In the wake of the escalating conflict in Gaza, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stands firm on maintaining diplomatic ties with Israel, aiming to influence the situation while safeguarding its own interests. The UAE, having established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 under the Abraham Accords, faces challenges as it seeks to balance its relationship with Israel amid the international outcry over the Gaza war.
The mounting death toll resulting from Israel’s retaliation to cross-border attacks by Hamas has sparked outrage across Arab capitals. Despite publicly condemning Israel’s actions and urging an end to the violence, the UAE’s efforts to moderate the conflict seem to face obstacles.
President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s recent discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlight the UAE’s commitment to securing a ceasefire and opening humanitarian corridors. Additionally, the UAE has engaged in talks with Qatar, emphasizing the need for de-escalation and a just, lasting peace in the region.
However, the UAE’s frustration with its security partner, the United States, has grown due to perceived insufficient efforts to end the conflict. Diplomatic adviser Anwar Gargash stressed the urgency of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue, emphasizing the potential for regional tensions and extremism if the war persists.
Despite economic and security ties with Israel, concerns over Israel’s policies in the West Bank and the Al Aqsa mosque compound have raised eyebrows in Abu Dhabi. The UAE, a significant regional influencer, maintains its stance on a two-state solution and advocates for addressing key issues like refugees, borders, and East Jerusalem.
As the UAE continues to host an Israeli ambassador, the strategic importance of their diplomatic ties remains a priority. Shared concerns over the Iranian threat and a realignment of foreign policy have solidified their relationship, with bilateral trade exceeding $6 billion since 2020.
Nevertheless, the UAE’s commitment to the Palestinian cause is evident, as they stress the impossibility of building ties with Israel without addressing the underlying issues. The ongoing conflict in Gaza has challenged the notion that economic cooperation alone can foster stability in the region.
The UAE’s stance on Hamas, seen as a threat to regional stability, further complicates the situation. While condemning Israel’s actions, Abu Dhabi has also criticized Hamas for its role in the conflict, distancing itself from the Palestinian militant group.
In conclusion, the UAE’s diplomatic balancing act reflects its commitment to regional stability while navigating the complexities of the Gaza conflict. The situation underscores the challenges of maintaining ties with Israel amidst a volatile geopolitical landscape.