The UAE and Bahraini deals with Israel have nothing to do with regional peace, everything to do with advancing their geopolitical and economic interests, along with harming peace prospects by abandoning support for long-suffering Palestinians. As long as they’re not afforded equity, justice, freedom from Israeli occupation, and self-determination, regional peace will remain elusive.
Formal despotic UAE and Bahrain relations with apartheid Israel makes it easier for the Jewish state to annex all valued parts of historic Palestine it wishes — what it’s been doing incrementally for over half a century. After the UAE/Israeli deal was announced, Netanyahu said annexation is “still on the table,” what his regime is “committed to.”
Executive director of US-based Jewish Voice for Peace Stefanie Fox said the following: “Until Israel is no longer oppressing Palestinians and violating their rights, building illegal settlements, maintaining an apartheid regime, and attacking human rights defenders, Trump and Netanyahu’s latest ploy, aided and abetted by the UAE, is nothing more than theatrics.”
The If Not Now movement of “Jews to end Israel’s occupation and transform the American Jewish community” said the following in denouncing the Israel/UAE deal:“After months of mounting pressure against Prime Minister Netanyahu’s annexation plans from around the world, this treaty — recognizing the informal ties that have existed between Israel and the UAE for years — gives Netanyahu diplomatic cover to say that he stopped formal annexation of the West Bank,” adding: “Meanwhile, the (Netanyahu regime) can continue doing exactly what it has already been doing for decades — removing Palestinians from their land and stripping them of their rights.”
“Once again, Palestinians, who are not mentioned in this document, are treated as political pawns and excluded from decision-making about their own future.”
What unofficially existed for some time is now formally established between Israel and the two Arab states, including diplomatic relations — embassies to be set up and envoys announced.
When news of the UAE deal was reported, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi slammed it, tweeting the following:
“The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel.”
“Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!”
“May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen.”
“May you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation.”
“May you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones.”
“May you never be sold out by your ‘friends.’ ”
Tiny Bahrain, a nation of about 1.5 million people, is home to the US Fifth Fleet. Like the Saudis and UAE, the Bahraini Al Khalifa monarchy is notorious for horrific civil and human rights abuses, imprisoning, torturing, and eliminating anyone challenging its dictatorial rule.
Human rights champions are most vulnerable. In early 2020, the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) provided hard evidence of systematic brutality against dissent by the regime.
PLO official Saeb Erekat denounced the latest Arab betrayal of the Palestinian cause, saying:
“The Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalize relations is now part of a bigger package in the region.”
“It isn’t about peace. It is not about relations between countries. We are witnessing an alliance, a military alliance being created in the region.”
Wrongfully imprisoned human rights champion Abdulhadi al-Khawaja’s daughter Maryam tweeted:
“The majority of the people of Bahrain…have always stood against the oppression, occupation and apartheid against the people of #Palestine.”
“I’m proud of the people who fight injustice locally and have always stood with justice #Palestine. Bahrain is it’s people, the regimes only represent themselves.”
Former Bahraini MP Ali al-Aswad called last Friday a “black day” in the country’s history. Hezbollah condemned the “great betrayal” of the Palestinian people by the “tyrannical regime in Bahrain…a stab in the back.” Palestinian factions unanimously denounced the deal. So did Bahraini clerics. Iran’s Foreign Ministry slammed the deal, saying the following: “The rulers of Bahrain will from now on be partners to the crimes of the Zionist regime as a constant threat to the security of the region and the world of Islam.” “Bahrain’s shameful move sacrifices the Palestinian cause and decades of struggle…at the expense of the US election.”
Capitulation by the UAE and Bahrain to imperial USA and apartheid Israel against the Palestinian cause is another blow to regional peace and stability.
Is Saudi/Israeli normalization next?