National coalition to protest normalization with Israel during deal signing at White House

Activists say normalization deals with Israel which are not about peace but about furthering Israel’s systems of occupation and apartheid.
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Editor’s Note: The following press release was issued by a national coalition of organizations opposing the UAE and Bahrain normalization deals with Israel. Mondoweiss occasionally publishes press releases and statements from organizations in an effort to draw attention to overlooked issues.

What: Activists to protest UAE and Bahrain Normalization Deals with Israel 
When: Tuesday, September 15, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Where: Outside the White House at BLM Plaza
See Facebook event page for updates

Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, September 15, Donald Trump will host a ceremonial signing of deals to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain. Activists will gather to protest these deals which are not about peace but about furthering Israel’s systems of occupation and apartheid. The protest will be led by a coalition of over 50 Palestinian rights organizations and groups, many of which are led by Palestinian Americans and Arab Americans. 

The U.S.-brokered deal which will be signed at the White House by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan is an underhanded way to maintain Israel’s status quo of land theft and apartheid and should be seen in the context of over three years of Trump administration policies that have supported Israel’s war on the Palestinians: moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the illegally occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and creating a so-called peace plan with no Palestinian participation or input. Supposedly, the UAE-Israel normalization deal, which is part of the Trump administration’s fake peace plan, would benefit Palestinians by halting de jure annexation of the West Bank, but not only is de facto annexation a daily reality for Palestinians, but Netanyahu, in his Israeli press conference announcing the deal, said that de jure annexation was “still on the table” and that it was something he is “committed to.”

Within a week of the deal’s announcement, a secret clause within the deal to sell tens of billions of dollars in weapons to the UAE was revealed. On September 11, 2020, it was announced that Bahrain—another repressive Gulf country involved in the brutal war in Yemen—will also sign a deal to normalize relations with Israel, also without any concessions for Palestinians. It is understood that Bahrain would not be able to make such an agreement without the tacit approval of Saudi Arabia, the leader of the war in Yemen. 

The normalization of relations between the UAE and Bahrain and Israel, facilitated by the U.S., serves to prop up repressive leaders — US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE King Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (MBZ), Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa — guilty of gross human rights abuses and war crimes.

National Coalition* Demands

No Normalization with Occupation and Colonization 

On Tuesday September 15th, 2020, the United States will host a ceremony to consummate the normalization agreements between the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Israel. Absent from this debacle of White House theatrics will be any Palestinians to represent the indigenous people of the land upon which Israel has created and violently maintains its colonial state. Euphemistically coined the “Abraham Accord,” the details of the plan unveil little more than a calculated semantics ploy to represent the anti-colonial struggle of the indigenous Palestinians as a religious and fratricidal fight between “the children of Abraham.” 

As a coalition of over 50 US-based religious, political, cultural and human rights organizations, representing tens of thousands of Americans, we stand firmly with the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, self-determination and demand that Israel be held accountable.

In international arenas this farce has been touted as a “peace initiative,” even though the countries were not previously in conflict with one another. In Arab countries, there are official campaigns aiming to sell the agreements to the public as an advancement for Palestinians, in complete disregard of the position and agency of the Palestinian people. While governments and corporations talk of business opportunity, tourism, and energy deals, the sidelined Palestinians continue to exist in apartheid conditions, under brutal Israeli military occupation where home demolitions, night raids, arbitrary arrests, and unspeakable harassment, humiliation and violence against them are daily realities. 

This month the UAE welcomed to its capital, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi–two of nine Israeli banks listed by the United Nations Human Rights Council as financiers of illegal settlements–making the UAE now complicit in Israel’s ongoing theft, colonization, and annexation of Palestinian land. Rather than benefit Palestinians, these deals put an Arab seal of approval on what is one of the world’s worst, most enduring and well-documented records of human rights abuses and grave breaches of international law. In doing so, they reward lawlessness, theft and impunity, in addition to violating all relevant resolutions of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Far from advancing peace, the plan reveals arms deals and cyber-spying contracts that promote militarism, endanger civilians, threaten human rights activists, and delay the potential for true peace in the region–peace based on ideals of justice and universal human dignity. 

While we condemn the actions of the UAE and Bahrain governments, we know that the Arab people of the UAE and Bahrain remain firm in their support for Palestine. Likewise, while we condemn the long role of the US government in pushing normalization while underwriting Israel’s violent occupation and settler-colonial project, we know that our fellow Americans want the US government to promote justice. The American people want their tax dollars spent on our crumbling education system, compromised infrastructure, and healthcare, not to prop up human rights abusers nor to fatten the bank accounts of weapons contractors. 

As a coalition of over 50 US-based religious, political, cultural and human rights organizations, representing tens of thousands of Americans, we stand firmly with the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, self-determination and demand that Israel be held accountable. We stand united in our rejection of any and all efforts to normalize with Israel at the expense of Palestine and the Palestinian people. We declare that Palestinian self-determination and human rights are non-negotiable and not for sale; and finally and most importantly we demand an end to Zionist Colonization of Arab/Palestinian land. 

*National Coalition 

  • Arab America Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC)
  • Arab America Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) – Georgia Chapter
  • Al-Awda NY Al-Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
  • American Palestinian Club- VA
  • American Muslims for Palestine
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Coalition of Palestinian American Organizations
  • Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
  • Daarna Dallas Palestine Coalition
  • Eyewitness Palestine
  • Free Democratic Palestine Movement
  • Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
  • Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)
  • International Solidarity Movement
  • Internationalism WG (Metro DC DSA)
  • Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, USA
  • Jerusalem Center
  • Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
  • Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
  • Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) – NYC
  • Labor for Palestine
  • Metroplex Palestine Coalition
  • National Arab American Professionals (NAAP)
  • National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Subcommittee
  • National Union Of Palestinian Youth Representative/ Boston Network for Democratic Palestine New Generation for Palestine (NGP)
  • NY4Palestine
  • Our Revolution Northern VA (ORNOVA)
  • Palestinian American Council – Chicago
  • Palestine Aid Society – Detroit
  • Palestine American League
  • Palestinian American Center
  • Palestinian American Club- Chicago
  • Palestinian American Council – Dallas
  • Palestinian American Council – Louisiana
  • Palestinian American Women’s Association
  • Palestinian American Youth League
  • Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace
  • Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
  • Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights
  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network 
  • Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – Chicago
  • Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – GW
  • Law School Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – Tufts
  • US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USPCR)
  • US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI)
  • US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)
  • US Palestinian Council (USPC)
  • USA-Palestine Mental Health Network Virginia Coalition for Human Rights (VCHR) 
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1 of 2 White House Ceremony for Historic Gulf Accords Fetes ‘Peace of the Knaves’ Chemi Shalev. Haaretz. Sept. 14, 2020. EXCERPTS: “On the face of it, Tuesday’s signing ceremony marks a remarkable diplomatic feat that could potentially change the Middle East forever & – if one ignores the intentional sidelining of the Palestinians – for the better. A determined United States President, a visionary Israeli prime minister & two courageous Arabian sheikhs are breaking the… Read more »

2 of 2 “But while the contents of the agreements will be made public once they are signed, if it’s up to Trump, Netanyahu & their princely partners, the backroom wheeling & dealing that enabled the breakthrough will remain concealed, hopefully forever. Leaked reports of Netanyahu’s nod &wink approval of the proposed sale of U.S.-made F-35 advanced fighters, which he has vehemently denied, provided the first clear indication of the multi-billion-dollar impetus that may have paved… Read more » “Qatar rules out normalising relations with Israel” Al Jazeera, Sept. 15/20 “Qatari government spokesperson says normalising ties with Israel ‘can’t be the answer’ to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” EXCERPT: “Normalising relations with Israel ‘can’t be the answer’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a Qatari official has said, adding that Doha will not join other Gulf Arab states in establishing diplomatic ties with Israel. “‘We don’t think that normalisation was the core of this conflict and hence it… Read more »

Good move by these organizations. Hope it is a successful protest. Maybe it is time the UAE and Bahrain got the cold shoulder treatment from the rest of the world. They have put Trump and Netanyahu above the freedom and safety of the Palestinian people. I will avoid flying with Emirates again, and it will be bye bye Dubai. This is Bin Salman push to help Trump win re-election, after all Trump did say he… Read more »