Israel-Palestine Question and the Muslim World
Is the Abraham Accord a new ploy to divide the Muslims?
Gaza strip of Palestine continues to be bombed by Israel with impunity. And in the West Bank, its nefarious designs to annex the parts that form the Palestinian state continuously haunt the people belonging to the region. The move contravenes international law and United Nations resolutions; great hue and cry has, intermittently, been raised in many countries to hold Israel accountable for the havoc it has been wreaking on Palestine for decades, albeit with no fruitful results. Muslim world, though opposed to the annexation, is yet to be seen as to where it positions itself in the realms of the recognition of Israel as a sovereign state after the US-brokered UAE-Israel Abraham Accord for normalisation of bilateral relations.
In spite of scathing global criticism over the human rights abuses and violation of international law and UNSC and General Assembly resolutions, the long-serving Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been determined to exercise the Jewish sovereignty over the remaining parts of Palestine. But, international law is crystal clear that annexation—extending one state’s sovereignty to a territory that belongs to another state and treating it as its own—by any means is illegal, and not allowed. Moreover, in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPTs), systematic settling of Israelis to displace the Palestinians amounts to war crimes. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory,” which, however, is contravened predominantly by the Zionist state.
Is America behind the annexation move?
All that transpires in Palestine at the hands of Tel Aviv gives credence to the claim that Netanyahu has America’s full support in his annexation plan. It would be a Gordian knot for him to go on with annexation of even an inch without US support. So, no doubt, everything proceeds in line with Israeli coordination with Trump administration. An Israeli cabinet minister Ofir Akunis recently said: “Coordination with the American administration is not something that can be dismissed.” It is, therefore, clear that under the aegis of the US, breaching of international law and UN resolutions makes no difference to Israeli government.
America’s backing of Israel in eating up the Palestinian territories is staggering, and singularly inappropriate. Trying to come up with the solution to end the longstanding feud between both the states, President Donald Trump, in the end of January this year, released his much-touted ‘Middle East Peace Plan’ which was quite ridiculous, as it was heavily in favour of Israel, and thereby was turned down immediately by Palestinian government.
President Trump’s support to Israeli expansion plans implies repudiation of the Palestinian right to self-determination and underscores the fact that US response to violators of international law differs from country to country. In the case of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, the US imposed heaps of economic sanctions on the communist state. Contrary to that, on the same grounds, Israel that should have been dealt with an iron hand has enjoyed US support. It is, indeed, the biggest diplomatic blunder on the part of the US that it has given carte blanche to Israel to the extent that the latter has ruined the Gaza strip with incessant aerial bombings.
Where stands the Muslim world?
The Abraham Accord between the UAE and Israel is a huge development in the international milieu. UAE is the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, through this deal. Although the said accord didn’t come as a surprise—both countries have been involved in secret talks to tie diplomatic knot for years—yet it has dealt a heavy blow to the Muslim states since they had agreed to not recognize Israel unless Palestine is restored to its actual position. Straightforwardly, Iran has termed the deal a ‘stab in the back’ of the Palestinians just in return of petty economic benefits.
The deal is aimed to bring about peace and tranquillity in the region, as the Zionist government has affirmed its commitment to halt the annexation of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley. However, it may have serious consequences for the Palestinian state and is a grave threat to the fraternity of the Muslim world, as many other Muslim states are expected to follow UAE in establishing relations with Israel.
Experts believe that Saudi Arabia can soon join the UAE in recognising Israel as it wants to give tough time to a common foe in the region, that is, Iran. Pressed already by the US economic sanctions, Iran might find itself in hot waters as it has a long history of deteriorating relations with UAE. With Israel now able to operate businesses in the UAE, next to Iran, it is highly likely UAE-Iran relations will deteriorate in future. In this regard, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already warned the UAE “against opening the path of Israel to the region,” saying that its attitude towards Abu Dhabi would take a turn for the bitter.
While other developing Muslim states might think of recognising Israel, as it has been technologically advanced and can prove to be beneficial for them, Pakistan’s position of not recognizing the Jewish state is quite clear. Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically dismissed the possibility of following suit after Israel-UAE deal, saying: “Pakistan will never recognize Israel until Palestinians are given their right of a just settlement.”
It is quite disturbing a fact that large swathes of land, erstwhile belonging to Palestine, have so far been annexed by Israel and the parts that come under the rule of Palestine have been under heavy Israeli military control. Under the US aegis, the Jewish state has launched airstrikes that have turned Palestine into a living hell for the Palestinians. It also depicts the pathetic state of affairs and worst humanitarian crisis in the world. International community including the United States must stop Tel Aviv from inflicting more destruction on the Muslim state, by imposing painful economic sanctions on it so that it could show some humanity towards the entire Palestine, particularly the Gaza strip.