Sudan-Israel relations ‘new stab in the back’ for Palestinians

Sudan will become the third Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months by normalising relations with the Jewish state.

In a US-brokered deal, Donald Trump secured the agreement in a phone call on Friday with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, his Sudanese counterpart, Abdalla Hamdok, and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s sovereign council.

Senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation official, Wasel Abu Youssef, denounced Sudan’s move as a “new stab in the back” for Palestinians.

“Sudan’s joining others who normalised ties with the state of the Israeli occupation represents a new stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of the just Palestinian cause,” Abu Youssef said, speaking in occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday 23 October.

He said the African state’s decision to follow the UAE and Bahrain “will not shake the Palestinians’ faith in their cause and in continuing their struggle”.

Trump also announced at the same time that Sudan will be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, unblocking economic aid and investment. 

Dozens of Sudanese people demonstrated in the capital Khartoum on Friday in retaliation to the joint statement from Israel, Sudan and the US, saying that the two countries agreed to “end the state of belligerence between their nations”.

Protesters chanted “no peace, no negotiation, no reconciliation with the occupying entity” and “we will not surrender, we will always stand with Palestine”.

The Sudan deal comes weeks after similar moves by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel.

Until last month only two Arab nations – Egypt and Jordan – had officially recognised Israel. The two countries, which border Israel, signed peace agreements in 1979 and 1994 respectively, following US mediation.

While Sudan has far from fully committed to the deal, it will be seen in Israel as a major step forward. Unlike the UAE and Bahrain, which have never fought with the Jewish state, Sudan sent forces to fight in the war around Israel’s creation in 1948 and during the six-day war of 1967. In the 1970s, Israel backed Sudanese insurgents fighting the Khartoum government.