UAE ‘clearly against’ Israeli annexation

The United Arab Emirates is “clearly against any annexation as being proposed by the current Israeli government,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash told the leading US Jewish organization on Tuesday.

“The UAE today is part-and-parcel of the Arab consensus that basically looks at the solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] as a two-state solution,” Gargash said during the American Jewish Committee’s virtual conference.

“The UAE also wants to see continued Palestinian-Israeli negotiations,” he added.

Gargash’s remarks reiterate his tweet two weeks ago that called for Israel to stop its plans to annex Palestinian land.

“Any unilateral Israeli move will be a serious setback for the peace process, undermine Palestinian self-determination & constitute a rejection of the international & Arab consensus towards stability & peace,” Gargash tweeted on June 1.

Gargash said on Friday that an op-ed by a United Arab Emirates diplomat in Israel’s top newspaper warning against annexing land in the occupied West Bank has been well received by the international community.

UAE ambassador to Washington Youssef Al Otaiba said Israel cannot expect to normalize relations with the Arab world if it pushes ahead with its annexation plans.

Otaiba called the potential move an “illegal takeover” of land Palestinians seek for a state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to annex parts of the occupied West Bank and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has urged the military to hasten preparations for the planned annexation, which is rumored to begin in July.

Gargash also addressed the UAE’s recent aid sent to the Palestinians via Israel. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways operated two flights carrying medical aid to the Palestinians on May 19 and June 9.

“We have no relationship with Israel, but we have recognized that this is an area where we need to cooperate together because this is one that does touch human beings,” said Gargash.

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