(June 14, 2020 / JNS) United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba warned Israelis on Friday that the increasingly warm ties between the Jewish state and certain Arab countries would be harmed significantly if Jerusalem goes ahead with the application of sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.
In an op-ed published in the Hebrew daily, Yediot Achronot, Al Otaiba wrote: “Annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE.”
He also stated that he was one of three ambassadors from Arab nations who attended the January 28 unveiling at the White House of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan, and has worked to promote its principles. He further stressed that Abu Dhabi has been moving towards Jerusalem’s stance on terrorism by proscribing Hezbollah and repeatedly criticizing Hamas.
In an interview with the English-language UAE newspaper The National, he explained the impetus for the op-ed: “We wanted to speak directly to the Israeli people to tell them that all the progress that you have seen, all the attitudes that have been changing towards Israel, people becoming more accepting and less hostile towards Israel, all of that could be undermined by a decision to annex.”
Al Otaiba’s remarks are in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated intention to begin the process of applying Israeli sovereignty to areas in Judea and Samaria starting in July, as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan, which also includes the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state, in the event that Ramallah meets certain conditions.
Last Tuesday, June 9, the Palestinian Authority rejected a second batch of anti-coronavirus supplies from the UAE within less than a month, on the grounds that it was coordinated with Israel and delivered to Tel Aviv in Abu Dhabi’s national carrier, Etihad Airways.
On the same day, Israeli’s Foreign Ministry wished the UAE the “best of luck” ahead of its planned mission to Mars, scheduled for July 14, expressing in Arabic on its “Israel in the Gulf” Twitter account the hope that “this [scientific mission] will contribute towards deeper cooperation between all countries in the region.”
There are no official relations between the UAE and Israel, though the countries have quiet ties and are united with other Gulf states against the Iranian threat.
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