UAE official 'warns Netanyahu' that incitement by far-right ministers threaten Arab-Israel relations

UAE official 'warns Netanyahu' that incitement by far-right ministers threaten Arab-Israel relations
The UAE has been concerned by the words and actions of far-right Israeli ministers, which could threaten the recent normalisation of ties between the two countries.
2 min read
23 March, 2023
Khaldoon Al-Mubarak (L) reportedly headed the UAE delegation to Israel [Getty]

The UAE dispatched a top official to Israel this week, warning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the actions of his government threaten to turn back relations with Arab states to zero.

Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, a senior adviser to UAE leader Mohammed bin Zayed, passed on a message to the prime minister regarding Israel's "treatment of Palestinians", Israel's Kan public broadcaster reported.

The UAE was slammed by Palestinians when it normalised ties with Israel in 2020, despite the continued siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank.

Tensions between the UAE and Israel have mounted after incitement by far-right ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. The latter called for the Palestinian town of Hawara to be "wiped out".

"The direction of this government goes completely against the Abraham Accords," Mubarak told the prime minister, The Times of Israel reported.

"The Israeli government’s actions endanger any potential advance [in relations] with the UAE and other Arab countries. Some [Israeli] politicians are even supporting violence. This goes against the spirit of the Abraham Accords and the current practice, and endangers regional stability."

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Mubarak also said the government's "escalation" against Palestinians threatens to play "into the hands of extremists" and could impact on UAE investments in Israel.

"Your situation doesn’t look good and it could impact our investments," he reportedly warned.

Netanyahu's office has rejected the claims and said foreign relations are being personally handled by the prime minister.

The UAE slammed Smotrich's denial this week that Palestinians "exist", sending a delegation, headed by Mubarak, to Israel to speak about this issue and Netanyahu's planned judicial overhaul.

There was also anger about Smotrich's previous comments calling for the Palestinian town of Hawara to be "wiped out" after horrific attacks by Jewish settlers on homes and vehicles.

Abu Dhabi has since pledged $3 million to help Hawara rebuild after the pogrom, following another big donation by Qatar.

In January, the UAE reportedly cancelled a planned visit to the UAE by Netanyahu after National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Despite their notorious reputations, the UAE ambassador met Ben-Gvir and Smotrich separately, shortly before the two extreme-right politicians were appointed ministers by Netanyahu.