Palestinian civil society stands with the silenced majority in the United Arab Emirates and the Arab world in strongly condemning the agreement reached between the despotic rulers of the United Arab Emirates and Israel, with support from the Trump White House. This is the UAE regime’s gravest betrayal of the struggle for Palestinian liberation and self-determination.
The deal was announced as Israel was once again bombing the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip and attacking Palestinians in the West Bank, signaling that it would do nothing to diminish Israel’s brutal assaults on the Palestinian people.
The UAE regime’s claim that the price for its violation of the central principle among Arab peoples of commitment to the Palestinian cause was Israel’s freeze of its plans to formally annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory is a lie. After the agreement had been reached, Netanyahu announced that the annexation plan is still alive but has been temporarily delayed to allow him to reach agreement with Trump on how best to implement it.
Moreover, irrespective of how Netanyahu and Trump decide to handle or spin formal annexation, the UAE claim is a sham: Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and its illegal settlement enterprise are continuing unabated, entrenching its de facto annexation and apartheid regime.
Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is celebrating this latest diplomatic breakthrough as badly needed cover for its ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Indingeous people of Palestine. These include massacres; ethnic cleansing, especially in Jerusalem, the Naqab and the Jordan Valley; the siege of Gaza; home demolitions; destruction of ancient olive groves; destruction or appropriation of cultural and archeological heritage; and denial of fundamental rights protected in international law.
This “peace” agreement between the Israeli and UAE regimes culminates years of secretive and sometimes public relations, including the UAE’s import of billions of dollars worth of Israeli security and military technology in recent years. It comes in the context of the Emirati regime’s perpetration of its own crimes against the people of Yemen, in partnership with the despotic Saudi regime and with full complicity of the US and several European states.
The Emirati regime, with a track record of silencing opposition and dissent, and rampant racism and discrimination against migrant workers, also needed this agreement with Israel to support its military interventions and war against democracy in the region and to circumvent any potential UN sanctions in response to its crimes.
What Netanyahu did not say is that the response to Palestinian civil society’s call for targeted and lawful sanctions against Israel’s plans and ongoing apartheid regime has been overwhelmingly positive, especially in the Global South, as well as in some European states and among members of the US Congress. This effort has to continue and be strengthened.
With its agreement with the UAE dictatorship, Israel has added yet another police state to its league of international friends and allies. As apartheid Israel becomes a model for far-right and authoritarian regimes worldwide, exporting its “field-tested” weapons and expertise in militarism, systemic racism, mass surveillance, racial profiling, and bloody oppression, it is quickly losing support in mainstream liberal circles worldwide, including among younger Jewish Americans. This Israeli expertise has endeared the country to ruthless human rights violators from India, Myanmar and the Philippines, to South Sudan, Colombia, Brazil and Honduras, and many in between.
Israel’s regime of oppression can strike deals with all the dictators of the world, but that may only delay, not thwart, its time of reckoning, when it will be met with lawful, targeted sanctions aimed at ending its apartheid regime and its decades-old denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. The massive growth of the BDS movement’s impact in recent years, and the mainstreaming of accountability measures, including sanctions, to counter Israel’s plans for further formal annexation of Palestinian land and to to end its apartheid regime and multi-layered system of oppression attest to this.
The Palestinian people, supported by the absolute majority in the Arab world and by people of conscience globally, will continue to resist Israeli oppression and insist on our inalienable right to liberation, self-determination, freedom and dignity in our homeland. We call on people across the globe to escalate boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel’s ongoing annexation and apartheid.
In response to the UAE dictatorship’s treason, we call on our sisters and brothers in the UAE to boycott any Israeli presence or activity in the country or elsewhere and to refuse to engage with the Israeli embassy or with entities partnering with them and with all complicit Israeli institutions. We also call on Arabs in general to continue to actively resist this abject normalization by:
Boycotting all activities, festivals and projects sponsored by the UAE regime, including the Dubai EXPO, the Dubai Shopping Festival, as well as sports, cultural and economic/financial festivals and conferences.
Boycotting and divesting from any Emirati or other corporation that becomes complicit in implementing this normalization agreement with Israel.
Refraining from travel to present-day Israel and the OPT, including the al-Aqsa mosque, under this unethical agreement, and from participating in faithwashing initiatives that underpin this so-called “Abraham Accord.”