Can Normalization Bring Peace for Israelis and Palestinians?
Date(s) - 11/03/2020
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
by EuroPal Forum
About this Event
Where: ZOOM online portal
When: Tuesday 03 November 2020 (18:30-20:30 BST)
The Abraham Accords – referring to the peace treaties between Israel and the UAE as well as Israel and Bahrain signed in August and September 2020 – has been dressed up by many as a set of agreements conducive to prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Of the plethora of commentators making this claim, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, for one, has urged Israel and the Palestinians to use the peace treaties signed between Israel and the two Gulf Arab states as a springboard for their own moves towards peace. Guterres noted: ‘The annexation was suspended, and we believe it’s the moment in which it’s important that Palestinians and Israelis restart their dialogue in order to find a political solution in line with what are the Security Council resolutions’.
Alluding to the Abraham Accords as conducive to the preservation of a two-state solution, many other commentators including officials at the diplomatic level as well as journalists, have stressed that the Accords offers the Palestinians a ‘new hope’ amidst a stagnant peace process that has failed to bring about change for decades. The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, for example, noted in his commentary on the deal that the agreements with Israel will help the Palestinians insofar as it affords both the UAE and Bahrain ‘real leverage’ over Israel, as well as ensuring the suspension of Israel’s proposed annexation plan. Packaging the agreements as a positive step towards peace between Israel and Palestine, Gargash noted that ‘the Palestinians should take advantage of the situation and reengage [with the peace process]’.
In addition, for actors such as the European Union Israel’s supposed shift from annexation to ‘normalisation’ is arguably the best outcome for the bloc. The postponement of de jure annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank following the agreement between Israel and the UAE to normalize ties on 13 August 2020 indeed allows the bloc to cling on to the two-state solution paradigm while simultaneously working to strengthen its relationship with Israel without any significant blowback. This reality forms part of the carrot-and-stick policy the EU has sought to utilize amidst calls in Israel for annexation. That is, absent of annexation Israel will be brought further into the international community regardless of the postponement of its entirely illegal planned appropriation of Palestinian land.
For Palestinians, however, Israel’s normalisation of its relations with the respective Gulf States does not appear to have any significant bearing on their plight. Strikingly, the word ‘Palestine’ is not mentioned once in the Abraham Accords. Indeed, the agreements, for the Palestinian community at large, has no significant bearing on the status quo with regard to the constant human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, the constant settlement growth, or the increasingly precarious situation for those in Gaza. Rather, the agreements illustrate once again that the Palestinian people and their political demands are insignificant for the global community. With Israel continuing to pursue both policies that foster de facto annexation on-the-ground and that make the human rights situation for Palestinians more and more precarious, the apparent benefit of the Abraham Accords for the question of Palestine remain to be seen.
It is in this context that this webinar finds itself. It will seek to discuss the nature of the Abraham Accords and Israel’s growing relations with Arab states, the impact of these agreements on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and the extent to which the EU and the international community will seek to use such agreements to maintain the a two-state solution discourse that is becoming increasingly threatened by realities on the ground.
- Dr. Nasser Al-Sane – Former member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly
- Janine Alm Ericson MP – Spokesperson for Foreign Relations (Green Party -Sweden)
- Senator Ivana Bacik – Leader of the Irish Labour Party in the Seanad
- Margrete Auken MEP – Vice-Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Palestine in the European Parliament