“There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization,” Palestine’s foreign minister said.
In response to Arab-Israeli normalization deals, Palestine has quit its role as chair of the Arab League council.
Palestine was set to maintain the role for the next six months. But one week after the UAE and Bahrain signed normalization deals with Israel, Palestine no longer wants the position.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the [Arab] League’s council at its current session. There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization during its presidency,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Tuesday.
Maliki did not explicitly call out the UAE and Bahrain, but Palestine sees the Gulf countries’ decision to normalize ties with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
As Bahrain and the UAE inked their normalization agreements in Washington, D.C., protests erupted in Gaza and the West Bank.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtayeh called the August 15 signing “a dark day in the history of the Arab nations and a defeat of the Arab League.”
He said Palestine’s government is considering leaving the Arab League, which has devolved into “a symbol of Arab inaction.”
Ishtayeh’s comments came after an Arab League ministerial meeting failed to pass a Palestinian draft condemning UAE-Israel normalization. Soon after Palestine’s flopped initiative, Bahrain announced its decision to normalize ties with Israel.
Ahmad Majdalani, the social affairs minister of the Palestinian Authority, called Bahrain’s decision “a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.”
Following the Emirati and Bahraini announcements, Palestine’s government presented a recommendation to President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider relations with the Arab League.
One week later, Palestine’s frustrated leaders have delivered on their warnings. While ceding the chair falls short of officially departing the Arab League, Palestine appears to be testing Arab states’ true commitment to the Palestinian cause.
Such a test comes at an opportune time, as rumors continue to swirl that Saudi Arabia is next in the normalization line. The Gulf kingdom said after the UAE-Israel normalization announcement that a free Palestine is essential for any Saudi-Israeli diplomacy, but it remains to be seen if Saudi Arabia will make good on this promise.