On Tuesday, September 15, Donald Trump will host a ceremonial signing of deals to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain. Activists will gather to protest these deals which are not about peace but about furthering Israel’s systems of occupation and apartheid. The protest will be led by a coalition of over 50 Palestinian rights organizations and groups, many of which are led by Palestinian Americans and Arab Americans.
The U.S.-brokered deal which will be signed at the White House by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan is an underhanded way to maintain Israel’s status quo of land theft and apartheid and should be seen in the context of over three years of Trump administration policies that have supported Israel’s war on the Palestinians: moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the illegally occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory, and creating a so-called peace plan with no Palestinian participation or input. Supposedly, the UAE-Israel normalization deal, which is part of the Trump administration’s fake peace plan, would benefit Palestinians by halting de jure annexation of the West Bank, but not only is de facto annexation a daily reality for Palestinians, but Netanyahu, in his Israeli press conference announcing the deal, said that de jure annexation was “still on the table” and that it was something he is “committed to.”
Within a week of the deal’s announcement, a secret clause within the deal to sell tens of billions of dollars in weapons to the UAE was revealed. On September 11, 2020, it was announced that Bahrain—another repressive Gulf country involved in the brutal war in Yemen—will also sign a deal to normalize relations with Israel, also without any concessions for Palestinians. It is understood that Bahrain would not be able to make such an agreement without the tacit approval of Saudi Arabia, the leader of the war in Yemen.
The normalization of relations between the UAE and Bahrain and Israel, facilitated by the U.S., serves to prop up repressive leaders—US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE King Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (MBZ), Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa—guilty of gross human rights abuses and war crimes.