Normalisation of Arab countries with Israel is betrayal of justice

The decision of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and Sudan to normalize relations with Israel came as no surprise to those who are keen observers of Israel’s designs in the Gulf region. It lay bare what has been clear to Palestinians for decades: Israel’s illegal acts of annexation and apartheid will not deter those countries who have selfish interests from the pursuit of their interests, regardless of whether they are joining hands with the region’s most oppressive and fascist country. Nor do they care that their normalization will only add more damnation, and heightened violation of human rights to the Palestinians.

UAE normalizes for profit not principle

Defence, cyber security, and infrastructure corporations have for years made billions in revenue as Emirate-based multinationals in Israel, and vice versa. Exports from Israel to the UAE stand to rise up to $500 million USD annually, whereas UAE investment in Israel may reach an annual $350 million USD.

Bahrain’s need to suppress political dissent prompts their deal

Bahrain in recent years seemed less reluctant to publicize its relations with Israel. In February 2017, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa met Jewish leaders in the United States and reportedly expressed opposition to the boycott of Israel by Arab countries. In Tel Aviv, Sudanese migrants say Israel making peace with a rotten regime.The Sudanese people who confront everyday economic hardship and food insecurity, find it hard to stomach the political fact that Sudan has, as part of the deal, agreed to pay $335 million to compensate victims of the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the U.S.S.Sudanese political parties have rejected the government’s decision to normalize relations with Israel, with officials saying they will form an opposition front against the agreement.

'Saudi pressure

Saudi Arabia has so far signaled it is not ready to ‘normalize”. But people in the know, are aware that the recent deals would not have happened without Saudi support. After all, Bahrain's political agenda is pretty much dictated by Saudi Arabia.

Besides being financially dependent on its neighbours, Bahrain's new alliance with Israel may help it ingrain its power and squash any resistance to authoritarianism or efforts towards freedom and democracy.

What should the international community’s response be?

It is now time, for the international community and the Palestinian people to collectively rise up and resist this egregious regional normalization, to ensure the realization of our people to self-determination and permanent sovereignty, and to prevent Israeli and regional measures towards the erasure of our people, culture, lands and home.

Palestinian aspiration is further shattered

Palestinians will continue to be targeted with deadly force, will continue to watch their homes being demolished, will continue to be denied reunification with their families, will be denied the right to return to their homes and lands, and will be denied the dignity promised to them by an international rules-based order.

Restore 1967 is the Palestinian call

The Palestinian leadership wants an independent state based on the de facto borders before the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem. Arab countries have long called for Israel's withdrawal from already illegally occupied land, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and a settlement that leads to the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state in exchange for establishing ties with it.The shameful recognition of Israel’s illegal acts by both these States must be collectively opposed, by the international community, and the Palestinian people.

How can peace be based on veiled militaristic options?

Sudan will receive weapons to put down the rebels. Israel would rather retain its absolute military supremacy over the entire region and circumvent parallel military forces which may be a threat to Israel in case Arab regimes at some point chose to confront Israel.

The Iran factor

In the meantime, the tensions with Iran will grow. Iran is seen as a threat to the region which is predominantly Shia in composition. Iran is unique in the Muslim world because its population is overwhelmingly more Shia than Sunni(Shia constitute 95% of the population) and because its constitution is a theocratic republic based on rule by a Shia jurist. The so called normalization deals are also meant to build a coalition which will weaken Iran and strengthen the Suni coalition against Iran. What if Iran finally decides to actualize its nuclear capacities?

The Arab countries line up – The Palestinians lose their morale

One is watching keenly the outcome of the US elections which may prompt more countries to sign normalization deals with Israel. These include Oman, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. In effect, they will become Israel’s allies no matter how strongly they claim that their deals will prevent a total annexation of Palestinian territory. The West bank is under de facto annexation.Sooner or later it will shift to de jure status and none of the countries which sign deals will be able to resists the decisions of Israel backed, as they will be, by the US.

Will the countries that sign peace deals with Israel be able to sidestep the claims of Palestinians, the original holders of the cause, and come up with a “solution” to the Palestinian issue? Arab normalization of Israel is not only a betrayal of the Palestinian people, but a cruel and humiliating exacerbation of their suffering.The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has recorded a notable escalation in Israeli attacks against Palestinians since the recent normalization agreements signed with Arab states. The report found that Israel intensified expansion of its settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes, the killing and wounding of innocent people, carrying out raids and detention campaigns, and “systematic aggression” on religious institutions.

The PLO has indicated that the Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian lands is continuous, adding that it is accompanied by settlers’ attacks on Palestinian citizens. According to the report, the Israeli occupation forces opened fire more than 240 times, killing two Palestinians, wounding more than 90 others, detaining more than 480 including children, and have demolished 25 homes and facilities. But the Palestinians are relentless: “…neither prison nor siege have ended the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Palestinians in Gaza, as elsewhere, are determined to claim their rights, no matter how high the price. The discussion touches on the stories of real Palestinians who have paid a high price for their resistance, in all of its forms.

—The author is programme Coodinator, Indo Palestine Solidarity