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Palestinians urge Arabs to reject Israel-UAE deal


Riyad Malki (photo credit: ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
Riyad Malki
(photo credit: ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

Last month, the Arab League turned down a request by the PA to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the Israel-UAE deal, which has been denounced by the Palestinians as a “stab in the back."

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday called on the Arab countries to reject the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and warned that the Palestinians did not mandate anyone to speak on their behalf.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki, speaking to a meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers, via videoconference, thanked unnamed Arab countries that resisted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s and US Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner’s “blackmail” and refused to establish relations with Israel.
The meeting came amid increased tensions between the Palestinians and some Gulf states in the aftermath of the announcement of the Israel-UAE agreement.
Last month, the Arab League turned down a request by the PA to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the Israel-UAE deal, which has been denounced by the Palestinians as a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Palestinian issue.”

Instead, the Arab League said that the Israel-UAE accord, along with other issues, would be discussed by the Arab foreign ministers during their ordinary meeting, which took place on Wednesday.
Palestinian officials accused some Gulf states of foiling the plan to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the deal. They also accused the Gulf states of thwarting a Palestinian draft resolution that condemns the UAE for its decision and calls on other Arab countries not to follow suit.
In addition to the controversial accord, the foreign ministers also discussed Iranian and Turkish interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries.
In his speech, Malki complained that some countries have cut halted financial aid to the Palestinians at the behest of the US administration.
Referring to Israel-UAE deal, Malki said it “legalizes normalization for free and revives the Deal of the Century after we thwarted it.” The Deal of the Century refers to US President Donald Trump’s vision for Middle East peace, Peace to Prosperity.
Malki pointed out that the Israel-UAE deal “recognizes occupied Jerusalem as an Israeli territory.”
The deal, he said, is an “earthquake that undermined joint Arab action” and put the Palestinians on the defensive. “Instead of placating us [by the Arab world] in light of the retreat that was reflected in the deal, we found ourselves in a situation where we had to defend ourselves and our cause,” Malki said. “We have even become the troublemakers.”
Malki claimed that an Arab country had objected to the PA request to hold an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the Israel-UAE deal.
He was apparently referring to Bahrain, which had objected to the wording of a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE for its normalization with Israel and calling on other Arab countries not to follow suit. Bahrain is believed to be close to taking a decision to establish relations with Israel.
“We called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League at the ministerial level,” Malki said. “Isn’t what happened an earthquake that requires an emergency meeting? But we were surprised that an Arab country objected to our request. Did the State of Palestine go too far in its request to hold an emergency meeting? Did it cross the red lines?”
Malki demanded to know whether the Arab countries remain committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which states that the Arab states would normalize their relations with Israel once a Palestinian state is established on the pre-1967 lines.
The PA has accused the UAE of violating the terms of the initiative by engaging in normalization with Israel in exchange for nothing.
Noting that the signing ceremony of the Israel-UAE deal would take place soon, Malki said: “The UAE is moving ahead with the normalization decision despite its violation of the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of the Arab summits. Therefore, it has become imperative for us to issue a position rejecting this step. Otherwise, our meeting will be considered a blessing or collusion of it.”
On the eve of the meeting, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat expressed that the Arab foreign ministers would renew their commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Arab summits. Erekat expressed satisfaction with the position of the Arab countries that affirmed their commitment to the initiative, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Algeria, Kuwait, and Qatar.
“We do not want our Arab brothers to give us support that exceeds their capacity,” Erekat said. “We want them to stick to the initiative that they unanimously agreed upon, and to implement the decisions of successive Arab summits, including decisions related to the [Arab] financial safety net” for the Palestinians.”
Most of the Arab countries have "stopped paying their obligations to support the Palestinian budget," Erekat added.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Ghiet said in a speech during the meeting that the Palestinian issue was, is, and will remain at the core of Arab consensus. “I am confident that the goal of all our Arab countries is to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. “The Arab Peace Initiative, which was adopted by the Arab summit in 2002, remains the basic plan and platform agreed upon by the Arabs to achieve a lasting, just and comprehensive peace between Arabs and Israel.”

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