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Israel escalation puts new Gulf partners in diplomatic bind – Times of India


Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a constructing in Gaza City

DUBAI: The lethal escalation between Israel and the Palestinians has embarrassed Gulf states which cast ties with the Jewish state and put a pressure on their Abraham Accords that have been billed as a sport-changer.
The bloodshed has prompted condemnation from Israel’s new Arab partners, at a time when Muslims have been celebrating the tip of the holy month of Ramadan.
Less than a 12 months after signing normalisation agreements with Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have been pressured to alter course and switch to important rhetoric.
“These statements are largely intended as a public relations exercise towards a domestic and regional Arab audience that continues to overwhelmingly support the Palestinians,” Elham Fakhro, an analyst on the Crisis Group assume tank, advised AFP.
The Abraham Accords swept away many years of consensus and have been condemned as “treason” by Palestinian leaders who feared they undercut their calls for for a homeland.
They have been struck on the urging of then US president Donald Trump, who hailed the “dawn of a new Middle East” as his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner dismissed the Israeli-Palestinian battle as a mere “real estate dispute”.
It has now come roaring again into the headlines.
“The Abraham Accords were never intended to address the conditions of military occupation and land dispossession facing the Palestinians,” Fakhro stated.
In Bahrain, every day demonstrations have been staged in help of the Palestinians.
Internet customers have shared pictures of themselves sporting the Palestinian chequered keffiyeh scarf, and civil society teams have referred to as for ties with Israel to be severed.
In the UAE, which has tight curbs on social media, many customers have shared movies and pictures to denounce the occupation and brutality of Israeli forces.
As rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza, others with ties to the management in Abu Dhabi accused the coastal enclave’s rulers Hamas of terrorism — — reflecting the UAE’s zero-tolerance of political Islam.
It is a far cry from the heady days after the accords have been introduced, when outstanding Emiratis tweeted “Shalom Aleikum” — a mix of the Arabic and Hebrew greetings.
For Hugh Lovatt, an analyst on the European Council on Foreign Relations, the disaster is “the first real test” for the UAE, which for years had quietly cultivated ties with Israel.
“From Netanyahu’s perspective, the Abraham Accords vindicated his long-held belief that Palestinians could be effectively sidelined as Israel developed its ties with neighbouring states,” Lovatt stated.
“Is the UAE prepared to put its relations with Israel on the line for the sake of the Palestinians? The answer appears to be ‘no’ at present,” he stated, pointing to positive factors resembling expertise partnerships and entry to army {hardware} from the US.
“Given the deep bilateral interest that underpin normalisation for Israel and the UAE, escalation in Palestine is probably at most a speed bump, not a brick wall.”
After the Abraham Accords have been signed final September, eyes turned to Saudi Arabia, the area’s heavyweight and custodian of Islam’s holiest websites.
But the dominion caught to the outdated consensus, rejecting any normalisation with out a decision of the Palestinian challenge.
King Salman has voiced “strong condemnation of the Israeli measures in Jerusalem and the acts of violence carried out by Israel”, and pressured his nation “stands by the Palestinian people”.
While criticism is muted in the UAE, issues are extra difficult for the opposite Arab states that moved nearer to Israel as a result of of lively civil society teams which help the Palestinians.
Normalisation is a strategic challenge for Morocco, linked to US recognition of its sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Faced with stress from the road, the North African nation condemned the actions of Israeli forces in annexed east Jerusalem that triggered the alternate of rocket hearth with Gaza.
“Morocco should play a mediation role… If it fails to do so, it would be preferable for it to distance itself from the normalisation process without going so far as to break off relations,” stated Tajeddine Houssaini, a global relations professor at Rabat University.
Sudan, which established ties with Israel in return for its removing from a US listing of state sponsors of terrorism, has condemned Israel and warned that its actions will perpetuate “a cycle of violence”.
“Israel’s entire strategy with Abraham Accords was based on the argument that the Palestinian issue was no longer relevant,” tweeted Vali Nasr of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
“Now thanks to a series of Israeli mistakes it is back in force.”

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