Diplomacy

UAE FM: It was a “Wrong Decision” of Arab States to Shun Talks with Israel

The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) called the Arab world’s refusal to talk to Israel a “wrong decision” and predicted growing ties between those nations and the Jewish State in the coming years, Gulf News reported Wednesday.

“Many, many years ago, when there was an Arab decision not to have contact with Israel, I think it was a very wrong decision. Looking back, clearly, you have to [differentiate] between having a political issue and keeping your lines of communication open,” Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said at the Ideas Abu Dhabi Forum. “This has not resolved the issue but complicated it.

“We will see more contact with Israel by various Arab countries in the next few years, like a small cyber deal here or an agricultural deal there or a visit by the [Israeli] Prime Minister,” the minister predicted.

Additionally, Gargash called for there to progress “on the peace front” between Israel and the Palestinians.

In November of last year, Gargash slammed Hamas, the terrorist group that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, for allying with Iran.

“Hamas’s solidarity with the Iranian government does not take into consideration the Gulf and Arab anxiety over Tehran’s regional interference,” Gargash wrote on Twitter at the time. “It is unnecessary. It pushes the Palestinian issue into a maze and confirms the opinion that the movement, in its orientation, is nothing more than an Iranian regional tool.”

A spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, later attacked the UAE for their “abnormal” comments and criticized them for hosting Israeli officials in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Zuhri’s comment was a reference to the presence of an Israeli judo team in Abu Dhabi last October. While visiting for the competition, Israel’s culture and sports minister, Miri Regev, paid a historic visit to the UAE, along with the team. Additionally, in a moving ceremony, Israel’s national anthem – Hatikvah – was played for the first time in the UAE after the Israeli team took gold. The minister also toured the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, where she signed the guest book in Hebrew.

Earlier this month, at Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU), the UAE, along with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, rejected text opposing normalization with Israel in a statement issued by the group.

[Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / WikiCommons ]