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The New Arab Staff

Social media users 'cancel' Arab League over failure to condemn UAE-Israel deal

Activists launched a petition to convert the Arab League's headquarters into a wedding hall [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 September, 2020

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The Arab League was embroiled in a social media storm following its failure to pass a resolution condemning the normalisation deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Internet users expressed outrage at the Arab League following the organisation's failure to pass a Palestinian draft resolution condemning last month's normalisation agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The Arab League on Wednesday rejected the Palestinian Authority's toned-down draft resolution that affirmed Palestinian rights but steered clear of harshly condemning the UAE for its normalisation agreement with Israel.

An amended draft resolution calling for a two-state solution, without reference to the peace accord, also did not pass, according to Deputy Secretary-General Hossam Zaki.

Zaki told a news conference in Cairo that the foreign ministers failed to reach a compromise on a resolution on the UAE-Israeli deal because of differences between the Palestinians and Emiratis on the wording of the draft.

Arab social media users expressed disappointment at thhe organisation, which they view as having abandoned the Palestinian cause.

"Do not teach your children vulgar words like 'the Arab League' or 'Ahmed Aboul Gheit'," Palestinian poet and writer Mourid Barghouti wrote on Facebook, referring to the Arab League's secretary-general.

"At a time when the Arabs are scrambling towards normalization, I suggest moving the Arab League's headquarters from Cairo to Tel Aviv," tweeted Qatar-based Algerian journalist Ania El Afandi.

One Twitter user pointed out Egypt's ten-year suspension from the Arab League following its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

"Is it true the coronavirus was infected with the Arab League disease?" tweeted one user.

"The Arab League drops the decision condemning normalization with Israel, is this surprising? The only place that brought them together is this sewage system," another tweeted, along with a doctored image with the Arab League headquarters' conference room inside an open sewer drain.

On Thursday, activists launched an online petition to convert the Arab League's headquarters into a wedding hall.

"The time has come to take full advantage of the building of the so-called 'Arab League' in Cairo for the benefit of the public," read the description of the petition, which was hosted on online activist platform Avaaz.

In Wednesday's virtual Arab League meeting, Palestine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Maliki described the deal between the UAE and Israel as "an earthquake" that hit the Arab consensus over the Palestinian cause and he urged Arab foreign ministers to reject the deal "otherwise our meeting will be considered a blessing or collusion with it, or a cover for it".

The UAE and Israel announced the deal to establish full diplomatic relations on 13 August. Most of the Arab world has long rejected diplomatic ties with Israel in the absence of a peace deal establishing a Palestinian state on lands captured by Israel in 1967.

The UAE-Israeli deal has won praise from Arab countries such as Egypt, Bahrain and Oman. This week, US President Donald Trump hinted Saudi Arabia may follow in the UAE's footsteps and normalise ties with Israel.

That steadfast support for the Palestinians, however, has begun to weaken in recent years, in a large part due to a shared enmity for Iran.

The Palestinians have repeatedly voiced their rejection of the US-brokered Israel-UAE deal as trading away one of the few cards they have in moribund peace talks with Israel.

The UAE presented the agreement, which is scheduled to be signed on 15 September, as taking Israel's planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank off the table. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the pause was "temporary".

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