Palestinian leaders yesterday called for demonstrations against the “shameful” deals the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are set to sign with Israel.
Officials from both Gulf states are due to attend a ceremony at the White House tomorrow to formalise ties with Israel, prompting Palestinian factions to unite in appeals for protest.
“We invite our population, in particular those in (Palestinian) refugee camps, to denounce these shameful agreements,” a statement read, signed by groups including the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Gaza’s rulers Hamas.
The statement also called for rallies outside embassies of the US, Israel, Bahrain and the UAE.
The Palestinians last month accused Abu Dhabi of a “stab in the back”, as the Gulf country became only the third Arab nation after Egypt and Jordan to announce it would have formal relations with Israel.
Bahrain followed suit on Friday, breaking with the long-held stance of Arab leaders that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is a prerequisite for normalising relations.
The deals with Israel were dubbed “peace for protection” by Saeb Erekat, PLO secretary-general.
“Some decision-makers now in the Arab world do believe that Arab national security metrics will depend on the protection of Israel,” he told journalists yesterday.
Erekat referred to Washington’s longstanding policy of ensuring Israel is militarily stronger than other countries in the Middle East.
Arab nations are not permitted “to have any superiority on Israel on any field,” noted Erekat.
Meanwhile, Bahraini opposition groups have said they reject the decision by the country state to normalise relations with Israel, with a leading cleric yesterday calling on the people of the region to resist.
Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, living in Iran, said he was against normalisation between Arab countries and Israel, in a statement published by dissolved Bahraini opposition party al-Wefaq, a group close to Qassim.
The accords struck between Israel and the UAE, and between Israel and Bahrain go against the will of the people, he said.
“There is a great divergence between the rulers and the ruled in thought, mind, aims and interests. Governments are experiencing a psychological defeat and want to impose it on the people, and the people have to resist this defeat,” Qassim said.
A group of Bahraini political and civil society associations, including the Bahrain Bar Association, yesterday voiced their opposition to the deal in a joint statement.
“What results from normalisation will not enjoy popular backing, in line with what generations of Bahrainis have been brought up on in terms of adherence to the Palestinian cause,” the statement said.
The head of Bahrain’s highest court ordered judiciary employees not to criticise government policy or express opinions harming national unity, Al-Bilad newspaper reported yesterday.
Bahrainis have previously criticised their government’s engagements with Israel, including last June’s conference in Manama to launch a US-led $50bn economic formula for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Parliament last April joined social media calls to stop Israeli business and government officials attending an international entrepreneurship conference.
The delegation did not attend.
Bahrain has had a Jewish population for decades, although emigration means it is small today.
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