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PMW Special Report: PA: UAE and Bahrain sign deal with death

Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik, and Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |
  • Fatah: “If Trump would have asked some of the Arab rulers to strip and walk naked in the streets of Tel Aviv – they would agree”

  • PA furious that Arab states stopped following its dictates and made peace with Israel

  • Fatah: Normalizing with Israel - a partnership of blood and death

  • PA: “A traitor” and a “tumor” - UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayedis destined for “the trash can of history”

  • Fatah posts Bahraini children’s poem: “Jews are [our dogs]”

  • “The PA leadership rejects and condemns the tripartite agreement between the US, Bahrain, and Israel to normalize the relations between the Israeli occupation state and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and views it as a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian cause”

  • Fatah threat: “To all the bats lying in ambush in the dark… Fatah’s traps are hidden, so woe to anyone who is tempted and thinks that the Palestinian people will agree to bend the knee.”

  • PA warning: “Israel will eat the flesh of the UAE and cast aside its bones”

  • Fatah symbolically buries the Arab League

Click here to download PDF version

Introduction
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party have always placed their narrow political interests above the interests of all other countries and even above the interests of the Palestinian people. Strikingly, they even expect all Arab countries to place Palestinian interests ahead of their own people’s interests. For years, they have condemned and criticized any Arab country willing to “normalize” relations with Israel in any area, including business, travel, and even sports.

Until now, most of the Arab states have agreed to the PLO/PA dictates and stuck to the principles of the Arab Peace Initiative from 2002, and have not normalized relations with Israel, despite the many potential benefits. The peace and normalization agreements that were signed yesterday in Washington between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain serve the interests of all three countries involved as well as other Gulf states. Furious with the UAE and Bahrain’s decisions, the PA has responded like a spoiled child who did not get his way.

Following the agreements, Palestinian leaders have been insulting, cursing, demonizing, and threatening the two countries. Especially UAE leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who was first to agree to peace with Israel, has been referred to as a “traitor,” a “tumor,” “the occupiers’ dogs,” and “the collaborator."

Referring to the UAE’s normalization agreement as “treason,” “political prostitution,” and a "violation of Islam," Palestinian leaders have called it an attack on Muslims, and framed the peace agreement in terms of a religious conflict and tried to incite violence. Following Bahrain’s agreement with Israel, the PA and Fatah added their “disappointment” with them too, condemning Bahrain for its “treason.”

Hopeful they could succeed in undermining the UAE peace agreement when it was first announced, Fatah warned that the Crown Prince is destined for the “trash can of history” if he ignores the PA dictates.

Text on cartoon: “There is an end for those who do normalization”
Text on trash can: “The trash can of history”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 16, 2020]

When Bahrain joined and signed the Abraham Accords, Fatah posted the above cartoon showing three figures with skull heads. The Israeli figure in the center shakes hands with Bahrain (left) and with the UAE (right). All hands are covered in blood. [Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 18, 2020]

Iran condemns the Israel-UAE agreement
Not surprisingly, Iran, which sees many Gulf states and Israel as enemies, condemned the peace and cooperation that strengthens both Iran’s enemies. Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, called the agreement a “blow” and “plots that are being woven against us.” Zarif contacted the PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki:

“Zarif emphasized that this blow must strengthen us – and it indeed is doing this – against all the plots that are being woven against us.”  

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

The Iranian Foreign Minister spoke of using this as an opportunity to strengthen bilateral PA-Iranian relations and “cooperation in any future step in the regional and international forums:

“Zarif emphasized Iran’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its leadership in the situation that has been created following the UAE’s decision to normalize relations with the occupation state, Israel … Zarif expressed the Islamic Republic of Iran’s willingness to extend a hand to help and carry out cooperation in any future step in the regional and international forums.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

Fully aware of the threat posed by Iran to Israel and some Gulf states, the PA Prime Minister felt it necessary to publically reject the known principle of international relations: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In this case, Iran is a dangerous enemy to both Israel and the UAE and solid relations between the two strengthen them both. It is this logic that Shtayyeh rejected:

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: “The [PA] government announces full support for the position of the Palestinian leadership and [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas], which rejects the joint statement by America, Israel, and the Emirates regarding normalizing relations between the UAE and the occupation state. Normalizing relations and praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque while it is under Israeli sovereignty is unacceptable…  The Arab nation’s central enemy is Israel... The saying “the enemy (i.e., Israel) of my enemy (i.e., Iran) is my (i.e., UAE’s) friend” must not be [applied] at the national, Arab, or religious level, and it is impossible that some of the Arabs will be allies of the satan of occupation.”

[Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, Aug. 17, 2020]

Rejection, demonization, victimhood, and threats of violence
Significantly, the PA is misrepresenting the Israel – UAE agreement as if they are the “victims,” being “stabbed in the back” - even though the sides have announced a far reaching verbal political concession by Israel, the freezing of annexation of areas where Israelis are living in the West Bank that are necessary for Israel's security. Abbas’ Deputy Chairman of the Fatah Movement, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, said this explicitly, adding that the UAE peace agreement is “treason”:

“Fatah Movement Deputy Chairman [and Fatah Central Committee member] Mahmoud Al-Aloul… explained that the agreement that was achieved constitutes a knife in the back of Palestine and treason against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

After Bahrain’s agreement with Israel, Al-Aloul expressed his hope that the Arab states’ own people would protest the moves by the UAE and Bahrain:

“We feel disappointed by our nation. We will leave the normalizers [with Israel] to their own peoples so that they will take a position regarding this collapse.
#Normalization_is_treason
#The_deal_of_shame”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 13, 2020]

Fatah posted this cartoon of a Palestinian stabbed in the back by an Israeli-UAE knife:

Posted text: “#Normalization_is_a_crime #Normalization_is_treason”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

As victim, the PA is expressing the need to “defend” itself, even calling for “popular resistance” – a term used by the PA to refer to violence and terror - “as one of the means of thwarting these plans.”  [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 19, 2020]

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Jamal Hammad said that “the Palestinian people wages intifadas one after the other” and “sent a message to all the bats lying in ambush in the dark, and said that Fatah’s traps are hidden, so woe to anyone who is tempted and thinks that the Palestinian people will agree to bend the knee.’ He added that “the land of Palestine is full of Martyrs and prisoners,” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 17, 2020] indicating that the PA is prepared to engage in violence and terror to protest peace between the UAE-Israel.

Fatah posted an image of masked people from Kafar Qaddum carrying a coffin with the symbol of the Arab League on it, and said that Arab leaders are prepared to “walk naked in Tel Aviv” at Trump’s bidding.

Posted text: “[US President Donald] Trump declares a peace agreement between Israel and Bahrain!
If Trump would have asked some of the Arab rulers to strip and walk naked in the streets of Tel Aviv – they would agree in exchange for him winning in the coming elections, because they have conditioned their continued rule on this administration that sows corruption in the land.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 11, 2020]

A cartoon posted by Fatah after Bahrain’s peace agreement with Israel also “buried” the entire Arab League, calling the normalization “treason”:

The cartoon shows four Palestinians standing next to a coffin in a grave. On the coffin is the symbol of the Arab League.

Posted text: “#Normalization_is_treason
#Bahrainis_against_normalization”
Text on tombstone: “The grave of the Arab League”
Text in upper right corner: “The young people of Qalqilya”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 11, 2020]

Saeb Erekat, the PLO Executive Committee Secretary, summed up the attitude of the PA leadership, saying that “normalization with Israel is a prize for the occupation’s crimes” and that the PA/PLO “will not agree to them stabbing us in the back with a poisoned knife and telling us that this is for our benefit.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020] He added:

“The [PA] leadership and the people in the State of Palestine reject and condemn the normalization that the UAE state carried out with the occupation state at the expense of the Palestinian people and its national cause, and call on it to recant this historic mistake…”

 [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 19, 2020]

Aware of the growing Palestinian isolation in the Arab world, Erekat then wrote an article claiming that the PA was looking after the interests of the entire Arab world in rejecting the peace agreements:

“One wonders, what is the UAE’s interest in taking a step such as this? Especially in light of the fact that Israel’s leaders are not hiding their aspirations to take control of the Arab resources through so-called ‘normalization.’ Their position regarding the question of selling advanced American weapons to the UAE indicates that what they truly want is to take control of the region, control its resources, and expand their influence beyond the borders of Palestine to the wider Arab region.
Therefore, when the Palestinian people demands to implement the Arab Summit conference decisions, it is not only defending its rights and cause, but also the interests and future of the Arab nation,
and it is defending it against the Israeli aspirations of expansion. We are defending Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine, but also because it is the treasure house of the holy sites of the Arabs and Muslims, the first of the two directions for [Muslim] prayer, and the third holiest site [in Islam].”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2020]

He also held a Zoom conference in which he made the same claims:

“‘The agreements that were declared are peace for peace, or peace for defense. We are witness today to the birth of military alliances that Israel is leading. The normalization decisions are not sovereign decisions, because these states are obligated to the decisions of the Arab League, the Council (sic., Organization) of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This step does not serve the Arab or Islamic interests in any way.’
The PLO Executive Committee secretary noted that the American administration has worked to intimidate [the Arab states], and that the agreement is an official announcement by the UAE and Bahrain on their agreement to ‘the deal of the century’ (i.e., refers to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan). He added that they both agreed that the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be under the sovereignty of the Israeli occupation state, and explained that states that agree to Israeli sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque deny the Al-Isra Sura (i.e., Sura 17 of the Quran, which discusses the Night Journey of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to “al aqsa mosque”; see note below)…
He condemned the voices that are hiding the Palestinian right, and said that this constitutes a success of [Senior US Presidential Advisor Jared] Kushner’s policy: creating a generation of Arab Zionists.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 14, 2020]

The PA “rejected and condemned” Bahrain’s peace agreement, calling it a “betrayal”:

Official PA TV newsreader:“The Palestinian leadership strongly rejects and condemns the tripartite agreement between the US, Bahrain, and Israel to normalize the relations between the Israeli occupation state and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and views it as a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian cause… The Palestinian leadership views this step with great severity, because it destroys the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Arab summits, Islamic summits, and the UN. The [PA] leadership has rejected this step that the Kingdom of Bahrain has carried out, and demands that it recant it immediately, due to the great damage that it causes the Palestinian people’s basic national rights and the joint Arab activity.”

[Official PA TV News, Sept. 12, 2020]

Expressing its frustration, the PA wrote in an editorial in the official PA daily that the Palestinian people is like Quranic/Biblical Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers and thrown into a pit:

“The story of righteous Joseph, peace be upon him, is a story in which brothers conspired against their brother and threw him into the pit in order to get rid of him. However, Allah saved Joseph, and when he became a respected man in Egypt he did not bear a grudge against his brothers…
We are the Joseph of this era. Our poet [Darwish who wrote a song about this]… did not bear a grudge against any of our Arab brothers. Today too we will not bear [a grudge] against them while they dig a deep pit for us through humiliating normalization.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 13, 2020]

The PA further acted and called home its ambassador in Bahrain “for consultation following the declaration of the normalization agreement between Bahrain and the occupation state.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 13, 2020]

Fatah described Bahrain’s agreement as “normalization for nothing in return”:

“The Fatah Central Committee said that the normalization for nothing in return with the Israeli occupation state by some of the Arabs (refers to peace agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain; see note below –Ed.) means relinquishing Jerusalem and its sites that are holy to Islam and Christianity, and encourages the occupation to continue the policy of settlement and stealing the Palestinian land.
The Fatah Central Committee emphasized during a meeting it held yesterday [Sept. 12, 2020]… its fierce opposition and condemnation of the Israeli-Bahraini normalization agreement under the auspices of the US, which contradicts all the decisions of the Arab and Islamic summit conferences.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 13, 2020]

In the official PA newspaper, regular columnist Muwaffaq Mattar declared the UAE peace deal “treason”:

“Mohammed bin Zayed’s normalization [with Israel] has murdered the most important element in the human identity of the Arab man: He killed the loyalty by intentionally violating the UAE’s commitment to the Arab peace initiative… We see nothing in his act of treason other than recognition of the rule of ‘the Jewish State of Israel’ – as [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu calls it – over Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

Official Fatah Spokesman, Osama Al-Qawasmi, expressed Fatah’s condemnation of the “political danger”:

“Allow me to explain what the word normalization means between the UAE and Israel – that the affairs are natural, 100%, on the political, cultural, social, and media level … they want to stand with Israel against the Palestinian people. The political danger, my dear brothers, lies in this being a deviation from the Arab Peace Initiative – in how this will open the door for states that have aspirations but are embarrassed to a certain degree, and it will encourage some of the remaining states to hurry towards normalization – with whom? With the Israeli entity that is stealing the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first direction for [Muslim] prayer, the second of the mosques, and the third in its sanctity for Islam…
It is our right in the Fatah Movement [and the right of] the Palestinian people to ask the decision makers in the UAE: Why [are you] rushing towards the Israeli entity? [Is it] a reward for their crimes against Arabness? A reward for their crimes that are occurring at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Jerusalem? A reward for the murder of members of our Palestinian people? Is this how you behave? Have we learned from our history that Arabs stand with Arabs by making treaties with the enemy against the Palestinian people?”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 18, 2020]

Claiming, that the decision by Bahrain does not have the support of the people, Fatah has been posting images and videos of Bahraini protests against the agreement. Fatah posted a video of Bahraini children reciting a children’s rhyme that portrays Jews as “our dogs”:

Woman: “When we were little, our parents taught us when it rains to say:”
Girl 1: “Rain hit the mud. Allah will liberate Palestine”
Girl 2: “Palestine is our land, and the Jews are [our dogs]…”
Girl covers her face when she gets to the words “our dogs” of the poem

Youth: “The entire Bahraini people tells you today:”
Men, women, and children: “Bahrain is against normalization
Bahrain is against normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain is against normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization
Bahrain opposes normalization”

 [Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 12, 2020]

Fatah’s Facebook page also posted pictures of demonstrations:

Posted text: “A demonstration rages in Bahrain against the normalization with the occupation.
#Normalization_is_treason”

Text on sign: “We, the people in Bahrain with all its parts, [say]: The decision does not represent us! No and no to normalization”

Text on sign: “No and no to normalization”

Text on sign: “We will never be humiliated
Normalization is a disgrace for you and treason”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 12, 2020]

 

Posted text: “Demonstrations in Manama, [the capital of Bahrain,] condemning the normalization agreement with the occupation state.
Last night [Sept. 12, 2020], a mass demonstration passed through the center of Manama, the capital of Bahrain, condemning the Bahraini normalization agreement with the Israeli occupation state under American auspices.
The participants waved Palestinian flags while repeating calls condemning the normalization. They described the agreement as ‘a crime and betrayal of Palestine and blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.’”

Demonstrators in video: “Death to the US! Death to the US! Death to the US! Death to Israel! Death to Israel! Death to Israel! Death to Israel!”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 13, 2020]

Suha Arafat’s apology to UAE is rejected by PA/Fatah
After the UAE was publically attacked, degraded, and demonized by the PA, former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat’s widow publicized an apology to the UAE. Significantly, Munir Al-Jaghoub, who is the editor of Fatah’s Facebook page and Head of the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission’s Information Office, immediately said that Suha Arafat does not speak for the PA or Fatah. The following is Suha Arafat’s apology and Al-Jaghoub’s rejection:

Text by Suha Arafat: “I want to apologize on behalf of the decent among the Palestinian people to the people of the UAE and its leadership for the desecration and burning of the UAE flag in Jerusalem and Palestine, and for the insults towards the prominent leaders of the beloved UAE. These are not our habits, our characteristics, our customs, and our tradition. Differences of opinion do not ruin a friendship. I will say to our generations: Read the history well in order to know how the UAE in the past and present has supported and it still is supporting the Palestinian people and its cause. I apologize to the people and leadership of the UAE for any damage caused by any Palestinian to this generous and courteous people that always received us warmly. And I apologize to the Mother of the UAE, [Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s widow] Her Eminence Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak [Al Ketbi], for this irresponsible behavior.”

[Instagram account of Suha Arafat, Aug. 22, 2020]

Text posted by Head of the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission’s Information Office Munir Al-Jaghoub:

“I am not one of those on whose behalf [Yasser Arafat’s widow] Suha Arafat apologized because I did not authorize anyone to apologize on my behalf to the UAE for the normalization that it carried out, and I think that many of our people do not want to apologize and did not authorize anyone to apologize.”

[Facebook page of Munir Al-Jaghoub, Aug. 22, 2020]

While protesters in the Palestinian street burned pictures of UAE Crown Prince bin Zayed and called him a “collaborator,” official PA TV repeated the claim that the UAE’s peace is “a knife in the back.” PA TV further stressed that this was not a local expression of anger, but rather the official PA position.

Official PA TV reporter: “The popular response spread quickly in the Nablus district against the agreement of disgrace between the UAE and the occupation state. Hundreds of the district’s residents who are furious over the UAE’s knife in the back held Friday prayers at the Al-Shuhada Square in the center of Nablus. Following [the prayers] came a procession against as a sign of rejecting the declared normalization agreement that comes to serve the blazing American-Israeli war against the Palestinian principles.”


Protesters: “You have become the occupiers’ dogs, O [UAE Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Zayed [Al Nahyan] the collaborator…
They stabbed you in the back, O Palestine…
They sold the Al-Aqsa Mosque for a dollar.”

Reporter: “The mass activity in rejection of the normalization agreement reflects the popular and official uniform Palestinian position, and it guarantees to bring down the hidden and revealed plots of elimination against the Palestinian cause.”

[Official PA TV News, Aug. 16, 2020]

 Official PA TV also cursed the UAE, calling it “a tumor in the Arab body” and even worse than Israel's behavior:

“This Arab tumor is beyond any attack that the occupation has carried out, because it comes from within our Arab body, and from leaders who were supposed to boycott the occupation and America by all means – politically and economically.”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 15, 2020]

Normalization is “treason”
Expressing their disdain for the peace deal, the Palestinian leadership used graphics to convey their message. A filler on official PA TV showed a picture of Abbas while condemning the UAE’s “betrayal”:

Text on screen: “The Palestinian leadership: ‘What the UAE did is a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian cause, and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.’”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 16, 2020]

 

PA: UAE-Israel bloody peace deal

Text on cartoon: “Those carrying out normalization”

The cartoon shows UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and an Israeli soldier with their arms around each other’s shoulders making a heart shape with their free hands while blood is dripping from them.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 15, 2020]

Fatah: UAE defeated by Israel

The cartoon shows an Israeli flag with the Star of David in the center formed by the figures of an Israeli soldier pinning down the hands of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

“Nablus – today [Aug. 14, 2020] at Martyrs’ Square in a rally against the agreement of treason between [UAE Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed [Al Nahyan] and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu (refers to Israel-UAE peace agreement; see note below –Ed.). This agreement does not represent the people of the UAE, but rather just the UAE rulers. #Residents_of_the_Gulf_against_normalization, #Palestine, #Normalization, #Normalization_is_treason, #Normalization_is_a_crime”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

 Picturing a masked rioter alongside a deformed caricature of Trump and pictures of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Netanyahu, another Fatah Facebook post called to reject the agreement of “shame” and “treason” with the Zionist enemy:

“The PLO factions in the Nablus district call on you to hold the Friday prayers as a sign of rejection of the agreement of shame and treason between the UAE and the Zionist enemy”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 13, 2020]

 

“From Palestine to [UAE Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed [Al Nahyan]
The path to Jerusalem is paved with the blood of our Martyrs
And not with the whims of the traitors”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

An image of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed with the word “traitor” below him. A shoe has been placed on top of Al Nahyan’s face and someone is standing on top of the picture. [Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

The official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida shamed and degraded Crown Prince, publishing a cartoon of him with his buttocks exposed:

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 18, 2020]

In the Gaza Strip too, Palestinians held demonstrations against the UAE-Israel peace agreement under the slogan “Normalization is Treason.” A Fatah official described the agreement as a “plot against the Palestinian cause,” whereas a Hamas official encouraged all Palestinian factions to unite to engage in “comprehensive resistance, and struggle against the occupation”:

“Palestinian flags waved and revolutionary songs were heard during a mass-participant national unity procession that the national forces and social activists organized… under the slogan ‘Normalization is Treason’…
Fatah Movement Central Committee member [and Fatah Commissioner of Mobilization and Organization in Gaza] Ahmed Helles… emphasized that our people embodies unity against the plots that are targeting the Palestinian cause… He said that… we all must unite to defend our national enterprise and defend our holy sites, our people, and our land…
Senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Hayya welcomed [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas’ call on the [Palestinian faction] secretary-generals to formulate a national strategy to deal with the challenges. He noted that this will contribute to the development of the PLO so that it will become a uniting national home that will include all our people’s groups without exception on the basis of partnership, comprehensive resistance, and struggle against the occupation, especially because no options are left other than confrontation.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 20, 2020]

Anxious to perpetuate the state of animosity between Israel, its neighbors, the Middle East, and other Muslim countries, the Palestinian leadership does not only reject making peace with Israel but also expects other countries to ignore the benefits they could reap from peaceful and normalized relations:  

”The [PA] leadership expressed its rejection of what the UAE state carried out as treason against Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian cause, and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and demanded that it immediately recant this embarrassing statement. It also emphasized its rejection of the exchange of freezing illegal annexation for the UAE’s normalization and using the Palestinian cause as cover for this.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 14, 2020]

Agreement is “attack on Muslims and religious sites”
Emphasizing the act of treason by the UAE, PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad defined the agreement as an attack on all Muslims and on the Muslim and Christian religious holy sites:

PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “Currently we say that [the UAE’s] steps – as the [Palestinian] leadership’s statement says –are a knife in the back of the Palestinian people, a knife in the back of all the Arab and Islamic peoples, a knife in Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”

[Official PA TV, Aug. 16, 2020]

Religious Conflict
Whereas PA officials like to accuse Israel of igniting “a religious war,” it is PA officials who are pushing for a religious war in the wake of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel.

Speaking against the agreement, the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash stated that the UAE’s normalization with Israel is “treason.” He then explained that normalization with Israel/Jews means “that you agree to natural relations with the enemies of Prophet Muhammad.”

Al-Habbash further stated that any non-Palestinian Muslim coming to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque via the terms of the UAE-Israeli peace agreement are “unwanted” in the PA and will be met with contempt:

Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “We absolutely won’t accept the [UAE’s] treason. One grain of sand from the soil of pure Palestine and from the soil of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is more precious than our blood and our lives... What happened is treason... This is treachery. Not just against the Palestinian people. This is a denial of the heritage of Prophet Muhammad... Are Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque goods that are sold in the market of political prostitution? ... [The UAE] have sold Jerusalem, have relinquished Jerusalem, and are trying to market their treason as them opening the door for the worshippers to come and pray in Jerusalem...

Whoever wants to come visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the gate of Palestine: Welcome, and we will rejoice over him... But whoever wants to come through the Israeli gate is unwanted, and he will find nothing but the shoes of the people of Jerusalem and the spit of the people of Jerusalem in his face...

Normalization is treason. Normalization means that you agree to natural relations with your brother’s murderers and your father’s murderers. That you agree to natural relations with the enemies of Prophet Muhammad. That you agree to natural relations with those who want the site of Muhammad’s Night Journey to turn into a Temple...  We’ll continue to resist even if we’ll all be killed and slaughtered. Palestine will only be ours, Jerusalem will only be ours, and this occupation will pass and leave like every occupation that preceded it.”

[Official PA TV, Aug. 15, 2020]

In view of Al-Habbash’s previous teachings, this may very well be understood by Palestinians and Muslims as a call to violence against both the UAE and Israel. Recently Palestinian Media Watch exposed that Al-Habbash taught Palestinians that the Quran permits Muslims to kill Israelis: Anyone who “comes to attack me... my home... my land... my homeland... my property... my honor... my family... your existence... your rights... your souls.” What must be done?  “I am commanded to fight him... I am allowed to kill him,” Al-Habbash said. Israel being “the enemy” of Islam’s Prophet, and the UAE’s “normalization” with Prophet Muhammad’s “enemy” may be interpreted as an attack on many of the above, and legitimate reasons to take to violence.

The PA Grand Mufti went further than Al-Habbash and issued a fatwa – a religious ruling – that forbids Muslims who come via the UAE following peace deal with Israel to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque:

“Sheikh Muhammad Hussein issued a fatwa (i.e., religious ruling) determining that praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the framework of the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE is ‘forbidden. Hussein said that... ‘Praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque is open to all those who arrive through the legal Palestinian gate, and not to those who carry out normalization.’”
[Anadolu, Turkish state-run news agency, Aug. 16, 2020]

The Mufti stressed the prohibition on official PA TV:

PA Grand Mufti and Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman Muhammad Hussein: “It is forbidden for a Muslim to arrive in a plane of the United Arab Emirates or not of the United Arab Emirates to the Lod Airport [in Israel], which today they call Ben Gurion Airport, in order to come and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is false marketing in terms of religious law, legally false, religiously offensive.”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 15, 2020]

Further incitement to violence

Having set the tone of rejection, defining the UAE’s peace deal as an “attack on Muslims" and in parallel to the attempt to instigate a religious conflict, the PA leadership also called for violence. As usual, the call was veiled in terms of “popular resistance” - a term Palestinian Media Watch has shown is used by Palestinians to also refer to violence and terror:

“Nablus District Governor Ibrahim Ramadan called to strengthen the peaceful popular resistance in order to fight the occupation’s plans and expansion in the West Bank territories.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

Calls to violence were also supported by visuals.

Fatah calls for violence against leaders of US, the UAE, and Israel

Posted text: “In short…”

The cartoon shows a Palestinian holding a Palestinian flag and throwing a rock with a slingshot. The rock is striking the heads of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 13, 2020]

The Palestinian calls for violence were not solely focused on Israel. Making sure that it left no room to misinterpret their message as to what should happen to Crown Prince bin Zayed, Fatah put words in the mouth of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to clarify:

Posted text: “The US executed me, but your peoples will execute you.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

Rare support for the PA from Hamas

In a rare expression of support, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh contacted PA Chairman Abbas to convey his support:

“[PA] President Mahmoud Abbas received a phone call from Hamas Movement Political Bureau Head Ismail Haniyeh yesterday evening, Thursday [Aug. 13, 2020]. Haniyeh emphasized his support for the leadership’s position rejecting the tripartite declaration of the US, the UAE, and Israel and also emphasized that we are all together and suggested joint activity.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 14, 2020]

PA Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki also stressed that the PA would work together with Hamas and Islamic Jihad against the UAE:

“Palestinian leadership’s determination to unite all of the efforts by the parties, streams, and factions in order to deal with the threats… which includes coordination with all the Palestinian factions, including Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

PA: “Israel will eat the flesh of the UAE and cast aside its bones”
In stark contrast to the strategic, political and economic benefits of the Israel-UAE agreement, the official PA daily editorial claimed it will be a disaster for the UAE, claiming that Israel's’ goal is to conquer the UAE and the entire Middle East:

“Israel will eat the flesh of the UAE and cast aside its bones, after it invests the UAE’s last dirham in its strategic research in order to achieve racial, political, and security control over all the sources of wealth and decision-making in the Arab region. Then, perhaps, it will establish its kingdom from the Nile [River] to the Euphrates [River]!”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

Conclusion:
Having rejected the many reasonable peace offers that Israel has made since the signing of the Oslo Accords and having pressured Arab states to follow their intransigence, the PA finds itself isolated and alone as Arab countries begin the path towards strategic and economic benefits of normalizing relations with Israel. Instead of joining the progressive steps taken by brave Arab leaders, the PA is lashing out with as much hatred for its Arab brothers in the UAE and Bahrain as it usually directs towards Israelis and Jews.

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