By Mohammad Mazhari

UAE-Israel normalization agreement pours salt on Palestinians’ wound: Emirati activist

August 24, 2020 - 11:48

TEHRAN - Abdullah al-Tawil, an Emirati political activist, is of the opinion that "Emirates-Israel normalization agreement pours salt on Palestinians’ wound and it is a bridge over the rubble of the Palestinian cause." 

Israel and the UAE reached an agreement on August 13 that will lead to the full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides.
The deal came after a phone call between United States President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. 

Under the agreement, Israel has promised to suspend the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank. However, just hours after the announcement Benjamin Netanyahu said he remained committed to the annexation plan.

In this regard, al-Tawil tells the Tehran Times that the agreement will not serve the Palestinians’ interests and won't stop the annexation of the West Bank.

"This agreement pours salt on Palestinian's wound, and it is a bridge over the rubble of the Palestinian cause," says Al-Tawil.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: What are the causes or motives that prompted the UAE to normalize ties with Israel?

A: Firstly, I must record my personal position on normalization with Israel.

“The Emirati-Saudi alliance, in my view, is based on Mohammed bin Zayed's plan to push Saudi Arabia towards Yemen's swamp, and the ultimate goal was to weaken it politically and exhaust its economy.”It was a stab in the back of the Arab nations. Israel denies clearly the rights of the Palestinians on their land and their just cause. 

Regarding the UAE's reasons for overt normalization of ties with the Israeli regime, it must be pointed out that normalization was not a result of the moment, but rather it was passing quietly under the table.

Secret meetings were held in Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, as well as secret talks at a high level. 

Besides the governmental level, there were plans to prepare Emirati people to accept the normalization by the public media and official statements on social media.

The Emirati regime pursues a policy of intimidating the Emirati citizens and restricting them with laws that criminalize the ruler's criticism accordingly.

The ultimate goal of normalization is to guarantee Mohammed bin Zayed's chance to reach power in a comfortable way after became notorious for hatching conspiracies and now looking for peace.

Given Turkey's growing political and military power in the Middle East (West Asia) and the failure of Qatar's blockade and undermining its mediatory role in the Palestinian cause, the Emirates feels need new allies to protect its interests.

Therefore, it believes in such a normalization agreement, which will form a strong ally for it to protect itself. This is in the level of politics, but economically the Corona crisis greatly affected the UAE's markets and trades, especially in the real estate field.

Thus, they resorted to Jewish investors and finally tried to satisfy the U.S. administration, whether Trump remains or not because Trump is a lifeline for the Emirati rulers, but if he loses the upcoming election, then they will find a return line to the American Democrats.

Q: How do you assess the reaction of the people in the Arab world, including those on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf, to the UAE's decision to normalize relations with Israel?

A: Arab people as a whole still love Palestine, and their hearts beat with hatred of the Zionist regime which has killed Palestinians and demolished their houses. 

But we are talking about a policy of “destroying the awareness” practiced on the (Persian) Gulf peoples, especially the Emirati people when the Ministry of Tolerance was established.

The ministry tries to teach citizens the arts of tolerance with Hindu religions and Judaism in particular 

So, temples were opened for Hindus and synagogues for Jews. We cannot say that reactions inside the UAE are non-existent, but we can confirm that there are many people who refuse normalization but fear to openly object or reject it, given that what awaits them is an unfair judiciary, secret prisons, and inevitably a large financial fine due to laws that criminalize freedom of opinion.

By the way, there are Emiratis who have created a "resist normalization" association which its aim is to educate the citizens and refuse to sign treacherous agreements and support the Palestinian cause.

As for the (Persian) Gulf states, there are a very large number of those who expressed their objection to normalization. In many countries, the activists have launched tags with their names to refuse normalizing ties with Israel, a very important matter. Awareness at this phase has a critical role, and we wish it will continue.

Q: Do you think that the Emirates' decision would serve the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause?

A: Of course, this agreement pours salt on Palestinians’ wounds, and it is a bridge over the rubble of the Palestinian cause.

This agreement will not stop the annexation of the West Bank as explicitly declared by Netanyahu, nor will it restrain the regime which commits crimes against the Palestinians, nor will it ever restore al-Quds (Jerusalem), nor will it give them an independent state. Rather, it is an explicit recognition of Israel over the Palestinian lands and legitimizing the occupier of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque.

In short, it is an Emirati-Israeli agreement, and Palestine in this agreement was just a bridge to cross. 

“Mohammed bin Zayed has succeeded in weakening Saudi Arabia by influencing Mohammed bin Salman, who transferred the Emirati experience to Saudi Arabia in the cultural and security level.”

Q: Who actually rules the UAE? What are the main groups that govern the Emirates?

A: After the death of Sheikh Zayed, announcing his death was delayed for many reasons, including disputes among his sons.

I assure you that the phase that preceded the announcement of Sheikh Zayed's death was that Mohammed bin Zayed managed to rig the process of electing his successor, in which Sheikh Sultan was more entitled.

And according to Sheikh Zayed's will, Sheikh Khalifa became ruler of Abu Dhabi, and since then, Mohammed bin Zayed has messed with the country's policies.

In 2011, when the Arab Spring started, Mohammed bin Zayed exploited it to suppress freedoms and restrict society with strict laws.

 Moreover, Mohammed bin Zayed ordered mass arrests of 94 Emirati citizens affiliated to the intellectual and academic classes, and that was to pave his way to fully control the reins of power in the country, especially after Sheikh Khalifa's illness and absence of him in the media and political scene.

So, the actual ruler in the United Arab Emirates is Mohammed bin Zayed, who controls the country and exerts his influence on all other emirates, whose rulers are unfortunately coward and fearful of his authority.

Q:  What is the secret of the UAE-Saudi alliance? Would you expect Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to follow the example of the Emirates?

A: The Emirati-Saudi alliance, in my view, is based on Mohammed bin Zayed's plan to push Saudi Arabia towards Yemen's swamp, and the ultimate goal was to weaken it politically and exhaust its economy to undermine its influence after it was the most important state of the (Persian) Gulf.

Mohammed bin Zayed seeks greatness and fame. Unfortunately, he has succeeded in weakening Saudi Arabia by influencing Mohammed bin Salman, who transferred the Emirati experience to Saudi Arabia at the cultural and security level. Actually, the controls Mohammed bin Salman's childish impulses.

As for his involvement in the normalization, Mohammed bin Zayed challenged Saudi Arabia for his superiority over the Arab peace initiative that Saudis had signed it, as if he is saying, "Come with me for the peace agreement, Saudi agreement is out of date."
If Mohammed bin Salman remains in power, sooner or later, Saudi Arabia will, unfortunately, engage in the normalization process.

Bahrain is a dependent state and will inevitably be the first to sign the normalization agreement after the UAE.

We wish the other (Persian) Gulf states to be steadfast in facing pressures and to take a position that immortalizes in history, and when the grandchildren read it, they say that there are Arab countries who have betrayed and there are others that kept the covenant.  

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