Arab countries rejected Wednesday a Palestinian draft that, if passed, would have censured the ongoing normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The failure to pass the resolution is considered a victory for Israel and the pro-normalization Arab camp, and a blow to Palestinian efforts aimed at forming a united Arab position on the issue.
The Palestinian delegation had already learned that a draft that would clearly condemn the agreement between Israel and the UAE would be rejected, Anadolu News Agency, citing Palestinian sources, reported. As a result, the Palestinians opted for a watered-down position that would condemn any Arab League member that would violate the ‘Arab Peace Initiative’ of 2002.
Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad Malki, today called on the Arab League to reject the United Arab Emirates-Israel normalization agreement. *16thOctoberGroup/Palestine* pic.twitter.com/gCvW8rDrSQ
— 16th October Group (@16thOctoberGr) September 9, 2020
The Arab initiative was introduced by Saudi Arabia and had, then won the backing of the Arab League. The Israel-UAE agreement, reached on August 13, is a stark violation of the initiative, which insists that no normalization between Israel and Arab countries is possible without a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
“After a three-hour debate, some Arab countries refused to include a statement condemning (the UAE) for abandoning Arab decisions. Additionally, they struck out a clause, which discussed the trilateral agreement” between the UAE, US, and Israel, Palestinian Authority ambassador to the Arab League Muhannad al-Aklouk told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) September 8, 2020
Al-Aklouk also told Reuters that, “Our side has insisted on only one point, the condemnation of (UAE’s) departure from the Arab Peace Initiative.”
“They spent two hours of discussion to remove this point,” Al-Akloud said, adding that the Palestinian Foreign Minister insisted not to remove it, presenting, instead, the League with two solutions, “either suspending the meeting for hours, days or until a consensus is found, or removing the point altogether.”
“When they (meaning Arab governments) refused to suspend the meeting, the point was removed entirely from the discussion.”
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) August 31, 2020
Palestinian sources revealed to Al-Jazeera that Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit was keen on delaying the Palestinian draft. Instead, he pushed forward a draft resolution introduced by the Gulf country of Bahrain – and supported by UAE – not to consider the Palestinian draft in the first place.
Arab League official Hussam Zaki seemed to blame Palestinians for the Arab failure to approve the draft resolution, according to the Times of Israel newspaper.
“A number of amendments were proposed, and then counter-amendments…and we were at a point in which Palestinian demands had not been realized, and the Palestinians preferred it not to pass rather than have it pass in a manner which they believed to be inadequate,” Zaki said.
Palestinian Authority officials and representatives of Palestinian factions condemned the Arab League’s failure to support Palestine.
“The League’s failure to make this decision entices the (Israeli) occupation government and the US administration to carry on with the implementation of their plot aimed at destroying the Palestinian cause,” the Palestinian resistance group Hamas said in a statement.
— @palestinechron (@PalestineChron) August 30, 2020
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leader of the normalization efforts, Jared Kushner must be grinning as their plan moves forward without disruption,” Palestinian journalist and editor of the Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said.
“Although Arabs will continue to speak of the ‘Arab Peace Initiative,’ what happened today in Cairo is the death knell of the initiative, which was never taken seriously by Tel Aviv in the first place,” Baroud added.
“The implicit message coming from Cairo is that Arab governments can proceed with their normalization schemes, with the tacit support of the most influential Arab governments. This is, sadly, the end of official Arab consensus on Palestine, but also, possibly, the start of a new type of Palestinian diplomacy, one that is not focused on rhetorical, and half-hearted official Arab ‘solidarity’.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)