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Report: UAE foreign minister slams ‘useless’ Palestinian Authority, says no reforms apparent during Blinken meeting

Shouting match demonstrates rifts among Arab states regarding Gaza 'day after'

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, March 17, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool)

The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed (ABZ), reportedly slammed the Palestinian Authority in a meeting last month between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and high-ranking Arab officials descended into a heated shouting match, the Times of Israel reported on Thursday.

The meeting in Saudi Arabia was focused on finding a strategy for the Gaza Strip after the war, including a discussion about the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) efforts at reform.

The United States has pushed for the PA to reform itself and eventually resume governance of Gaza.

Israel strongly rejected these plans, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating, “Gaza will be neither Hamastan nor Fatahstan.”

During the meeting, Hussein al-Sheikh, a close advisor of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, complained about the lack of political and financial support for the PA.

ABZ responded by slamming the PA and claimed he hadn’t seen any significant reforms yet.

He then called the Palestinian leadership, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” saying PA senior officials were “useless” and that “replacing them with one another will only lead to the same result.”

“Why would the UAE give assistance to the Palestinian Authority without real reforms?” he asked, according to the Axios news outlet.

“His Highness added that if the PA paid as much attention to its own people as it does to security coordination with Israel, the Palestinians will be in much better shape,” another source added, which was noted as an especially low blow. The Palestinian Authority, run by the Fatah party, is often criticized domestically for its close coordination with Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

Al-Sheikh reportedly shouted back at ABZ, rejecting any attempts to dictate how the PA should conduct its reforms.

The UAE and the PA have had a history of charged relations over the years, with the UAE decrying the PA’s corruption and the Palestinians accusing the UAE of betrayal after signing the Abraham Accords peace agreements with Israel in 2020.

Among ABZ's closest advisors is Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas' former main political rival who still views him with deep suspicion.

The UAE also complained about the appointment of the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa, claiming he was one of Abbas’ confidants and pushing for the return of former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad instead.

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

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