Palestinian leaders from across the political spectrum urged citizens of all Arab nations in the process of normalising ties with Israel, to boycott their respective governments.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary general, Nayef al-Hajraf, has demanded an apology from Palestinian leaders for their criticism of the UAE over its normalisation deal with Israel.
Hajrah accused Palestinian leaders of using the language of "incitement and threats" during a meeting of the heads of different Palestinian factions last week.
The GCC, which consists of Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, issued a statement on Monday, saying: "The secretary general condemned the falsehoods questioning the historic stance of Gulf nations in support of the rights of Palestinians, calling on responsible Palestinian leaders who participated in that meeting, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, to apologise for these violations and provocative and false statements, which are against the reality of the relations between the states of the Cooperation Council and the brotherly Palestinian people."
It was a rare sight to see the chiefs of Hamas, Fatah, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) together in a meeting last week, not least because they are bitter rivals and have been in complete disagreement over their political visions for Palestine.
The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has a limited self-rule over the occupied West Bank, while Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. The UAE-Israel normalisation deal brought the opposing sides together through a video conference, with some leaders joining in from Beirut and the West Bank city of Ramallah. The meeting ended with a unified voice against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and criticism toward the complicity of any state that attempts to normalise the Israeli state, which has committed gross human rights abuse against Palestinains, before the international community.
Before the meeting was made public, many Palestinian leaders emphasised their "right to self-determination in all of the occupied territories by denouncing the normalisation with Israel without mentioning neither the Gulf states nor the UAE."
But, as the televised proceedings of the meeting began, many Palestinian officials were explicit in their criticism against the UAE for forging formal ties with Tel Aviv.
Abu Ahmad Fouad, from the PFLP, demanded the states that enjoy warm ties with Israel should be "kicked out" of the Arab League and urged a Palestinian boycott of such countries. He also called on the people of those states to ‘take a stance’ against their governments.
"If you don't want to support us, don't stand against us and support our enemy; that's the bare minimum," Fouad said.
“This UAE situation should not pass easily.”
Recently, the Hamas resistance movement and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have also condemned the GCC for apology requests from the Palestinians over their stance against the controversial so-called peace deal between the UAE and Israel.
Talking about the issue, the spokesman of Hamas, Hazem Qassem said; “The Hamas movement and other Palestinian factions have adopted genuine patriotic and nationalist positions in rejection of the normalisation agreement between the Occupation (Israel) and the UAE.”
On the one hand, Qassem thanked the Arab nations, as well as the people of Persian Gulf littoral states, because of their rejection of the normalisation deal, while on the other, he said, “Hamas did not attack anyone, but rather emphatically rejected the UAE’s decision to sign a normalization deal with the Zionist regime.”
Despite the secretary general calling upon Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, to apologise for their “provocative statements”, the GCC also made a point to express support for Palestinians saying that Gulf states back the Palestinian people's right to establish their own sovereign state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, within the framework of the Arab peace initiative.
The initiative, led by Saudi Arabia in 2002, had set a roadmap for normalisation with Israel, in which peace and recognition was offered to Tel-Aviv in exchange for its withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories and finding a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.
However, the UAE’s recent deal with Israel, which took place a month ago, was largely considered a violation of the Arab consensus over the principle of Saudi-led initiative of 2002.
Despite the UAE claims that Tel-Aviv had agreed to ‘suspend’ its plans to annex Palestinian territories over its normalisation deal, an official from the UAE foreign ministry, Jamal al-Musharakh last week said the annexation of West Bank “does not” end normalisation deal with Israel.
In addition to this, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that annexation was still on the table following the agreement.
Calling the deal a ‘betrayal’ of Palestinians, the Palestinian Authorities rejected it.