Palestinian officials recall UAE ambassador, slam Israel peace deal as ‘betrayal’
The Palestinian Authority has recalled its ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in protest over the country’s peace agreement with Israel – calling the deal a “betrayal” of its cause, including its claim to Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
“At the request of President Mahmud Abbas, the Palestinian foreign ministry has decided to immediately recall its ambassador to the United Arab Emirates,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse.
The Palestinians also demanded an emergency Arab League meeting to address the peace deal, which was finalized during a phone call among President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
The three leaders said they had “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”
They said Israel would “suspend declaring sovereignty” over occupied West Bank territories — an idea proposed in Trump’s controversial earlier plan to resolve the conflict.
But Netanyahu said in a televised address later that he had only agreed to delay, not cancel, the annexations, adding the plans remained “on the table” and that he would “never give up our rights to our land,” according to AFP.
The Israel-UAE peace agreement also was also rejected by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and is a rival of Abbas’ Fatah party.
Abbas and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh spoke after the deal’s announcement, despite tensions between the two camps, a Hamas source told AFP.
“All Palestinian factions are united to reject normalization (with Israel),” the source told the news outlet.
Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah called the agreement a “blow to the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Arab and Islamic summits, as well as an aggression against the Palestinian people,” Newsweek reported.
“The Palestinian leadership rejects what the United Arab Emirates has done and considers it a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause,” he said, calling it “a de facto recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
“Neither the Emirates nor any other party has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership shall allow nobody to interfere in the Palestinian affairs or decide on their behalf regarding their legitimate rights in their homeland,” Rudeinah added, according to Newsweek.
Hamas released a statement about a phone call between Abbas and Haniyeh.
“They clearly affirmed the rejection of this declared agreement, considering that it is a non-binding agreement for the Palestinian people, and will not be respected, and stressed that all components of our people stand together in rejecting normalization or recognizing the occupation at the expense of our people’s rights,” according to the readout, Newsweek reported.
“They also stressed during the call that no one is allowed to make Palestine, its sanctuary, its most remote places, its martyrs and the suffering of its people a bridge for normalization with the enemy,” it added.
“They agreed to continue constant communication and to strengthen joint coordination within the Palestinian national arena to face the developments of this situation.”
Meanwhile, Iran and Turkey, both supporters of Hamas, also lashed out at the UAE’s “betrayal.”
“While betraying the Palestinian cause to serve its narrow interests, the UAE is trying to present this as a kind of act of self-sacrifice for Palestine,” the Turkish foreign ministry said, according to AFP.
The Iranian foreign ministry said Palestinians would “never forgive the normalizing of relations with the criminal Israeli occupation regime.”
But other world leaders expressed hope Friday that the historic deal could kickstart stalled Middle East peace talks.
“The decision taken within this framework by the Israeli authorities to suspend the annexation of Palestinian territories is a positive step, which must become a definitive measure,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, AFP reported.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, which signed a treaty with Israel in 1979, praised the deal on “the halt of Israel’s annexation of Palestinian land,” and said he hoped it would result in “peace.”
Among other American allies in the Gulf, both Bahrain and Oman also issued statements backing the peace deal.
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