UAE official: Palestinians need to wake up, they’re not going to stop Arab-Israel ties

The Palestinians need to recognize that the new geopolitical reality is that their issue is not going to stop Arab countries’ ties with Israel, says an Emirati official.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Palestinians should understand that the world has changed over the years and forgo their rejectionism of Arab countries normalizing ties with Israel, a senior Emirati official told Israel Hayom Monday.

“These are historic days, and we all feel great pride in the part each party has played in the peace agreement between us and Israel,” he said, in anticipation of the first commercial flight from Tel Aviv landing in Abu Dhabi Monday morning, carrying the teams that will work on the details of the accord announced two weeks ago between the UAE and Israel.

Everyone in his country, he said, is “very excited about the possibility that we will soon have to visit Jerusalem and all of Israel.”

“We are very saddened by the Palestinian response to the historic agreement with Israel,” he added. “The Palestinians must internalize that the political and geopolitical reality has changed in the Middle East over recent decades, especially after the events of the Arab Spring. It’s not for nothing that countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia understand the magnitude of the hour and are helping to advance the process.”

The Emiratis are preparing for additional delegations from Egypt and Jordan to participate in the talks, he said, while Saudi Arabia played an important role by allowing the El Al plane to overfly the country in what was also a historic first, turning a more than seven-hour flight into one of just over three hours.

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of the Fatah movement, the main group behind the Palestinian Authority (PA), met Sunday to repeat its opposition to the UAE move.

“We reject all plans aimed at eliminating the Palestinian issue, first and foremost [President Trump’s] Deal of the Century,” it said in a concluding statement. The U.S. administration’s peace plan envisions the normalization of ties between Israel and the wider Arab world, and the American delegation that joined the Israelis for Monday’s flight to the UAE is going on to other Arab countries that the United States has been encouraging in that direction, such as Bahrain and Oman.

In an opinion piece in Israel Hayom, Jalal Bana wrote that as a pro-peace Arab Israeli, he believes it is “forbidden” for his co-religionist countrymen “to fall into the trap of populism” and condemn the UAE-Israel pact as the PA has done.

“The nascent agreement has so much potential and opportunity, especially for Israeli Arabs,” he wrote. They should be at the forefront of such relations between the two worlds in which they coexist – the Arab one of culture, religion and language, and the Jewish one of citizenship, he said.

“Due primarily to the failure of the Palestinian leadership throughout its history to create Palestinian unity and present a constructive alternative to the armed struggle,” he writes, the Palestinian issue is no longer seen in the Arab world as the main problem standing in the way of a relationship with Israel.

“The world has changed,” he said, echoing the Emirati official. He pointed in equal parts to the UAE breakthrough and the Saudi admission of an Israeli plane in its skies as “two founding events of the new history” of the region. “It won’t wait for anyone who insists on remaining behind on the wrong side of history.”