Muslims feel welcome in Israel

The Palestinians feel betrayed

Palestine, a member of the Arab League (AL) recognized as a state, resigned the chairmanship of the AL foreign ministers' meeting on Tuesday, which it would have held for six months on a rotating basis. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said it was not an honor to lead the presidency at a time when the Arabs were scrambling to normalize with Israel. Behind this is the fear that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain could be followed by other countries. US President Donald Trump had named the number five without specifying.

The withdrawal of the Palestinians - not from the organization, only from the chairmanship - followed the Palestinian failure at a league meeting in Cairo two weeks ago to get a critical resolution through. It should have condemned those states that leave the previous league line on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2002 the Arabs linked full Arab normalization with Israel with the creation of a Palestinian state within the "1967 borders," that is, the 1949 armistice line.

Bahrain spoke out particularly loudly against the resolution in Cairo: Shortly afterwards, the island state announced that it would do the same as the Emirates, which had already announced their agreement with Israel in mid-August. The agreements between the two Arab Gulf states and Israel were signed in Washington on September 15th.

Peace initiative from 2002

Maliki emphasized in Ramallah that the League's 2002 Arab Peace Initiative would continue to apply to the Palestinians. At the same time, his Fatah party, which governs the West Bank, is pursuing rapprochement with Hamas, which, however, never recognized Israel's right to exist even within the 1967 borders.

Hamas Politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh, during a visit to the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain al-Hilweh, undauntedly promised the cheering crowd a "return to Palestine" in early September. His appearance looked more as if he wanted to present himself as an alternative to Fatah, and not as if he wanted to pull together with her. In recent years, under the leadership of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah has lost the trust of many Palestinians. When Abbas called for a "day of wrath" in the West Bank on the day the "Abraham Accords" between Israel and the Emirates or Bahrain were signed, the reactions were rather apathetic. Of course, the corona situation also contributes to this.

The moving closer together of Fatah and Hamas began when Israeli annexation plans in the West Bank appeared to materialize in the summer. A joint video conference in July was supposed to signal unity.

Turkey takes over

In the meantime, Ankara has typically taken on the role of mediator: Turkey is hosting a meeting between high-ranking Fatah and Hamas representatives, which can definitely be seen as a point against the inactive Arabs. Haniyeh's trip to Lebanon also started in Turkey.

In the past, Egypt in particular felt responsible for the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. The gas dispute in the Mediterranean - Turkey against practically everyone else, except the Libyan government - has brought Cairo even closer to Israel in terms of common security interests. On Tuesday, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan founded the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) in Cairo, with France to join.

If the Israeli-Gulf Arab romance is mostly seen in the light of a common front against Iran, the rejection between Turkey and the Arabs also plays a role: which in turn could bring Ankara and Tehran closer together.

Headlights on Dahlan

Palestinian wounds that existed apart from the Fatah / Hamas or West Bank / Gaza Strip split are also being reopened. Some of Mohammed Dahlan's supporters were recently arrested in the West Bank: Dahlan was Fatah's security chief in the Gaza Strip until the breakup between Fatah and Hamas in 2007. In 2011, he fell out with Abbas. His faction, the Democratic Reform Bloc, was expelled from Fatah, which it does not recognize. Fatah accuses him, among other things, of murdering Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2004. Corruption allegations against him are even more credible.

The point is that Dahlan is not only in exile in the United Arab Emirates, but also an advisor to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the strong man of the UAE. Dahlan has long been considered a candidate of Israel and now the USA for the Palestinian presidency - and is currently the operator of the Israeli-Emirati normalization. During protests in Ramallah, next to the portrait of Mohammed bin Zayed, that of Dahlan also appeared.

Dahlan called for Palestinian elections again just a week ago: The Palestinians urgently need a legitimized leadership. It is true that the mandate of both President Mahmoud Abbas and that of Parliament has long expired. However, elections without an agreement between Hamas and Fatah, which has been repeatedly announced but never implemented, are difficult - quite apart from the fact that the Corona numbers currently make planning impossible. (9/24/2020)