PALESTINIAN political factions have reacted with fury to the first official visit by an Israeli delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to finalise the recently-reached normalisation agreement.
American and Israeli delegations are holding talks with Emirati officials in a bid to put the final touches to the August 13 UAE-Israel deal to establish full diplomatic relations.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the Palestinians were ‘deeply pained’ to see an Israeli aircraft land in the UAE, adding that the flight was a ‘clear and blatant violation of the Arab position regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict’.
The Palestinians ‘were hoping to see an Emirati aircraft land in the liberated city of Jerusalem,’ he noted. ‘But we are living in the difficult Arab era.’
‘On this occasion, we salute the Arab positions rejecting free normalisation with Israel,’ he said. ‘The Arabs foiled the recent trip of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo despite the pressure exerted on some Arab countries.’
The premier also complained that the Palestinian Authority has received no financial aid from Arab countries since the beginning of this year.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter to say: ‘That’s what peace for peace looks like.’ He was referring to the UAE-Israel deal, which does not entail the handover of land that Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
In response, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Saeb Erekat tweeted:
‘Peace is not an empty word used to normalise crimes and oppression. Peace is the outcome of justice.
‘Peace is not made by denying Palestine’s right to exist and imposing an apartheid regime. Apartheid is what Netanyahu means by peace for peace.’
Similarly, the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement said the Israeli flight to the UAE represented a ‘stab in the back of the Palestinian people, a prolonging of the occupation, and a betrayal of the resistance of the Palestinian
In a joint statement issued on Monday, the US, Israel and the UAE claimed that the normalisation deal was ‘a courageous step toward a more stable, integrated, and prosperous Middle East.
‘Today we have witnessed the first commercial flight by Israel’s El Al airline to the UAE, carrying both Israeli officials and media. Tomorrow, Emirati, Israeli and American officials will begin discussing bilateral technical cooperation in seven key areas: investment, finance, health, the civilian space programme, civil aviation, foreign policy and diplomatic affairs, and tourism and culture,’ the statement read.