In recent weeks, tensions in Israel-Palestine have escalated and the IDF has launched a deadly new war on Gaza. This assault, along with the threat of evictions of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem and the Israeli raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, which sparked Palestinian protests, are just another chapter. from the Palestinian Nakba, 73 years old. .
But these events also demonstrate the failure of the normalization agreements – the so-called Abraham’s Agreements – between four Arab countries and Israel reached in 2020. These agreements have been widely heralded as promoting peace in the Middle East and restraining policies. Israeli expansionists in Palestine. But they turned out to have failed in both cases.
What has standardization produced?
The announcement of normalizing relations with Israel was laden with promises that it will help bring peace to the Middle East, end Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and open the door to development economic for the whole country. Region. But what has happened since has proven that these deals were just a simple business transaction led by former US President Donald Trump, who did everything he could to satisfy the Israeli prime minister’s whims. Benjamin Netanyahu.
The main outcome of the normalization agreements is that the UAE is on its way to becoming a major trading partner for Israel after abandoning the decades-old Arab boycott of the Zionist state. Abu Dhabi has announced plans to invest in Israeli tech companies, manufacturing, healthcare and agriculture, among other sectors. Above all, the two countries will most likely cooperate in the field of military production. The UAE, like some other Arab countries, has already acquired Israeli surveillance technology, drones and airport security equipment. Despite the UAE’s open opposition to the Israeli occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories, it began to allow the sale in its markets of goods from illegal Jewish settlements – labeled “from the land of Israel.”
Economic relations between Bahrain and Israel are also expected to intensify. The Israeli government projects non-military trade volume of $ 220 million with Manama in 2021, but also plans to sell him military and security equipment.
No major trade flows are expected from the normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco, but the two countries are expected to reap the rewards of their own political victories facilitated by the United States. Khartoum has been removed from the US list of terrorist sponsoring states, which will help the poor country obtain loans and investments, while Rabat has been granted recognition by Washington of its sovereignty over Western Sahara, which she had been researching since the 1970s.
None of these agreements have changed the situation on the ground in the hot spots of the Middle East, particularly in Palestine, as the events of the past few weeks show.
Israel continues to participate in the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Aided by police and state laws that discriminate against non-Jews, Israeli authorities persist in their campaign to expel Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem, with several families now threatened with forced eviction from their homes in the neighborhood by Sheikh Jarrah.
Israel also continues to trample on the religious rights of Palestinians. During nights, the Israeli police attacked worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan and in fact threw sound grenades and smoke bombs at the compound of al-Haram al-Sharif. Israeli forces also harassed Palestinian Christians and prevented some of them from reaching the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Easter services.
Israeli far-right groups, feeling emboldened by their electoral alliance with Netanyahu, have also stepped up harassment of Palestinians. Some of them marched through Jerusalem chanting “the death of the Arabs” during Ramadan. Their virulence spread to mixed towns inside the Green Line where they attacked Palestinian homes, motorists and pedestrians. In their aggression against the Palestinians, they were protected by the Israeli police, who once again confirmed that the Palestinians in Israel are second-class citizens. This was formalized with the enactment of the “Jewish Nation-State Law” in 2018, which virtually codified Israel as an apartheid state.
Finally, the Israeli aggression against Gaza shows no sign of abating. Last week he launched his third major assault on the besieged strip in 10 years. At the time of writing, over 200 people have been killed in Gaza, including 59 children, and over 1,000 injured. Thirteen other Palestinians were killed in clashes with occupying forces in the West Bank.
The costs of standardization
It is difficult to see how Arab countries that have normalized their relations with Israel can claim that their goal was to bring peace to the Middle East. The events of the last few weeks bear witness to their total inability to produce a positive result on all fronts. Certainly, they risk facing a public backlash and losing their credibility in the wake of the Israeli raids on Al-Aqsa and the bloody assault on Gaza.
Arab public opinion has repeatedly shown itself to be attached to the Palestinian cause. In the latest Arab Opinion Index for 2019-2020, carried out in 13 Arab countries representing some 300 million people, 88% of those polled rejected the idea of normalizing relations with Israel. Seventy-nine percent said Palestine remains the top concern of all Arabs. In Sudan, 79% of those polled said they were opposed to having relations with Israel before Palestinian rights were guaranteed.
In the face of ongoing Israeli aggression, the Arab public remains determined to stand up for the Palestinians and Jerusalem, including residents of the four countries that have normalized relations. But what continues to be an obstacle to public solidarity is the authoritarian nature of Arab politics which prevents the true expression of popular sentiment. Certainly, it is difficult to express an anti-Israel opinion in the United Arab Emirates when the UAE embassy in Tel Aviv tweets messages of congratulations to Israel on its “independence day”, which marked the start of the Nakba. Palestinian territory and dispossession in 1948.
Given the indicators of public opinion and current Israeli actions, it is difficult to see how the normalization of the agreements with Israel will differ in their impact on Palestine from the current cold peace between Israel and each of Egypt and Egypt. Jordan. Apart from the establishment of formal relations and limited trade, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979 and the Jordanian-Israeli treaty of 1994 did not influence public opinion or intensify official exchanges. In fact, the icy relations between Israel and Jordan are a reminder to everyone that the Zionist state will never compromise its own interest in maintaining good relations with an Arab country.
Israel is also unlikely to do all it can to defend any of the Arab states that have normalized relations with it. One of the reasons for the normalization touted by the Trump administration was a potential regional alliance against Iran. As Israel focuses on expanding and solidifying its settlement project in Palestine, it has no reason to come to the rescue of an Arab state. Israel only cares about its own security and would not fight Iran on behalf of the Arabs.
Normalization also no longer pays dividends in Washington, after Trump’s term ends. It is true that the Biden administration sees itself as a defender of Israel, but it is clearly unwilling to reward Israel’s “new friends” like its predecessor did. The US Congress could still cancel the UAE’s F-35 deal, and political pressure on the administration could potentially force it to reverse the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
It also increasingly appears that Saudi Arabia – the ultimate normalization victory sought by Trump and Netanyahu – is unlikely to follow in the UAE’s footsteps. The Zionist state’s assault on the Palestinians and its violation of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem drives any Saudi initiative crazy. As Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman strives to rehabilitate his image nationally, regionally and internationally, any step towards normalization can rob him of the essential element of legitimacy his regime needs.
As Palestinians in Jerusalem fight for their continued presence in the city and Gaza resists criminal Israeli attack, normalization with Israel has proven to be a total failure to bring peace and security to the region. Certainly, given what has happened since the signing of the Abrahamic Accords last September, normalization has turned out to be a mere business deal for those who have signed up to it – a deal that may cost them their lives. credibility in the region and beyond.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.