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UAE envoy warns Israeli annexation will harm prospects for Arab ties

Yousef al-Otaiba

Amman – Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank will ruin any chance for normalisation of ties with Arab states, a senior Emirati diplomat wrote in an Israeli newspaper.

Yousef al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) ambassador to Washington, listed possible areas of cooperation between his country and Israel including security, business, technology and climate change.

Yet, this would not be possible if Israel goes ahead with its plans, which al-Otaiba described as an “illegal seizure of Palestinian land.”

“Israeli plans for annexation and talk of normalization are a contradiction,” al-Otaiba wrote in the opinion piece published on Friday in Yedioth Ahronoth.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce the annexation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley early next month, in line with U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East plan.

“Annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE,” al-Otaiba wrote, according to an English version on Ynet.

Al-Otaiba attended Trump’s unveiling of the plan at the White House in January alongside Netanyahu.

The ambassador told the Abu Dhabi-based The National newspaper that he “wanted to make sure people understood the risks associated with the decision.”

Egypt and Jordan are the only countries in the region to have official diplomatic ties with Israel. However, in recent years, Gulf countries have appeared to ease their positions regarding Israel.


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