By Khalid Qaddoumi

Normalization between some Arab governments and ‘Israel’: Facts and figures 

September 14, 2020 - 16:3

The term itself says that something is not "normal". It needs to be normalized, or something that was a taboo is converted into permissible. This is the situation of the relations between Arabs and "Israel" since the Palestinians' catastrophe (Nakba) in 1948 when the "Israeli" occupation started. Hence, no doubt this topic is controversial and paradoxical.

A few ideas on the subject is given below:

(1) Where has the normalization process reached after 42 years of the first attempt at Camp David 1978?

In 1978 the Egyptian government forged its official diplomatic relations with "Israel'' brokered by the United States government. On the 20th of January 2000, The Economist published an article titled "Israelis whom Egyptians love to hate." The article endorsed the negative "Israeli" character portrayed by the cinema producers in Egypt. "Their women are sluttish schemers. Their men scowling thugs, prone to blood-spilling and to strange guttural barking," the Economist said. Irrespective of decades of relations, the Egyptians still have their "unwelcoming" attitude to the newly imposed and alien "friend."

In 2016 another study was published where Dr. Abdulaleem, the senior advisor to the Center of Pyramids for political and strategic studies, said, "Egyptians are least interested in any sort of normalization with "Israel''. The paper mentioned that such a relationship is only at the security apparatus level and few desks at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. It is a "cold peace," it wrote.

Alzaytouna's study center conducted an opinion poll in 2019 about the popularity of the relations with "Israel" among some Muslim countries. The poll concluded that only 3% of Egyptians, 4% of Pakistanis, 6% of Turkish, and 15% of Indonesians may welcome some sort of relations with "Israel". Many conditioned it after a just solution for the Palestinians.

The study stated that such a process has nothing to do with any fair demands of the Arab nations nor brought any benefit for peace attempts or any economic interests for the nations that the politicians tried to market their causes.

After Israel protested over a contract to sell American F35 jets to the Emirates, the former chief of the "Israeli" army Gadi Eizenkot told "Israel Hayom": "in the Middle East (West Asia) your new friends may turn to be your enemy. Hence, the "Israeli" surpassing quality power (over the Arabs) is highly essential."

An obvious "Israeli" skeptical mentality and policy towards Arabs prevents any type of so-called normalization.

(2) Money talks, or something else?

If we agree to the mentioned pragmatic notion, one may expect some economic boost even at the bilateral level between the Emirates and "Israel." On the 8th of September 2020, the Minister of "Intelligence" of "Israel", Eli Cohen, said that "In three to five years the balance of trade between the Emirates and us may reach four billion dollars."

 First, why should a minister of "Intelligence" announce such economic news?

 Second, let us compare this balance of trade with the balance of trade between the Emirates and a neighboring country like Iran. In that case, the figure may exceed 13.5 billion dollars. Here one may say that something else other than "Money talks."

 Many analysts refer to such a process as an intense and vital need for the current leaders in "Israel" and the U.S. to get re-elected.

 Netanyahu is facing corruption trials, and many riots and rallies are being held against him that may qualify the situation for a fourth election. On the other hand, Trump faces a series of fiascoes at different levels; his government's disastrous approach to the COVID- 19 pandemic that infected millions, the racial discrimination, and the people in the streets protesting the police behavior against the civilians.

Bibi and Trump initiated such a process to safeguard their own endangered political future. In conclusion, one cannot bet on the viability of such a deal.

Other analysts see this deal to jeopardize the security and stability of the region.
Some "Israeli" commentators have accused Netanyahu of forging new relations with "countries that have no geopolitical importance like Bahrain and the Emirates but at the same time are neighbors to Iran," which may lead to more escalation and expected violence in the region.

(3) Finally, what such normalization can benefit the Palestinians as the victims who are supposed to wait for the fruits of peace out of this deal? On the contrary, all the Palestinians, irrespective of their political affiliations, have refused and denounced this deal.

Even those who tried to reach a peace with Israel based on the 1993 Oslo accords, unequivocally rejected the deal to the extent that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party describing the process as "betrayal." 

Other Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who gathered lately in Beirut, announced their utmost discontent against the deal and consider it as a "reward for the "Israeli" criminals on their crimes." 

The secretaries General of all Palestinian parties who convened in Beirut protested against the deal and called upon the Arab League to denounce it. 

In conclusion, the so-called "just solution" to the Palestinian issue cannot be achieved through such shortcuts of normalizations between Arabs and "Israel". The Palestinians are the only side to decide their own destiny and no one else.
 

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