The state of Palestine has resigned from its chairmanship of Arab League meetings, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyadh Al Maliki announced today, according to Egypt Independent.
The decision comes in protest of the recent rapprochement between Israel and Arab states, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. Both Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states signed peace agreements normalizing ties with Israel in Washington last week.
Palestine’s chairmanship would have been in effect for the upcoming six months, but Al Maliki stated that his government has already informed the Arab League’s Secretary General Ahmed Abu Al Gheit of the decision to forgo chairing the council’s ongoing session.
In his statement, Al Maliki expressed his government’s position which condemns Arab-Israeli rapprochement, without naming the two GCC countries.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council [of foreign ministers] at its current session. There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization during its presidency,” Maliki said.
The UAE and Bahrain’s recent foreign policy shift drew criticism from Palestinian officials and pro-Palestine activists who believe that normalizing relations with Israel undermines Palestine’s struggle for statehood and independence, especially in light of the Jewish State’s continuing settlement expansion in occupied Palestinian territories.