More normalization With Israel To Follow
The Biden administration encourages more Arab countries to recognize Israel
However, there was no mention of a Palestinian state or concrete steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We will encourage more countries to follow the lead of the Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday in a virtual meeting with ministers of the three countries and Israel.
The Biden administration, as well as all the other US Presidents, has advocated for Americans’ friendly relationship with Israel. Biden has been a firm defender of Israel, and has encouraged even more Arab and Muslim nations to normalize ties with Israel during a ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of former President Donald Trump’s “Abraham Accords”.
Back then, the UAE agreed to normalize ties with Israel, and Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco all followed suit. During the last months of Trump’s administration, 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.
All of these normalizations did not come for free. The four latest agreements stipulated mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations. Following the consensus, the Trump administration validated Morocco’s claim to the contested Western Sahara region; Sudan was removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the UAE secured a deal for advanced F-35 fighter jets. Nevertheless, that deal has been frozen by the Biden administration.
As Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) recalls, Israel prioritized closing the ranks against Iran and sought to broaden its economic relations. The UAE was interested in accessing modern weapons systems and establishing a long-term bond with the US through extensive arms cooperation.
The agreement between Israel and Bahrain was not so much the result of specific Bahraini interests as it was a signal of Saudi support for closer cooperation between Bahrain and Israel. Sudan achieved the removal from Washington’s terror list, and it paved the way for US developmental aid, and access to international loans.
Morocco was incentivized by US recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara and the promise that negotiations on a settlement of the conflict would take place based on Morocco’s autonomy plan. As a result, also the UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan opened consulates in Western Sahara.
From his side, US President Trump wanted to be seen as a peacemaker in the Middle East, with his “deal of the century” to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Needless to say, this has been unsuccessful.
Stab in the back, once more
Past and present statements simply represent a betrayal and a setback for the Palestinian. Once again, they see how one of the major forces on the planet, encourages others to side with Israel, the country that is applying a de facto apartheid on them.
The US argues that a bigger normalization is necessary “to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy” and because “it is in the interests of countries across the region, and around the world, for Israel to be treated like any other country.”
On Friday, Blinken expressed this mission by saying that building on relationships and growing normalizations were “to make tangible improvements in the lives of Palestinians, and to make progress toward the long-standing goal of advancing negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” Let’s remember that ties with the Palestinians were badly damaged especially since Trump’s 2018 announcement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid declared that the normalization “club is open for new members” and that their goal is to “make sure that other countries will follow suit and join us in this course and in this new era of cooperation and friendship.”
For the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, these deals are a “stab in the back” to their people. Palestinians have reacted strongly against the pacts, and say they feel betrayed by their Arab neighbors who previously abstain themselves from providing diplomatic recognition until Israel withdrew from the Occupied Territories, and an Israel-Palestinian peace deal was reached.
Actions and words do not match. Although public figures have declared their support for the two-state solution, they continue to ally with Israel. Recently, we can see a prime example, with the words of the Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita’s: “Morocco believes that there is no other alternative to a two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state”, the reality is that they have Israel’s back.
Countries that have rallied with Israel, have seen quite a few improvements since the Abraham Accords while Israel has seen its existence being recognized, and increasingly accepted as a partner and a part of the region.
Since the agreements, Palestinian’s have seen their rights even more threatened as Israel has continued with the annexation of the West Bank sending an ever-increasing settler number. It has also repeatedly bombed Gaza since May’s ceasefire. And it has the right to do so, according to the Abraham accords.
They legitimize Israeli right’s to claim parts of the West Bank as well as permanent, overarching Israeli control over Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. On the contrary, in them, there is no mention of a Palestinian state or concrete steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel is a major player with the ability to wipe out Palestinians off the map.