RAMALLAH, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The agreement to normalize relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel raised Palestinian fears of a crack in the official Arab position towards their cause, experts said.
Palestinian officials and observers expressed their concern that more Arab countries would follow the UAE's example in establishing official relations with Israel without linking reaching an agreement to resolving the Palestinian issue.
The Palestinian leadership, which condemned the UAE-Israel deal, called for emergency meetings for the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the agreement as well as to attempt to persuade the UAE to withdraw from the agreement.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, told Xinhua that the Palestinian efforts now focus on preserving the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which stipulates that normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab countries can only happen after Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
Erekat warned that "advancing this agreement is a meaningless stubbornness, feeding the occupation, extremism, and a reward for terrorism."
On Sunday, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian presidential spokesman, told reporters that the Palestinian leadership will adopt a robust foreign policy against the normalization agreement.
Israel and the UAE have reached an agreement, brokered by the U.S., to work towards a "full normalization of relations."
Under the agreement, Israel said it has agreed to suspend the annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, while it focuses on expanding ties with other Arab countries.
The UAE is the third Arab country to establish relations with Israel after Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan, which signed a similar treaty in 1994.
Palestinian observers expected that the UAE-Israeli agreement would encourage other Arab and Islamic countries to establish normalized diplomatic relations with Israel.
Nabil Amr, former representative of Palestine in the Arab League, said the general trend indicates that a number of Arab and Islamic countries are heading for full normalization with Israel regardless of the settlement of the Palestinian issue.
"This will greatly harm the Palestinians and their cause, and blocks chances for achieving a just and comprehensive peace," Amr told Xinhua.
Palestinians are concerned about placing obstacles against holding an emergency Arab meeting to discuss the UAE-Israeli agreement.
"They are also concerned that a meeting might be held at a low level so the decisions will not take serious actions against the UAE given the fact that normalization of relations is a sovereign decision," Amr pointed out.
Meanwhile, Ramallah-based political observer Ahmed Awad emphasized that the UAE-Israeli agreement weakens the Palestinian position and encourages other countries to follow the example of the UAE.
"The agreement is useless without solving the Palestinian issue...the UAE wants to protect itself from the Iranian threat through allying with Israel," Awad told Xinhua.
He added that the UAE's step of normalizing unilaterally with Israel will not solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but will somewhat complicate it as other countries will sign similar agreements without paying attention to the Palestinian cause.
In 2002, an Arab League Summit held in Beirut issued the Arab Peace Initiative in the Middle East under the proposal of Saudi Arabia to resolve the Palestinian cause and the conflict with Israel.
Under the initiative, normalization between Israel, Arab and Islamic states only permitted after Israel withdraws from all the Arab and Palestinian occupied territories.