PA weakness exposed by Arab League slapdown

The Palestinians will not dictate to us what to do, says UAE official.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The weakness of the rejectionist position of the Palestinian Authority (PA) was revealed Wednesday when the Arab League refused to pass even a watered-down resolution criticizing the United Arab Emirates for normalizing ties with Israel.

The Palestinians had denounced the August 13 UAE announcement as a “betrayal” of their cause but could not get the League to convene an emergency meeting about it.

Then, two nights before the Arab foreign ministers held their regular, prescheduled videoconference, all Palestinian factions were invited to meet on the subject, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a senior Palestinian source told Israel Hayom Thursday. Humiliating insults were uttered against the UAE leaders, and some even suggested carrying out “resistance actions as are done against the Zionist occupation,” he said.

Abu Dhabi was swift to respond with an angry warning, the source said. Essentially, “if the Palestinians are interested in remaining relevant and keeping the Palestinian issue on the public agenda of the international community, Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ nom de guerre] and his people have to adopt a pragmatic and less rejectionist approach.”

Abbas heard the message loud and clear, according to the source.

“Abu Mazen and his close advisers started to internalize that the agreement between Israel and the UAE is inevitable, and that additional Arab countries are expected to follow the Emirates’ lead and normalize their relations with Israel.”

The Palestinians softened their original demand to oust the UAE from the League and condemn it harshly, although Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki did use his podium time to urge Arab foreign ministers to reject the deal.

The watered-down language in the draft resolution simply stated that the accord “doesn’t diminish Arab consensus over the Palestinian cause. The Palestinian cause is the cause of the entire Arab nation.”

The resolution also contained traditional wording in support of the two-state solution as “the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East.”

But even that dutiful language was rejected by the foreign ministers, following the lead of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, who praised the UAE after its historic announcement last month.

As Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit put it, “It is the indisputable right of each country to have sovereignty in conducting its foreign policy in the way it sees fit.”

Dahi Halfan, Dubai’s deputy police chief, summed up the feeling of the countries that are now openly looking out for their national self-interest first. “If Abu Mazen and his friends and advisers think that we’re going to wait for their approval in order to sign a peace deal with Israel – it’s not going to happen,” he told the Hebrew daily.