Qatar Refrains from Joining Arab Normalisation Deals, While Protests Erupt in Palestine
Hundreds of Palestinians came out in protest of the Arab normalisation deals with Israel on Tuesday. Denouncing the US-brokered peace deal between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel, Palestinians showed dismay via protests in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Emirati and Bahraini officials signed deals with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday in the presence of US President Donald Trump.
Holding Palestinian flags and banners reading “Treason”, “No to normalisation with the occupier”, and “The agreements of shame”, demonstrators rallied in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Hebron and in Gaza. Many of them also took part in a demonstration in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Moreover, at least 200,000 social media users from the Arab region signed the “Palestine Charter”, a document that rejects the Arab normalisation deals with Israel.
The charter reads: “Believing in the justice of the Palestinian cause and following my responsibility towards it, I am honoured to sign the Palestine Charter, through which I affirm that Palestine is an occupied Arab state and its liberation is a duty. The Zionist entity is an occupying, racist and usurping entity of our Al-Aqsa Mosque and the land of Palestine, and normalisation with it in all its forms is a betrayal.”
On the other hand, another Arab country Qatar has stood up in support of Palestine, saying that Doha will not join other Gulf states in establishing diplomatic ties with Israel. Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lolwah al-Khater said that Arab normalisation deals with Israel “can’t be the answer” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The comments came prior to the signing of the normalisations deals in Washington.
“We don’t think that normalisation was the core of this conflict and hence it can’t be the answer. The core of this conflict is about the drastic conditions that the Palestinians are living under as people without a country, living under occupation,” she said.
Earlier this month, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani showed his support towards a two-state solution. Sheikh Tamim told the White House that Doha expects East Jerusalem to be the capital of the Palestinian state so as to resolve the conflict with Israel.
Lolwah al-Khater, in an interview, also hinted towards the lifting of the Qatar blockade soon. “In the past couple of months, there have been messages and messengers going back and forth. It’s very early to talk about a real breakthrough” but the “coming few weeks might reveal something new,” she said.
Palestinian demonstrator Emad Essa from Gaza accused the UAE and Bahrain for choosing to reward Israel for its crimes in the West Bank and Jerusalem. “The Israeli bulldozers continue to demolish Palestinian homes and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians out of their villages and cities on a daily basis. The deals are stains of shame on the forehead of those leaders who sold the Palestinian cause for a very cheap price,” Essa said.
Pictures of Netanyahu, Trump, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan were crushed and burnt during the protests.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, “Peace, security, and stability will not be achieved in the region until the Israeli occupation ends.”
The Palestinian Unified National Command of Popular Resistance called for protests to reject the Arab normalisation deals. They said that Friday should be considered “a day of mourning in which black flags are raised in all squares, buildings and homes.” Considering this, hashtag “Black Day” in Arabic was launched on social media to mark the UAE and Bahrain’s normalisations of ties with Israel.
While the ceremony took place at the White House, two rockets came flying into Israel from the Gaza strip. Sirens sounded in Ashkelon and Ashdod cities near the Gaza Strip. No group has claimed the responsibility.
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