Palestine has decided to relinquish its right to preside over the Council of the Arab League at its current session in reaction to the decision of some Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel, said Foreign Minister Riyad Malki.
“The State of Palestine has decided to relinquish and forsake its right to preside over the Arab League Council because it is not an honor for it to watch the rush of the Arabs toward normalization (of relations with Israel) while it serves as the chair (of the Arab League),” said Malki, slamming the Arab countries that have signed normalization agreements with Israel in Washington on September 15, in reference mainly to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
“Since the decision to rush after (normalization) was taken in Washington, it does not serve any purpose to exert any more effort to sway (the Arabs) against normalization particularly since they are not the decision-makers, regretfully,” he said at a press conference.
Malki stressed that Palestine will not withdraw from the Arab League, explaining that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has been a member of the League since 1976, because withdrawal “will create a vacuum and can generate different scenarios that we do not need at this sensitive stage.”
He stressed however that there are Arab states that are firm in their position against normalization with the occupation, expressing hope that they will hold on to this position and remain committed to the decisions of the Arab League and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Malki said he does not want the name of Palestine to be linked through its presidency over the Council to this grim period, pointing out that the UAE and the Bahraini decision to normalize relations with Israel represents a turning point in joint Arab action, and the Arab League, whose long legacy in supporting the Palestinian cause, is facing a dilemma in this regard.
He said that there are some influential Arab countries that have refused to condemn the departure from the Arab Peace Initiative and have dropped a resolution condemning normalization.
“Unfortunately, the General Secretariat of the Arab League took a decision to overlook the UAE normalization and has failed to issue a resolution condemning the normalization of relations with Israel during the last meeting of the League, which was a regular meeting held at the level of foreign ministers, headed by Palestine, on September 9,” said Malki.