‘All of Us Are Unified Now.’ What the UAE-Israel Deal Means for Palestinians

‘All of Us Are Unified Now.’ What the UAE-Israel Deal Means for Palestinians
Palestinians burn pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest in Nablus, West Bank, Aug. 14, 2020 (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed).

The surprise deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, in which they agreed to normalize diplomatic relations in exchange for Israel suspending its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, has not been well-received by Palestinians. The so-called “Abraham Accord” makes the UAE only the third country in the Arab world, after Egypt and Jordan, to recognize the state of Israel, and more could soon follow.

Many Palestinians see it as a betrayal. “It is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people,” Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s central committee, told WPR. He called the agreement a “violation of the Arab Peace Initiative,” an Arab League declaration, first endorsed in 2002, that conditions full ties with Israel on Israeli withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territory.

“As a Palestinian living in Palestine, who is suffering under the Israeli military occupation, I am very disappointed, frustrated and angry,” said Issar Amoro, a Palestinian activist. His organization, Youth Against Settlements, is based in Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank and the site of one of the earliest Israeli settlements. The deal with the UAE is “more than normalization” he says. “It’s about accepting the occupation and giving the Israeli right-wing government a gift.”

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