Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan spoke by phone for the first time since the Hamas attacks on Israel last weekend, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Monday.
The Sunday night call is significant because the United Arab Emirates was the first country to normalize relations with Israel as part of the 2020 Abraham Accords, and because it was the first Arab country to directly condemn the Hamas attacks.
The two leaders discussed regional developments in the wake of the murderous attack, which killed at least 1,400 Israelis and wounded more than 3,500 others.
Netanyahu stressed that Israel was determined to destroy the military and governing capabilities of Hamas, as well as make every effort to prevent harming noncombatants.
Both men agreed to remain in contact.
Last week, the UAE condemned the Hamas attack against Israel as a “serious and grave escalation,” and said it was “appalled” that Israeli civilians had been taken from their homes as hostages.
The UAE Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Hamas’s attacks against Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza Strip, including the firing of thousands of rockets at population centers, constituted a “serious and grave escalation.
“Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict,” the statement continued.
Later, Bahrain, also a member of the Abraham Accords, joined the UAE in condemning Hamas’s attack on Israel.
The foreign ministry in Manama said: “Attacks launched by Hamas constitute a dangerous escalation. Bahrain denounces … the kidnapping of civilians from their homes as hostages,” the statement said, calling for immediate efforts to stop the violence.
On Monday, UAE police denied reports that four Israelis were wounded in a stabbing attack in Dubai.
“Safety and security are of paramount importance in the UAE. Dubai Police encourages all to refer to official channels for accurate information,” local authorities said in a statement.