US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) greets Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifah before a working lunch at the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, on February 14, 2019.
(photo credit: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)
In response to last week’s US-sponsored conference in Warsaw on peace and security in the Middle East, which brought together several Arab foreign ministers and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Arab political activists and media representatives have launched a campaign aimed at criminalizing normalization between the Arab states and Israel.
The campaign, launched on Saturday on Twitter, is being waged under the hashtag “Normalization is Treason.”
The purpose of the campaign is to shame Arabs who visit Israel or meet with Israelis by accusing them of promoting normalization with the Israeli “enemy.”
Many Arabs, including Palestinians, have expressed outrage over the participation of Arab foreign ministers in the Warsaw conference, which they claim was part of a US “conspiracy” to promote normalization between the Arab countries and Israel.
“Normalization with the occupation is an unforgivable treason,” commented Abdel Qaser El-Sharif. “Our Palestinian people have paid a heavy price for the sake of their freedom and the dignity of the Arab nation.”
Yasser al-Agha, from the Gaza Strip, said that “normalization with the occupation means rewarding it for its crimes against our people.” He also urged the Arab people to “move quickly to stop the train of normalization.”
Hazem Qawassmeh, a Palestinian from the West Bank, tweeted: “Those who normalize with the Zionist occupation are partners in the construction of settlements.”
Palestinian journalist Bilal Ismail, also from the Gaza Strip, commented: “Sitting with the Zionist enemy at the same table is a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem accused the Arab participants of helping Netanyahu in his election campaign. He said that Netanyahu’s “celebration” over his appearance alongside Arab government officials shows that the Arabs have done him a free service.
A group called the Gulf Coalition Against Normalization condemned Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait for participating in the Warsaw summit along with Netanyahu.
“We condemn this step which clearly disregards the feelings and positions of the Arabs in general and the people of the Gulf countries in particular,” the group said in a statement. “In addition, the participation of the Arabs in the conference sends a bad message to our Arab people in occupied Palestine who are suffering from ethnic cleansing and a Zionist policy of colonization. We stress our rejection of all forms of normalization with the Zionist entity, no matter what the excuses.”
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