EXPO 2020 Dubai: Another Stab In The back By Palestinian Authority

Israel has officially taken part in the EXPO 2020 Dubai exhibition last week in an open-concept pavilion, future-focused and highlighting the ways in which the Jewish state can cooperate with other nations to solve the many challenges facing the global community.

Behind this, there is a “manifesting step towards succeeding normalization agreements signed with the UAE”, says Quds News network.

The shocking news is that the Palestinian Authority has reversed its decision and has insisted to participate alongside Israel despite the popular outburst and the BDS calls to boycott the exhibition following Israel-UAE normalization.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee also called to escalate global pressure on “the UAE dictatorship to end its support for Israel’s apartheid regime”. It stressed that any Palestinian or Arab participation in the Expo, which celebrates an Israeli pavilion for the first time on Arab land, is considered an encouragement for official normalization between some Arab regimes and Israel.

It is worth mentioning that Human Rights Watch has considered that the UAE is using Dubai Expo 2020 to promote a “public image of openness that is at odds with the government’s efforts to prevent scrutiny of its rampant systemic human rights violations.” In this event, the UAE and Israel have sought to emphasize the economic dividend offered by normalization.

On the huge display screens in the exhibition Israeli pavilion, pictures of Jerusalem walls, sands, and courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque have been displayed in a “miserable attempt to promote the stolen monuments as symbols of the occupation state”, adds Quds News Network.

While the presence of an Israeli pavilion in an Arab country is novel, Israel’s participation in international exhibitions is not. As The Times of Israel’s Renee Ghert-Zand recalls, this participation predates Israel’s establishment for several decades. “Major exhibitions have been an important way for Zionists to show off positive social, economic and cultural developments in what was then British Mandate Palestine, and to advance the case for the creation of a Jewish homeland there,” describes Ghert-Zand.

The problematic stance of the PA

This move from the PA demonstrates once again its decline and incongruence with Abbas’ past words. Abbas gave Israel one year to withdraw from occupied territory in the United Nations General Assembly on Friday 24 of September.

In this virtual meeting, he threatened to no longer recognize Israel based on pre-1967 borders if it refused to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. “We must state that Israel, the occupying power, has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem,” Abbas voiced. He went on accusing Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.”

Now it is asking to participate next to Israel in Dubai’s Expo? This will only infuriate Palestinians and continue to grow Abbas’ backlash for his long rule and the increasingly authoritarian PA.

Abbas’s presidential mandate expired in 2009, but he has continued as head of the PA controlling the West Bank. He canceled the first Palestinian elections in 15 years back in April when it appeared his Fatah party would lose. Then, during the 11-day Gaza war in May, he was largely out-of-action when support for Hamas, his rival raised.

It also comes at a time when public outrage has manifested in protests in Bahrain and around Palestine after Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid’s visit to Bahrain. Lapid arrived on Saturday 30 in Bahrain, invited by his Bahraini counterpart, to inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Manama on Thursday. It is believed he will sign a list of bilateral agreements. 

Since the Abraham Accords made by former President Donald Trump on September 15, 2020, the Biden administration has encouraged even more Arab and Muslim nations to normalize ties with Israel.

Back then, the UAE agreed to normalize ties with Israel, and Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco all followed suit. These deals shattered the longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalization with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians. Prior to the Abraham Accords, the only Arab states that had ties with Israel were Egypt and Jordan.

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