Photo: Flash90

Israel still rejected by some Arab states

Sudan became the third nation to declare official normalization of relations with Israel this week, following agreement by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to full diplomatic, cultural, and commercial relations with the Jewish State in September. Many Israeli political analysts also believe that Oman and Saudi Arabia are in line to follow suit.

Despite these historic breakthroughs toward the establishment of regional peace, the vast majority of social media posts in the Arab and Muslim world reject normalization with Israel.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies which has been published in the annual Arab Opinion Index,  88% of over 28,000 respondents across 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa opposed diplomatic recognition of Israel.

A nine-page report published by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs found similar results. Only 5% of Arab social media users held “positive” views of the U.S.-brokered peace pacts, while a vast 81% majority had “negative” opinions and 8% expressed had “very negative” comments.

Palestinians have issued scathing rejection of the deals, insisting that their rights and cause had been abandoned. The Arab League nevertheless opposed the Palestinian call to condemn the agreements. Ramallah has accused Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Oman of backing the Abraham Accords.

Turkey has been among the nations to condemn the deals. Interviews by its state-run Anadolu news agency carried by Reuters cited angry responses from Arab residents of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon and Iraq.

“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,” said Faizah Ahmed, 58, who lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah. She went on to allege that the agreements would lead to Jewish control of the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, as would fail to halt increased settlement construction.

Another Jerusalem resident identified as Nemir Dervish said she was “against this normalization,” which she deemed as “a very big betrayal. If even the Arabs are not standing with us, who will? This is a great disappointment for us.” After going on to say, “it is not possible to believe this,” she noted that Palestinians are not expecting anything from Arab countries anymore, in that “we have already been having great disappointments with them.”

Lebanese national Adil As-Salim stated that, “normalization with Israel is a great betrayal,” and insisted that his country “can’t consent to normalization steps. We will never consider those who normalize their relations with Israel as Arabs.”

This stance was echoed by Beirut resident Ali Al-Ulevi, who said that “Lebanon will not go to normalization with Israel in any way, because Lebanon gave a lot of victims both in the south, cross-border, and also in the war in 2006.”

Another Lebanese citizen, Fuad Hilvani, said that he believes his country’s recent agreement to negotiate maritime borders with Israel is tantamount to taking “the first steps” toward “recognizing Israel.” He added that “because the normalization process is being carried out under economic pressure, undoubtedly our turn has come and there is no escape from it. It is gonna happen now or later.”

Taha Vasif of Iraq told the Turkish news agency that “the history of betrayal of these guys [UAE and Gulf States] goes back to old times,” and accused Israel’s peace partners of having “sold their religion and lands.”

Baghdad resident Mustafa Aqil alleged that “Israel is an occupying state built on the demolition of Palestinian lands.”

After claiming that that his nation would never make peace with Israel, Aqil declared, “We are screaming against the normalization from Baghdad, the heart of Iraq.”