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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Contributor

Palestinian leaders attacked Thursday's U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

What they're saying: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement after an emergency meeting on Thursday with officials that the UAE betrayed the Palestinian people.

Why it matters: The Palestinians are angry because for decades they managed to get the Arab world to condition normalization with Israel upon ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinians are now concerned that more countries will follow the UAE and they will lose their diplomatic leverage over Israel.

The state of play: As part of the deal, Israel agreed to take its West Bank annexation plans off the table.

  • Even though Palestinians wanted to stop annexation, they didn't think the Arab world should pay Israel for something it shouldn't do in the first place.

Relations between the UAE and Palestinian officials have been in a state of crisis for several years.

  • The UAE is hosting Abbas's main political rival — former Palestinian minister Mohammed Dahlan, who is now a senior aide to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed — in Abu Dhabi.

What's happening: The Palestinian foreign minister announced he is recalling the Palestinian ambassador from Abu Dhabi in protest of the normalization deal with Israel.

  • Many Palestinian officials have attacked the deal. PLO officials Saeb Erekat and Jibril Rajoub issued a statement calling the arrangement "a knife stab in the chest."

What to watch: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called Abbas on Thursday to coordinate a response to the deal.

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - World

Exclusive: Biden must consult Gulf states before new Iran deal, Bahrain foreign minister says

Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani of Bahrain told me in an exclusive interview that he expects the Biden administration to consult Bahrain and other Gulf countries before moving toward a new nuclear deal with Iran.

Why it matters: The comments, made during Zayani's historic visit to Jerusalem today, reflect the concerns of other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE about Biden's desire to revive the existing nuclear deal and potentially negotiate a new one.

Nov 18, 2020 - World

Scoop: Senators urge Trump to label goods from West Bank settlements "Made in Israel"

Sen. Tom Cotton. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

A group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter to President Trump this week urging him to issue an executive order allowing goods produced in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be labeled “Made in Israel." Axios obtained a copy of the letter.

Why it matters: While the rest of the world views the settlements as illegal under international law and not part of Israel, the Trump administration has taken several steps intended to legitimize them and blur the differentiation between Israel and the West Bank.

Nov 18, 2020 - World

Israel's plan to influence Biden on Iran

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Israel is drafting a strategy for engaging with the incoming Biden administration on Iran, two Israeli officials tell me.

What they're saying: “We don’t want to be left out again," Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset foreign relations committee in a classified hearing last week. He said Israel had to avoid the mistakes that left it isolated as the Obama administration negotiated the 2015 Iran deal.