19 June 2020

 

UAE

Predictions

  • Emirati officials’ statements indicate Abu Dhabi will continue efforts to improve ties with Israel, despite Tel Aviv’s West Bank annexation plans
  • UAE will issue condemnation of Israel if annexations go ahead on 1 July, but neither side will end cooperation on commercial issues
  • Abu Dhabi will maintain public support for Palestinians in order to limit domestic criticism over relations with Israel

 

Event

Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the US, authored an opinion piece in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on 14 June, calling on the Israeli government to abandon plans to annex settlements in the West Bank or risk undermining improvements in relations with the Gulf states. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash addressed a virtual conference of the American Jewish Committee on 17 June, during which he indicated the UAE would continue cooperating with Israel in areas such as technology, healthcare and business, despite Tel Aviv’s annexation plans. Separately, a commercial Etihad Airways flight landed at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on 9 June to deliver medical supplies to Palestinians amid the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The incident was the first time a branded Etihad flight bearing the UAE flag has landed at Israel’s main international airport – an earlier flight last month was entirely unmarked.

Context

TDespite no formal diplomatic ties, the UAE and Israel have seen improved bilateral relations in recent years, in part motivated by mutual close ties to the administration of US President Trump and a shared commitment to containing Iran’s regional ambitions. This has led to a number of high-profile meetings and events, including two separate visits by Israeli ministers to the UAE in October 2018, and the participation of Israeli athletes in the Special Olympics…

UAE: Abu Dhabi to continue efforts to improve ties with Israel, Emirati officials’ statements indicate 
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