A Traitor and a Tumor – PA Demonization of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed

August 19, 2020

5 min read

Is the Palestinian Authority setting the stage for the assassination of United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed?

While is it unclear whether the PA response to the Israel-UAE peace deal was necessarily intended to incite the assassination of Bin Zayed, there is no doubt that the response has all the required ingredients.

“Traitor,” “tumor,” and “collaborator” are the terms the PA and Palestinian leaders have used to describe bin Zayed and the deal. These expressions are not merely an expression of anger but also – in honor-based societies in which people who are perceived to have betrayed a given norm are executed – have the potential to be seen as a call to action.

In the official PA newspaper, regular columnist Muwaffaq Mattar declared the peace deal “treason”:

“Mohammed bin Zayed’s normalization [with Israel] has murdered the most important element in the human identity of the Arab man: He killed the loyalty by intentionally violating the UAE’s commitment to the Arab peace initiative… We see nothing in his act of treason other than recognition of the rule of ‘the Jewish State of Israel’ – as [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu calls it – over Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

Emphasizing the act of treason by the UAE, PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad defined the agreement as an attack on all Muslims and on the Muslim and Christian religious holy sites.

PLO Executive Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “Currently we say that [the UAE’s] steps – as the [Palestinian] leadership’s statement says –are a knife in the back of the Palestinian people, a knife in the back of all the Arab and Islamic peoples, a knife in Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”

[Official PA TV, Aug. 16, 2020]

Palestinian Media Watch has shown that statements purporting that the religious holy sites are in danger have been used by the PA to persuade Palestinians to carry out terror attacks.

Official PA TV also cursed the UAE, calling it “a tumor in the Arab body”.

“This Arab tumor is beyond any attack that the occupation has carried out, because it comes from within our Arab body, and from leaders who were supposed to boycott the occupation and America by all means – politically and economically.”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 15, 2020]

Making sure that it left no room to misinterpret their message as to what should happen to Crown Prince bin Zayed, Fatah put words in the mouth of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to clarify.

Posted text: “The US executed me,
but your peoples will execute you.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

In order to evoke the desired emotional response and before declaring that “the UAE’s normalization is a disgrace and treason against Jerusalem,” the official PA daily editorial described the editors’ predicted results of the peace agreement:

“Israel will eat the flesh of the UAE and cast aside its bones, after it invests the UAE’s last dirham in its strategic research in order to achieve racial, political, and security control over all the sources of wealth and decision-making in the Arab region. Then, perhaps, it will establish its kingdom from the Nile [River] to the Euphrates [River]!”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

While protesters in the street burned pictures of Bin Zayed and called him a “collaborator,” PA TV confirmed that the UAE’s actions are “a knife in the back” and that the UAE has turned into a lackey of the US and Israel. PA TV further stressed that his was not a local fringe expression of anger, but rather the official Palestinian opinion.

Official PA TV reporter: “The popular response spread quickly in the Nablus district against the agreement of disgrace between the UAE and the occupation state. Hundreds of the district’s residents who are furious over the UAE’s knife in the back held Friday prayers at the Al-Shuhada Square in the center of Nablus. Following [the prayers] came a procession against as a sign of rejecting the declared normalization agreement that comes to serve the blazing American-Israeli war against the Palestinian principles.”

Protesters: “You have become the occupiers’ dogs, O [UAE Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Zayed [Al Nahyan] the collaborator…
They stabbed you in the back, O Palestine…
They sold the Al-Aqsa Mosque for a dollar.”

Reporter: “The mass activity in rejection of the normalization agreement reflects the popular and official uniform Palestinian position, and it guarantees to bring down the hidden and revealed plots of elimination against the Palestinian cause.”

[Official PA TV News, Aug. 16, 2020]

In Palestinian society, those seen as “collaborators” are often killed or forced to carry out terrorist attacks in which they seek death, as a means to “clear their name”.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party declared that the “agreement of treason” does not represent the people of the UAE. But merely its leaders.

“Nablus – today [Aug. 14, 2020] at Martyrs’ Square in a rally against the agreement of treason between [UAE Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed [Al Nahyan] and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu (refers to Israel-UAE peace agreement; see note below –Ed.). This agreement does not represent the people of the UAE, but rather just the UAE rulers. #Residents_of_the_Gulf_against_normalization, #Palestine, #Normalization, #Normalization_is_treason, #Normalization_is_a_crime”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

Picturing a masked rioter alongside a deformed caricature of US President Donald Trump and pictures of UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, another Fatah Facebook post called to reject the agreement of shame and treason with the Zionist enemy.

“The PLO factions in the Nablus district call on you to hold the Friday prayers as a sign of rejection of the agreement of shame and treason between the UAE and the Zionist enemy”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 13, 2020]

An additional Fatah post added pictures of a sign waved in another demonstration decrying the “whims of traitors”.

“From Palestine to [UAE Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed [Al Nahyan]
The path to Jerusalem is paved with the blood of our Martyrs
And not with the whims of the traitors”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, Aug. 14, 2020]

UAE is only the third Arab country to officially normalize relations with Israel. Egyptian leader, Anwar Sadat was assassinated following his 1978 peace deal with Israel. Jordan’s King Hussein was possibly saved a similar fate since his 1994 agreement with Israel came shortly after Yasser Arafat had signed the initial, 1993, Oslo Accords.

The following are longer excerpts of some of the texts cited above:

Official PA TV host: “Today, [Palestine] was fiercely stabbed [in the back] by an Arab state that was supposed to be with us in our suffering and to support us.

Host 2: “The interests of normalization with Israel turned the United Arab Emirates from a state supporting [the PA] to a state that is mobilized for America and Israel…

Host 1: “This Arab tumor is beyond any attack that the occupation has carried out, because it comes from within our Arab body, and from leaders who were supposed to boycott the occupation and America by all means – politically and economically.”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 15, 2020]

Excerpt of an op-ed by Muwaffaq Matar, regular columnist for the official PA daily

Headline: “[UAE Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Zayed’s normalization is treason against Palestine, Arabness, and Islam”
“[UAE Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed [Al Nahyan’s] normalization [with Israel] (see note below –Ed.) has murdered the most important element in the human identity of the Arab man: He killed the loyalty by intentionally violating the UAE’s commitment to the Arab peace initiative…

We see nothing in his act of treason other than recognition of the rule of ‘the Jewish State of Israel’ – as [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu calls it – over Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following this agreement, he has become the third little Balfour, after the first British [former British Foreign Secretary Arthur] Balfour (refers to Balfour Declaration; see note below –Ed.), and the second Balfour who is American [President Donald] Trump (refers to Trump’s Middle East peace plan; see note below –Ed.). They all gave something that is not theirs to invaders and criminals who do not have a shred of a right to it.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 16, 2020]

Reprinted with author’s permission from Palestinian Media Watch

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