UAE provokes Arab anger with 'Happy Independence Day' tweet to Israel
The United Arab Emirates has sparked a wave of anger across the Middle East by congratulating Israel on its “Independence Day,” which was marked in the Hebrew calendar on Thursday.
Israel's declaration of independence in 1948 was accompanied by the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land, which Palestinians today commemorate as the Nakba or "catastrophe".
The UAE embassy in Tel Aviv published a tweet wishing a “Happy Independence Day” to the citizens of Israel.
On 15 May, Palestinians will commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba, according to the Gregorian calendar.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replied on the social media platform thanking the UAE.
The exchange sparked a flurry of angry responses from across the Arab world.
“The UAE embassy congratulates the Zionist entity for the establishment of Israel, in which 750 thousand Palestinians were displaced from about 20 cities, 400 Palestinian villages and around 10 thousand Palestinians were killed by Zionists,” Emirati dissident Humaid al-Nuaimi tweeted.
Al-Nuaimi, who heads the Emirati League for Resisting Normalisation, has been a prominent opponent of the UAE's normalisation deal with Israel, which was announced in August 2020.
The UAE was the first of four Arab countries to announce that they were normalising ties with Israel in 2020, following pressure and incentives from the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
The deal made the UAE only the third Arab country to establish ties with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan signed normalisation deals shortly afterwards.
The move has resulted in a dizzying array of commercial and defence agreements between the UAE and Israel.
An Israeli and Emirati company announced last month that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop an advanced drone defence system.
The UAE has also announced it was setting up a $10 billion investment fund aimed at strategic sectors in Israel.
Palestinians have said that the UAE's normalisation deal with Israel rewards it while it continues to occupy East Jerusalem and the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.