In a significant diplomatic blow to the Palestinian leadership, the Arab League has refused to condemn the landmark peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The organization representing 22 Arab countries spread across the Middle East and North Africa voted down the resolution sponsored by the Palestinian Authority (PA) denouncing the Arab Gulf state of UAE for establishing full diplomatic ties with the Jewish State.

True to their history of rejecting every single peace initiative with Israel since 1948, the Palestinian leadership demanded Arab countries join them in condemning any move towards normalcy peace between Arabs and the Jewish State. In the run-up to Wednesday’s meeting, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)-controlled Palestinian Authority was furious at the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Council for failing to come out against the Israel-UAE peace agreement brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“This meeting must release a decision rejecting this step. Otherwise, we will be seen as giving it our blessing, or conspiring with it, or attempting to cover it up,” PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded. PLO’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit to resign if his organization accepted the U.S.-backed peace deal.

Israeli TV channel Arutz Sheva reported the Arab League’s decision:

The Arab League on Wednesday failed to pass a resolution proposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which would have condemned the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Times of Israel reports.

“After a three-hour debate, some Arab countries refused to include [a] statement condemning [the UAE] for abandoning Arab decisions. Additionally, they struck out a clause which discussed the trilateral agreement” between the UAE, the US, and Israel, the PA representative to the Arab League, Muhannad al-Aklouk, was quoted as having told the Ma’an news agency.

Senior Arab League official Hussam Zaki said, “Discussion around this point was serious and comprehensive. But it did not lead to agreement over the resolution proposed by the Palestinians.”

Zaki said the PA representatives had insisted they would either accept a condemnation of the agreement or no statement on the issue at all.

“A number of amendments were proposed, and then counter-amendments…and we were at a point in which Palestinian demands had not been realized, and the Palestinians preferred it not to pass rather than have it pass in a manner which they believed to be inadequate,” Zaki said.

The latest Arab League’s decision exposes the isolation that Palestinian leadership faces in the neighborhood. Besides, there are little Palestinian condemnations at such fora can achieve. The White House is set to hold a signing ceremony on September 15 to formalize the historic agreement. With the August 13 peace deal negotiated by President Trump, the UAE has become the third Arab nation to establish diplomatic and trade relations with the Jewish State, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1993.

The criticism of the Arab League’s decision also came from the Islamic terrorist group Hamas. Not condemning the peace deal could encourage other Arab nations to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, the Gaza-based terrorist group feared.

“This inability to condemn the UAE merely tempts Israel and the United States to continue implementing their plan to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” a Hamas spokesperson said.

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash defended his country’s right to take “sovereign” decisions in line with its national interests. Since the agreement was announced some three weeks ago, the Arab country has faced a campaign of threat and intimidation from Palestinian leaders and their allies. Turkey threatened to cut off all diplomatic ties with the UAE, while Iran called the country a “legitimate and easy target” for terrorist attacks for signing the peace deal.

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