Protests have rocked the Middle East as citizens rise up against the United States’ Middle East policy proposals, including plans to push Palestinians out of the region. The US has proposed to shift its policy from a commitment to a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state, to a more hardline stance of possible unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank.
US Arab allies, including Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, have voiced their opposition to any potential such moves, warning that they could undermine stability in the region. People from across the Middle East have taken part in demonstrations against the US plans. In Beirut, Lebanon, people filled public squares chanting ‘Palestine is not alone’ and ‘No to the deal of the century’; while in Bahrain, protesters demonstrated against US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit by raising Palestinian flags and chanting anti-American slogans. Protesters in other cities have also held placards with the slogan ‘US policy will not make Palestine disappear’.
The US has come under strong criticism for its stance from regional and international activists. In a joint statement, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Adalah and Al Haq declared, ‘We oppose any US plans to abandon commitments to a two-state solution and to exacerbate the plight of Palestinians by allowing for the unilateral annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.’ Such an action would, the statement said, ‘constitute a blatant breach of international law’.
The decisions of US leaders are pushing the Middle East into a very dangerous situation, and could undermine the regional stability and security that has been maintained since the last round of major conflicts. It is vital that the US listens to its regional allies and honors its commitment to a peaceful two-state solution, if it wishes to avoid escalating conflict in the region.