At Least One Martyred as Palestinians Protest
UAE, Bahrain Smother Anti-Normalization Voices
MANAMA/DUBAI (Dispatches) – Bahrainis have rallied for a seventh straight night against the ruling regime’s recent United States-enabled normalization with the occupying regime of Israel.
Defying security forces, the protesters took to the streets throughout the kingdom, Bahrain’s Lulu TV satellite channel reported.
They carried signs that read, "Down with U.S. and Israel” and "No to normalization with the occupying regime” as well as placards that condemned any facilitation of the Zionist regime’s intervention in the Persian Gulf region.
Others carried Palestinian flags, asserting that Manama’s stance towards Tel Aviv and the ongoing favorable coverage of the rapprochement by state-owned media outlets did not serve to represent the Bahraini public’s opinion.
"The protesters say they stand by the Palestinian nation and are against all instances of treachery” targeting them such as acts of normalization with the occupying entity, the channel said.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed official agreements at the White House on Tuesday enabling full normalization of their relations with Israel. The deals had been announced by U.S. President Donald Trump respectively earlier in September and last month.
During the event, Trump claimed that "five or six” more Arab countries were poised to agree to follow suit.
All Palestinian groups, Bahrain’s opposition, and numerous Muslim organizations have roundly denounced the normalization as a stab in the back of the Palestinian nation and sheer betrayal of their cause.
On Friday, Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds protested against the normalization deals. They rallied next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following Friday prayers.
"States normalizing relations are traitors!” read a large banner held by protesters.
Also on Friday, a 54-year-old Palestinian doctor was killed in the occupied northern West Bank city of Jenin after Israeli troops threw a flash grenade towards him, triggering a fatal heart attack.
A dissident Emirati activist said Thursday the United Arab Emirates is cracking down on any opposition to normalization with the Zionist regime.
"We were born and lived in the UAE and we know that the position of the Emiratis regarding Palestine is firm and definitive; the Palestinian cause lies in the heart of all Emiratis,” Hamad al-Shamesi said in an interview with the Arabi 21 online newspaper.
Explaining why a limited number of Emirati activists had denounced Abu Dhabi’s rapprochement with Israel, al-Shamesi said "the answer is very obvious, anyone who criticizes the government has to pay a heavy price”.
"He may be condemned to pay up to one million dirhams (US $272,260) and 10 years in jail,” he added.
"Unfortunately the government has stepped up its repressive measures against citizens and immigrants with a focus on security policies and controlling beliefs.
 People are paying a high price for this,” he said.
Al-Shamesi added that the UAE government had engaged in a gradual campaign to stifle anti-Israel sentiment in the Persian Gulf country.
"The government has sought to change the minds of Emirati people and change the priorities in their minds and portray primarily Iran, and secondly Turkey, as their main concerns,” he said.
Al-Shamesi added that the country once had a long-standing government-affiliated association focused on challenging the legitimization of Israel.
The association gradually eroded after having much of its members thrown in jail and was ultimately disbanded in 2013, he noted.
Last month, al-Shamesi was among a handful of the UAE dissident activists who set up an initiative named the "UAE Resistance Union Against Normalization”.
Speaking to Arabic-language Arabi 21 online newspaper, the dissident Emirati activist expressed hope that the group can one day install itself in the Persian Gulf country.
"We hope to soon become an obstacle to the normalization of ties with Israel,” al-Shamesi said.
As of Friday, more than two million signatures had been gathered for the "Charter for Palestine,” a petition launched by Emirati activists in rejection of any Arab normalization with Israel.
The charter has been endorsed by many pro-Palestine organizations, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Persian Gulf Coalition Against Normalization and the Emirati League Against Normalization. The petition had about one million signatures a day earlier.