Erekat: If Arab League Doesn't Condemn UAE, It's No Longer Relevant

The UAE violated long-held Arab consensus not to make agreements with Israel before a solution to the Palestinian issue was found

Jack Khoury
Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with foreign diplomats, in Ramallah, January 30, 2019.
Saeb Erekat looks on during a news conference following his meeting with foreign diplomats, in Ramallah, January 30, 2019.Credit: \ MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury

The secretary general of PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, attacked the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Council on Tuesday for not condemning the agreement between the UAE and Israel to establish diplomatic ties.

Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio station that if these organizations don’t express a unified position against the UAE’s normalization of ties with Israel, which violated the Arab consensus not to make agreements with Israel before there being a solution to the Palestinian issue, they would become irrelevant.

Erekat’s attack is exceptional given the Palestinian leadership’s dependence on the two organizations. Traditionally, the PA has sought backing from the Arab and Muslim world regarding Israeli or American policy. Erekat said over the weekend: “It’s time that the Arab League secretary general convene the League and issue a condemnation. If he cannot do that, he’d better resign.”

Palestinian sources in Ramallah told Haaretz Tuesday that the PA leadership fears it has been left alone on the regional stage. Senior PA officials said this week that the leadership’s calls on Arab regimes have fallen on deaf ears. “Usually, as happened with the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, the PA managed to elicit official responses from Arab capitals embracing the Palestinian position,” one senior Palestinian official said. “This will either lead to an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo or some other tactic, something that they still haven’t succeeded to push.”

The Arab League numbers 22 countries, among them Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. The PLO started representing the Palestinian people in 1976. The Islamic Cooperation Council is made up of 57 nations, including all 22 Arab League members.

The Palestinian ambassador to the UAE, Issam Masalha, was recalled to Ramallah. Jabril Rajoub, the secretary general of Fatah’s central committee, said the PA has no intention of sending him back to Abu Dhabi in the foreseeable future.

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