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As Gaza war drags on, Israeli relations with UAE at all time low

Flags of the UAE and Israel flutter during Israel's National Day ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 31, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Christopher Pike)

Israel’s ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), established under the Abraham Accords in 2020, are reportedly under increasing strain as the war in Gaza continues.

While Israeli tourists continue to enjoy safe travel to Dubai, certain UAE leaders and influencers are using the opportunity to speak against the Jewish state.

Dubai’s deputy police chief wrote on 𝕏 that Arabs had “truly wanted peace” whereas Israel had “proved that its intentions are evil,” according to a New York Times report.

An Emirati businessman said that “he had left an Emirati-Israeli business council and that he had nothing else to say.”

Mohammed Baharon, an Emirati analyst serving as the director of the B’huth research center in Dubai, claimed that the Gaza conflict – initiated by the Hamas invasion on Oct. 7 – has been detrimental to future relations.

“The current trajectory of the war doesn’t bode well for agreements or security in the Middle East,” Baharon told the NYT. “This is a partnership and if one partner is not paying their dues, then it’s not a partnership anymore.”

Nevertheless, the UAE may not be inclined to sever ties with Israel, as the Abraham Accords have “brought the UAE billions in trade and benefited from positive public relations in Western countries,” according to the NYT.

“The UAE believes that diplomatic and political communications are important in difficult times such as those we are witnessing,” the Emirati government stated.

Israeli Economic Minster Nir Barkat visited the UAE in February and attended the World Trade Organization’s ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi. In November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog participated in the COP28 UN Climate Change conference in Dubai.

However, according to an exclusive report by i24news, sources say the UAE has threatened to stop the operation of a land trade bridge between the Gulf and Israel. The bridge was initiated last December and established an alternative trade route that passes through Saudi Arabia and Jordan, following the Houthi attacks targeting Israeli and other ships.

The sources also claimed it was UAE's pressure on the White House that led to U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement about the plan to construct a port for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, as the UAE threatened it would halt work on the land trade bridge because they did not believe that aid is reaching Gaza.

According to these private Arab sources, the UAE also has little confidence left in Netanyahu’s government and does not want to engage in any dialogue with it.

Despite attempts by Herzog to mediate between Netanyahu and the emirates leadership, UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed has reportedly refused to speak with Netanyahu.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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