A senior UAE official has admitted that even if Israel annexed the West Bank, it would continue to have good relations with the Emiratis.
Rabat – Even if Israel goes through with its annexation of the West Bank, it will continue to enjoy good relations with the UAE, according to a senior Emirati official. Jamal al-Musharakh, director of policy planning in the UAE’s Foreign Ministry, made the controversial statement during a press briefing on Tuesday.
“We cannot speculate on future Israeli actions,” al- Musharakh said about potential future annexation plans. “We have assurances from the US on this, and through our trilateral dialogue,” he stated, adding that the agreement touches on several issues, and “one isn’t prioritized over the other.”
The statements confirmed to many that the UAE’s overtures to Palestinians were mere rhetoric. The UAE had initially framed their agreement with Israel as a way to prevent annexation plans. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rubbished these claims the following day. Netanyahu said annexation was “still on the table” and the UAE deal meant only a “delay” to Israel’s plans.
“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said on August 13, in the aftermath of the signing.
Israeli right-wing media reacted with elation to the September 1 remarks by Jamal al-Musharak. “Even if Israel proceeds with its plans,” Netanyahu-aligned Israel Hayom wrote, “it will not stop the peace process.” Many saw the UAE’s remarks as a confirmation that the agreement with Israel prioritizes economics over support for Palestine.
Yet the UAE appears to disagree. “We have not backed down one step, or one millimeter, from our position,” al-Musharakh said. “What we did was halt the annexation. The ultimate end solution is to find a sustainable solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
The UAE director of policy planning summarized Emirati-Israeli cooperation since the accords as “historic and hopeful.” “The path towards peace and prosperity is through cooperation,” al-Musharak said, stressing that “there is a large demographic of youth that needs hope, a way forward.