Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, joins with our people in Palestine and in exile and with the people of the Arab region in rejecting all efforts to normalize the Israeli colonization of Palestine. Specifically, we firmly and completely reject the agreement brokered by the Trump administration with the United Arab Emirates for trade and diplomatic relationships between the UAE and Israel.
The agreement, in many ways, is no surprise. It reflects a pact between the most reactionary forces in the world and the region – the U.S., waging imperial war on the peoples of the world, including the Palestinian people; the Israeli settler colonial project built on the dispossession and incremental genocide of the Palestinian people; and the UAE, built on a colonial framework and an active part of the ongoing crimes against humanity in Yemen. For years, the UAE and Israel have maintained a consistent military and security exchange of repressive technologies on a covert basis; this agreement in many ways only brings this reality into the open.
While the UAE attempted to justify this action by claiming it was intended to protect Palestinians from annexation, Palestinians have rejected it clearly and firmly across the board. The reality of this agreement as a continuing aggression on the Palestinian people and attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause is made very clear by the bombing of Gaza for the past 11 nights and the near-total cut of fuel and electricity on Palestinians in Gaza, over 70% of whom are Palestinian refugees. The UAE is actively complicit in these ongoing crimes against humanity.
Such normalization drives and agreements, not only this most recent pact between the U.S., UAE and Israel, but also the Camp David accord of the Egyptian regime, the Wadi ‘Araba agreement of Jordan and the Oslo accords that established the Palestinian Authority, are fundamental attacks on the Palestinian people’s right to return and struggle for liberation. These agreements do not represent the sentiments and convictions of the Arab people, only those ruling sectors that seek to benefit from the crumbs of imperial conquest and Zionist colonization.
Rather than aiming to stop annexation, normalization is a reward for continued Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. Instead, we urge all people who care for justice and humanity to escalate the boycott of Israel and pursue its international isolation and accountability for ongoing war crime and crimes against humanity.
Arab artists, writers, labor unions and popular movements are speaking out. A flood of artists and performers have withdrawn from events and ceremonies sponsored by the UAE regime that signed this agreement with the U.S. and Israel. Moroccan novelists Al Zahra Rmeij and Abu Yousef Taha announced they would pull out of the Sheikh Zayed book award, while Ahmed Abu Salem, a poet and writer, also withdrew his work from consideration for a prize. Palestinian photographer Mohammed Badarneh withdrew his work from a UAE exhibition.
In the United States, Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition emphasizes our responsibility and commitment to continue to confront the nefarious and devastating role of the U.S. government in providing military, diplomatic and economic support for Israeli colonization in Palestine, pushing forward these normalization projects and the “Steal of the Century,” and waging a comprehensive war on the people of the region. We will continue to organize our communities to stand together to fight for justice and confront racism, colonialism and oppression inside the U.S. and internationally.
Together, we can and must defend the right to return and mobilize for the liberation of Palestine. We will escalate our campaigns for the boycott and isolation of Israel and join our Arab brothers and sisters in rejecting official UAE initiatives so long as this normalization project continues. Our communities will not take our eyes and our path away from justice: the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the liberation of Palestine.
We invite people to join Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, in mobilizing to defend the rights of the Palestinian people, especially the right of Palestinian refugees to return home. Email us at email@example.com for more information about how you can become involved.