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Top Lebanon cleric announces religious ban on normalization of relations with Israel

Head of Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shia Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan

A senior Lebanese cleric says normalization of diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime is absolutely forbidden religiously and morally, urging the Muslim nations to take a firm stance against the treacherous move by some governments of Arab countries.

Head of Lebanon’s Supreme Islamic Shia Council Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan said on Sunday that any agreement or deal, which seeks to normalize any type of relations with the Israeli regime was “religiously forbidden” and “legally null and void”.

Such deals are part of the implementation of the so-called "deal of the century," which pursues the aim of liquidating the Palestinian issue, the top cleric said

Qabalan called on the Arab countries to completely cancel and revoke the normalization agreements recently signed with Israel and appealed the Muslim nations to launch an all-out boycott of Israeli goods to counter the vicious Israeli agenda in the region.

US President Donald Trump unveiled his self-styled plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict earlier this year in January.

The proposal, however, largely meets Israel’s demands in the decades-old conflict while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders.

Among numerous controversial terms, it designates Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Palestinian groups have firmly rejected the joint Israeli-American initiative as a further impingement upon their rights, and have called for the formation of a unified stance against the Israeli occupation.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed an agreement in September towards normalizing relations with Israel, claiming that it was needed to stave off further annexation of Palestinian land and save the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli authorities, however, say annexation plans are not off the table.

Weeks later, Sudan’s transitional government also agreed to normalize ties with Tel Aviv after the US removed the African state from its terrorism blacklist and offered it financial aid in exchange.

Bahrain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid al-Zayani, has recently said the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom’s imports will not be subject to distinctions between products made within Israel and those from illegal settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

Zayani told Israeli reporters during a visit to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds on Thursday that all goods and services offered by Israelis will be treated as products of Israel, indicating that even goods from the West Bank and the Golan will not require special labels.  

The Bahraini minister went on to say that goods from illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights were welcome in the tiny Persian Gulf country and can be marketed as “Products of Israel.”

The Bahraini trade minister’s controversial statement starkly contrasts with the European Union (EU) policy, which since 2015 requires that producers must explicitly label products that come from settlements built on land occupied by Israel if they are sold in the bloc’s member states.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Hamas resistance movement denounced Zayani’s position, saying it runs contrary to international law.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the statement reflects Bahrain’s state of political and moral downfall as well as its collaboration with the Tel Aviv regime against Palestine. He called on the Bahraini nation to pressure the Manama regime into abandoning such humiliating and hostile stances against Palestinian people.

Palestinian officials have also denounced the Arab countries' normalization with Tel Aviv. 

Palestinians seek an independent state in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. They view the normalization as betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

Historically, Arab countries agreed that no ties should be established with Israel unless it withdraws from the territories it occupied in the 1967.

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