Palestinians’ Abbas urges Arab support against Israeli crimes

1. Arab League
Arab leaders and officials pose for a group photo following the Arab League summit in the Algerian capital on November 1, 2022. (Photo: Tunisian Presidency/AFP)

ALGIERS — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Arab leaders Wednesday to boost support in the face of “crimes” by Israel, where veteran hawk Benjamin Netanyahu looks set to clinch an election victory.اضافة اعلان

Abbas was addressing the first Arab League summit since the UAE normalized ties with Israel in 2020, sparking a string of similar moves that have divided the region.

Without referring to the Israeli election, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president said Israel was “systematically destroying the two-state solution and throwing away agreements it has signed”.

He urged Arab leaders to “save the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher before they’re Judaized”, referring to sensitive religious sites in the Old City of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, summit host Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune told the opening session that “our central and primary cause remains the Palestinian cause.”

Tebboune also called for unity to face escalating “tensions and crises”, that he said were the worst in the Arab world’s recent history.

The 22-state Arab League has for decades been a forum for strident statements of solidarity with the Palestinians, but has had little real impact in its 77 years of existence.

Leaders addressing Wednesday’s session took turns in declaring support for a Palestinian state, a sentiment which will figure in the summit’s final resolution.

Abbas listed the crimes against his people since Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration expressed support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

‘Concrete actions’ not statements

Abbas avoided directly mentioning Tuesday’s Israeli election, that looks set to deliver a comeback to power by Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, who has long since dropped any support for a two-state solution.

Netanyahu’s possible return comes after Israel signed a string of normalization deals mediated by the administration of former US president Donald Trump.

The accord with the UAE was quickly followed by another with Bahrain, a provisional deal with Sudan and a re-launch of ties with Morocco, helping rekindle the kingdom’s decades-old rivalry with neighboring Algeria.

Algiers remains a steadfast supporter of the Palestinians.

In his speech on Tuesday, Tebboune did not directly mention the normalization deals, but insisted that a 2002 Arab initiative — proposing peace in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from land it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War — was the only way to reach “a just and comprehensive peace”.

He also called for a UN General Assembly session to give full membership to the state of Palestine.

But an editorial in the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper said Palestinians “don’t need any more statements, of which we’ve heard many, but concrete actions on the ground”.

It also called for the summit to take a stand “against Arab countries’ normalization deals with the occupier (Israel) which totally ignore our cause”.

The final resolution of the summit is expected to include diplomatic somersaults to avoid upsetting any members of the deeply divided bloc.

The conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Yemen are also expected to feature, while wording around Turkish and Iranian “interference” in the region is another landmine to be carefully navigated.

Divisions in the Arab League are underlined by the absence of several key figures, notably Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reported to have an ear infection, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, and Bahrain’s leader.

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