According to the words of an EU official for Middle East, the Abraham Accords has not been successful in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, which is the most noticeable challenge in the region.
The process of normalizing relations between Israel and Arab states under the Abraham Accords was meant to resolve regional conflicts especially that between Israel and Palestine. However, the Accords alone have not been able to fundamentally change the situation for the Palestinian people so far as Sven Koopmans, the EU special representative for the Middle East Peace Process said this Monday.
In an interview with the Arab News, Sven Koopmans, the EU special representative for the Middle East Peace Process noted that the accords have, in some way, shown that change is possible, but the main concern in the region is still unaddressed; “Relations between the countries (concerned) have changed and we see positive things come out of it. At the same time, I do not believe that those agreements have fundamentally changed the situation for the Palestinians.” Koopmans said.
Koopmans rebuked Israel for expanding settlements in Palestine, calling the settlements ‘illegal’. He also said that “there are no active negotiations to finally conclude the Israeli-Palestinian and the Israeli-Arab conflict, but it has to end. The occupation cannot go on forever. The violence that we see, the terrorist attacks that we see, they cannot go on forever.”
To change the course of the Accords in favor of Palestinians, Koopmans said he had talks on Monday with Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs and discussed the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts as well as the need to find a positive solution that would offer peace, not just for the Palestinians and the Israelis but for the wider region.
“It is everyone’s hope that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gets resolved and that a Palestinian state comes into full existence and is recognized and I believe Saudi Arabia has a very important role to play.” Koopmans told Arab News. But is Saudi Arabia doing anything to further Palestinians’ interests at all?
Saudi Arabia and playing double standards with Palestine
Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has stated repeatedly that it will not normalize relations with Tel Aviv until the Palestinian issue is resolved.
In line with this rhetoric, Saudi Counselor Mohammed Al-Ateeq, charge d’affaires of the permanent mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN, reaffirmed this Wednesday to the UN the Kingdom’s stance over Palestine, calling for end to the Israeli occupation during a speech to a UN Security Council session.
When it comes to the realm of action, however, Saudi Arabia has taken a strikingly different approach towards Palestine.
For example, it was on this Tuesday that an Israeli commercial flight flew over Saudi Arabia’s airspace for the first time, a move that shows the Kingdom’s willingness for normalization despite what Saudi officials say in support of the Palestinians. In a statement ahead of the flight, Israel’s chief pilot, Din Gal, said, “Tonight, an Arkia plane will become the first Israeli licensed plane to fly over Saudi Arabia – not to Dubai, but to the Seychelles.”
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Back in May, dozens of Israeli tech entrepreneurs and businesspeople flew to Saudi Arabia for advanced talks on Saudi investments in Israeli companies, according to a report in the Globes business daily.
The level of cooperation between Riyadh and Tel Aviv went even further as in June, the Wall Street Journal reported that top military officials from Israel and Saudi Arabia held a secret meeting along with a number of other Arab states and the US representative to discuss the Iranian threat.