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Netanyahu denies Israeli media report that UAE relations are cooling off

Channel 12 news said the UAE will delay purchase of Israeli security equipment

Benjamin Netanyahu meets with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Tel Aviv on Sept. 16, 2022. (Benjamin Netanyahu/Twitter)

Israel’s Channel 12 news reported on Sunday that the United Arab Emirates is delaying a planned purchase of Israeli security equipment and that relations between the two nations are cooling. 

The report claimed that the UAE was disturbed both by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount in January and Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s comments about the town of Huwara last month, when he said the town should be erased from the map. 

UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan reportedly said, “Until we make sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu has a government that he controls, we cannot do things together.” 

The report came just two days after the announcement of the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which the UAE called “an important step for the region towards stability and prosperity.” 

Shortly after the publication of that report, Benny Gantz, head of Israel’s National Unity Party, posted a comment on social media calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get rid of Smotrich and Ben Gvir. 

“Trojan horses have infiltrated the holy of holies of Israeli security, and the damage is already felt. I call on Netanyahu – do not destroy what was built, even by your hand – by hard work. Remove the hand of Smotrich from the Ministry of Defense, dismiss the pyromaniac responsible for internal security. Israel’s strategic interests in the region are more important than politics,” Gantz wrote. 

Netanyahu called the claims in the Channel 12 report “baseless.” 

“The report is baseless. Israel and the United Arab Emirates are holding productive diplomatic contacts in all areas, including today,” he said. 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also denied the report in a statement.

“Contrary to this evening’s publication, relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates are strong and solid,” the ministry said, referring to a customs agreement achieved by the two countries in the last few days that allows the enforcement of a free trade agreement to expand the countries’ economic, commercial and political relations. 

Israel’s Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek also responded on social media, rejecting the Channel 12 report.

“From conversations with senior sources in Abu Dhabi, who are in the details of the relations between the countries and know both sides well, the news in the Israeli media this evening is simply not true,” Hayek said.

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

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