Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority failed on Wednesday to get the Arab League's foreign ministers to endorse a resolution criticizing the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Why it matters: This is a very unusual development and a big blow to the Palestinians, who hold the rotating presidency of the Arab League. For decades, Arab League foreign ministers have endorsed every draft resolution the Palestinians have put forward.

  • After the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan was released in January, the Palestinians managed to get the Arab League to condemn the plan — but, this time, many Arab countries refused to condemn the UAE.
  • The Arab League’s Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki said during a press conference after the meeting that the foreign ministers discussed the Palestinian text and entered several amendments, but they couldn’t reach a consensus and decided not to put out any statement on the Israel-UAE agreement.

What they're saying: Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki condemned the Israel-UAE agreement in his speech and called upon Arab countries to announce that there will be no normalization with Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

  • Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash defended his country’s decision in his speech. He said the normalization agreement was not done at the expense of the Palestinians, adding that the deal managed to stop Israel’s annexation plans in the West Bank.
  • Other foreign ministers — mainly the Saudi foreign minister — pledged their support for the Palestinians and their aspirations, but stopped short of criticizing the UAE.

What’s next: The White House plans to invite foreign ministers and ambassadors from many Arab countries to attend the deal's signing ceremony next week in order to show the deal has Arab support.

  • It is still unclear how many Arab countries will send representatives.

Go deeper

Sep 16, 2020 - World

UAE-Israel treaty states commitment to meeting the needs of Israelis and Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L), UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) attend a signing ceremony for the agreements on "normalization of relations" reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain at the White House in Washington, United States on September 15, 2020. Photo:
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates states that both countries are committed to "working together for a negotiated solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will meet the aspirations and needs of both parties."

Why it matters: The Emiratis face criticism from the Palestinians over their peace treaty with Israel. Officials involved in the negotiations on the text of the treaty told me the Emiratis wanted to include language on Palestinians in the document. The Emiratis wanted stronger language, but Israel did not agree.

Sep 16, 2020 - Podcasts

A historic peace agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate new peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain — the first Arab states in a quarter-century to normalize relations with Israel. The move could have major impacts on the future of the region, including possible compromises on relations with the Palestinians and annexation of the West Bank.

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