Ninety percent of Arabic-language social media comments about Israel-UAE, Bahrain deals were 'negative'

Ninety percent of Arabic-language social media comments about Israel-UAE, Bahrain deals were 'negative'
Almost all social media coverage of Israel's controversial deals with two Gulf states were 'negative'.
2 min read
12 October, 2020
The vast majority of social media comments about the deals were negative [Getty]

Ninety percent of Arabic-language social media chatter around Israel's recent normalisation deals with the UAE and Bahrain were "negative", according to a report.

The study looked at comments and coverage on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube social media platforms between 12 August and 8 September, just before officials from the UAE, Bahrain and Israel signed the deals at a White House ceremony.

It found that 90 percent of Arabic-language comments opposed the deals while only five percent were positive, according to Haaretz.

The chief argument against the normalisation agreements – which made up around half of the comments - is that it was a betrayal of the Palestinians by the Gulf states.

Around a quarter opposed any deal with Israel, while five percent slammed the UAE as "hypocritical". A similar number viewed the Gulf states as buckling under US pressure and four percent said the UAE and Bahrain’s decisions were driven by economic factors.

Only ten percent of the comments were viewed as positive in some way. Just under two-thirds of those mentioned the boost the agreements will provide to "security", while one-third said it will bring economic incentives.

"Normalisation is treason" and "Bahrainis against normalisation" were among the most popular hashtags at the time, which reached more than 100 million people between 12 August and 8 September.

The UAE and Israel announced a surprise normalisation deal on 13 August and together with Bahrain signed the agreement at the White House on 15 September.

The deals broke consensus among Arab states that any peace agreements with Israel should hinge on a Palestinian state being established.

Israel continues to occupy the Palestinian territories, besiege Gaza, and plans to annex large parts of the West Bank - despite the UAE claiming its normalisation agreement had put a halt to the land-grab.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present the deal to the Israeli government for approval on Monday, while a debate and vote in parliament will take place on Thursday.

Other Arab states are expected to join the UAE and normalise relations with Israel, while Kuwait, Qatar and others have rejected a deal without recognition of a Palestinian state.

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