The Abraham Accords continue
(L-R) Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan hold up documents after participating in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. AFP
On September 11th, 2020 Donald Trump announced another breakthrough in his diplomatic stance of supporting Israel. Bahrain’s King Hamad formally recognized Israel and established diplomatic relations. The ceremony took place in the White House. Netanyahu posed as the victor and Trump gave clues that possibly, nine other nations will join the regime of normalizing ties with Israel in the coming months. As much as this is damaging to the cause of Palestine, these so-called peace deals will make the world even more volatile place, on the contrary. Bahrain is the main U.S Navy HQ in the Middle East and a satellite state to Saudi Arabia. It is inconceivable that Bahrain could have become the fourth Muslim nation to recognize Israel without the node from the Saudi family. But this step undermines the freedom and liberty of the region and polarizes the world even further. The Arab and Gulf states are beginning to give-in and taking a definitive side in the coming conflict, wherein the Palestinian cause for freedom does not fit in.
The main force behind the normalization of ties between Arab states(so far) and Israel has been the United States of America. Although Gulf countries had established secret ties with Israel for decades, they were not in the clear due to the Palestinian cause, fearing the domestic backlash. Under Donald Trump, the US has clearly taken a decisive action to support Israel regardless of the plight of Palestinian Muslims and the United Nations. The move of shifting the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was met with rage and fury by the Muslim world. After four years of failed bargains with Palestinian leaders, the Trump administration wanted a win on the foreign relations side. They decided to legalize a partnership in the shadows. States like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Omar and some African nations are greatly reliant on US economic support. Bahrain is even worse as it relies on the protection of US and Saudi combined. It is practically the main stronghold of the American Navy in the Middle East. So, the question is, why now? The answer lies in the upcoming election on November 3rd, 2020. Trump intends to secure the vote of the Jewish lobby in the US and at the same time pose a win for the Republicans. The performance of the Trump administration has been tarnished by multiple setbacks in the domestic front. At least with this, the diplomatic side has something to report. Bahrain becomes the fourth Muslim country to recognize Israel, something that does nothing for peace, clearly unilateral, a deal signed in the US without any representation from the Palestinian side. The whole matter looks like an election campaign stunt next to New York, and it probably is. All businesses and voters under the Jewish leadership will now be in all-out favour for Trump and the Republicans.
Another reason behind the Abraham Accord is the common threat of China-Iran partnership. The Saudis spearhead the anti-Iran sentiment in the Middle East. Bahrain is a satellite state, so Bahrain normalizing ties with Israel is a tip to test the waters. As Donald said in his tweet that many nations will join soon, makes it clear that these will be nations that are reliant on US and Saudi support. Fear of a backlash to the normalization of ties is the hurdle to recognizing Israel in a single go. In this scenario, the diplomatic ties between UAE, Bahrain and other States with Israel is a precursor to an alliance against China and Iran in the region. As this alliance forms and takes the world of diplomacy by shock, there is another alliance in the offing, one that challenges the status quo of Americanization of the world.
Another critical reason behind this push by the Americans to support Israel is the expansion and progress of China. The International community is coming to terms that the United States no longer leads. Washington has become part of the problem rather than the solution. The American Government repeatedly violates International law, criticizes the World Health Organization of fraud and favouring China, terms the United Nations as defunct and promoting borders around the world. China, on the other hand, is initiating joint action. The One Belt One Road project with its two tiers, both land and maritime, aims to connect the world instead of building walls. China stands for integrity and connectivity while Americans believe in, well, “America First”. Beijing has engaged Iran, Russia, Pakistan and other key nations in a regional alliance. It is one that overpowers American influence in Asia and Eurasia. The move to support Israel is an effort to retain dominance and alliance in the region full of resources and military potential. The Americans and Israelis are polarizing the Middle East, one nation against another. It will soon be China, Iran, Russia and Pakistan versus the American lead coalition including Israel, Saudi and Gulf States.
After the announcement from Donald Trump, Pakistan Foreign Office, once again repeated its stance on the issue of Palestine. In a strong statement, the Government spoke, “Pakistan would not recognize Israel even if the whole world does”. The coming months will be a test of these principles as Americans and Israel will lobby to stifle the voice of Palestinians who have been left out of the equation, altogether. People of Palestine, through their leaders in the P.L.O(Palestine Liberation Organization), protested against the betrayal. Without the support of Arab nations, the pressure for a two-state solution and de-militarization of the West Bank would never be possible. Turkey has also condemned the action by Bahrain to recognize Israel as a move that ensures the permanent occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. Western countries have mostly reacted in favour of normalization of ties.
Global power concentration is in flux. Israel is making the most out of the declining role of the United States. But in doing so, innocent lives and civil liberties are being sacrificed and foundations of a new evil are being laid in the name of peace and normalizing diplomatic ties. Israel has repeatedly thwarted the principles of International law, denied the United Nations statements on human rights, used massive military techniques to subdue civilians, and killed hundreds and thousands of Muslim families and displacing others and now defeating the standards of justice, morality and freedom over the promise of regional dominance. China and Russia are making plans to lay their own foundation starting from Syria, all the way to the Pacific. The politics of the world is no better than it was yesterday. The question now is for nations that are still non-aligned to pick sides and preferably choose the winning side. Pakistan stands firm in its outlook in the protection of the rights of the people of occupied lands including Kashmir and Palestine. Any effort, any accord or any agreement that is drafted and signed in unilateral efforts as a self-proclaimed harbinger of peace and progress, are flawed and oppressive and will come with their own baggage of consequences that our later generations will have to deal with. The recognition of Israel by Bahrain as a fellow Muslim nation to Palestinians, in absolute isolation from any representation from the victims, is a stark example of the brutality and one-sided arbitration in International diplomacy.
(The writer is Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation)