Palestinians argue that any “normalization” between Israel and the Arab countries should come only after the Palestinian issue is solved.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEHUpdated: OCTOBER 28, 2018 01:35
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said on Saturday that they did not know if PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who also visited Oman last week, knew in advance about Netanyahu’s visit to the country’s port capital of Muscat.A senior adviser to Abbas would neither confirm nor deny reports to the effect that Oman and its leader, Sultan Sayyid Qaboos bin Said al Said, were acting as mediators between Israel and the Palestinians in a bid to resume the peace negotiations between the two sides.Palestinians argue that any “normalization” between Israel and the Arab countries should come only after the Palestinian issue is solved.Munir al-Jaghoub, a senior official with Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, said that Netanyahu’s visit to Oman “eliminates the Arab Peace Initiative, which is based on land-for-peace, [and] which will be followed by the establishment of relations between Israel and the Arab countries.”He was referring to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, also known as the Saudi Initiative, which calls among other things for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.“Fatah strongly condemns the gratuitous normalization with the occupation while Israel still doesn’t recognize the rights of the Palestinians and Arabs,” al-Jaghoub commented.“We are witnessing the implementation of the Netanyahu-Kushner-Greenblatt plan,” he said, referring to US presidential advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. “The most important article of this plan calls for establishing relations between Israel and the Arab countries before seeking peace with the Palestinians.”AdvertisementThe Fatah official called for an “Arab popular response” to the efforts to normalize relations between Israel and the Arab countries.Mohammad Shtayyeh, member of the Fatah Central Committee, also said that Netanyahu’s visit to Oman signaled the death of the Arab Peace Initiative. “The phase of public normalization has begun, and the Arab Peace Initiative is finished,” he said.Shtayyeh said that the Palestinians will now have to rely only on themselves in light of the rapprochement between Israel and some Arab countries.Hamas criticized Oman for receiving “the head of Zionist crime” and said the visit will have “grave repercussions on the Palestinians and their just cause.”Hamas called on Arab countries to maintain their policy of boycotting Israel and “isolating the Zionist entity, which poses a threat to Palestine and the entire region.” The current efforts to normalize relations between Israel and the Arabs are a stab in the back of the Palestinians, according to the Palestinian terrorist group, which rules the Gaza Strip.Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said his group strongly condemns the visit of “Netanyahu the terrorist” to Oman. He said the visit has “shocked” Palestinians because it also came at a time when Israel was continuing its “assaults” on Islamic holy sites.Several Palestinian factions and figures have also condemned the United Arab Emirates for allowing Israel’s national judo team to participate in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Judo tournament.