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Palestinian campaigners object to UN claims normalisation treaties are an opportunity for new peace talks

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called on Palestine and Israel to use the “opportunity” of Israel’s normalisation of relations with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to renew negotiations.

Mr Guterres has welcomed the US-brokered agreements, signed at a White House ceremony this week amid protests from dozens of organisations.

The UAE agreement to recognise Israel required Tel Aviv to suspend its plans to annex Palestine’s West Bank. But Palestinians including the head of Palestine’s mission in Britain, Husam Zomlot, have warned for months that Israel would use minor concessions to its annexation threat to create a new normal in which a Palestinian state is further away than ever.

Prior demands from Arab states that recognition of Israel would be dependent on the establishment of an independent Palestine have been dropped.

“Does this bring us closer to peace in the Middle East? It’s a capital No,”  Mr Zomlot said this week.

Palestinian People’s Party politburo member Walid al-Awad said the agreements are “shameful” and that the “treacherous pens that signed them are no different from the machetes, knives and axes that killed our people in Sabra and Shatila in 1982.”

The White House ceremony’s timing on the anniversary of the notorious massacre has been widely condemned.

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