The United Arab Emirates on Sunday remained undaunted by the harsh criticism leveled at it by some in the Arab world over its bold decision to normalize ties with Israel, with a senior UAE diplomat saying that the historic peace treaty between the Persian Gulf country and the Jewish state is likely to be inked by October.

“Our goal, together with the Israeli negotiating team, is to wrap up the deal to normalize ties quickly. We believe that we can present the leaders with a deal to sign in October,” a senior Emirati diplomat told Israel Hayom.

“These will be full diplomatic relations, including exchanging ambassadors,” he stressed. “The vision is to foster economic, technological, tourism, medical, and other collaborations, and after a short adjustment period, the embassies will open.”

He declined to say whether Bahrain and Oman would also normalize ties with Israel in the near future, noting only that “the possibility that Morocco and other Arab countries in Africa will do so is very realistic.”

The deal has incurred the wrath of the radical elements in the Middle East, with Turkey threatening diplomatic backlash and Iran threatening military strikes against the UAE.

“We were not fazed by the protests expressed by Iran, Turkey and the Palestinians,” the UAE diplomat told Israel Hayom.

“We didn’t think that the Palestinians would give us their blessing, but if Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] thinks that Iran, Turkey and Hamas will work for Palestinian interests better than us—he is welcome to join them,” he said.

“The Palestinian street is also aware of the fact that the doctrine adopted by Abu Mazen regarding peace and stability in the region is no longer relevant. It only harms Palestinian interests,” he stressed.

The UAE is home to about 100,000 Palestinians, businessmen and academics who, unlike the Palestinian leadership, openly welcomed the peace deal with Israel.

Emirati International relations expert Muhammad Firas al-Naib, a popular pundit in the Persian Gulf, said that “realism, logic and common sense are top qualities in leaders. This deal is the product of the policy pushed by a major actor on the international stage.”

Palestinian sociologist Dr. Ahmad Fallah al-Amusha, of the University of Sharjah, called the peace deal “a great leap for Arab diplomacy,” adding it will “contributed to the de-escalation efforts in the Middle East and to reducing violence in the region.”

“It will also keep the two-state solution alive,” he said.

Palestinian poet Sami Qaush, a native of Sidon who has been living in the UAE for years, told local media: “This is an important achievement; an answer to many failed Arab expectations and lost hope. What the UAE did deserves every praise—it stopped the annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel … a move that would have ended the Palestinians’ statehood dreams. I have every faith in the UAE’s leadership and its vision. When you force Israel to acknowledge borders we increase our security and safety.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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