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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pro-Palestinian activists protest Israel-UAE accords in Washington

Protests occurred in front of the White House [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 September, 2020

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Activists gathered in Washington to protest recent normalisation efforts with Arab states and Israel in the Middle East.
Dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered this week in front of the White House to protest the signing of historic accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain.

"This is a backstab to the Palestinian people," said Zeina Hutchison, head of a coalition of pro-Palestinian associations behind the rally.

"What they call a peace deal is endorsing the occupation and apartheid," says the 39-year-old activist, who was born in the Palestinian territories and now lives in Virginia.

"It's not new but it's visible - they are investing in colonisation."

Israel normalized relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates at a White House ceremony on Tuesday, in deals brokered by the United States.

US President Donald Trump said similar deals were close between the Jewish state and "five or six" other nations.
For Mark Zayyad, a 54-year-old New Yorker who travelled to Washington for the demonstration, "Donald Trump is destroying the Middle East."

"This peace is wrong," he added.

Senan Shaq of the US Palestinian Council said Trump "does not have the right to determine the solution to give the Palestinian land to the Israelis."

As part of the normalisation agreement with the UAE, Israel agreed to suspend planned annexations in the occupied West Bank, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the plans remain on the table in the long run.

The 50 or so activists gathered in Washington carrying keffiyehs and Palestinian flags, marched outside the White House chanting slogans such as "Free Palestine."

"If you want to make peace, it's fine. But Palestinians deserve to have something too. We are humans too," thundered 76-year-old Rashid Awad.

Dressed in a blue suit, Awad promised that neither he nor his wife would vote for Trump in the 3 November presidential election.

"He spreads hatred in this country," he said.

Normalisation trend 

Several Arab states have jumped on a trend of normalisation with Israel in recent months, with rights groups concerned that such moves could prove problematic for Palestinians living in the Palestinian Territories.

Bahrain followed swiftly on the heels of the UAE and normalised relations with Israel, signing agreements establishing full diplomatic ties at a ceremony in the White House.

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