Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: The UAE can be trusted to forge peace in Palestine

Filed on May 9, 2021

The core issue is illegal settlements and it’s important for the world community to hold Israel to account.

The pursuit of peace in Palestine can be challenging, more so during the pandemic if Israeli settlements on Palestinian land continues unchecked. Condemnation by the global community has been swift but the focus should be on easing tensions and working towards resolving the current crisis that has stemmed from the encroachment into Palestinian land by Jewish settlers.

The core issue is illegal settlements and it’s important for the world community to hold Israel to account. Years of pent-up frustration and fears have led to the latest flare-up, the worst in recent years that has lasted three nights, injuring hundreds of Palestinians, some of who were hurt seriously in firing by Israeli police and special forces. Rubber bullets, stun guns and water canons were used to subdue largely peaceful protesters.

These men and women were opposing the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the flashpoint area near Al Aqsa Mosque. The Israeli response was disproportionate as the protestors were not wielding weapons. Even children were injured, including a one-year-old child. Israeli officials said they were responding to some stone-pelting by those assembled in the area. These were worshippers at the mosque who were singing songs outside the place of worship. This cannot be termed provocation, though some groups resorted to violence. The need of the hour is to calm tempers down on both sides. A settlement does not mean building on Palestinians property but to engage in dialogue and solve long-pending issues amicably.

The UAE “strongly condemned” the clashes and the likely evictions of Palestinians from the areas. The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khalifa Al Marar, urged Israeli authorities to reduce tensions. “The need is for Israeli authorities to assume their responsibilities - in line with international law - to provide necessary protection to Palestinian civilians’ right to practice their religion, and to prevent practices that violate the sanctity of the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque.”

The solution, as laid out by the UAE is simple: respect the right to worship; stop settlements and evictions of Palestinian families. Israel and the UAE established formal relations under the Abraham Accords last year which gives the country more leverage over Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. Violence, as history has shown, begets more violence. That approach has clearly failed in the past and will meet with resistance and failure in the future. The UAE can be trusted to broker peace and Israel should be encouraged to engage with the Palestinian leadership while resisting the urge to respond to Hamas’ rockets. It takes courage to lay down arms and walk the high road to enduring peace.

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