The Palestinian Authority is reconsidering its ties to the Arab League as leaders from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel joined President Trump Tuesday for a historic signing of accords — normalizing relationships between the Arab nations and the Jewish state.
“These agreements mark a dark day in the history of the Arab nation and a defeat for the Arab League,” said Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in a statement Monday, according to an Israeli news outlet.
Shtayyeh has been urged by the Palestinian Authority to review its ties with the 22-member Arab League, after they failed to condemn the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Gulf Nations.
Palestine has relied on the Arab League’s decades-long refusal to acknowledge Israel as a legitimate state, so long as Israel continued to occupy land that Palestine views as theirs.
The United Nations also affirms that Israel has illegally occupied parts of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967.
Palestinian leadership views the recent normalized ties between the Arab nations and Israel, as a “stab in the back,” and a threat to the Saudi Arabian-led Arab Peace Initiative — which seeks the full withdrawal of Israel from the occupied lands in exchange for diplomatic ties.
“The Arab League has become a symbol of Arab weakness,” Shtayyeh said, rejecting Tuesday’s ceremony.
“These peace deals will kill the Arab peace initiative,” he added.
But President Trump said that the negotiations formed between the UAE and Bahrain were just the tip of the iceberg, as “five to six” additional countries are allegedly on the cusp of establishing diplomatic ties with Israel.
“After decades of division and conflict we mark the dawn of a new Middle East,” Trump said from the White House’s South Lawn Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia is believed to be the next country the Trump administration is working on to normalize ties with the Jewish state, but the Saudi government has not yet announced any such plans.
Until recently, Egypt and Jordan were the only two Middle Eastern nations to have formed diplomatic relations with Israel, but Oman, Sudan and Morocco are allegedly close to recognizing ties with the Jewish state as well.
Four member nations of the Arab League have established ties with Israel before formalizing any agreements that would pressure on Israel to release occupied Palestinian territory, a move the Palestinian Authority sees as a betrayal.
“It is a violation of the official and popular Arab position, and placed narrow, short-term accounts with the US administration, above considerations of strategic issues, and at the expense of the aspirations of the Arab and Islamic nation, Palestinian rights, and the legitimacy of occupation and settlements,” the Palestinian prime minister said in a tweet prior to Tuesday’s signing.
But the UAE points to the recent halt of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of the Israeli occupied West Bank as a direct result of the established ties – though Netanyahu has said his plans of annexation have only been postponed, not prevented.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has also called on Palestine to come back to the negotiating table, though he did not specify what terms they would be negotiating in relation to the contested territory.
“I call on the Palestinian leadership to understand the reality, to be responsible, to play a leadership role – as the UAE and Bahrain have done – and to return to the negotiating table,” Ashkenazi said, according to the Israel Hayom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.