Qatar’s foreign minister has scolded the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan for normalizing their relations with Tel Aviv, calling for a “united front” against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
“I think it’s better to have a united (Arab) front to put the interests of the Palestinians (first) to end the (Israeli) occupation,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told the online Global Security Forum on Monday.
The Qatari diplomat said division is not in the interest of concerted Arab efforts to get the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians and put an end to the decades-long occupation of Palestine.
In the past few months, Israel has signed US-brokered normalization deals with the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan, and some other countries in the Arab world are also expected to follow suit.
The normalization deals, however, have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. They say the deals ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause, calling out the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan for betraying their cause.
In his Monday remarks, the Qatari foreign minister said for the states who established ties with Israel, “it is up to them at the end of the day to decide what is best for their countries.”
Sheikh Mohammed said Doha maintains some relations with Israel, but that is only limited to matters concerning the Palestinians such as humanitarian needs or development projects.
Qatar has already been tipped by Israeli officials as among Arab and other Muslim-majority countries that could establish formal ties with Israel.
UAE officials claim the country remains committed to Palestinian statehood, and that its deal with Israel had stopped further annexation of lands Palestinians seek for a state.
Until this year, Israel had only current formal relations with just two Arab states - its neighbors Egypt and Jordan - established under peace deals reached decades ago.