THE NEUTRAL ZONE
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was among the top U.S. and Israeli officials who traveled from Israel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first-ever direct flight by an Israeli airline to the Emirates. This event comes on the heels of the unprecedented August 13th peace agreement between Israel and the UAE. “I prayed yesterday at the wall that Muslims and Arabs from throughout the world will be watching this flight recognizing that we’re all children of God and that the future does not have to be predetermined by the past,” stated Kushner after landing in Abu Dhabi.
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s Hanan Ashrawi represents those who are not enthusiastic about the deal, notably those living within the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Ashrawi spoke on the U.S. attempting to rally the support of Arab leaders in favor of the deal, stating, “They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region.” The U.S. is also reportedly attempting to court Morrocco for a similar deal in exchange for aid and military support, yet the deal is far from being completed. Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddin El-Othmani stated that the nation would “defend the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the Holy Mosque of Al-Aqsa,” adding the notion of such a deal crosses a “red line” with Morocco and “normalizes Zionism.”
Jordanian cartoonist Emad al-Hajjaj was jailed on August 26th after releasing a controversial cartoon satirizing the deal between the UAE and Israel. Prosecutors have stated the reason for his detention as “disturbing [Jordanian] relations with a foreign state,” which is deemed an offense of Jordan’s counterterrorism laws. The Jordanian Center for the Protection and Freedom of Journalists is among the prominent human rights groups calling for al-Hajjaj’s release, stating, “We demand his immediate release, as detention and arrest are a violation of his rights.”
Israel and UAE in historic direct flight following peace deal – BBC News – 8/31/2020
Speaking to the media after landing in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, Mr Kushner described the deal between the countries as a “historic breakthrough” and said it was a “tremendous honour” to have joined the flight. “What happened here was three great leaders came together and they started writing a new script for the Middle East. They said the future doesn’t have to be predetermined by the past,” he said.
Why aren’t pro-peace voices celebrating the UAE-Israel deal? – The Jerusalem Post – 8/31/2020
The reason for the lack of celebrating in the peace camp, a wide spectrum of different groups that are self-defined as pro-peace, is because the deal is not seen as simultaneously advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace processes. The deal is also criticized because it is seen through partisan lenses. Officially, the Trump administration has supported a peace plan that was rolled out earlier this year, and has also backed economic incentives for the Palestinians to embrace that plan.
The new normalization: What’s behind Israelis’ ‘indifferent support’ for historic UAE deal – Haaretz – 8/31/2020
I understand why Israelis feel as if this is a bureaucratic peace instead of a true peace between peoples. The Israeli people are not fools as they can see this as a trump and bibi ploy for An election bump for both. The Israelis are also fearful that travelling to UAE represents danger for the average Israeli because UAE has a Palestinian community amongst other muslims who support pal state.
US pressures Saudi Arabia to attend Israel summit in Abu Dhabi – Middle East Eye – 8/31/2020
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive committee, said Kushner and his team were “scrambling to convince as many Arab and Muslim leaders as possible” to attend a White House signing event and give Trump a boost ahead of the US presidential election on 3 November. “They will be a prop at the backdrop of a meaningless spectacle for a ridiculous agreement that will not bring peace to the region,” Ashrawi said.