'Tomorrow, the Arab Peace Initiative Dies': Palestinian PM Blasts Israel-UAE-Bahrain Deal

Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh says ceremony is 'a dark day in the history of the Arab nation'

Jack Khoury
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Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during a meeting to discuss the Israeli planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, in the Jordan Valley, June 24, 2020.
Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh speaks during a meeting to discuss the Israeli planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, in the Jordan Valley, June 24, 2020.Credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned on Monday the upcoming peace deal ceremony between Israel and the Gulf states of the UAE and Bahrain in Washington D.C., calling it "a dark day in the history of the Arab nation and of the Arab League."

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Speaking at the start of a government meeting in Ramallah, Shtayyeh called on Arab countries not to send delegation to the ceremony Tuesday. He added that the Palestinian government will recommend to President Mahmoud Abbas to re-reevaluate the Palestinian Authority's relations with the Arab League. The League, said Shtayyeh, has become a divisive factor rather than a unifying framework.

"Tomorrow the Arab peace initiative dies, as will the Arab consensus, and it is our duty as Palestinians to come out of this crisis united," he said.

The White House ceremony on Tuesday will be presided over by U.S. President Donald Trump, and Netanyahu will be joined by the UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayan, following the announcement Friday that the small island state of Bahrain would also establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.

'An earthquake'

The Palestinian leadership has been dismayed by the UAE's move to normalize relations with Israel, fearing it would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

Last week, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki referred to the accord as a "surprise", and an "earthquake" for Arab consensus, and voiced dismay at the failure to call an emergency Arab summit after the deal was announced.

In August, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, said that if the Arab League doesn’t express a unified position against the deal, it would become irrelevant.

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