İrem UZUN -TDO- Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign ministry said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonorable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel. “Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council at its current session. There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization during its presidency,” Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said.
Palestinians see the accords which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed with Israel in Washington a week ago as betrayal of their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory. Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks and normalizing relations with Israel. Palestine was supposed to chair Arab League meetings for the next six months, but al-Maliki said it no longer wanted the position.
After his initial remarks, al-Maliki read from a letter he said he sent to the Arab League secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, informing him of Palestine's decision and criticizing the UAE and Bahrain. The UAE's deal with Israel had "created a deep crisis in the Arab League" and the move was followed "by a similar collapse by the Kingdom of Bahrain," Maliki said, quoting from the letter. The UAE and Bahrain's decision to normalize ties with Israel broke from years of Arab League policy on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Palestinians called the deal a "betrayal".