RAMALLAH (Dispatches) -- Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank took part in protests denouncing the normalization deals due to be signed in Washington on Tuesday between the occupying regime of Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Hamas movement, which governs the Gaza Strip, have condemned the U.S.-brokered accords as a "stab in the back” to their people.
Zionist premier Benjamin Netanyahu and top diplomats from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain were set to sign the agreements to normalize ties on Tuesday, without any progress on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who was in Beirut for a meeting with secretaries of Palestinian factions on Tuesday, told President Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call that all Palestinian factions were united against the deal, and "will not allow the Palestinian cause to be a bridge for recognition and normalization with the occupying power at the expense of our national rights, our Al-Quds and the right of return”.
On Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh described the accords as another "black day” for the Arab world.
"This will be another date to add to the calendar of Palestinian misery,” he said, adding that the PA would have to "correct” its relationship with the Arab League for its refusal to condemn the two normalization accords struck in the past month.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani and the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan arrived in Washington on Sunday, while Netanyahu arrived on Monday amid calls for his resignation in Occupied Palestine over his ongoing corruption probes and his regime’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bahrain and the UAE have not fought wars against Israel, unlike Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace treaties with the occupying regime in 1979 and 1994 respectively.
‘Day of Popular Uprising’
A new civil society group representing various factions called for "a day of popular uprising” on Tuesday to coincide with the signing of the deal.
The group, called the United Palestinian Leadership for Popular Resistance (UPLPR), was formed following the meeting between leaders of all Palestinian political factions in the Lebanese capital Beirut last week.
In its first statement, the group called for nationwide protests - named "the black day” - across Palestinian territories to demand the cancellation of the so-called "deal of the century” and Israeli occupation.
It also called for another day of protests - dubbed "day of mourning” - on Friday, during which black flags were to be raised to express rejection of the normalization agreement.
Protests on Tuesday kicked off at 11am in Hebron (Al-Khalil) and Tulkarm, with posters denouncing normalization and calling for Arab unity against occupation.
In Al-Khalil, minor clashes erupted between young Palestinians and Zionist forces in Bab al-Zaweya at the end of a demonstration, according to a Middle East Eye correspondent.
Fahmy Shaheen, the representative of National and Islamic Forces in Al-Khalil, said that protests in his city reflected anger at the almost
daily confrontation between residents and Zionist settlers and army forces due to the continued expansion of settlements in the historic city.
"We are expressing our rejection of normalization because it is happening at the expense of the rights and sacrifices of the Palestinian people,” he told Middle East Eye.
"It is also a free service to the United States and Israel, taking place at the expense of Arab aspirations for freedom.
"We are not betting on Arab regimes that are trading in the aspirations of their peoples and our Palestinian cause. We only bet on the Arab people who are united that Palestine is a central cause.”
Meanwhile, Jamal Zahalka, head of the National Democratic Assembly party, who was taking part in a protest in Wadi Ara on Tuesday, described the signing of the normalization agreement as "a dangerous gift from the UAE and Bahrain to Trump and Netanyahu, who are suffering a suffocating political crisis in their countries.”
"Today, the UAE and Bahrain declare that they stand by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people. What is being discussed now is not normalization, but rather a strategic alliance,” he said.
"Whoever joins an alliance with Israel can never be with the Palestinian people and their just rights.”
Nablus, Jenin and Gaza also witnessed protests starting at 11 am, as hundreds marched against the normalization deal.
In Washington, 50 NGOs were slated to take part in a protest outside the White House during the signing ceremony, to voice their rejection of it. Palestinian factions in Lebanon were also due to organize protests on Tuesday to condemn the deal.