UAE-ISRAEL DEAL: HARBINGER FOR PEACE?

UAE-ISRAEL DEAL: HARBINGER FOR PEACE?

The pandemic emerged as a boon for the degenerated relations between the UAE and Israel as the former formally brought an end to a boycott against the latter as both had signed the Abraham Accords on August 13 2020. As a protocol of this accord, Israel has agreed to cease annexation of the West Bank and the beginning of diplomatic ties between both the countries. Israel has withdrawn 88% of its troops as has been pointed out in the Vision for Peace, Prosperity and a Brighter Future of Donald Trump has laid the foundation for the development and normalization of a diplomatic relationship.  As a result, both the countries will engage in bilateral dialogue to discuss issues such as trade, investment, Embassies to cite as examples. It is believed that Donald Trump played a pivotal role in this regard as the United States would now lead a “Strategic Agenda in the Middle East to expand diplomatic, trade and security cooperation”. 

War-torn Palestine

It is important in this regard to trace the genesis of the Israel- Palestine conflict and how it has had repercussions in the geopolitics of the changing contours of the Arab- Israel conflict. The terminology of Palestine was endowed by the Roman Empire, Hadrian in 135 CE after the defeat in the Battle of Bar Khhoba Revolt as he desired to erase Judea as it implied a long drawn connection with the Jews. Jews have continued to be victims of persecution, the emergence of which began at the dawn of Crusades. However, the Arabs had been under the authority of the Byzantine, Romans and later on the Ottoman Empire, the majority of Palestine was composed of its Muslim majority (Tessler, 1994, p: 42-44).

It was under Hitler’s autocratic rule during the Holocaust that complete annihilation of Jews was witnessed, whereby they were targeted to be the enemy of the Germans (Arendt, 1963, p: 36- 56). Yet, it cannot be denied that Jews have always felt that Palestine has been their homeland which the Arabs have laid a claim over, which Israeli historiography has espoused (Tessler, 1994, p: 74-128). The establishment of a State for the Jews would bring an end to years of persecution. Rather, the Zionist movement experienced an evolution as there was a demand to cleanse this holy land from Arabs or ‘Eretz Israel’ as known in Hebrew. It was in 1917 that Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, endorsed the idea of a Jewish State that soon turned into a violent response by the Palestinians, a colony under the British sphere of influence ceded by Ottoman Turkey after World War I. By 1937, the British Peel Commission agreed to partition Palestine which accentuated into the Arab-Israeli War (Pappe, 2007, p: 10- 17). In 1948, the United Nations played a pivotal role that altered the history of Palestine underlined by Resolution 181 of 29 September 1947 and the official recognition of the Jewish State by the U.S.A and the USSR.

Violation of Human Rights in Palestine

Leaflets were distributed in villages to warn of the disastrous consequences of collaborating with the Arab Liberation Army. The village of Deir Yassin was occupied by the Jewish military forces where the inhabitants were killed by gun spray (Pappe, 2007, p: 40-70). The IEZL or Irgun Zvai Leumi under the Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin was known to have headed these forces and perpetrated the massacre of Palestinian Arabs. One of the testimonies published by the NGO Zochort that works towards Transitional Justice of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict states that he along with other men were ordered to evacuate the villages where Palestinian Arabs resided as deportation would be taking place. The massacre has been bestowed with the horrifying nomenclature of Nakba or catastrophe to designate the ethnic cleansing that took place in 1948. Possession of Palestinian property violates the International Law (Human Rights Council, 2017). Women were victims of rape, firstly because of their sex and secondly because of their Palestinian-Arab identity. Women have been epitomized as embedding honour of the family. By the Israeli Citizenship Law, the Palestinians citizens were construed as Israeli citizens as passed on 1st April 1952. The same trajectory has been drawn in the History of India as the Partition of 1947 must be perceived from the lens of a watershed that gave birth to two nation-states, India and Pakistan, the latter which has been believed to be a product of a failed democracy as post-colonial historians would argue. The commonality in the history of India and Palestine is that both countries experienced the discourse of Partition violence. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was targeted against the Palestine Liberation Army and Syria as the surface to air missiles were deployed by the latter in Lebanon, whereas the PLO employed Israel with artillery shells (Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 2012, Volume: 3). President Roland Regan introduced the Regan Plan and affirmed USA’s decision of not supporting Israel’s dominance over the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The United Nation Resolution 242 was implemented by the Regan Plan which stated that a solution must be reached of the existing refugee crisis as well as the Security Council to position a Special Representative in the Middle East. The aim of the Oslo Accords was to elect a Palestine Interim Government as well as a Council to govern the Palestinian people with authority been transferred from the Israeli Military Government. Therefore, Abraham Accords has been perceived in terms of a harbinger of peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict (United Nations Security Council:1993). The Oslo Accords signed in 1995 signed between the Palestine Liberation Army and the State of Israel had failed as Israel’s decision was to annex West Bank.

Perception of Turkey and Bahrain on UAE-Israel Deal

On the other hand, it is significant to evaluate the response of Turkey and Bahrain on the perception of Abraham Accords. Prince Recep Tayyip Erodgan, the President of Turkey stated that the normalization of ties between UAE and IS was rather the latter’s betrayal of trust and undermining the cause for Palestine. The Arab Peace Plan of 2002 was established by the Crown Prince, Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the Beirut Summit which underlined the recognition of the State of Israel as and stated that she must withdraw from the Golan Heights as well as the creation of Lebanon since 1967. The plan clearly espoused the creation of a sovereign independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as the capital as highlighted in the Council of the Arab States at the Summit Level which has been forgone as Erodgan argued. The Kingdom of Bahrain has equally welcomed Abraham Accords and perceived this as the path that would pave peace building.

Samanneeta Chakraborty

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