PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat slams UAE-Israel deal as the 'birth of Arab Zionists'

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat slams UAE-Israel deal as the 'birth of Arab Zionists'
The chief Palestinian negotiator slammed the UAE's move as a 'poisoned dagger in the Palestinian back'.
2 min read
25 August, 2020
Palestinians of all factions have been unanimous in the rejection of the deal [Getty]
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat has slammed a normalisation deal between Israel and the UAE in an article entitled "The birth of Arab Zionists", also taking a shot at US President Donald Trump's administration over its role in the move.

The article was published on the PLO's official website on the eve of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the Middle East, where he is expected to further push for normalisation among Arab states.

"Are we witnessing today the overt birth of the Arab Zionists?" the Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator asked.

"Whoever reads what is written by those who defend the UAE's decision to recognise Israel finds glorification of Israel, its freedom and its advancement," he wrote.

"Some [Arabs] have even said 'Palestine is not my cause' and 'Israel is a loyal ally'. They are also hurling insults at the Palestinian people for their lack of loyalty, their ungratefulness and the corruption of Palestinian leaders, all because the Palestinian people insisted on their adherence to the Arab Peace Initiative... and international law, and the rejection of the Emirates' decision, which was accepted only by the writers of the palaces and the owners of paid pens."

Erekat also slammed the UAE's move as a "poisoned dagger in the Palestinian back".

Referring to a speech given by Mike Pompeo last October, Erekat also highlighted how religious language has been used to galvanise support for Israel to the detriment of the Palestinians.

In the 11 October speech addressed to the American Association of Christian Counselors, Pompeo spoke of his "walk with Christ" and his place as a "Christian leader".

"Extremist Christian Zionism has appeared in many forms: support for Israel and its advancement as opposed to the backwardness and corruption of the undemocratic Arabs and Muslims," Erekat wrote.

Read also: UAE activists sign petition condemning Israel normalisation deal as 'violation of the constitution'

"This is one of form of justifying support for Israel. Their use of religion reached the point where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he was walking with Christ in order to legalise settlements, recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and annex Palestinian territories."

Palestinians of all political leanings - from the secular Fatah to the Islamist movement Hamas - have been unanimous in their condemnation of the deal, viewing the UAE as sacrificing the Palestinian cause to gain commercial relations with Israel.

While the agreement supposedly delays Israel's plans to unilaterally annex large swathes of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, many Palestinians feel betrayed and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanuyahu says he still plans to take more Palestinian land.

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