Israel-UAE normalisation is betrayal for some, about time for others

Updated: 15 August, 2020 08:04 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

City's Palestine, Israel support forums look at Israel-UAE normalisation of ties in different ways

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The ground shifted from underneath the feet of the Middle East as US President Donald Trump announced the normalisation of ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel. After the world picked up its collective jaw from the floor, opinions flew thick and fast.

Covert, overt
Mumbai's Feroze Mithiborwala, founder-national secretary, India-Palestine Solidarity Forum, said, "The UAE-Israel deal is a clear betrayal of the Palestinian cause. The Palestinians are struggling for their freedom, not an economy under an occupation!"

Mithiborwala added, "If the UAE and the Saudis were really committed to a just settlement, then they should have sat down with Israel and Palestine and worked out a two-state solution based on the relevant UN Resolutions and International Law and the 2002 Arab Peace Plan initiative."

The founder explained, "The current UAE-Israel normalisation is merely a bilateral deal, soon to be followed by Bahrain, the Saudis, with Oman too not far behind. The UAE and Israel have long been involved in strategic intelligence sharing and financial ties and now it's out there in the open." The Palestinian cause supporters refuse to be deceived by how the deal is being couched. Mithiborwala said, "The Palestinians are demanding their own independent state. They want freedom from the Israeli occupation. The deal by the US-Israel-UAE is being packaged as providing the Palestinians with economic benefits and jobs. For the Palestinians though it has always been about freedom from Israel and not jobs," he slammed.

'It's getting clearer'
He further said that the only light in the darkness was the fact that this showed who was with whom. "The lines of demarcation within the Gulf-Arab-Muslim nations are becoming clearer. It is better to know who stands where, as a collaborator of the Imperial-Zionist axis or with the Resistance, those who stand for freedom."

That's the reality
Mumbai's Jagdish Shetty, hon. general secretary, Indo-Israel Friendship Association, dismissed the occupation theory, saying, "Israel was formed in the late 1940s through a resolution by the United Nations. Major countries recognised it. It did not just come out of thin air." He claimed that gradually different countries, "accepted the reality and the fact of Israel. In fact, now so many nations are realising that they must recognise Israel, it is better late than never."

Shetty said, "The new ties are historic. I call this a master move. It sets a template for others. Once Egypt was considered anti-Israel, with US intervention, it formally recognised Israel towards the end of 1970." Shetty added, "India had good relations with Israel through the 1950s to 1990s, there was informal recognition. Many in India wanted full-fledged ties, especially the Hindus. India did formally establish relations in the 1990s."

Advanced tech
He further said, "Now Israel is a steadfast friend. We see cutting edge technology from that country. We will soon have Israeli scientists working with us and will benefit from technology that will help us detect COVID-19 much faster. There are other medical breakthroughs and Israeli innovations that we can work together on and benefit from." For Shetty, words like 'betrayal' and 'stab in the back' "have been spoken for decades, since Israel formation day and subsequently. Yet, the countries that are normalising ties should have done so 50 years ago." He finished by saying that normalisation of relations with Israel might have come late for some, but it would prove to be the right path, hereon.

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First Published: 15 August, 2020 08:02 IST

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