Palestinians call ‘Day of Rage’ against ‘normalisation’

Citizens demonstrate in the city of Nablus against the US-Israeli-UAE tripartite declaration – now Bahrain has signed as well

PALESTINIAN factions and the broader international Muslim community have expressed outrage at a fledgling trend of Arab-Israeli normalisation that has so far seen the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain cozying up to the occupying regime under Washington’s auspices.

Palestinians have declared today, Tuesday, a ‘day of rage’ over an earlier decision by Bahrain to normalise its ties with Israel under a US-brokered agreement, according to Israel’s Walla! website. A similar deal helped the UAE take the same move last month.

‘The Palestinian flag will be raised in all Palestinian cities and refugee camps… to emphasise the objection to raising the Israeli flag in Abu Dhabi and Manama,’ a Palestinian statement read, according to the Israeli outlet, which did not specify the faction or factions releasing it.

The statement also called on Palestinians to hold protests in front of embassies of the US, Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain around the world.

The Central Committee of the Fatah movement – that leads the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank – also lamented that the string of Arab betrayal served to compromise the Islamic and even Christian connections to the occupied holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds in the Israeli-occupied territory.

The Arab states, the committee added, were, meanwhile, encouraging the Israeli regime to rev up its illegal land grab and settlement construction activities.

Amid Manama and Abu Dhabi’s boast of their ‘peace’ with Tel Aviv, the committee noted that any regional attempt towards peace and stability in the region has to primarily safeguard the rights of the Palestinians.

‘Resistance, best way to confront Israel’

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, also condemned the normalisation campaign.

The group reflected on the trend in a statement that it released on the anniversary of the Oslo Accords, which were signed between the Israeli regime and the umbrella group of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in the early 1990s.

In the same way that the Oslo agreements failed to take away the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland, the current Arab-Israeli normalisation drive will also fail to deprive them of this entitlement, Hamas said.

The normalisation bandwagon, the resistance group said, is nothing but treachery against Palestine and Palestinians that would bring about nothing but ignominy for the Arab regimes.

The campaign can only be confronted through Palestinian unity, Hamas said, insisting on commitment to the results of a recent plenary Palestinian meeting in Beirut that was held to help close up existing rifts among Palestinian factions.

‘Al-Quds will remain Palestine’s eternal capital and no one can change it into the occupying Israeli regime’s capital,’ Hamas said, identifying resistance as the best means of confronting Israel and liberating Palestine.

A senior Emirati official says the normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Israeli regime will not be affected even by another Israeli war on the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip.

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Israel had to stop acts that undermine the ‘two-state solution and end its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands,’ Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency said.

Morocco’s Islamic Tawheed and Islah Movement also described the agreement between Bahrain and Israel as an act of betrayal targeting Palestinians.

The party’s head, Abdurrahim Sheyhi, told Anadolu that the Persian Gulf Arab states’ decision was helping out US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their difficult election campaigns.

On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry also said the Manama-Tel Aviv deal would administer a fresh blow to efforts aimed at defending the Palestinian cause.

‘It will further encourage Israel to continue illegitimate practices towards Palestine and its efforts to make the occupation of Palestinian lands permanent,’ the ministry said in a statement.

Islamabad also reiterated its commitment to the Palestinian cause and people.

‘Islamabad is committed to supporting Palestine and Palestinians’ legitimate right to independence and freedom,’ said the Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry.

Pakistan backs creation of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, he added, referring to the year when the Israeli regime grabbed huge swathes of Palestinian and Arab territory.

Last month, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan reacted to the Emirates’ normalisation decision, saying his country would never recognise Israel.

Addressing a meeting of Iraqi elites, senior Iraqi Shia cleric and political leader Ammar al-Hakim called the Persian Gulf states’ decision a strategic mistake, adding that Baghdad would never normalise its relations with Tel Aviv.

‘The agenda of State of Palestine will prevail, Hakim, who leads the Iraqi National Wisdom Movement, was quoted as saying.

Yemen’s Foreign Ministry echoed an earlier condemnation by the country’s popular defensive Houthi Ansarullah movement, denouncing Manama’s decision in the ‘strongest’ terms, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported.

With the decision, the Bahraini regime betrayed the blood of the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the Palestinian cause, and helped embolden Tel Aviv in its violations, the ministry said.

In Iran, which was among the first to lash out at both Arab states over their move, World Assembly of Islamic Awakening – an international Islamic body that was formed following the 2011 mass protests across many regional countries – reiterated Tehran’s outrage at the betrayal.

Iran strongly condemns a normalisation agreement between Bahrain and Israel, saying the Manama regime sacrificed the Palestinian cause for the upcoming US presidential election through the ‘shameful’ treaty.

Ali-Akbar Velayati, who advises Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on foreign affairs besides leading the body, said in a statement that the normalisation had served to unmask ‘the enemies of pure Islam and hypocrites.’

Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifah regime took the decision towards normalisation by investing ‘vain hope in the promises of the criminal US regime that is guilty of murdering thousands of Muslims in the region and beyond,’ the statement read.

This is while American strategists, it added, had started off the trend of normalisation just to curry favour with the Zionist lobby in the US and secure its vote in the run-up to the US’s elections as well as to save Israel’s politically-embattled prime minister.

The Assembly, meanwhile, called on Arab nations and the international Muslim community to invest in their ability to realise the Palestinian cause and ‘bring about annihilation and fall of the usurping Zionist regime (of Israel).’

• The United States has ordered its military forces and equipment in Lithuania to move closer to the Belarusian border as Minsk and Moscow gear up for a joint defence drill.

In a televised interview on Sunday on STV channel, Belarusian Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin warned that an American armour battalion had redeployed its tanks to a location in Lithuania close to the Belarusian border.

‘Fulfilling the head of state’s assignment to follow the situation in the areas adjacent to Belarus and the movement of troops, we can see that NATO is moving forces in the neighbouring states as part of Operations Enhanced Forward Presence and Atlantic Resolve,’ he said.

Belarus’ president rules out repeat election, warns country’s existence at stake

‘In particular, the redeployment of the 2nd Battalion of 69th Armour Regiment of the United States to the Pabrade firing range (in Lithuania), 15 kilometres from our state border, is underway,’ he added.

‘We cannot help but be alarmed that about 500 people, 29 tanks and 43 Bradley fighting vehicles would be engaged in the vicinity of our border,’ Khrenin said.

Late last month, the US Air Force flew six B-52 bombers in close formation over all 30 NATO countries, a move military experts said served as a warning to Russia and Belarus.

‘We cannot help but be concerned about the flights of B-52 bombers along our state border,’ Khrenin said.

Belarus has witnessed turmoil since the presidential election on August 9. The opposition disputed the results of the election, which President Alexander Lukashenko officially won by a landslide. Western countries quickly alleged voter fraud, and mass protests followed.

Last month, Lukashenko dismissed calls for a new election and warned that foreign powers aimed to destabilise the country. He instructed the military to closely monitor NATO activity in neighbouring Poland and Lithuania, putting the troops on the western border on high alert.

Lukashenko held a meeting with heads of the defence and law enforcement bodies on Saturday, focusing on the situation on the western border as well as sociopolitical developments in the country.

The United States military has dispatched 500 soldiers to Lithuania to engage in war games near the border with Belarus.

Lukashenko asked the defence minister and the chief of the General Staff to put forward their proposals for the Belarusian army’s actions in the near future.

In an interview with Russian media aired last Wednesday, Lukashenko said that Russia would ‘join us to repel an aggression from the west’ under the Collective Security Treaty and the Union State treaty. ‘It is our zone of responsibility,’ he said, adding that Belarus was also bound by treaty to defend Russia.

‘Should someone try to carry out an act of aggression against Russia through Belarus or near Belarus, our 60,000-65,000-strong army will go to war,’ Lukashenko said.

Russia has long been alarmed by NATO’s expansion on its so-called eastern flank.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday it would send troops from its Pskov division of paratroopers to Belarus for joint military drills starting on Monday, the RIA news agency reported.

The ‘Slavic brotherhood’ joint military drills are due to run from September 14-25, the defence ministry said, adding that the Russian paratroopers would return to Russia once they were over.