UAE and Israel agreement
Sir, – Jackie Goodall of the Ireland-Israel Alliance is enthusiastic about “the moderate Sunni Arab world” because Israel has just signed a peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates, with which it wasn’t at war in the first place (Letters, August 18th). “Moderation” in this context seems synonymous with a willingness to violate the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that conditioned normalisation of relations with Israel with an end to its occupation of Palestinian lands. Such “moderation” chimes nicely with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s description of the UAE as an “advanced democracy” in an interview with Sky News Arabia (August 17th). Given that Israel deems its self-proclaimed status as “the only democracy in the Middle East”, to be compatible with its Nation State Law’s racist assertion that the “right of national self-determination [in Israel] is unique to the Jewish people”, it’s hardly surprising that the UAE’s prohibition of political parties is seen as no impediment to claiming democratic status on its behalf.
Of course “the moderate Sunni Arab world” consists almost entirely of dictatorships, of which Saudi Arabia is the most flagrant example. Its de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman combines the mass murder of Yemeni civilians with more personalised killings, such as that of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Ms Goodall claims that Israel is waiting “for the Palestinians to finally come to their senses and agree a peaceful resolution”. This boilerplate translates into a demand that the Palestinians surrender their inalienable rights under international law and international humanitarian law. While Israel’s ongoing violations of these same legal norms are facilitated by increasingly right-wing western governments and repellent Sunni Arab dictatorships, people of conscience throughout the world, including increasing numbers of Jews and Jewish organisations, recognise that the struggle for Palestinian rights is central to a global struggle for democracy and justice. – Yours, etc,