Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials are lashing out in every direction against the recent decisions by the leaders of the United Arab Emirates — and now Bahrain — to normalize peaceful relations with Israel.

But a former Palestinian negotiator says this is a serious strategic mistake that should be corrected quickly.

Ghaith al-Omari, who served as an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team during the permanent status talks between 1999 and 2001, argues that this moment is a real opportunity for the Palestinian people. Al-Omari was also the executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine.

Currently, he is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“In a region that is accustomed to things only getting worse, this is a rare piece of good news,” al-Omari recently wrote in a column for NBC News. “Israel and the UAE should be commended for this courageous act. The international community needs to capitalize on its momentum, and Arab and international friends of the Palestinians need to urge them to use this opening to explore ways of resuming Palestinian-Israeli talks within a wider regional context.”

In an exclusive interview with ALL ARAB NEWS, I asked al-Omari to expand on his views of how Palestinians could benefit by capitalizing on this moment, rather than rejecting it. As it happens, our Zoom interview occurred on Friday, just hours before Bahrain announced that it too would normalize relations with Israel.

I believe you will find his perspective as fascinating as I did. Bahrain’s decision only further underscored al-Omari’s argument.

Share this article