In a recent treaty, Israel got another middle eastern country under its belt. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) normalized Israel as a legitimate country, in return for the postponement of Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.
Prior to the Israeli-UAE treaty, Israel attempted to annex Palestinian land along the Jordanian River. Although the land was already under Israeli occupation, the annexation, which is agreed to be illegal under international law by a majority of the UN, would have still provided an advantage for Israel. It would forcibly displace Palestinian residents of the land leaving it open for the Israeli settlements, also wildly considered illegal under international law.
In an attempt to suspend this annexation, the UAE signed an agreement with Israel stating that so long as the UAE normalizes Israeli occupation of Palestine, the annexation would be put to a halt.
At a recent political assembly in Washington D.C., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emarati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, and President Donald Trump discussed this international affair. Bin Zayed formally thanked Israel for halting their annexation saying it “reinforces our shared will to achieve a better future for generations to come.”
The suspension of Israeli annexation of Palestinian land was a setback for Palestinian liberation. From the perspective of Palestinians, the Israeli-UAE agreement was solely performative.
“Relationships are based on pure interest. Nobody cares about the Palestinian issue,” Shadi Abu Samra, a 35-year-old social worker from the city of Ramallah said in an interview with the Guardian. “I am not at all astonished. It was expected one day. There have been relations for a long time between Israel and the Gulf states.”
With the UAE now officially recognizing Israel as a country, per the treaty, it is now easier to transport weaponry and other military resources to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). Especially from the US— with the US already giving Israel $3 billion dollars annually from American tax dollars— Israel is very well funded.
More access to weapons and foreign aid enables the IDF to now build more settlements on occupied Palestinian land consequently expanding its national border. Now that the UAE has allowed this to happen, they are on good terms with America; this is a politically good place for them to be.
With tensions rising between the UAE and Israel in the East, and Trump pushing for an agreement in the West, a consensus was inevitable.
While Israel and America are celebrating a victory, Palestinians feel betrayed. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land gives Palestinian people no say in matters regarding their homeland. The Emirati normalization of Israel diminished most hope for Palestinian liberation as it’s expected to lead to further ties being made between other middle eastern countries and Israel.