Palestinians rally in fury against Israel-UAE normalisation deal

Palestinians rally in fury against Israel-UAE normalisation deal
2 min read
14 August, 2020
Demonstrators in Jerusalem trampled on images of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, chanting slogans demanding that the Gulf country fall.
Demonstrators burnt cut-out images of the leaders of both nations [Getty]

Angry protesters across cities in the Occupied West Bank rallied Friday against an agreement to normalise ties between Israel and the UAE, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site reported.

In Jerusalem, tens of thousands gathered in the Al-Aqsa compound after Muslim prayers. In a fiery sermon, the preacher at the Dome of the Rock had lashed out at what he called the "Agreement of Betrayal".

Demonstrators trampled on images of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, chanting slogans demanding that the Gulf country fall, along with close ally Saudi Arabia, viewed by many Palestinians with the same ire.

Elsewhere, youth in the southern city of Yatta in Hebron set fire to an Emirati flag, while demonstrators held marches in Nablus, holding up and burning cut-out images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prince Zayed blazoned with footprints and 'no' signs. 

In Nablus, a council representing various Palestinian factions organised Friday prayers in the city followed by protests which drew in hundreds.

Imad Al-Din Ishtiwi, a member of the political council, told The New Arab that the organization planned to escalate its actions against the Trump-brokered agreement, which he said ushered in a "dark day" for Palestinians.

Seperately, Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at Palestinians who rallied in the northern West Bank town of Kafr Qaddum, injuring 17, all of whom were treated at the scene.

The unrest comes as part of shockwaves in the Middle East, after President Trump announced the deal, only the third between between the Jewish state and an Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan.

Palestinians of all political leanings – from the secular Fatah of Mahmoud Abbas to the Hamas Islamist – 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.

"The Palestinians are furious, they see themselves as being thrown under the bus" by the UAE ruler, said Yoel Guzansky, an analyst at the  Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Read more: Palestinians feel 'betrayal' of Israel-UAE normalisation deal

"The UAE tried to sell a narrative that it did this in order to stop annexation," he said, and "not just to contribute to stability but also to keep the two-state solution alive."

Palestinian officials have reportedly called for emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in response.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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