Palestinians said to scale down criticism of Israel-UAE deal
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Palestinians said to scale down criticism of Israel-UAE deal

Resolution drafted ahead of Wednesday Arab League meeting reportedly leaves out call to condemn normalization accord; PA previously called it a betrayal

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) recites a prayer as he arrives for a meeting in the West Bank's Ramallah on September 3, 2020, (Alaa BADARNEH / POOL / AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (C) recites a prayer as he arrives for a meeting in the West Bank's Ramallah on September 3, 2020, (Alaa BADARNEH / POOL / AFP)

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly scaled down its criticism of the Israel-United Arab Emirates normalization deal ahead of an Arab League meeting on the matter in Cairo.

The Reuters news agency reported Tuesday that a draft resolution presented by the PA ambassador ahead of Wednesday’s meeting “does not include a call to condemn, or act against, the Emirates over the US-brokered deal.”

PA President Mahmoud Abbas also sent out an order barring statements or actions against other Arab leaders, including the heads of the UAE, the report said.

The draft resolution, which will be debated at Wednesday’s meeting, reportedly says the Israel-UAE agreement “doesn’t diminish Arab consensus over the Palestinian cause, the Palestinian cause is the cause of the entire Arab nation.”

“The trilateral announcement doesn’t change the principal Arab vision based on the fact that the two-state solution [based] on the 1967 borders is the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East,” the draft says.

It is a stark departure from recent rhetoric by Palestinian leaders, including Abbas, who have called the pact “despicable,” a “betrayal” and a “stab in the back.”

Abbas also hosted a meeting in Ramallah on Thursday night on the normalization agreement that included the leaders of terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and shared enmity toward Iran.

UAE delegates wave to a departing El Al plane, in Abu Dhabi, September 1, 2020 (El Al spokesperson’s office)

Some Arab states, including Egypt, Oman and Bahrain, have issued praise for the normalization agreement.

Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that Israel and the US hope could follow the UAE in forging diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. But Saudi Arabia has said it will not normalize relations until Israel agrees to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in keeping with the decades-old stance of most Arab nations.

As part of the deal with the UAE, Israel agreed to suspend indefinitely plans to annex parts of the West Bank, an achievement Abu Dhabi has highlighted in explaining why it sought the accord.

The deal was followed by the first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, with neighboring Saudi Arabia and Bahrain deciding to allow such flights to pass through their airspace.

Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, led a delegation that visited Abu Dhabi last week on that flight. Also on the trip were US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.

On Friday, in another diplomatic step forward for Israel, Serbia announced it would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and Muslim-majority Kosovo said it will recognize Israel and open an embassy in Jerusalem. The moves came as part of US-brokered discussions to normalize economic ties between Belgrade and Pristina.

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