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With the Israel-UAE-Bahrain deals, ‘undeniable Palestinan truths’ no longer hold

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One of the first things that the historic agreements between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain will do is bring the word tatbie, normalization, into fashion. In parallel it will marginalize the term edm al-tatbie, anti-normalization, the slogan used by generations of Arabs throughout the Middle East even after the signing of the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. It was invoked to denote that although a non-aggression treaty could be tolerated, tatbie could not.

As a result, trade unions in every Arab state took upon themselves limitations, prohibitions, and boycotts in everything to do with Israel that their governments had not already limited, prohibited or boycotted. Medical unions, lawyers, engineers, even journalists, all boycotted their Israeli counterparts. Even with Israel’s two full partners, there was peace on the top level – in the army and sometimes among the politicians – and non-peace on the ground among everyone who could or wanted to do business with the Israelis. A byproduct of the edm al-tatbie phenomenon was the BDS movement, which calls for complete boycotting of Israelis, including in academia and culture. All because of the Palestinians.

For decades, the Palestinians successfully imposed certain axioms on the Middle East that had almost the status of “undeniable truths,” and that held that Arab countries must not do business with Israel since the Palestinian issue was the foremost issue of all Arabs everywhere. As long as there was no solution for the Palestinians, no Arab country was “allowed” to do business with the Zionist enemy. Not only was this the foremost issue for any Arab, as far as the Palestinians were concerned this was the be-all and end-all issue for all Arab countries.

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