PA leadership silent over Israel-Morocco deal

While several Palestinian factions and individuals have condemned Morocco’s decision to normalize its relations with Israel, the Palestinian Authority has chosen to remain silent.In separate statements, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the PLO’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongly denounced the agreement, dubbing it a “black day” and a “betrayal” of Arabs and Muslims.But more than 48 hours after US President announced that Morocco has agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, the PA leadership did not issue any official reaction.In addition, the authority has ignored Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s phone call with PA President , which was reported only by the Moroccan media. The PA-controlled media regularly reports about phone calls between Abbas and world leaders.During the phone call, the Moroccan monarch reportedly vowed that his country’s position on the Palestinian issue remains unchanged.The king further assured Abbas that Morocco supports a solution based on two states living side by side in peace and security, and emphasized the need to preserve the special status of Jerusalem and respect the freedom of followers of all three monotheistic religions to observe their faith.The PA leadership had previously condemned the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, dubbing them a “betrayal of the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem.”

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It also briefly withdrew its ambassadors from the UAE and Bahrain. The ambassadors have since quietly returned to the two Gulf states as the PA leadership seeks to ease tensions with the Arab countries.The PA leadership, in addition, has instructed its senior officials to stop attacks on Arab countries, especially those that establish relations with Israel.Palestinian officials told The Jerusalem Post that the PA leadership’s silence over the Israel-Morocco normalization agreement does not mean that it approves of the deal.“We don’t want to damage our relations with our Arab brothers,” one official told the Post. “Public statements of condemnation could cause additional damage to our relations with the Arab countries.”Another official said that the PA leadership was “extremely unhappy” with the deal, though it did not come as a surprise.“The deal contradicts the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which states that the Arab countries would normalize their relations with Israel only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with east Jerusalem as its capital,” the official added. “But I don’t think it’s a good idea to start condemning Morocco.”Former PA minister and newspaper editor Nabil Amr said that Morocco, like other Arab countries that signed peace treaties with Israel, was acting on the basis of the notion that says that each Arab state acts according to its own interests.“This principle was first established by [former Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat, who separated between relations with Israel and the Palestinian issue,” Amr said in a video he posted on Facebook. “I’m aware that the Palestinian Authority has filled its mouth with water and cannot say all that it said in the past about normalization [with Israel]. The Palestinian Authority wants to maintain its relations with Morocco.”Amr pointed out that since 1975, the North African country has been serving as president of Al-Quds Committee, established by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to “protect” Jerusalem from being “Judaized” by Israel.Amr dismissed claims that the normalization between the Arab countries and Israel would benefit the Palestinians. “I reject these claims,” he said. “Israel has long been struggling to normalize its relations with the Arabs. Now that Israel has achieved its goal without paying a price, why should it pay a price [to the Palestinians]?”
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