Palestine to boycott Dubai Expo 2020 following UAE-Israel deal
The surprise US-brokered political agreement between the UAE and Israel to normalise relations represents a historic shift which will make the Gulf state only the third Arab country to establish full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
Palestinians of all political leanings – from the secular Fatah of Mahmoud Abbas to the Hamas Islamist organisation – have been unanimous in their condemnation of the deal, viewing the UAE as sacrificing the Palestinian cause to gain commercial relations with Israel.
During a Monday cabinet meeting, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the boycott "in rejection of the American, Israeli and Emirati declaration on the normalisation of relations between the Israeli occupation and the United Arab Emirates".
The UAE-Israeli peace treaty saw both countries signing their first trade deal, Israel scouting an embassy building for the Gulf country, a planned corridor over Saudi Arabia for flights between Israel and the UAE, as well as other Arab countries considering normalising ties with the Jewish state.
The UAE initially touted the normalisation as a part of a deal to stop Israel from annexing 30 percent of the occupied West Bank, with foreign minister Anwar Gargash claiming the agreement had dealt a "death blow" to annexation.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that annexation is still on the table, saying he had “worked too hard” to cancel plans to annex occupied Palestinian land.Feeling betrayed following the agreement, tens of thousands of Palestinians staged protests across the West Bank and in Jerusalem, trampling on images of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, setting fire to the Emirati flag and chanting slogans demanding that the Gulf country fall.
Dubai, the glitzy city-state which is part of the UAE, had hoped to attract some 25 million visits to the Expo 2020, a multi-billion-dollar, six-month event, which was scheduled to launch on 20 October this year.
The event was postponed to October 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.