Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonorable any Arab agreement to establish formal relations with Israel.
Palestinians see the accords that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed with Israel in Washington a week ago as a betrayal of their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state.
Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn member nations breaking ranks and normalizing ties with Israel.
Palestine was supposed to chair Arab League meetings for the next six months, but Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah that it no longer wanted the position.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council (of foreign ministers) at its current session. There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization during its presidency,” Maliki said.
After initial remarks, Maliki read from a letter he said he sent to Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit informing him of the Palestinian move and criticizing the UAE and Bahrain.
The UAE’s deal with Israel “created a deep crisis in the Arab League” and the accord was followed “by a similar collapse by the Kingdom of Bahrain,” Maliki said, quoting from the letter.