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'The Day After:' The United Arab Emirates deepens its involvement in Gaza

The UAE is working vigorously to establish a foothold in the Gaza Strip and is leading the humanitarian effort

Palestinians at the site of an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 29, 2023. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The United Arab Emirates continues to stand out in its efforts to bring humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

It was reported on Sunday on the program, 'This Morning with Aryeh Golan,' that the UAE enters Gaza with greater economic power compared to other nations. It started with a field hospital they set up in southern Gaza in Rafah.

In Israel, it is believed to be the most significant hospital established in Gaza to date, both in terms of equipment and resources. For example, it even has CT machines.

Equally interesting is the establishment of the desalination plant on the Egyptian side of Rafah, which began to supply desalinated water to the Gaza Strip through one pipeline with the intention of connecting a second pipeline. Thus, the UAE becomes the only country other than Israel that supplies water to Gaza.

It is important to mention that there is also a publicity aspect here because Israel currently supplies enough water to Gaza through two pipelines, with more than 30,000 cubic meters (7.9 million gallons) per day, while the Emirati line is expected to bring some 2,300 cubic meters (more than 607,500 gallons) of water per day. The UAE has also delivered ambulances, tents and food packages to Gaza. When comparing this to Saudi Arabia, for example, which also supplies humanitarian aid to Gaza, it is obvious that the UAE aid is being provided on a much larger scope.

The UAE is clearly doing this to increase its regional influence and standing in relation to other countries in the region, mainly its rivals like Qatar. Yet, it is not inconceivable that there also exists an Emirati desire to influence control of Gaza the day after the war ends, and more precisely, to try and bring Mohammed Dahlan, a senior Fatah official and rival of Abu Mazen, into the leadership equation in Gaza – and the Palestinian Authority, in general.

Dahlan, originally from Gaza, clashed with the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, and moved his residence to the UAE, which supports him.

In conclusion, it seems there are quite a few interests hidden in the economic power that the UAE currently brings to Gaza in the context of humanitarian aid.

Roi Kais is an Arab Affairs correspondent for Kan 11.

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