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The New Arab Staff

Palestinians rally against Bahrain-Israel normalisation

Both the PA and Hamas have condemned the deal as "stab in the back" [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 12 September, 2020

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Demonstrators burned pictures of Bahrains King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the UAE's Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nayhan.
Dozens of Palestinians set fire to images of the leaders of Bahrain and the UAE on Saturday, expressing their anger at Gulf countries' deals to normalise relations with the Jewish State, Reuters reported.

Bahrain followed the UAE to become the fourth Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel, a move driven by mutual enmity towards Iran but one that throws Palestinians' plight in further jeopardy.

The protest was held in the Gaza strip and organised by Hamas, the militant group in charge of the coastal enclave.

Demonstrators burned pictures of Bahrains King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the UAE's Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nayhan.

Images of US President Donald Trump, who announced the accord on Friday, were also set ablaze, along with those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We have to fight the virus of normalization and block all its paths before it succeeds, to prevent it from spreading," Hamas official Maher al-Holy told Reuters.

Bahrain and the UAE's rapprochement with Israel has been touted by its leaders for its gains on the security, trade and tourism fronts but Palestinians see it as a betrayal.

They fear the end of a defiant pan-Arab position that seeks Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and the realisation of Palestinian statehood in exchange for normal relations with Arab countries.

Despite their longtime rivalry, both the Palestinian Authority, who have limited autonomy over the Israel-occupied West Bank, and Hamas were united in their condemnation of the deal as another "stab in the back" by an Arab state and act of "aggression" against their people.

Read more:  Palestinians condemn Israel-Bahrain normalisation agreement

Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, said that despite the argument repeated by its patrons, the diplomatic push was not aimed at achieving peace for Palestinians.

"The Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalise relations is now part of a bigger package in the region, it isn't about peace, it is not about relations between countries. We are witnessing an alliance, a military alliance being created in the region," Erekat said.

Iran on Saturday said that Bahrain was now a partner to "crimes" of Israel after signing the deal, accusing the Jewish state of "decades of violence, slaughter, war, terror and bloodshed in oppressed Palestine and the region".

Bahrain, alongside the UAE, downgraded its relations with Iran in 2016 amid rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic republic.

The Sunni-ruled kingdom has faced long-running unrest among its large Shiite community that it has consistently blamed on Iran.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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