The signing of the “Abrahamic Agreements” on Tuesday, September 15, took place on three stages. At the White House, where Benyamin Netanyahu showed himself all smiles alongside the American president and the UAE and Bahraini foreign ministers. In Israel, where at the same time, Israeli restaurateurs were smashing their plates on the ground to protest against the country’s re-containment. And then in the West Bank and Gaza.
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In the Palestinian enclave, thirteen rockets were fired on the night of Tuesday, September 15 to Wednesday, September 16, causing two minor Israeli injuries, while in Ramallah, a demonstration was jointly organized by Fatah and Hamas against these ” shame agreements “. In the midst of a crowd of a few hundred participants displaying Palestinian flags, political figures from both movements marched hand in hand.
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Now is the time for cohesion, analyzes Daoud Quttab, Palestinian editorialist based in Amman, for whom this rapprochement is not pretended: ” A unit is emerging because the factions have understood that their survival is at stake. After, it will be too late. »
Palestinians close ranks
So make a block. But how to find its place in this new model of “transaction” (as Donald Trump said), where traditional diplomacy seems out of fashion and the role of supranational actors secondary? “ In these deals, we were never part of the equation », Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
A cruel illustration of this state of affairs, the debate being held this week at the United Nations General Assembly will be exclusively virtual, coronavirus obliges, depriving the Palestinians of an important platform. Now we are making “peace” against a backdrop of trade and security agreements, as with the F-35 fighter jets promised to the Emirates by the United States.
Among the population, the feeling that dominates after the signing of the agreements is that of a “betrayal”, as shown by the latest poll by the independent polling institute of Khalil Shikaki in Ramallah, which also reports that 70% of Palestinians are convinced other Arab states will follow. During his speech at the White House, the Bahraini envoy nevertheless reiterated his country’s will to work for the creation of a Palestinian state. But here, no one really believes it. No more than the announcement of the Emirates, which boast of having put an end to Israeli attempts to annex part of the West Bank in exchange for the normalization of their relations with Israel.
The American “peace plan” is ” a total failure »
The few echoes encountered by the calls to demonstrate also testify to the powerlessness of an aging and marginalized Palestinian Authority both internationally and within the Territories. PLO officials seem unable to question themselves.
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« The leaders continue to think as in the 2000s. They do not see that around them, people have evolved and that they are out of step with the aspirations of the population », Underlines Diana Buttu, political scientist and former advisor to Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinians are aware that their cause remains popular in the Arab world. ” The night the United States announced that Bahrain was going to join Israel’s normalization, we received thousands of messages from Bahrainis apologizing and telling us that this did not represent them., assure Saeb Erekat. The Arab peoples fully support Palestine. »
In this context, the resumption of “old-fashioned” peace negotiations seems difficult to imagine but is not totally to be ruled out. ” It will happen, but not under the aegis of the Trump administration », Specifies the secretary general of the PLO. For Diana Buttu, the American “peace plan” is ” a total failure ». « Americans believe that with money and power you can get anything. But that doesn’t work for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. »