RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — Palestinians have reacted with outrage and deep disappointment to the Arab League’s refusal to condemn the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
The refusal of the Arab League foreign ministers to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution against the Israel-UAE agreement will pave the way for other Arab states to establish relations with Israel, Palestinian officials cautioned.
The officials denied a report that suggested the Palestinians were considering withdrawing from the Arab League to protest its attitude toward the Palestinians.
“First we thought that the United Arab Emirates was the only country that had stabbed us in the back,” a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “On Wednesday, we saw how several other Arab countries have betrayed the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue. This is a black day in the history of the Palestinians and Arabs.”
Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an Emirati professor of political science, commenting on the failure of the Palestinians to convince the Arab League to condemn the UAE, wrote on Twitter: “The Palestinian delegation found itself rejected at the Arab League meeting, which dropped a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE-Israel peace agreement. This is happening for the first time in the history of the Arab League due to the stupidity of the corrupt Palestinian leadership.”
During a video conference meeting on Wednesday, the Arab foreign ministers “affirmed their adherence to peace as a strategic option and solving the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of international law, the resolutions of international legitimacy and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.”
They also expressed support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for establishing an international multiparty mechanism for overseeing the Middle East peace process.
However, they refused to endorse the Palestinian draft resolution that rejects the Israel-UAE deal after several Arab countries, including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, and Sudan objected to its harsh wording.
“Every sovereign state has the indisputable right to conduct its foreign policy in the way it wants, and this is something that this council [Arab League] respects and endorses,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit said during the meeting.
His remarks were directed toward the Palestinians, whose foreign minister, Riad Malki, called on the Arab countries during the meeting to reject the Israel-UAE accord on the pretext that it violates the Arab Peace Initiative. That initiative says Arabs would normalize their relations with Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
One of the first Palestinian officials to react to the cold shoulder the Arab countries gave the Palestinians was Mohannad Aklouk, the Palestinian envoy to the Arab League.
“With all pride, Palestine wanted a decision from the Arab foreign ministers that rejects and condemns the Emirati normalization [with Israel], prevents the Arab decline and preserves the legacy of the Arab League,” he wrote on Facebook. “But Palestine was unable to impose that, so the draft resolution collapsed. We have dignity, martyrs, prisoners and refugee camps of glory, and this is enough for us.”
The Palestinians’ “failure to obtain the consent of all Arab countries to condemn the UAE’s decision is extremely dangerous,” the PLO Executive Committee said.
“The insistence of the UAE on proceeding with the signing of the peace treaty with the Israeli occupation constitutes a flagrant denial of the Palestinian people and their rights,” it said.
The “Arab brothers have abandoned the Palestinian issue at a time when the entire world is supporting it,” PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said. The Arab League has “proven that it cannot make decisions on its own,” he said. “Rather, it is subject to political money and American pressure.”
By shunning the Palestinians, the Arab League has “given a green light for more free normalization agreements with Israel,” Majdalani said. He accused the Arab League of “siding with the occupation against the Palestinian people.”
Tayseer Khaled, another member of the PLO Executive Committee, accused the Arab League of speaking in a “dual language.”
On the one hand, the Arab League rejected the Palestinian draft resolution that called for condemning normalization with Israel, he said. On the other hand, perhaps to avoid embarrassment, the Arab League confirmed its adherence to the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, he added.
“The Arab League has eulogized its role and charter,” Khaled said.
Walid Awad, a member of the Palestinian People’s Party, formerly the Palestinian Communist Party, said the Arab foreign ministers who foiled the Palestinian draft resolution have launched a campaign to justify normalization with Israel.
Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Fatah official who heads the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs, said: “The Arab League hasn’t produced anything,” He accused the Arab states of “submitting” to Israel and stressed that the Palestinians will “remain the masters of themselves and the protectors of their history. Money has triumphed over dignity.”
Another Fatah official, Fahmi al-Za’areer, accused the Arab foreign ministers of “taking a step backward regarding normalization and open public relations between some Arab countries and Israel.”
The failure of the Arab League to denounce the Israel-UAE deal constitutes a “green, and not orange, light for similar agreements with other Arab countries,” he said.
What happened during the meeting of the Arab League was yet another indication that the Arab countries are no longer “defending and helping the Palestinians in their struggle” against Israel, Za’areer said.
Hamas and several Palestinian factions lashed out at the Arab League and accused its members of “walking away from their role and duties toward the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue.”
A spokesman for the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group said the Arab League has “legalized [Israeli] occupation by becoming the sponsor of normalization with Israel.”