While the United Arab Emirates surprised the Arab world by changing its relations with Israel, it said the move would help end the long-running Arab-Israeli conflict. But nine months later, the rich Gulf country is embroiled in controversy as its new ally bombs out the impoverished Palestinian state of Gaza.
Israeli warplanes have crashed into Gaza, with Hamas, the group in charge, throwing stones at Israel. Some 174 Palestinians, including 76 women and children, have been killed, according to health officials. Ten people have died in Israel, including two children, local doctors say.
With nearly a third of the Arab states now in alliance with Israel, the bloodshed this week shows that the relationships established with the so-called Abraham Accords last year did not give them much opportunity and did nothing to end a long-standing problem. Palestine.
“They [the UAE] they are in the most difficult places. On the one hand, the interests of the UAE and Israel are long-term and operational, so their relationship needs to be urgently needed, “said Cinzia Bianco, a visitor to the European Council on Foreign Relations. Abraham will give them the opportunity to help the Palestinians and restore the invasion of Israel. “
In the meantime, Israel has rejected any international efforts to end the war. But Bianco said Abu Dhabi could have advanced their negotiations to force the Jewish state to reduce retaliation. Intervention, however, could hamper the progress of UAE cooperation activities, he added.
Recent alliances include Emirati plans and Israeli weapons manufacturers to develop a strategy to combat drones.
The stabilization of relations between Israel and the UAE under the leadership of Abraham Accords was quickly followed by similar movements from Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, which marked a dramatic departure from a stable Arab ideology to the Jewish state.
The Arab leadership had not yet agreed on recognizing Israel unless there was a good alliance with the Palestinians which led to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The coup drafted by Trump’s administration, which strongly opposes Israel, has left Palestinians feeling isolated and betrayed. Opponents say the Arab states have abandoned negotiations and have found no benefit, warning that the move will be used by other Palestinian militants.
Like other members of the Arab League, the UAE accepted an appeal Tuesday in the International Criminal Court to “investigate the war and civil cases” that Israel has committed against the Palestinians.
“The UAE has the rights of the Palestinian people, the end of the Israeli occupation and the answers of the two states and the independent state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as their capital,” Anwar Gargash, legal adviser to the UAE president, said this week. “This is a long and tangible history.”
The UAE foreign ministry last month condemned Israel’s plans to expel Palestinians from their homes along the Israeli settlement. And when a dispute arose between Israeli armed police and stone-throwing Palestinian youths, the UAE urged Israeli officials to reduce tensions.
The UAE’s public representation has given Emiratis and its citizens an opportunity to protest against Israel’s actions and to show support for the Palestinian people, after much of the initial outrage over the idea of establishing relations was suppressed at the time. With the exception of the Emirati internet activists who have allied with Israel, the media’s response – even from other ministers – has been in favor of Palestine.
“Legislation [of relations] it will not change but it will be difficult to protect and talk about this, “said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of political science at Dubai.
After the UAE signed the agreement, there were speculations that Saudi Arabia, Israel’s biggest reward, would follow. Like Abu Dhabi, Riyadh has been secretly working with Israel on intelligence and security issues while sharing a common objection to Iran.
But this week’s Israeli offensive in Gaza makes it seem far-fetched. Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, on Sunday said the regime was “strongly opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestinians”, as he called for an end to the war.
In Morocco, which established ties with the Jewish government in October in retaliation for the US recognizing Moroccan rule in the conflict-ridden regions of Western Sahara, the foreign ministry said it was watching the situation “with great concern”.
In 2014, during the last major war between Israel and Hamas, thousands of protesters, including government ministers, marched through the streets of Rabat. This time the Moroccan police dispersed a small protest in Palestine in the city this week. The newly formed Morocco-Israel Business Council has also announced that it has rescheduled a conference aimed at promoting Moroccan currency trading in Israel.
Public opinion in the Arab world remains closely linked to Palestine, said HA Hellyer, a partner in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The absence of demonstrations is not simply a desire to protest but a clear violation of the law.”
Restrictions on free speech throughout the region made it difficult to determine the extent of public outrage, Hellyer said, but the media and television broadcasts showed that the “Palestinian question” was not at the heart of the Arabs.
“About half of the messages I received Thursday at a religious celebration ending the end of Ramadan, showcasing images of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem,” he added.