Israel says hi to Morocco, Bhutan, Dubai and goodbye to Ashrawi

December 14, 2020 by David Singer
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Another momentous week has seen President Trump broker diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco – whilst Bhutan and Israel established diplomatic ties and Israel’s first commercial flight to Dubai occurred.

It is also the week in which long-serving member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee – Hanan Ashrawi – chose to resign.

Ashrawi was clearly miffed at the way her intended resignation was treated:

“I met with President Mahmoud Abbas on 24 November, 2020 and we had a candid and amicable discussion in which I informed him of my decision to resign from the Executive Committee, effective the end of the year.

I sent the resignation in writing on 26 November, 2020, with the agreement that it will not be publicly disclosed until all necessary arrangements are concluded.

Regrettably, news of my resignation was leaked from “senior sources” in a misleading and irresponsible manner that lead to conjecture and rumours.”

Ashrawi was having no truck with Abbas’s belated attempt to pacify her:

“I refrained from making any comments until I communicated with President Abbas on Tuesday, December 8, and agreed to the disclosure of my resignation and publication of the letter.

The President responded that evening with a notation on my letter deferring the decision to the Palestine Central Council.

While I appreciate and respect the President’s position, I reaffirm my resignation and consider it to be in effect. “ 

The reasons for Ashrawi’s resignation were unambiguous:

“I believe it is time to carry out the required reform and to activate the PLO in a manner that restores its standing and role, including by respecting the mandate of the Executive Committee rather than its marginalization and exclusion from decision-making.

The Palestinian political system needs renewal and reinvigoration with the inclusion of youth, women, and additional qualified professionals.”

Certainly – the tired old faces on the Executive Committee – and the PLO’s outdated policies – need rejuvenation.

Abbas’s continuing refusal to negotiate with Israel on Trump’s deal of the century – offering the PLO a demilitarized state in Gaza and 70% of Judea and Samaria – is fast becoming another lost opportunity – as a fourth Arab state – Morocco – joins the United Arab Emirates, Bahrein and Sudan in calling for an end to the 100 years old unresolved Arab-Jewish conflict.

The PLO – emboldened by its belief that Trump has lost the elections – will not come to the negotiating table to finalise Trump’s proposals with Israel – preferring to cling to decades-old claims – still supported by Biden, the United Nations and European Union – demanding Gaza and 100% of Judea and Samaria.

Trump – as a result – seems set to give Israel the go-ahead – at a time of Israel’s choosing – to extend Israeli sovereignty in the 30% of Judea and Samaria specifically designated for Israel in Trump’s plan.

Trump has also recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara – rejecting the status quo and driving toward what Trump considers the only serious, credible, and realistic solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

Trump declared:

“The United States believes that Morocco’s autonomy plan is the only realistic option to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable solution to the dispute over Western Sahara…

… This recognition leaves room for a negotiated solution and the United States remains committed to working with Morocco, the Polisario, and all involved regional and international actors to support the necessary work ahead and create a more peaceful and prosperous region.”

Trump’s circuit- breaking proposals for Judea and Samaria – and now Western Sahara – assures Trump a place in history no other American President has managed to achieve.

 Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators –  whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and a foundation member of the International Analysts Network


2 Responses to “Israel says hi to Morocco, Bhutan, Dubai and goodbye to Ashrawi”
  1. DAVID SINGER says:


    You state:
    “The now trashed Trump ‘deal of the century’ with its laughable 70% ‘offer’ is evidence enough; a series of fragmented ever shrinking enclaves surrounded by unlawful settlements is not a state.”

    Look at the Trump plans annexed to the Deal and stop swallowing PLO propaganda.

    The offer of 70% of Judea and Samaria will give the Palestinian Arabs a state that is territorially connected by a series of roads, tunnels and bridges.

    It is the only plan offered in 100 years that can settle the Arab-Jewish conflict.

    You want to go backwards to more conflict instead of forwards to ending conflict that is becoming so infectious in the Arab world – witness UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

    Wallow in your doom and gloom.

  2. Brian Rom says:

    These alliances have little to do with peace and much to do with Israel’s strategy to sideline and bully the Palestinians. The now trashed Trump ‘deal of the century’ with its laughable 70% ‘offer’ is evidence enough; a series of fragmented ever shrinking enclaves surrounded by unlawful settlements is not a state. Benjamin Pogrund (former South African journalist now Israeli writer) who in 2006 argued that Israel was not practicing Apartheid said he’d reverse his position if the Trump plan proceeded. He’s wrong, we’re already there.

    Obviously, if you live in a universe where settlements are legal and you had scant regard for Palestinians rights to self determination in the first place you’ll see things differently. But these views are underscored by flawed interpretations of international law, selective morality, exceptionalism and, at worst, unbecoming racism. The overly technical and bizarre legal arguments of the extreme right (missing reversioner, 1920 mandate, Art 80) have no legal or moral merit. No current disinterested legal scholar, judge or ex judge supports them. They run counter to the spirit and the letter of humanitarian legal instruments and produce a profoundly unjust outcome.

    The ICJ held that both Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (2004) and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara (1975) violates international law. That position will never change no matter who is in the White House. The Morocco deal rests on a double violation of international law. Quite an achievement, though, that under his presidency, Trump and his Secretary of State went against both rulings, although unsurprising for someone who had contempt for legal institutions, was fundamentally biased and probably had no grasp of the issues.

    Israel’s new allies claim to have heroically spared the Palestinians an annexation they must know the Israeli right have no intention of abandoning (a 70% offer involves annexation which you appear to support). The bad faith on both sides is unbelievable. Were any of these states true democracies it is doubtful their own citizens would permit this – some polls show they overwhelmingly don’t.

    Israel can fantasise about normalisation all it likes but it will never have moral acceptability anywhere (including among an increasing number of younger Jews) if what it’s actually trying to do is normalise an illegal occupation. And as long as it remains in effective control of millions of disenfranchised Palestinians it is not a democracy even by the low standards of it’s new found allies.

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