Arab League rejects Palestinian demand to condemn Israel-UAE deal

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Arab League Meeting (File Photo).

The Arab league’s refusal to endorse the draft resolution is considered a severe blow to the Palestinians.

The Arab League on Wednesday refused to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the United Arab Emirates for its normalization agreement with Israel, a move that is a severe blow to the Palestinians, Ramallah officials said.

The proposal was presented by the Palestinians to a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers, and Palestinian officials said some Arab countries objected to it.
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After the Israel-UAE deal was announced, the Palestinian Authority called on Arab states
to reject the agreement and said it had not authorized anyone to speak on its behalf.
PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki, speaking to the ministers’ meeting by videoconference, thanked some Arab countries for not moving toward establishing ties with Israel. He also labeled the efforts of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US senior adviser Jared Kushner to forge the Israel-UAE deal as “blackmail.”

Tensions between the Palestinians and some Gulf states have risen sharply following the agreement’s announcement.

Last month, the Arab League turned down a PA request to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the deal. The Palestinians have denounced it as a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal of al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Palestinian issue.”

The Arab League then said the accord, along with other issues, would be discussed by the foreign ministers at their ordinary meeting, which took place on Wednesday.

Palestinian officials have accused some Gulf states of foiling the plan to hold the emergency meeting and also accused them of thwarting a Palestinian draft resolution to condemn the UAE for normalizing ties with Israel. They called on other Arab countries not to follow suit.
The foreign ministers also discussed Iranian and Turkish interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

In his speech, Malki said that some Arab states had cut financial aid to the Palestinians at the behest of the US administration. In reference to the Israel-UAE deal, he said it “legalizes normalization for free and revives the ‘Deal of the Century’ after we thwarted it.”
The “Deal of the Century” is US President Donald Trump’s vision for Middle East peace, “Peace to Prosperity.”

Malki also stated that the Israel-UAE deal “recognizes occupied Jerusalem as Israeli territory.” The deal, he said, was an “earthquake that undermines joint Arab action” and put the Palestinians on the defensive.

“Instead of placating us… we have found ourselves in a situation where we have had to defend ourselves and our cause. We have even become the troublemakers,” Malki said.
He was apparently referring to Bahrain when he said that an Arab country had objected to the PA request to hold the emergency meeting.

The Gulf kingdom, which objected to the wording of the Palestinian draft, is believed to be close to also deciding to establish ties with Israel.

“Isn’t what happened an earthquake that requires an emergency meeting? We were surprised that an Arab country objected to our request. Did the State of Palestine go too far in asking to hold an emergency meeting? Did it cross redlines?”

Malki demanded to know whether Arab countries remain committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which says that the Arab states will normalize relations with Israel after a Palestinian state is established along 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 Israel-UAE signing ceremony will take place shortly, 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 take a stance rejecting this step. Otherwise, our meeting will be considered a blessing or collusion with it.”

Before the Arab League foreign ministers met, PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat expressed his hope that Arab states would reaffirm their commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of past Arab summits.

“We do not want our Arab brothers to give us support that exceeds their capacity, 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,” Erekat said.

He expressed satisfaction with the position of countries that affirmed their commitment to the initiative, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Algeria, Kuwait and Qatar.
Most Arab countries have stopped funding to support the Palestinian budget according to past commitments, Erekat added.

Arab League secretary-general Ahmad Aboul Ghiet said at the meeting that the Palestinian issue was, is, and will remain, at the core of Arab consensus.

(Jpost).

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