Reza Moshfegh

Signatories of peace deal with Israel failed to internalize their decision: West Asia expert

May 9, 2021 - 16:48

TEHRAN – A Turkish researcher says Arab regimes that normalized their ties with Israel failed to internalize these relations.  

"Even Egypt and Jordan, which had previously signed peace agreements with Israel separately, have not yet been able to internalize these relations. In addition, we should not forget the awards given to Morocco and Sudan just for normalizing with Israel," Haydar Oruç tells the Tehran Times. 

"The Abraham Accord is the continuation of the so-called Deal of the Century, which failed be realized," Oruc emphasizes. 

In the last months of his term, at the time of elections, former U.S. President Donald Trump come up with what his camp has called the Deal of the Century, which basically was a normalization deal between several Arab states in West Asia and Israel – the Abraham Accords.

Trump approved the continuation of the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

The Trump administration claimed the Abraham Accords' primary incentive was to bring reconciliation. 

But the timing of the deal made it suspicious when all of these countries were not at war with Israel.

What sort of peace agreement is it if the signatories are regimes that are not at odds with Israel while their people reject any reconciliation? It raises eyebrows and questions concerning what inspired the Abraham Accords.
Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is Palestine's importance for the Islamic world?

A: As it is known, the first qibla of Muslims is Masjid al-Aqsa. Masjid al-Aqsa is currently regarded as the third holy mosque of Islam after Masjid al-Haram and Al-Nabi Mosque.  In addition, The Dome of the Rock was also mentioned in the ascension incident. Therefore, Palestinian territories attribute holiness to Muslims. Unfortunately, these regions, which have been Muslim lands for centuries, did not find peace and stability after the Ottoman Empire rule. The fact that the majority of these lands have been under the occupation of Israel since 1948 and the human rights violations that Israel continues against the Palestinians are also an unhealed wound for both Arab countries and the Islamic world. In this respect, resolving the Palestinian issue is a religious and moral responsibility for the entire Islamic world.

Q: How do you see Turkey-Palestine ties?

A: Turkey-Palestine relations' history was always formed like that with the other Muslim countries and was shaped within the framework of cultural and religious responsibility. Even in the period in which historically there were problems with other Arab countries, Turkey continued to defend the Palestinian cause. Though Turkey had become the first Muslim country to recognize Israel, this did not affect the support given to the Palestinians. 

Turkey, especially in the period even when it established close relations with Israel in the 1990s, it strived to resolve the Palestinian issue.

Turkey is advocating a two-state solution for a long time, supported by the United Nations. However, it has started to pursue a more active policy in this regard since the 2000s. In this context, Turkey has mobilized every capability by the Palestinians to decide their own destiny. And presently its supports advocating the Palestinian representation in the international organizations with diplomatic and economic aspects, despite all the challenges experienced when the Palestinians are abandoned by the other Arab states. As part of this support, Turkey has recommended the Palestinian opposition parties to achieve unification.

Turkey's ultimate goal is to provide Palestinians to attain their own free and independent state prior to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as their capital. And to reach that point, it has been struggling for international recognition of the Palestinian state.

Q: What is your comment on the Arab-Israeli normalization, especially when it comes to Bahrain and the Emirates?

A: Above all, it is not entirely correct to read this process, which is called the Abraham Accords, as Arab-Israeli normalization. If we name it that way, we generalize this process in which only four countries participated. Moreover, even Egypt and Jordan, which had previously signed peace agreements with Israel separately, have not yet been able to internalize these relations. In addition, we should not forget the awards given to Morocco and Sudan just for normalizing with Israel.

The Abraham Accord is the continuation of the so-called Deal of the Century, which failed be realized. Just like in Trump's so-called Deal of the Century, Palestinians were ignored in this agreement. Unfortunately, the Arab countries in question have normalized ties with Israel by ignoring the occupation of Palestine. Moreover, in the decisions taken by the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2018, it was stated that all members rejected Trump's decision on Jerusalem, and other countries were warned not to accept this decision. But contrary to this decision, the steps of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are not ethical and legal in the scope of OIC resolutions.

The accusations of the Palestinians that the UAE and Bahrain stabbed them in the back are understandable in this context. Because the UAE's justification of normalization with Israel as supposedly preventing Israel's annexation of the West Bank is just a deception. There is no concrete evidence to believe that these regions, which are already under de facto occupation, were not annexed just because the UAE wanted it. This is only a game that BEA uses to reduce the reaction from the Arab world about normalization. Moreover, all Israeli officials, especially Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, rejected this claim and had no echo in the field.

Ultimately, the normalization process greatly relieved Israel's hand in the region and gave Netanyahu a trump card to use in the elections. However, both the change of administration in the USA and the failure of Netanyahu to achieve the success he expected in the elections made the future of the process uncertain.

Q: How do you evaluate European and Western stances vis a vis the Palestine cause?

A: Europeans' stance on Palestine generally differs from the attitude of the West. Because many European countries have accepted the Palestinian state and criticize Israel's occupation policy. Despite this, it is not possible to take decisions against Israel both in the UN and the EU. The attitude of the USA and the UK on this issue is decisive. Although France is generally critical of Israel, it avoids taking steps that would harm Israel in practice.

The Holocaust-based guilt psychology is determinant in Germany's attitude towards the Palestine-Israel issue. On the other hand, they support the Palestinian state and especially oppose Israel's human rights violations arising from the occupation.

Especially in recent years, with the contributions of the Palestinian diaspora in Europe, it has been understood that what happened in the region is not just what Israel says. EU institutions and NGOs operating in the region have been effective in this regard. However, Israel is trying to cut their support to Palestine by manipulating the EU countries. It is expected that this struggle will continue in the upcoming period. Therefore, it is possible to say that the EU countries stand by Palestine, although the West generally supports Israel. However, since the EU alone will not be able to solve the problem, a common consensus cannot be reached on this issue. If the EU persuades the Western camp, there may be concrete progress in the solution of the problem.

Q: What is Israel's role in destabilizing the region? How could the Zionist regime benefit from crises in the Islamic world?

A: Israel is the single country that benefits most from the lack of coordination between Arab countries and the differences of opinion between Islamic countries. Thanks to these disagreements, stability cannot be achieved in the region, and this situation is directly proportional to Israel's regional projects. However, it is not rational to completely blame Israel for the problems experienced among the Muslim countries in the region. Because Israel is an actor benefiting from this chaotic environment, but the main factor for the chaos is other countries' meddling in the region.

Although the sectarian differences between Muslim countries are shown as the sole responsibility of the chaotic environment, the fact that the rulers of the countries prioritize their own interests and ignore the demands of their people has also contributed to this situation.

The rulers of Arab countries, that pull back their support from the oppressed Palestinian people, especially the sacred places in the occupied Palestinian territories, seem to have accepted the regional order built by the U.S. for their own seats and with Israel at the center.

Since institutions such as the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization are not effective enough, unity cannot be achieved, and naturally, Israel strengthens its position by taking advantage of this gap. It is seen that Israel, which has been given a pivotal role in the anti-Iran axis, is very pleased with this situation. However, it is unclear how long this situation can continue without the continuous support of the USA.
 

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