the agreements will help the Palestinians. “They can do whatever they want, but they should not relate it to our interests, because our interest is not to finish the job and reunite with it.”
Arafat al-Daf, a 21-year-old student in Gaza, said the move added to the frustration of Palestinians, “from themselves, from the Arab world.”
Palestinian officials have warned that regional tensions are more complex now than ever before. The threat of further regional secession, they say, helped keep Israel from moving forward this summer with its much-publicized plan to share the occupied West Bank. A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The Arabs had a big role to play.
Under Israel’s agreement with the UAE, it agreed to “suspend” the annexation, but critics say the lip service was only added to the Palestinian issue as a lip service. Meanwhile, Israeli politicians still see the rationalization plan as a priority.
Allies of the Palestinian leadership are also concerned. While Jordan is the only country other than Egypt to have signed a formal peace agreement with Israel after the devastating war, the Arab world sees indifference as problematic. Amman’s population is mostly Palestinian, the results of the annexation could be unstable.
“We have heard countries say different things in different contexts. Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said in an interview in July, “Jordan’s responsibility is to say what we see, with all the responsibilities that come down the road.”
“Sometimes it is difficult to tell the truth as it is told. And people want to avoid it at certain times, but our responsibility is to remind the region and the world that if we look at it differently, it will disappoint us. “
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has moved on from what he sees as a moral vacuum and is increasingly styling himself as the sole international champion of the Palestinians.
Following Trump’s peace plan, a blueprint Israel is working on for its planned annexation, published in January, Erdogan said Turkey would never accept the proposals and accused the Arab Gulf states of betraying Palestine.
“When we look at the position of the countries of the Muslim world towards this step and the declared text, we feel sorry for ourselves. In Saudi Arabia, for the most part, you are silent. When to talk? The same is true of the Abu Dhabi-led Oman and Bahrain, “Erdogan said in a statement to members of his ruling party in Ankara. “Some Arab countries that support this national plan are betraying Jerusalem, their own people and, above all, humanity.”