The UAE and the so-called ‘national sin’

Hamas has the right to say what it wants on regional or international developments. We can, however object and denounce as we wiish.Op-ed.

Dr. Salem AlKetbi  , | updated: 4:31 PM

Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khaja, the UAE's first Ambassador to Israel
Mohamed Mahmoud Al Khaja, the UAE's first Ambassador to Israel
Hassan Sajwani

Ideologized groups and populist regimes usually resort to resounding slogans and rhetoric in their tactical speeches that target the feelings of simpletons, far from reasoned language based on facts and evidence.

In this context, one can understand the reaction of the Palestinian Hamas Movement to the opening of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi during a recent visit to the UAE by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. The movement considered that the opening shows the UAE’s insistence on what the movement called a "national sin" committed by signing the normalization agreement with Israel.

It asserted that the opening of the embassy at this time confirms that the normalization agreements “encourage the Israeli occupation to intensify its aggression against the Palestinian people and their holy places.”

Of course, Hamas or other Palestinian Arab movements have the right to say what they want when expressing their opinion on regional or international developments.

We can, however, refuse, object and denounce as we wiish. These are their positions that no one can suppress. But it is my right as a political observer to approach the positions and comments of these organizations with the analysis that I see objectively and that is not contrary to the right of each party to express its positions.

Therefore, I believe that striving to call the opening of an Israeli embassy in the UAE a “national sin” is the very sin. Hamas and other Palestinian Arab organizations no longer pay any attention to the nationalist trend that they have sometimes embraced and sometimes rejected..

The movement should first ask itself about the position of Arab nationalism on this movement that has thrown itself into the arms of one of the worst enemies of Arabism, the Iranian mullahs’ regime, as well as Turkey. It is no secret that these two regimes are hostile to Arab nationalism, whose slogan Hamas is trying to raise.

Hamas is also a movement with a confessional ideological link as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. No one disputes this.

Nor does anyone dispute the state of disconnect and outright hostility between the ideology of the parent movement (the Brotherhood) and Arab nationalism, which Hamas uses to try to stigmatize the UAE’s policy toward Israel. This is the extent of deception, sloganeering and politicization of positions by these movements.

Another important thing, in my opinion, is to describe Arab relations with Israel as a “sin.” This is a description that is supposed to include every Arab party with formal or informal relations with Israel. It makes no sense that this description is limited to the UAE’s approach and behavior. However, the targeting has become clear.

But we want to back it up with evidence. Several Arab countries preceded the UAE in establishing official relations with Israel. There are even Palestinian parties that have signed formal agreements since the 1990s.

Their phones ring every day with calls from Israel. There are also favorite Arab destinations of Hamas leaders who, many years before the UAE, established commercial representative offices and formal and informal relations with Israel.

If such sovereign policies qualify as an Arab sin, Doha, where Hamas’ historical leaders reside, is a pioneer of the sin. That is unless Qatari gifts have brought Doha an indulgence that blots out what the movement considers sins.

Dr. Salem Alketbi is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate