Arab League fails to approve resolution condemning UAE-Israel deal

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Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has described the deal between the UAE and Israel as “an earthquake” that hit the Arab consensus over the Palestinian cause.

A general view of the Arab League delegates meeting to discuss US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, in Cairo, Egypt on December 5, 2017.
A general view of the Arab League delegates meeting to discuss US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, in Cairo, Egypt on December 5, 2017. (Reuters)

The Arab League has dropped a draft resolution condemning a controversial agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalise relations.

Palestine and Arab countries agreed to include an emphasis in the final agreement on commitment to a 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, two-state solution and the land for peace principle, a Palestinian diplomatic source  said on condition of anonymity.

They agreed not to include a clear condemnation of the UAE-Israel deal, according to the source.

The source said some Arab states, attempted to add provisions to give a form of legitimacy to the normalisation deal. Those countries were not named.

READ MORE: ‘Many more’ secret talks with Arab leaders on ties: Israeli PM

“In response, Palestine presented a draft resolution that condemns the UAE-Israel normalisation deal,” the source said. “The Arab countries, however, voted down the draft,” he added.

On August 13, the UAE and Israel announced a US-brokered agreement to normalise relations, including opening embassies in each other’ s territory.

Most of the Arab world has long rejected diplomatic ties with Israel in the absence of a peace deal establishing a Palestinian state on lands captured by Israel in 1967.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia backs establishment of independent Palestinian state

“An earthquake”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urged Arab nations earlier on Wednesday to reject the UAE-Israel deal.

Al-Malki described the deal between the UAE and Israel as “an earthquake” that hit the Arab consensus over the Palestinian cause.

He accused the US of pressuring other Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel, which he described as a “colonial and racist occupation.”

Hamas regrets decision

Hamas voiced regret about the Arab League’s decision.

“It is regrettable for the Arab League to drop a draft resolution condemning the normalisation agreement between the Emirates and the Zionist entity,” spokesman for the group, Hazem Qassem, told Anadolu Agency.

“The inability to issue this decision emboldens the Israeli occupation and the American administration to continue implementing their plan aiming at terminating the Palestinian cause,” he added.

The decision amounts to “official Arab legislation for normalisation,” said Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani.

“What happened is clear and expected. The coalition supporting the UAE is the strongest in the Arab League and the most influential,” he told Anadolu Agency.

“The inability to condemn the UAE means a new policy is being adopted in the Arab League that allows any Arab country to establish relations with Israel, and bypass the Arab peace initiative of 2002.”

Saudi support

A Saudi statement on remarks made by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud included no direct mention of the normalisation deal.

But the prince said Riyadh supported the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders in place before the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to the statement.

The United States, Israel and the UAE have urged Palestinian leaders to re-engage with Israel. On a trip to the Emirates, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said Palestinians should not be “stuck in the past.”

READ MORE: Israel-UAE accord set for signing in US next week

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