Hundreds of Palestinians protest in West Bank against Israel-UAE deal
Hundreds of Palestinians on Wednesday held a protest in the occupied West Bank against last week’s announcement that Israel was normalising ties with the United Arab Emirates.
Members of rival groups Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah faction of president Mahmud Abbas’ West Bank based Palestinian Authority, took part in the rally in a rare joint initiative, an AFP journalist reported.
“Today we tell the world that we are united against ‘the deal of the century’, annexation and normalisation,” Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh told the rally in the village of Turmus’ayya.
The bombshell announcement last week that Israel and the energy-rich UAE would normalise ties sparked fury among Palestinians, with both Hamas and the PA leadership denouncing the US-brokered agreement.
Under the deal Israel said it would “suspend” its plans to annex Jewish settlements and other territory in the West Bank.
Those annexation plans were outlined in the controversial Middle East peace proposal unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump, which some Palestinians have sardonically dubbed the ‘Deal of the Century’.
“Any normalisation legitimises the occupation of Palestinian territories,” Shtayyeh said.
“It’s a stab in the back,” he added.
Around 2,000 Palestinians took part in the rally at Turmus’ayya, a village in the north of the West Bank nestled between the cities of Ramallah and Nablus.
They travelled there by bus from other areas of the West Bank and clashes took place between protesters and Israeli forces on the outskirts of the village.
The protesters threw stones at Israeli forces who responded with tear gas.
Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of Palestinians held a protest in the Gaza Strip to denounce the UAE-Israel deal.