Netanyahu deletes tweet calling UAE 'advanced democracy' amid backlash

Netanyahu deletes tweet calling UAE 'advanced democracy' amid backlash
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deleted a tweet in which he posted a video claiming Israel and the UAE are advanced democracies after strong backlash online.
2 min read
18 August, 2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received backlash [Getty]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deleted a video describing the United Arab Emirates as an “advanced democracy”, shortly after fierce online backlash.

Last week, the UAE and Israel announced they had formally normalised ties after denying covert relations for decades.

In a video praising the UAE, Netanyahu referred to the Gulf state as a democracy in a move described by critics as dishonourable to its victims. 

“The deal connects the UAE with Israel; both of them are advanced democracies and their societies are advanced,” Netanyahu said in the video.

Read also: 'Let us know when she's dead': Cancer patient tortured in UAE prison

He made those remarks during an interview with the UAE-run Sky News Arabia on Monday to tout the normalisation agreement between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

The UAE, known for its abysmal human rights record, leaves no perceived threat to the state untouched.

The crackdown of freedom of speech puts its residents at risk of imprisonment and lack of judicial oversight allows police officers to limitlessly subject prisoners to physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

'Shameful' normalisation

Both Israel and the UAE have had a long history of informal and unacknowledged cooperation before the peace deal was signed. The UAE has previously used Israeli spyware to hack the phones of dissidents.

The Middle East felt shockwaves, after Trump announced on Thursday that the UAE had normalised ties with Israel, only the third between the Jewish state and an Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan.

The deal was welcomed by some Arab governments, such as those of Egypt and Bahrain, but widely condemned on a popular level, particularly by the Palestinians, who have held widespread protests against it.

Palestinians of all political leanings – from the secular Fatah of Mahmoud Abbas to the Hamas Islamist – have been unanimous in their condemnation of the deal, viewing the UAE as sacrificing the Palestinian cause to gain commercial relations with Israel.

While the agreement supposedly delays Israel's plans to unilaterally annex large swathes of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly urged that annexation will only be delayed.

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia has been conspicuously silent on the deal with no official reaction emerging from Riyadh.

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