A new normalisation campaign

Palestinian factions attend a press conference against normalization with Israel, in Gaza city (Mahmoud Nasser -APA Images)

Mohammad Ayesh

Middle East Monitor  /  May 7, 2020

There is a significant shift in the Arab world concerning relations with Israel. Jordan and Egypt previously signed peace agreements with Tel Aviv and established public and official relations with the occupying power.

However, the current situation in the Arab region is unprecedented. In the past, no one was trying to pave the way for normalisation with the occupation through offending Palestinians or demonising them, nor trying to portray the occupation as a victim that must be compensated for the years of deprivation in which it was regarded an outcast in our Arab region.

The new normalisation campaign, based in the Gulf area, appears clearly in the Ramadan drama shows of a number of Gulf states. It cost huge budgets and is characterised this time by an attempt to change the ideological logic adopted by the public towards Palestine ‑ a matter that is unique. Historically, countries such as Jordan and Egypt attempted only to persuade people of justifications that drive them to establish relations with Tel Aviv, but never tried to change the perception of the occupation.

Rather, Jordan and Egypt continue to consider Israel as an occupying country and demanded that it abides by international resolutions. As for some Gulf countries, lies and fables are being promoted, such as: “Israel is mentioned in the Qur’an… it is the same as the Children of Israel… Palestinians sold their lands to the Jews…  the current drama shows obtained the approval of the Palestinian Authority…” These are all myths and lies that are baseless and have no explanation, except that they are used as justification for normalisation with the occupation, which is a forbidden relationship that people refuse.

This campaign for normalisation with the Israeli occupation is based on a number of very dangerous deceptions and fallacies. It aims at changing the facts of history and transforming the convictions of ordinary people towards the conflict in Palestine. It begins with demonising the Palestinians on an ethnic and racial basis, aiming to portray Israelis as friends, and Palestinians as enemies. It is becoming very clear that we are facing a new wave of normalisation with the Israeli occupation and that Arab countries which used to believe that the Palestinian case is a central national case, no longer believe so. There is also a new generation of Arab rulers, who want to reach power through US and Israeli consent, rather than through public approval and elections, which have become rare in the Arab region.

One positive aspect regarding the current events is that the new normalisation campaign is exposed, and it does not seem to be successful. This is evident through the fact that it started years ago but is still draining huge amounts of money, and all in vain. Had electronic armies, on Twitter and other social media networks, succeeded in what they have been doing over the past five years, there would have been no need for producing Ramadan shows with such large budgets. What is certain is that the public masses in the Gulf area still believe in their causes, and they are still an integral part of the nation. They still remember their history which cannot be forged, and they know that Jerusalem is at the heart of Palestine, that it is the capital of Palestine and that this holy land has a profound religious status that politics cannot alter. Therefore, a Ramadan show or a hashtag on Twitter, cannot possibly change these facts because they are solid unchanging beliefs.

Mohammad Ayesh regularly contributes to Middle East Monitor