By Esat Firat, Mahmut Geldi, and Haydar Karaalp
JERUSALEM (AA) – Arab nations oppose the process of normalizing relations with Israel initiated by their leaders.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural, and commercial relations with Israel after signing controversial agreements Sept. 15 at the White House.
The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.
Saudi Arabia is behind the agreement, which received full support from Egypt, Oman and Bahrain, according to the Palestinians.
Israeli media and experts also said Oman and Saudi Arabia will be in line for the normalization process.
US President Donald Trump announced Friday that Sudan agreed to open full diplomatic relations with Israel, making it the third nation in recent months after Bahrain and the UAE.
Arabs oppose normalization steps and have called it a "betrayal" and "selling the Palestinian cause.”
Anadolu Agency reporters took the pulse of residents in the occupied East Jerusalem, Beirut and Baghdad.
– Normalization means recognizing occupation of usurper regime in Palestine
Palestinian academic Amjad Shihab said normalization with Israel initiated by Arab governments is a process that unmasks the regimes’ claim that they are helping Palestine.
Emphasizing that Jerusalem and Palestine are holy lands, Shihab said: "These lands are the places where the Prophet made his Isra and Miraj journey. Therefore, it does not only belong to Palestinians and under their responsibility, but of all Muslims.”
“This normalization is to recognize the occupation of a usurper regime in Palestine. Likewise, it is proof that the regimes making normalization depend on other countries,” Shihab said, underlining that Arabs are against normalization.
– By selling their cause, Palestine, they normalized with Jews
Noting that such regimes carry out normalizations to last longer, Shihab said: “We are talking about countries that are loyal to the Zionism-American system. The Zionism-American system deceived these regimes by pressure and blackmailing.
“And these regimes normalized with Jews by selling their cause, Palestine, to protect their thrones, authorities. They sold their principles, religion, and causes to protect themselves and their regimes. They did this only for keeping the thrones in their possession.”
Shihab said the Arab world is experiencing a great collapse and conditions of the normalization agreement are not secret — “everything is clear.”
“It is crystal clear that Palestine has been sacrificed. It aims to provoke countries that support Palestine, especially Turkey. Likewise, it aims to eliminate Jordan's presence in Palestine and the tutelage of Hashimi in Jerusalem. It is an attempt to root and strengthen the occupation's presence in these lands,” he said.
He noted that Palestinian lands are Islamic foundation and no one can make plans, concessions and bargain with them, before adding that the land should be only under the rule of Muslims.
-‘I reject normalization’
Faizah Ahmed, 58, who lives in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said normalization is an attack on the rights of Palestinians.
“I reject normalization. It is an attack on our rights against them. It is a betrayal to Muslims and Christians living in Jerusalem and Palestine,” she said, adding that it was an agreement made in Palestinians’ place and they do not accept it.
“They will divide Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa and give it to the sovereignty of the Jews. Normalization will not stop the activities of Jewish settlement construction and expansion either,” said Ahmed.
-How is it possible to make peace with killer, criminal regime?
Nemir Dervish from Jerusalem said Arab countries make up excuses to legitimize normalization. “I’m against this normalization. How is it possible to make peace, normalize with a killer and criminal regime without taking any rights and laws?,” he said.
“It is not possible to believe this,” he said, noting that Palestinians are not expecting anything from Arab countries anymore.
“We have already been having great disappointments with them,” he said.
Emphasizing that Palestinians do not believe their usurped rights will be returned, Dervish said the Zionist regime is lying as well.
“They will not give any of our rights back. This is a very big betrayal. If even the Arabs are not standing with us, who will?
“This is a great disappointment for us,” he said.
– Lebanese against normalization
The Lebanese people had a similar reaction.
Adil as-Salim called it a “great betrayal.”
“It is not possible for us to give consent to the normalization steps. We will never see them as Arabs who normalize their relations with Israel,” he said.
Ali al-Ulawi said Lebanon would never go for normalization with Israel: “Because Lebanon suffered losses both in the south and the outside regions. It also suffered losses in the 2016 war. It is very difficult for Lebanon to take a step to normalize relations with Israel.”
Ramiz Ibrahim also said Lebanon would not normalize with Israel. “I believe that Lebanon can normalize relations with Israel only after Syria.”
– Iraqis oppose normalization
“The normalization was planned long ago, however, now the political step has been taken. Those countries which we call ‘brothers’ are feeling sympathy towards Israel with embarrassment,” Taha Vasif told Anadolu Agency in Baghdad. “They, unfortunately, praise normalization with Israel on social media.”
Calling the authorities in countries taking a step toward normalization as betrayers, Vasif said they are only trying to protect their rule by committing this betrayal.
“The history of betrayal of these guys [UAE and Gulf states] goes back to old times. Let’s ask people if they are ready to sell their pride, honor and cause. The thing called normalization is something like this,” he said.
“They sold their religion and lands,” according to Vasif, who said Israel has already usurped the lands.
-‘We are screaming from Baghdad, heart of Iraq’
Mustafa Akil, another resident in Baghdad, called on the Arab world to stand against the normalization.
“Israel is an occupying state built on the demolition of Palestinian lands. We are, of course, against the normalization and all Arab countries need to oppose it. We are screaming against the normalization from Baghdad, the heart of Iraq,” he said.
Akil noted Iraqis would strongly oppose a similar move if it comes from Iraq in the future.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar and Sena Guler