FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ariel Gold | 510-599-5330 | [email protected]
Medea Benjamin | 415-235-6517 | [email protected]
August 13, 2020 — Peace group CODEPINK denounces the “historic peace deal” announced today that normalizes relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in exchange for Israel suspending plans to formally annex the West Bank. “We are not fooled by this fake diplomacy, which is nothing more than a way to maintain Israel’s status quo of land theft, home demolitions, arbitrary extrajudicial killings, apartheid laws, and other abuses of Palestinian rights,” said CODEPINK national co-director Ariel Gold. “Annexation is a daily reality on the ground. By normalizing relations with Israel without any gains for Palestinians, the UAE is pledging complicity with Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.”
The agreement between the UAE and Israel — facilitated by the Trump administration — comes on the heels of Trump moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and creating a so-called peace plan with no Palestinian participation or input. It also takes place within the context of the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, participating in a war in Yemen so brutal that it turned Yemen into the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet. Moreover, it must be seen in the context of the ongoing hostilities by all three countries with Iran and Trump’s failed policy of “maximum pressure” that was designed to force Iran back to the negotiating table.
“The ‘historic deal’ with the UAE and Israel does not move the Middle East any closer to peace,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. “On the contrary. It strengthens the Israel-US-Gulf alliance against Iran, which will further inflame tensions and cause more death and suffering, while maintaining Israel’s status quo of occupation and apartheid.”
The UAE had previously held a position consistent with public opinion in Gulf and Middle East countries that the acceptance of formal diplomatic relations with Israel should only take place in exchange for a just peace and in accordance with international law. The UAE’s change from supporting Palestinian dignity and freedom to supporting Israel’s never-ending occupation cements the UAE’s alliance with the Trump administration, which allows the country to purchase weapons that are used against civilians in Yemen. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed is a shrewd player in the Middle East, a dictator who uses his country’s military and financial resources to thwart moves towards democracy and respect for human rights.
The fact that this agreement between two Middle East countries was first announced thousands of miles away in Washington DC shows how it is more about improving Netanyahu’s battered image in Israel and shoring up Trump’s slumping electoral campaign than bringing peace to the Middle East. It also shows the interests of Netanyahu and bin Zayed in keeping Trump in the White House. To add insult to injury, newly appointed Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan said today that Netanyahu has promised him that annexation is not in fact off the table.
The normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel, facilitated by the U.S., serves to prop up three repressive leaders — Trump, Netanyahu, and bin Zayed — and will cause further harm to Palestinians. It is both a shame and a sham.
CODEPINK Middle East Director Ariel Gold is available for interviews.