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Does the Normalization Serve the Palestinian Cause?
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
November 22, 2018

As if the move had been agreed upon in advance; as if the timing was deliberate; as in one week, the regimes of Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE received an Israeli delegations and ministers. The last of which was when the Omani capital, Muscat, received an Israeli government delegation led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

In addition, there has been an escalation in the atmosphere of these regimes' statements regarding to the "development of bilateral relations" between them and Israel, which confirms that the bilateral relations have been existed prior to the visits, and that the cooperation between them and Israel has taken its course. The statements also talked about joint cooperation projects with Israel, in the fields of sports, culture, communication, transportation, railway construction and other projects with budgets of millions that will flow to the treasury of the occupation government.

In his turn, Netanyahu did not hide what was going on. He revealed about his "secret" visit to Muscat and talked about other visits that will be to Arab capitals that do not have an official diplomatic relations with Israel. He also talked about open prospects for Israel to develop its relations with the Arab regimes openly, after their relationships with it were under the table and in the back rooms.

In a single tone, as if it was agreed upon, everyone justified this normalization with Israel as part of supporting the Palestinian cause under the pretext that "the relationship with Israel allows the Arab countries to pressure on the occupation government and convince it to compromise in favor of the Palestinians”. Thus, normalization with Israel, is beneficial to the Palestinian cause and lifting the siege on the occupation state, supports the struggle of the Palestinian people, as well as normalizing the relations with Israel and supporting its economy with projects, carried out by Israeli companies, is in favor of the Palestinian people.

This is not the first time that Arab regimes opened up to Israel in such a crude way, which does not pay any attention neither to the feelings of the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation, nor to the feelings of their peoples who still see Israel as an enemy to all Arab peoples, not only the Palestinians.

As soon as of the signing of the Oslo Accords, Arab regimes rushed to receive an official Israeli delegations, establish an open relations with the occupation government, including the opening of their representative offices here and there, and sign economic contracts, especially in the Arab tourism to Israel. These steps extended from Rabat (where was Israel had a formal representative office) to Tunisia (in the time of the previous era) to Doha, Muscat, and the Gulf regimes, mentioned above. Prior to that, the cooperation was with the Numeiri government in Sudan. The slogan of all these was "we will not be more Palestinian than the Palestinians; and as long as the Palestinians have signed the Oslo Accords and entered into peace negotiations, then, why there should be no peace between us and Israel? "

The developments later confirmed the falsity of the Israeli peace, especially in the wars that it waged against the Lebanese people, the invasion of the occupation forces to the West Bank, the aggressive wars on the Gaza Strip and the disruption of the Oslo Accords. So, the fury and pressure of the Arab street increased on the governments, involved in the futility of normalization with Israel until their representatives offices in these capitals began to close, one behind the another, although some continue to play their role in perpetuating bilateral relations behind the scenes.

In turn, Arab summits did not close the door to full normalization with Israel, but turned it into a subsequent reward for Israel, in exchange for its withdrawal from occupied Arab land and the establishment of a Palestinian state, with the prior concession of the refugees right to return (as endorsed by the 2002 Beirut Summit). The most serious, is that the PA itself has often been silent about the normalization of certain Arab regimes with Israel. The most recent of which was its silence on the reception of the Gulf regimes to Israeli delegations and the reception of Muscat regime to Benjamin Netanyahu.

The PA is trying to give its silence many explanations that justify its complicit position with the existing normalization. Including: that these regimes provide the PA with the financial assistance, these regimes also contribute to removing the obstacles before the resumption of negotiations with Israel. Moreover, these regimes by opening up to Israel can strengthen their position in the relationship with the US, in favor of the Palestinian cause. All of which, are allegations that facts assert their falsity. The proof of this is the birth of the "deal of the century" by the Trump administration to solve the Palestinian question and liquidate it.

One does not need to think long to realize that these steps of normalization do not serve the Palestinian national cause, but are in the context of American arrangements for the region's map.

• The joy that is sweeping Israel to achieve these steps is a sign and conclusive evidence that such steps are a net gain for the occupying state. The statements of Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers are proof of what we are saying.

• These steps fall under the policy of the coup against the Arab Peace Initiative, which conditioned the normalization on the Israeli withdrawal; a coup which called for by the former Israeli President Shimon Peres, and other leaders of the Israeli entity, when he called for the normalization first, then the withdrawal.

Although the Arab summits and the Riyadh regime have repeatedly stressed that there is no change in the Arab initiative nor on the mechanisms and priorities of its implementation, but what happened (and what will happen) has formed a violation to the initiative and the positions of the Arab summits and Riyadh. However, it is noted that this violation has not been met with any reaction, neither by the General Secretariat of the Arab League, nor by Riyadh, the periodic president of the Arab Summit. It is natural that the silence to be understood as a silent acceptance.

• This silent acceptance can never be separated from what the US is drawing for the region. As the deal of the century, as it has become known, is a two-aspects plan. Along with the Palestinian aspect, there is the regional aspect, to establish an Israeli regional Arab alliance against Iran, to contain it and change its policies. Thus, if the normalization steps, are not considered as an involvement in this alliance, with an informal and non-traditional methods (without ceremonies, conferences and exchange of documents) they are, in the minimum, an acceptance to the desire of the US administration, and a preparation for the Palestinian file applications. Thus, the Arab (Palestinian official) silence on the steps of the normalization, are messages to the US, not to field clash with them and a bet that Trump's administration responds to some aspirations with some relative balance in the deal of the century plan, to leave the Arab regimes and the Palestinian negotiator, with some dignity and respect.

But what has become necessary to talk about, is that the more Arab regimes break the siege on the occupation government, the more Israel complicates its conditions for settlement, based on the American support and the indifference of some Arab regimes. By this we note that the occupation government escalates its terms and its solution offers, time after time. So, we moved from the Oslo formula for five years to Oslo, which has exceeded a quarter of a century, and from the solution of an independent Palestinian state to a "two-state solution" in accordance with the "road map" and the American project. And from the "two-state solution" to the "economic solution," which Netanyahu had formulated, guided by the "deal of the century" and supported by Trump (a government in the Gaza Strip and autonomy in the West Bank under the supervision of the Israeli civil administration).


The official Palestinian silence on the steps of normalization has harmed the Palestinian cause. So, the Palestinian disunited reaction (each faction separately), becomes unable to get the necessary pressure.

The ball is in the court of the official leadership, the Executive Committee, and the PA.

As for rejecting the "deal of the century" by words and statements and keeping silent on the normalization of some regimes with Israel, is only a cry in the valley that only produces the echo.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Manal Mansour
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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