Fighting Anti-Israeli Bias

Countering
Item 7

THE UNHRC'S STANDING AGENDA ITEM
TARGETING ISRAEL

Claims

Claim 28: Peace agreements between Israel and other Arab states hampers peace with the Palestinians

examples

Yemen, 46th Session

“We also appeal to the distinguished Council and States to reject any agreements that do not lead to guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of June 4, 1967.”

Russia, 46th Session

“We believe that the policy of ‘deal diplomacy’ is not conducive to a Middle East settlement, but only distances prospects for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

Our Response

UN Watch

The accusation that peace agreements between Israel and Arab states diminishes the prospects for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ignores reality. For many years, the predominant narrative has maintained that peace between Israel and the Arab world can only be achieved with a comprehensive resolution between Israelis and Palestinians. This effectively has given a veto to the Palestinians on peacemaking between Israel and other Arab states.

However, it is not Israel’s peace treaties with other Arab states in the region that has prevented peace with the Palestinians, but rather Palestinian intransigence. As detailed in our response to Claim 2, it is the Palestinians who have categorically rejected opportunities for peace with Israel dating back to the 1947 UN Partition Plan and before and instead have chosen a path of war and bloodshed. Palestinians resorted to violence against Israel both before and after Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan—the First and Second Intifadas. More recently, the PA has refused to return to the negotiating table since direct bilateral negotiations stopped in 2014. The PA also rejected outright the Trump administration’s peace proposals.[1]

The Abraham Accords is simply a reflection of the fact that certain Arab states no longer wish to have their foreign relations with Israel held hostage by Palestinian obstinacy. In fact, just like Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan improved overall peace and stability in the region, it is expected that the Abraham Accords will do the same.

Furthermore, this claim ignores the text of the Abraham Accords itself which specifically acknowledges a commitment on all sides for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israel-UAE peace treaty recalls the parties’ commitment “to realize a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both peoples, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity.” [2] Likewise, the declaration between Israel and Bahrain refers to “continuing the efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, and enduring resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” in the context of the parties’ “shared commitment to advancing peace and security in the Middle East.”[3]

In addition, this claim overlooks the fact that the Abraham Accords directly led to a positive policy change for the Palestinians. In the period leading up to the Abraham Accords, many in the international community had expressed concern and outright opposition to Israeli moves towards extending its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank. The annexation plan was suspended as a direct result of the normalization agreement with the UAE,[4] demonstrating how peace agreements with Arab states can impact Israeli policy towards the Palestinians in their favor. With the end of the Trump administration, any revival of the annexation plan is off the table for the foreseeable future.

In this regard, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi characterized the Abraham Accords as an “opportunity for the Palestinians.” As he called on the Palestinians to enter direct negotiations without preconditions, Ashkenazi said, “The Abraham Accords do not come at the expense of the Palestinians. Quite the opposite, they are an opportunity that should not be missed.” He added, “We believe as Israel moves from annexation to normalization, there is a window to solve this conflict.”[5]

Ultimately, the United Nations should be encouraged by peaceful relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors and recognize that the Palestinian issue is not and has never been the primary cause of regional instability. And Arab states that have normal diplomatic relations with Israel can continue to pursue policies that are pro-Palestinian just as many states around the world do while maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel.  The claim that this is not the case evinces a fundamental misunderstanding of diplomacy and, for that matter, of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

[1] Mohammed Daraghmeh and Fares Akram, Palestinians angrily reject Trump Mideast peace plan, AP (January 29, 2020), https://apnews.com/article/0dcb0179faf41e1870f35838058f4d18.

[2] Full text of the ‘Treaty of Peace’ signed by Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Times of Israel (September 16, 2020), https://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-the-treaty-of-peace-signed-by-israel-and-the-united-arab-emirates/.

[3] Full text of the ‘Declaration of Peace’ signed by Israel and Bahrain, Times of Israel (September 16, 2020), https://www.timesofisrael.com/full-text-of-the-declaration-of-peace-signed-by-israel-and-bahrain/.

[4] Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash, Netanyahu set aside West Bank annexation to do the UAE deal. But will the plan revive? Washington Post (August 17, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/netanyahu-set-aside-west-bank-annexation-to-do-the-uae-deal-but-will-the-plan-revive/2020/08/17/a6f99a70-e07d-11ea-82d8-5e55d47e90ca_story.html.

[5] AFP, Israel: Abraham Accords are opportunity for Palestinians, France 24 (December 6, 2020), https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201206-abraham-accords-are-opportunity-for-palestinians-israel.

UN Watch

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