Palestinian human rights lawyer and former diplomat Ghaith al-Omari, a outstanding advocate of the two-state answer and negotiations with Israel, gave FRANCE 24 a prolonged interview on a current go to to Paris. On this final of a three-part sequence, he mentioned the Abraham Accords, which noticed the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Israel and a number of other Arab nations.
Ghaith al-Omari has lengthy been a key participant within the Israeli-Palestinian peace course of, appearing as a Palestinian negotiator on the 2000 Camp David Summit convened by then-US president Invoice Clinton and once more on the 2001 Taba Summit in Egypt. He was an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas till 2006. With the peace course of stalled since 2014, he now works as a senior fellow on the Washington Institute’s Irwin Levy Family Program on the US-Israel Strategic Relationship.
Al-Omari was in Paris final week to unveil the Whispered in Gaza challenge – a sequence of brief animated movies primarily based on the testimonies of Palestinians dwelling in Gaza – on the French Nationwide Meeting.
After talking concerning the political situation in the occupied West Bank under the unbroken rule of the 87-year-old Abbas and the despair of Palestinian youth within the first two of this three-part interview sequence, al-Omari discusses the Abraham Accords, mediated by the US and signed in 2020.
Whereas the Palestinian trigger stays well-liked among the many Arab folks, the signatories of the Accords have opened a brand new period for the area. Has this come on the expense of the Palestinian folks?
I don’t imagine that the signatories of the accords have turned their again on Palestinians. We’re witnessing a brand new approach of doing politics within the Center East, centred within the Gulf. The Arab nations which are enterprise this new strategy did this to pursue their nationwide pursuits, they usually have each proper to take action. I feel the Palestinian leaders don’t realise that the area is altering, they nonetheless stay previously, they nonetheless suppose that the times of Gamal Abdel Nasser [the former Egyptian president who championed pan-Arabism] will come again. They won’t. These good previous days of ideologies similar to pan-Arabism, pan-Islamism and Nasserism are slowly disappearing and not dominate (the area).
That is the truth. And on this regard, Palestinians must ask themselves if they will profit from the brand new order when everybody else is targeted on maximising their very own pursuits, or are they going to stay on the sidelines and watch as historical past passes them by? I imagine that there’s a approach for Palestinians to revenue from the state of affairs. As a former Palestinian negotiator, I can inform you that after we wanted to successfully put stress on the Israeli authorities, we name on Washington first, or course, after which Amman and Cairo. Why? As a result of the Arab nations that keep diplomatic relations with Israel have the leverage to pressurise the nation’s leaders. And now, different Arab nations even have leverage. Let’s not overlook that the United Arab Emirates have signed the Abraham Accords provided that the Israeli authorities stop annexations of Palestinian territories. So, in a sure approach, they’ve already delivered to the Palestinians. Palestinian leaders now have the selection of assembly with the leaders of those nations to specific their respect of the choice to ascertain formal ties with Israel and search out methods to revenue from the state of affairs, or do what they’re at the moment doing, which is condemning the brand new order and refusing to have interaction.
How can the Palestinians profit from the Accords?
In the event that they select to have interaction, they may get hold of strengthened political help from Arab nations. As we noticed not too long ago, the United Arab Emirates was prepared to sponsor a UN Safety Council decision in help of the Palestinians of their combat towards the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements. Greater than political help, there are additionally potentialities for financial advantages. Right here’s an instance: Two years in the past Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates signed a deal to deal with one another’s shortcomings. Jordan is a regional chief in clear vitality manufacturing due to solar energy crops but stays one of many world’s most water disadvantaged nations. The deal was then to construct solar energy crops in Jordan and desalination stations in Israel [editor’s note: Israel is a world leader in water desalination but is lacking in energy, particularly in the south of the country], swapping photo voltaic vitality and water in order that the wants of each nations are met. The United Arab Emirates in the meantime financed the challenge understanding full nicely that every one surpluses offered would revenue themselves. It’s a win-win-win state of affairs. The Palestinians would have been an ideal candidate for this type of deal as there are lots of challenge concepts similar to people who they might take part in. There’s a lot to achieve however they should make the selection of becoming a member of. The area is altering, and the Abraham Accords are right here to remain. And we are able to see that regardless of the present rigidity between the Israeli authorities and its Arab counterparts, they proceed to develop financial and safety ties.
Relating to the present state of Israeli politics, do the Accords assist restrain essentially the most right-wing Israeli authorities in historical past?
On the finish of the day, the Israeli issues might be primarily home politics, like all nations on earth. However, with the Abraham Accords nations, at this time Israel has to suppose twice earlier than taking sure actions. I may even inform you that based on an Israeli official supply, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli diplomatic workplaces in addition to Israeli intelligence group are all very delicate to criticisms from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. They virtually bought used to criticism from Egypt and Jordan; they do not take it significantly that a lot. However as a result of reputation of the Abraham Accords in Israel, when these new companions criticise, the Israelis pay attention. So it creates a counter-pressure. We all know, for instance, that Benjamin Netanyahu held again his Minister of Nationwide Safety Itamar Ben Gvir when the latter needed to take extra provocative steps in Jerusalem. It’s the worry of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, which has quickly developed sturdy ties with Israel, reducing the relation that’s getting him to essentially stress his minister to chorus from a few of these provocative actions. He doesn’t at all times succeed, he might not at all times need to succeed, however Israel is discovering itself below a new stress, with out which the extremist components of this authorities could be a lot stronger and way more assertive.
From a broader perspective, the Israeli-Palestinian battle, which as soon as stood on the centre of worldwide relations, appears to have been relegated to a regional difficulty. Do you agree? Has this helped facilitate a reconciliation between the signatories of the Accords and Israel?
These days, the worldwide group considers sure points to be way more essential, such because the battle in Ukraine, China’s increasing energy, Iran’s nuclear threats, to not point out the assorted disaster in Yemen, Syria and Libya. By way of fast dangers, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has thus been eclipsed by way more dangerous conflicts. At a sure level, within the 90s’ as much as the early 2000s’, there was a way of alternative, the concept when you make investments politically within the Israeli-Palestinian battle, you may get outcomes. Right now there is no such thing as a sense of chance. The Western world and regional gamers have understood that Palestinians are too weak to signal a deal and the Israelis should not anyhow in such a deal. Political leaders are therefore searching for a possibility elsewhere, and that’s why the Abraham Accords are so well-liked. Should you have been a frontrunner, would you need to interact in one thing that may fail? Even so, the world has moved on. In the long run, it’s as much as Palestinians and Israelis to re-capture the world’s consideration on the difficulty of their battle. Satirically, the extremist and typically racist insurance policies of the present Israeli authorities appeal to lots of scrutiny and generated many reactions internationally. The current summoning of the Israeli ambassador to the US division of state in Washington was virtually unprecedented. Even Israel’s new allies, such because the United Arab Emirates, have begun criticising the nation on a regular basis. It’s one factor to disregard this battle, but when there’s a collapse, particularly round Jerusalem, it might have spillover results all through the Arab world, all through the Islamic world. So it’s a reminder that the difficulty can’t be utterly ignored.
This text was tailored from the original in French.