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Lapid meets top UAE diplomat in Abu Dhabi

"Every country in the region can influence a deal" between Israel and Hamas, said the Yesh Atid chairman's office.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid meets with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, May 2, 2024. Credit: Yair Lapid/Twitter
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid meets with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, May 2, 2024. Credit: Yair Lapid/Twitter

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid met on Thursday in Abu Dhabi with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two discussed ongoing efforts to reach a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, as well as post-war plans for the Gaza Strip, according to a statement from Lapid’s office.

“Every country in the region can influence a deal,” added the statement.

Jerusalem was still waiting on Thursday morning for a response from Hamas to its latest proposal, which according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken features “very important compromises” by Israel.

Lapid departed Israel on Wednesday for what his office described as a “short political visit” focused on “the day after” the war against Hamas and efforts to free the remaining 133 hostages held in Gaza.

Late last year, Lapid expressed opposition to the Palestinian Authority taking control over the Gaza Strip.

“No one on earth thinks that Gaza should be handed over to Abu Mazen [P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas] the day after the war. Not even one!” he tweeted in December.

The Yesh Atid Party chairman also discussed “international efforts to promote a hostage deal” during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, he said in a post on X.

“I told him that Netanyahu doesn’t have any political excuse not to move to a deal for the release of the hostages. He has a majority in the nation, he has a majority in the Knesset, and if needed, I’ll make sure he has a majority in the government,” tweeted Lapid.

Israel and the UAE normalized ties in September 2020 as part of the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords. Al Nahyan has since visited Israel on several occasions, including for the Negev Summit in March 2022 along with his Bahraini, Moroccan, Egyptian and American counterparts. Lapid, then-foreign minister, hosted the visitors in 2022. Lapid met with Al Nahyan in Italy last year.

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