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The New Arab Staff

Deal with Israel 'betrays UAE's historic stance against occupation', Emirati anti-normalisation movement says

The group opposes the UAE-Israel peace deal [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 August, 2020

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A movement founded by six Emirati activists is voicing UAE society's opposition to the deal with Israel to combat authorities' crackdown on dissent.
The UAE's deal with Israel goes against what the people of the Emirates want and opposes the country's historic stance against occupation in the Arab world, a group of local expat dissidents said in a statement.

"This change of stance deviates away from the path the founding fathers [of the UAE] paved," the Emirati League for Resisting Normalisation said in a statement released last week.

The official UAE association, the first of its kind, was set up after the country signed a US-brokered 'peace deal' with the UAE earlier in the month. 

Founded by six Emirati academics – Saeed Nasser al-Taniji, Saeed Khadim bin Touq al-Mari, Ahmad al-Shaybah, Hamid Abdullah al-Nuaymi, Hamad Mohammed al-Shamesi and Ibrahim Mahmoud al-Hara – the group said the deal was a betrayal to the UAE as well as to the Palestinians.

"This deal is a betrayal to the nation and a denial of its history in refusing zionist occupation in the Arab region. This agreement legitimised the zionist occupation of Palestinian lands," the statement said.

UAE-Israel normalisation is a "deviation from Islam and national duties" the group said.

Resisting normalisation is not a new phenomenon in the UAE, but has recently declined due to a crackdown on public opposition, Ahmad al-Shiba, one of the six founders said in a video interview.

According to data from recent polls reviewed by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, nearly 80 per cent of Emiratis disapprove of normalisation.

Read more: 'Deal of shame': UAE formally endorses Israel's occupation of Palestine

The academics have vowed to support the Palestinian cause, defend the rights of Palestinians and fight against all types of normalisation with Israel.

The movement says it will work on combating efforts by UAE authorities to silence opposition by "emphasizing the Emirati people's rejection of the agreement".

The UAE is the first Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel and only the third Arab country to do so, after Egypt and Jordan. 

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