Palestinian factions have united to protest Bahrain and the UAE’s signing of normalization treaties with Israel.
Rabat – Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank revealed a new united front on Tuesday as protests against Israel’s normalization treaties erupted.
Now that Israel has signed its normalization treaties with Bahrain and the UAE, Palestinians have come out in full force to protest the controversial agreements.
Lingering divisions between various Palestinian groups, including Fatah and Hamas, were set aside to protest the bilateral agreements that Palestinians see as a betrayal of the Arab Peace Initiative. Both Israel and Palestine had prepared for a new “day of rage” as Palestinians took to the streets in opposition to the treaties that were signed in Washington, D.C. on the same day.
Ahead of the protests, Hamas and Fatah guided leaders of Palestinian groups to form a “unified field leadership” to enact “comprehensive popular resistance.” The display of unity comes at a time when two long-term allies of the Palestinian cause, Bahrain and the UAE, agreed to normalize ties with Israel.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday called the signing ceremony for the treaties in Washington “a dark day in the history of the Arab nation and of the Arab League.” Shtayyeh stated that the Palestinian government is considering leaving the Arab League, calling it “a symbol of Arab inaction.”
US President Donald Trump tweeted about the “Big White House ceremony tomorrow morning” on Monday. The event provides the embattled president with a significant foreign policy win ahead of the upcoming elections. Trump appeared to be in full campaign mode when he spoke to “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning and presented himself as a deal-maker in the Middle East.
He described his strategy that led to the Abraham Accords. “Instead of dealing with the Palestinians. we took their money away,” Trump said. “I took it away, they got to make a deal, you watch.”
The US president called UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed “a great leader, a great warrior” and said other Arab nations would soon follow the UAE and Bahrain.
In the dark of morning on the day of protests, Israeli security forces (ISF) arrested eight people during “search and arrest” operations in the Palestinian neighborhood of Al Isawiya in East Jerusalem. The arrest followed a busy night for the ISF, who raided a village to the south of Nablus. ISF troops also raided the Shu’fat refugee camp, the former UN camp that hosts an estimated 24,000 Palestinian refugees and was illegally annexed by Israel in 1967.
Day of Rage
Tuesday’s “day of rage” began with the news that Israel had recorded another 4,812 new cases of COVID-19. The threat posed by the virus, however, dispelled few.
Clashes occured early in the afternoon at a ISF checkpoint near the Al Ibrahimi Mosque, the site of a gruesome massacre of Muslim worshipers in 1983 by an Israeli gunman. Video emerged online of children pelting the checkpoint with rocks before Israeli riot police dispersed them.
An hour later, the ISF again raided the Shu’fat refugee camp near ‘Anata. As protests started to grow around Jerusalem, UAE Minister of State Anwar Gargash told the press in Washington that Palestinians would “have to decide if they want us to help,” adding “they have to lead the way on that.”
As Emirati and Bahraini diplomats prepared for the signing ceremony in Washington, new clashes emerged in Hebron in the West Bank. As part of the day of protests, ISF tear gas grenades met Palestinian youngsters throwing rocks at the metal gates of a local checkpoint.
As Palestinian protests continued to grow in the occupied territories and Israel, the signing of an agreement between Israeli and Emirati banks preceeded the signing of the Abraham Accords, according to Asharq al-Awsat.
Hours ahead of the signing of the controversial accords with Bahrain and the UAE, Qatar provided a glimmer of hope to Palestinians.
Assistant Qatari Foreign Minister Lolwah al Khater told Bloomberg: “The core of this conflict is about the drastic conditions that Palestinians are living under.” Al Khater ruled out a normalization agreement between Israel and Qatar as protests in Palestine raged on.