Alwaght- While the American and Israeli officials keep bragging about the Arab countries’ lines behind the normalization doors following the UAE and Bahrain thaw with the Israeli regime, as time goes by not only there is no sign of the so-called enthusiasm for normalization with Tel Aviv but also various Arab states each try not to give in to the American pressures for normalizing their ties with the Israelis without provoking the anger of Washington– the same pressures that Trump administration put on the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia to give publicity their secret relations with the Israelis and are advertised as a diplomatic achievement with which the president goes to the November 3 presidential elections.
Meanwhile, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American President Donald Trump have been deeply upbeat about the company of Arab countries of Africa with the normalization, the three important countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have changed the American-Israeli hope to frustration.
Morocco special conditions for normalization
Morocco was one of the parties that was raised as the next country to follow in UAE's footsteps in the normalization with the Israeli regime. On September 14, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper revealed in a report that after the conclusion of deals with the UAE and then Bahrain, Trump and his administration are now setting eyes on Morocco, the largest home of the Jewish community in the Arab world, to strike the so-called peace deal with the Israeli regime. The dream was shared with Rabat by a proposal of direct flights between the two sides. The Times of Israel newspaper revealed that Netanyahu promised that the US will recognize the Moroccan sovereignty of contested Western Sahara if Rabat normalized relations with Tel Aviv.
However, Saad-Eddie El Othmami has rejected such claims and suggestions.
At a parliament session, El Othmami, who leads the Islamist Justice and Development Party (JDP), said that Morocco supports a two-state solution and is for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Eastern Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.
“Any normalization with the Zionist entity would encourage it to increase its violation of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he told the lawmakers.
King Mohammed VI leads the “Al-Quds Committee” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. When the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) reached an agreement with Tel Aviv under Oslo agreements, Morocco king supported normalization and entered it but when the Palestinians started their second intifada in 2000, he cut off diplomatic ties with the Israeli regime.
Although relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv were not fully terminated, the Moroccan civil society came strongly against US-mediated normalization. For example, a number of Moroccan authors and scientists boycotted the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in protest to a path of thaw the Emiratis stepped in with Tel Aviv.
Also, when the UAE and Bahrain signed the deal with Netanyahu, thousands of Moroccan protesters took to the streets blasting the agreement with such slogans as “Palestine is not for sale”, despite the lockdown imposed by the government to curb coronavirus pandemic spread.
Tunisia solidarity with Palestine
Tunisia’s stance was, like Morocco’s, disappointing for the Israelis. The Tunisian President Kais Saeid openly said that there would be no normalization with Tel Aviv. Expressing solidarity with Palestine, the president noted that Tunisia will never accept to deal Palestine like a commodity, adding "we are still at dispute with Israel.” He recently asserted that normalization with the Israeli regime should be labeled “high treason.”
“Normalization’ is the wrong word to use,” he retorted, adding “we should be talking about high treason.”
It is noteworthy that he repeatedly condemns what he calls “the culture of defeat” in the Arab world and attacks the Israeli regime for its atrocities against the Palestinian people.
While traditionally Tunisia pursues a pragmatic foreign policy that allows it to take a big share from the Western tourism market and also attract Western aids, the pro-Palestinian sentiments in the North African nation run high.
After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Tunisia hosted PLO’s leader Yasser Arafat and 4,000 Palestinian fighters who were expelled from Lebanon. In 1988, Israeli spying agency Mossad assassinated Arafat’s key aide Abu Jihad in an area 17 kilometers from the Tunisian capital.
Normalization and revolutionary Algeria
In Algeria, a legacy of the anti-colonial struggle of the people against the French colonialism gives the Algerians every reason to treat the Palestinian cause with morality and anti-colonial sentiments. The Palestinian people take patterns for their anti-Israeli fight from the Algerian struggle for independence while the world was overshadowed by an age of colonialism. Arafat was in Algeria in 1988 when he expressed the intention to form an independent Palestinian state. Also, the Palestinian solidarity with the Algerian revolution (1954-1962) against French colonialism should not be forgotten as the main drive behind the Algerian people’s solidarity with the Palestinians in their cause and against the normalization plot.
Since the famous UN speech of Algerian President Houari Boumediene in 1974 who said “we are with Palestine whether unjust or oppressed”, the Algerian officials have kept supporting the legitimate Palestinian rights.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria on September 20 in an interview with local media said that he “noticed a kind of rush towards normalization,” pointing out, “we will not participate in normalization, nor will we bless it.”
The Algerian president continued: “The Palestinian issue is sacred for us, and it is the mother of issues and will not be resolved except by establishing a Palestinian state, with the 1967 borders, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.”
The Algerian president added that he “will repeat his words about normalization in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly,” stressing that the formal declaration of “the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with Holy al-Quds as its capital, will be a key to solving the Middle East crises.”
These stances explain that even though in a vast part of the Arab world there is a deep gap between the public demands and the government tendency on the normalization and the Palestinian cause, the Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian governments cannot simply ignore the popular solidarity with Palestine’s liberation ideal.