Deal between UAE and IL, but what’s in it for Palestine?

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A rapprochement between UAE and IL has been effected after 49 years. In 1971, the UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had referred to the Jewish state as “the enemy.” The Sheikh had presumably referred it so as a matter of his joint stand with the Arab world against the Jewish State’s war against Muslims of Palestine, the forceful occupation of their lands and deprival of a Palestinian State to them. The agreement to normalise diplomatic ties now however has brought the issue of Palestine again to the forefront.

“As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President Vision for Peace”. From their accord, it is not clear if UAE wants to normalise relations so IL would “suspend” declaring sovereignty over ‘outlined’ West Bank areas or it wants to formally normalise its ties with IL anyway for the sake of the UAE itself, and the added stipulation to “suspend” was simply at the US President’s “request”. If UAE is doing this for the sake of Palestine and for “peace in the Middle East region” many questions are called to the mind.

How would this deal benefit Palestinians or their cause for “freedom” and full autonomy and statehood? The Jewish state “remains committed to annexing parts of the West Bank”. Their officials asserted that “the Trump administration asked to temporarily suspend the announcement [of applying sovereignty] in order to first implement the historic peace agreement with the UAE.” Netanyahu also said that he remained committed to applying Israeli sovereignty over other areas, but that it could only be done in full coordination with the US, and Trump had requested a “temporary halt.”

Firstly, the agreement does not guarantee a permanent suspension of annexation of parts of West Bank. A temporary arrangement can only bring temporary peace or none at all. Why does UAE want to effect a temporary bargain? With IL being admittedly committed to annexing other parts of West Bank the deal cannot reasonably foresee leading to any long-term arrangement.  Secondly, the agreement ‘suspends’ annexation of only “areas outlined” in the Trump Peace Plan and not other areas which IL would describe as already annexed. Palestinians already call this deal “a complete sell-out”. Currently IL occupies most of 1948 Palestine with Palestinians now cornered into the Gaza strip and West Bank enclaves with IL occupying most of the West Bank too. Even the Palestinian territories are under the real power of IL’s military occupation with IL deciding who or what goes in and out and a whole lot more. This arrangement is considered illegal under the International Law. With IL annexing most of the West Bank the talk is now on declaring sovereignty over the annexed areas. The deal only suspends this declaration of sovereignty over certain areas while it does not talk about IL’s withdrawal from annexed areas– something that Palestinians would have demanded. Why does UAE want to oversee an arrangement that, by and large, benefits IL?  Thirdly, the agreement was struck without consulting Palestinians even though the deal was related to their future. The deal over Palestine’s future is another Sykes–Picot-like Agreement reached between Third Parties to the detriment of the Palestinians.

With this accord, the UAE becomes the first Gulf Arab country to recognise IL and establish formal diplomatic and economic relations with the Jewish state. The deal that will see opening of investments and agreements on tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues has undermined UAE’s image as a country committed to the cause of Palestine.

The deal appears to be another attempt by the Trump family, just before the November Presidential election to execute the Peace plan drawn up by White House’ son-in-law Jared Kushner, with little or no change vis-à-vis annexations condemned by the international community, by getting Gulf Arab countries on board with UAE’s help to influence Palestine to accept the “deal of the century” over the issue that never saw a fair settlement, while strengthening UAE in a major role in the Gulf against regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat.

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