The Israel-UAE Deal And Its Implications For Palestine

A diplomatic agreement established this week between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel has left Palestinians feeling further neglected. Although the agreement included the caveat that Israel cannot annex the West Bank, a plan that Israeli leadership has long pushed for, the action has nevertheless been viewed as a betrayal of the Palestinian people.

Rather than fully stop the invasion of Palestine, the agreement has made irrelevant a big incentive for Israel to end its occupation: normal relations with the Arab world. The UAE has ignored the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, a proposal that called for Israel to return occupied territories to Palestine in exchange for peaceful relations among Arabs and Israelis. Palestinians were completely left out of this agreement and did not even know the peace initiative was broken until President Trump announced it to the press. Now, the Palestinian struggle has only become more complicated.

Many, such as Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, have expressed great contempt for the UAE’s agreement. Erekat said, “I never expected this poison dagger to come from an Arab country. You are rewarding aggression…You have destroyed, with this move, any possibility of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.” Palestinians are not alone in their disappointment with the UAE. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has likewise condemned the Israeli-UAE agreement, calling it a “betrayal of the will of the Palestinian people and the will of Muslims.” Those who have witnessed the aggression of Israel against Palestine know the nation cannot be trusted in any promise of non-violence.

The UAE’s decision to make peace with Israel is a direct threat to Palestine. The agreement neglects the humanitarian crimes Palestinians have experiences at the hands of Israelis. Allowing peace with Israel without having the nation take responsibility for its actions only condones those actions. Israel already has the backing of the United States in the legitimacy of its nationality, an alliance which has given Israel permission to commit violence against Palestinians. Now that the UAE likewise supports Israel, Palestinians have even less power to stop the infiltration of their land. Nations in the Arab region and throughout the world need to take a stand against Israel and protect the Palestinians from further loss and grief. To not stand up in this way is to allow violence to persist in the Arab world.

Palestinians suffered the invasion of their land ever since 1922, when Jews began to migrate to Palestinian land under the permission of the British Balfour Declaration. Palestinians, who had not agreed to this migration, viewed it as a form of colonization by Europe. Despite the UN’s attempt to establish a land agreement for the two peoples, a series of wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973 saw Israel swallowing up most of Palestinian territory.

Currently, Palestinians live under the occupation of the Israeli government. Amnesty International, a global movement which cries out against human rights violations, has named several crimes Israel has committed since its establishment in 1947: punitive arrests, unfair trials, ill-treatment and torture of detainees, excessive use of force, detention of conscientious objectors, and forced evictions and home demolitions. While Israelis experience a first-world existence, Palestinians are plagued by poverty and an unending threat to their land and their lives. Since 2009, Israel’s Prime Minister has attempted to extend Israeli control even further and fully annex Palestine’s West Bank. Palestinians live in fear of such an annexation and the further consequences it might have for their safety.

The crimes committed against Palestinians in the past five decades have still not been reconciled. Until they are, Israel cannot be supported by other Arab countries. Doing so will only further neglect the suffering of Palestinians until they are completely forgotten. Certainly, a physical attack on Israel is not the solution. The Arab nations have waged war on Israel before, and this violence only further complicated the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians.  Israel needs to be help accountable for its actions in a non-violet way. The pressure of Arab nations is needed to push Israel to reconcile with Palestine and recognize the value in their lives.

Lily Gretz