In a historic Oct. 23 deal brokered by the U.S., Sudan joined the Abraham Accord Peace Agreement with Israel that will work toward normalizing relations between both countries. This came after Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed the same treaty in mid-September at the White House.
While the Abraham Accords agreement is supposed to bring more peace to the Middle East, it will most likely spur more conflict between different actors in the region, which the U.S. doesn’t seem to mind from its handling of the situation.
On Friday, an incident in the Palestinian settlements reflected the type of conflicts that we’ll likely see more of after the signing of the treaty. Ma’an News Agency, a Palestinian media outlet, confirmed that settlers from the Israeli-only illegal settlement of Rahalim cut down electric poles, leading to power losses near Nablus, a Palestinian settlement.
This isn’t exactly a new situation for Palestinians. Looking back, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict started toward the end of World War I, over a century ago with no conclusion in sight.
The British passed the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. This was followed by a sudden Israeli independence declaration in 1948 on Palestinian land.
Israelis, who by then had established a unified representative body, took advantage of the Palestinians, removed them from their homes and created the state of Israel. For decades, Arab and Muslim-majority countries, including Sudan and the UAE, had agreed to not end conflict with Israel until Palestinians were granted statehood.
For example, after Israel won the Six-Day War against Egypt in 1967, Sudan and other nations signed the Arab League’s 1967 Khartoum Resolution taking a firm stance against the country.
“No to peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel,” the resolution stated.
While the Sudanese government agreed to the 2020 deal, it seemed that it fell victim to this forced peace treaty by the U.S. and didn’t actually get the chance to voice its opinion.
Before the Abraham Accords deal, Sudan was under strict restrictions from the U.S. government and was labeled a terrorist country. With the current unrest in the transitional government in Sudan and its need for economic support, President Donald Trump took advantage and forced this deal onto the Sudanese, according to an Oct. 29 article from the Middle East Monitor.
Sadiq Al-Mahdi, the country’s last democratically elected premier in 1989 who now heads Sudan’s largest political party, believes the treaty is inflammatory and illegal for the government to enter into.
“This statement contradicts Sudanese national law … contributes to the elimination of the peace project in the Middle East and to preparing for the ignition of a new war,” he said.
For all the effort it took to force Sudan into this treaty and break its commitment to Palestinian independence, the actual goal of the treaty will most likely not be met due to the U.S. not holding Israel accountable and irresponsible handling of the signing process.
In the accords, the UAE and Bahrain had agreed for Israel to cease annexation of settlements in West Bank territories, but over a month after the deal was signed, the nation has continued to build throughout the West Bank.
While the U.S. should be concerned with holding its allies to higher standards, it seems leaders of these peace negotiations were more worried about history repeating itself. In a January CNN interview, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor assigned to the Middle East peace plan, expressed his frustrations toward the Palestinian people.
“If they screw this up, I think that they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they are victims, saying they have rights,” said Kushner after the Palestinians rejected the treaty.
While the U.S. is aiming to broker a peace treaty, Kushner’s demeanor is not what one would expect from a peacemaker.
This attitude of brushing Palestine off in addition to ignoring Israel’s blatant disregard for the treaty’s protections of settlements shows the U.S. doesn’t truly care about dissolving conflict in the region.
Because of the U.S.’s relaxed relationship with the country, Israel doesn’t seem to fear international backlash as it continues its history of abuses against Palestinians.
In 2019 alone, 133 Palestinians, including 28 minors were killed at the hands of Israeli security forces as reported by B’Tselem, an Israeli information center for human rights in the occupied territories.
Transgressions against Palestinians in the West Bank since the September agreement have only grown, according to a report by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The report mentions that Israeli forces have opened fire more than 240 times, killed two Palestinians, wounded more than 90 and detained more than 480 people including children. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 25 homes and facilities in Palestinian settlements were demolished without significant reason.
Rather than forming more strategic ties with Arab countries for economic and political benefits, the U.S. government should focus on the problem from its root. It should address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without carelessly throwing around bigoted remarks and try to maintain objective stances while condemning human rights violations when they occur.
Once the U.S. is actually prepared to offer a deal that holds no ulterior motives and satisfies both parties, only then can it start taking steps toward establishing actual peace in the region.