Palestinian Authority official Hanan Ashrawi slams United Arab Emirates for ‘normalizing’ relations with Jerusalem, while the rival Hamas terror group accuses Gulf state of stabbing Palestinians in the back; Egypt’s Sisi says move will help bring regional stability

Rival Palestinian factions were unanimous Thursday in their condemnation of a newly announced agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to open full diplomatic ties in return for the suspension of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi, slammed the UAE for “normalizing” relations with Israel, while the Hamas terror group accused the Gulf state of stabbing the Palestinians in the back.

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi
Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi (Photo: Reuters)


Asked if Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization were aware the deal was coming, Ashrawi said: “No. The PLO, the PA, the Palestinian leadership did not know this was coming. We were blindsided. Their secret dealings are now completely out in the open. It is a complete sell-out.”

“Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” Ashrawi wrote on Twitter.

“Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!” she wrote.

The official Palestinian broadcaster Palestine TV reported that President Mahmoud Abbas called an urgent meeting of his top leadership to discuss the agreement and determine a position on it.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum (Photo: Archive)


“This announcement is a reward for the Israeli occupation’s crimes,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, which seeks Israel’s destruction and has fought three wars wars against Israel since seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

“The normalization is a stabbing in the back of our people,” he said.

Relations between the UAE and the Palestinian Authority are rocky, due to the close ties between the UAE’s ruling family and exiled former PA official Mohammed Dahlan.

Dahlan, who now lives in Dubai, was tried and convicted in absentia in a 2016 corruption trial in Ramallah.

Netanyahu and Sisi at the UN General Assembly in Sept. 2018
Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the UN General Assembly in Sept. 2018 (Photo: GPO)


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, however, welcomed the agreement as a positive step towards regional stability.

“I followed with interest and appreciation the joint statement between the United States, United Arab Emirates and Israel to halt the Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands and taking steps to bring peace in the Middle East,” Sisi said on Twitter.

“I value the efforts of those in charge of the deal to achieve prosperity and stability for our region,” said the Egyptian leader, whose country made peace with Israel in 1979.

Jordan, the only other Arab nation to have active ties with Israel, offered a more muted response, with Foreign Minister Ayman Safadii saying only that the impact of the deal “depends on what Israel will do.”

The Gulf state of Bahrain also welcomed the accord which it said stops Israeli annexation plans and raises the chances of peace, state news agency BNA reported.

הרב שנייר עם מלך סעודיה, מלך בחריין ונסיכים מהמפרץ
Rabbi Marc Schneier with the king of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (Photo: Courtesy of Rabbi Scheier)


The small island state of Bahrain is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, which has not yet commented on the agreement to normalize diplomatic ties.

Bahrain praised the Untied States for its efforts towards securing the deal.

But the agreement was condemned by Iran, whose regional aspirations are often credited with playing a role in the warming of ties between Israel and predominantly Sunni Muslim Gulf states.

“UAE’s new approach for normalizing ties w/fake, criminal #Israel doesn’t maintain peace & security, but serves ongoing Zionists’ crimes,” tweeted Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, special adviser on international affairs to the speaker of Iran’s parliament and a former deputy foreign minister.

“Abu Dhabi’s behavior has no justification, turning back on the Palestine cause. W/ that strategic mistake, #UAE will be engulfed in Zionism fire,” he said.

As reported by Ynetnews