FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ariel Gold | 510-599-5330 | [email protected]
Medea Benjamin | 415-235-6517 | [email protected]
October 23, 2020 — The peace group CODEPINK denounces the news that Sudan will join the UAE and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel. Like the preceding Trump-brokered normalization agreements with Israel, this deal has little to do with peace and is occurring without concessions for the Palestinians.
In exchange for normalizing the relations with Israel and paying $335 million to U.S. victims of terrorist bombings, the Trump administration says it will remove Sudan from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The $335 million will go to settle lawsuits brought by families of victims of terror attacks that occurred in the 1990s when Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir was in power and allowed al-Qaida and similar groups to operate in the country.
CODEPINK welcomes the news that Sudan will be removed from the Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, as the country will now be able to receive needed assistance from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to help stabilize its economy. Since September 2019, when the Sudanese transitional government came into power, the country’s economy has been in freefall. The Sudanese pound has plummeted from 82 to 262 against the U.S. dollar and in September 2020, Sudan’s annual inflation hit 200 percent. Sudan is desperate for relief and Trump and Netanyahu are taking advantage of that.
“We welcome the removal of Sudan from the list of state terrorism sponsors as long overdue and we welcome the lifting of sanctions,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. “Like U.S. sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and other countries, sanctions on Sudan inflict punishment on the Sudanese people for crimes they did not commit. That said, it is shameful that in order to get the sanctions lifted, Sudan had to climb into bed with the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, helping whitewash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.”
“With less than two weeks remaining in the U.S. election and polls showing Biden with a solid lead, Donald Trump is desperate to mobilize his evangelical base and reaffirm to them that a second Trump term will cement Israel’s systems of occupation and apartheid,” said CODEPINK national co-director Ariel Gold. “The Palestinian struggle has now entered a new phase, as much of the Arab world is abandoning their cause. However, the Palestinians have demonstrated their steadfastness time and again. They will not give up on their rights and I remain as confident as ever that it will only a matter of time until they achieve their freedom.”
When the Trump administration brokered the Israel-UAE normalization deal (the first of the 2020 normalization deals with Israel), the agreement was touted as a win for Middle East peace. In exchange for normalizing relations, Israel was supposed to suspend annexation. However, 2020 has been a record year for Israel settlement growth and on October 15, Israel approved an additional 2,000 settlement units. So much for halting annexation! To pour salt into an open wound, last week it was announced that the UAE will be creating a fund with Israel to modernize Israeli West Bank checkpoints.
With Sudan removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, the list will soon only include Iran, North Korea, and Syria. Conspicuously missing from the list is Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 9/11 hijackers hailed from. Sudan’s inclusion on the list has been unfair ever since a people’s uprising last year led to the demise of the Bashir regime and it is shameful that this deeply impoverished country was forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars—and normalize relations with Israel—in order to get off of the list. The removal of Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism will have to be approved by Congress in order for the sanctions to be lifted.
None of the three countries — Sudan, Bahrain, and the UAE — who recently signed normalization peace deals with Israel were currently at war with Israel. Sudan was last at war against Israel in 1967 and the UAE and Bahrain have never been. The normalization deals, rather than being about peace, are about Trump and Netanyahu trying to remain in power at the expense of Palestinian rights.
CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and CODEPINK Middle East Director Ariel Gold are available for interviews.