UAE: We can disagree with Israel and still have ties with it

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash yesterday called for greater cooperation with Israel despite its ongoing attempts to expand its occupation over the occupied West Bank, news agencies reported. Addressing the annual Global Forum of the American Jewish Committee, Gargash justified his country’s rapprochement with Israel despite its plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley saying he wanted to separate disagreements over the Palestinian issue from the mutual benefits of cooperation in other fields.

“Clearly, looking back at different episodes in Arab history in the context of dealing with Israel, we see that negotiations and having lines of communications open will actually yield better results for us and the Israelis, and at the same time, a policy of rhetoric, a policy of stonewalling, a policy of not actually opening these lines of communications has only radicalized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he explained.

Expressing his opposition to “any annexation”, Gargash however explained: “What was possible in 1948 became very difficult to achieve in 1967, what was possible in 1967 became very difficult to achieve in the 80s, and what was possible in the 80s is becoming more and more difficult to achieve today.”

Political disagreements, he said, needed to be “addressed rationally”. Gargash’s comments come one week after UAE Ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, issued his first op-ed in an Israeli newspaper in which he warned that Israel’s annexation plans “will send shockwaves around the region, especially in Jordan, whose stability — often taken for granted — benefits the entire region, particularly Israel.”

The Israeli government is planning to annex the Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank on 1 July. Palestinian estimates indicate that the Israeli annexation plan will cover more than 30 per cent of the West Bank. In response to his announcement, the Palestinian Authority said that it is no longer bound by all agreements with Israel, including those relating to security.

World leaders have universally condemned Israel’s annexation. US politicians took the unprecedented step of signalling that the two pillars of US relations with Israel; US security and bipartisan support Israel enjoys in Capitol Hill, would be jeopardised.

Source: Middle East Monitor