The United Arab Emirates’ peace deal with Israel is a “win-win solution” that takes away the “looming threat” of annexation in the West Bank, according to the minister of state of Gulf Country for foreign affairs.
“We were in Arab League meetings … and the whole idea was, what do we do to stop this annexation? Somehow, annexation seemed as a looming threat that will undermine any prospects of a two-state solution,” Anwar Gargash told CNBC’s Dan Murphy on Thursday.
His comments were made shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced yesterday that both countries agreed to normalize relations, making the UAE the first Persian Gulf state and the third Arab nation to have open diplomatic ties with Israel.
“The UAE was quite active diplomatically and we took an unprecedented step of our ambassador … saying basically that annexation will just wreck the whole prospect of negotiations and peace, and will affect Israel’s prospects of establishing relations with the Arab world,” Gargash said.
“I can’t really pinpoint a certain moment, but the idea developed that why don’t we actually create a win-win solution,” he added. Thomas Warrick, non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, agreed with the sentiment.
“It’s a good day for Israel and for the UAE, they both get something out of this that they very much want,” he said. “The UAE shows its value as a strategic partner to both U.S. political parties. Israel gets out of their being stuck over the settlements issue … This gives them a valuable prize, normalization of relations with the UAE.”
Gargash described the deal as a way of “defusing a real threat” to a two-state solution and “hopefully” allowing negotiations to restart, but not a “roadmap for peace” between Israel and Palestine. “This is really up to the Palestinians, up to the Israelis, up to other traditional brokers such as the Americans,” he said.
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the leadership “rejects and denounces” the treaty, while Turkey released a statement that said history “will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behavior of the UAE,” according to a Reuters report.
Iran, a common adversary of Israel and the UAE, also condemned the deal. State news agency IRNA reported that the country’s foreign ministry on Friday termed the decision as a “strategic act of idiocy” and said it was a “dangerous” move.
Ahead of that statement, Gargash said he wouldn’t be surprised by pronouncements from Iran, given that the Islamic Republic still does not accept Israel as a state.