ABRAHAM ACCORDS UNDER PRESSURE OVER JERUSALEM VIOLENCE

ABRAHAM ACCORDS UNDER PRESSURE OVER JERUSALEM VIOLENCE

The leaders of the Gulf states that signed the Abraham Accords with Israel last September have united in their criticism of the mounting levels of violence in and around Jerusalem over recent days.  In a statement, the UAE “expressed concern over the acts of violence in the occupied East Jerusalem.” He also reiterated the UAE leadership’s “condemnation of all forms of violence and hatred which contravene with all human values and principles and which underlines the importance of putting an end to all aggressions and practices that exacerbate tension and wrath in the sacred city and to stop all acts that violate the sanctity of the Holy al-Aqsa mosque."

Bahrain’s leadership expressed similar concerns, expressing its “deep concern following the violence that has taken place in Jerusalem” and called on Israel to “de-escalate tensions to avoid a regional drift towards instability.”  King Mohammed VI of Morocco also declared that the violence against Palestinians is “an inadmissible act and likely to stir up tensions.”

The return to violence in east Jerusalem may be testing the boundaries of what the Arab world will accept as far as Israel’s responses to Hamas’ provocations are concerned. Following the Abraham Accords, Bahrain and the UAE have been developing closer relations across a number of areas. However, support for the Palestinians remains a central tenet of policy across the Arab world.  This was evidenced by a statement from the UAE’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, now Presidential Advisor, Dr Anwar Gargash where he made clear that the UAE “stands with the Palestinians' right, with the end of the Israeli occupation, with the two-state solution and with an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

A challenge to the Gulf states is showing support for the Palestinians without giving any legitimacy to Hamas – a globally recognised terrorist group (including the EU).  Hamas has put many Arab leaderships on the same page as Israel, creating further tensions within the Arab world.  The latest developments do not mean an end to the Abraham Accords, but current events will make it harder for potential parties to sign on in the future.