Israel fears Al-Aqsa events will affect normalization deals

Israeli police carry out a Palestinian after entering Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday morning (Mahmoud Illean - AP)

Adnan Abu Amer 

Middle East Monitor  /  April 28, 2022

After Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque once again during Ramadan, several Arab and Islamic states condemned its actions. This angered Israel as it fears the effect this will have on the normalization deals it signed with a number of Muslim states in 2020, and the outcome of efforts to sign similar agreements in the coming months.

The importance of the Palestinian file on the agendas of Muslim governments has been decimated but the recent attack on Al-Aqsa proved that settlers storming Islam’s third holiest site can reignite global attention and place Israel’s actions under the spotlight. This can, in turn, damages the occupation’s attempts to build new ties with governments who do not recognize it.

But of those Muslim nations that did condemn Israel, their words were moderate in comparison to their previous statements following such events.

Israel knows that these states are under pressure to condemn its actions so they stay silent at first then they issue weak statements. The attack on Al-Aqsa was the first test of the strength of the normalization deals. It proved that these countries now seek to resolve their differences with the occupation privately, through diplomatic channels.

Despite relative calm in the occupied Palestinian territories in recent days, following a week of tensions at Al-Aqsa, Israel’s political and security officials are still worried that these events have marked a change in the status quo, given the growing influence of Palestinian resistance and the weak Israeli ties with the Palestinian Authority.

This Israeli fear that any event in Al-Aqsa will become an inevitable starting point for confrontations confirms that such events can restore the conflict to its religious origins and historical roots and is able to squander the chances of success of the normalization agreements.

Israeli officials have watched social media outlets inciting people to engage with the occupation, using the slogan “Al-Aqsa is in danger”, thus contributing to the escalation of the situation in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, as well as causing a rift between Israel and countries that have built ties with it.

Adnan Abu Amer is the head of the Political Science Department at the University of the Ummah in Gaza