Palestine vows firm resistance to Arab, Israel normalization

Middle East Desk

RAMALLAH: The Palestinians on Sunday vowed a long-term popular resistance against the U.S.-sponsored normalization between Israel and Arab states.
The vow was made in the first press statement issued after midnight by the Unified National Command of Popular Resistance, which was formed after a meeting between the secretary generals of several Palestinian factions including the Islamic Hamas movement, ruler of the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.
The new Command called on the Palestinian people to consider the upcoming Sept. 15 a day of widespread rejection of the “shameful normalization.”
Bahrain is scheduled to sign a U.S.-brokered normalization agreement with Israel on Sept. 15 in Washington, during which a similar deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel will also be inked.
The statement said the comprehensive popular struggle will continue until the Palestinian independence is achieved, calling on Palestinian, Muslim and Arab diaspora to demonstrate on Sept. 15 in front of the embassies of the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain to denounce the normalization agreements.
Bahrain is the second Gulf Arab state that has announced normalization with Israel in less than a month after the UAE did so on Aug. 13. Egypt and Jordan signed their peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and in 1994 respectively.Moreover, Palestinians in Gaza burnt pictures of Israeli, U.S., Bahraini and United Arab Emirates leaders on Saturday in protest over the two Gulf countries’ moves to normalize ties with Israel.
Bahrain on Friday joined the UAE in agreeing to normalize relations with Israel, a move forged partly through shared fears of Iran but one that could leave the Palestinians further isolated. The Gaza protest, attended by a few dozen, was organized by the ruling Islamist group Hamas. “We have to fight the virus of normalization and block all its paths before it succeeds, to prevent it from spreading,” said Hamas official Maher al-Holy.
Demonstrators set fire to pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nayhan.
While the United States, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain hail the diplomatic moves as a major step toward Middle East peace and stability, the Palestinians see it as a betrayal. They fear a weakening of a longstanding pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries. Despite a deep political rift going back to 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority has limited rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and his Hamas rivals have been united against the Gulf states’ move.
In the West Bank, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said the diplomatic push will not achieve peace if the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved first.