UAE minister: Our treaty with Israel references a Palestinian state


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UAE minister: Our treaty with Israel references a Palestinian state
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from the Israeli Right not to do anything that would cement recognition of a Palestinian state.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

A Palestinian state has been referenced in the US brokered Abraham Accord signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, said Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been under pressure from the Israeli right wing not to do anything that would cement recognition of a Palestinian state but Gargash clarified that the document briefly mentions a two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although the document deals largely with the bilateral relations between Israel and the UAE.

The accord’s preamble emphasizes a “basic stance” regarding the Palestinians, he said. It speaks of a two-state resolution to the conflict by referencing previous signed agreements, Gargash said. With regard to Israeli plans to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Gargash said, the “commitment of the suspension of annexation was very clear to me. Also, the presence of the US as the mediator and interlocutor of this deal assures me that the suspension is real and long lasting.

“We have taken off the table an immediate threat to the two-state solution,” Gargash said, noting that the “whole world” opposed annexation, including the EU and Washington, and to “take that threat away from the table is a common interest in my assessment. So that is one of the guarantees of the suspension of annexation.” He clarified that there was no end date to the suspension, but noted that such a step could not last forever. “I do not see that this is going [to last] into perpetuity. But it gives us space and it gives us a window,” Gargash said. He urged the Palestinians to take advantage of the time gained by the annexation’s suspension to reach a deal with Israel.

Gargash did not respond to a question with regard to the whether or not there was an understanding for a settlement freeze. UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that echoed Gargash’s words on Palestinian statehood and annexation. The extent of ties between Israel and the UAE will be connected to moves toward establishing a Palestinian state, bin Zayed said. He also wrote that the agreement with Israel “stopped annexation,” and called on the Palestinian leadership to “use this moment to reorganize its approach and prepare to re-engage in productive discussions.”

Gargash told reporters in the virtual press conference that when it came to helping the Palestinians achieve statehood, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which supported a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines, was still relevant. That deal has already been modified to include the idea of land swaps, he said. “Fundamentally, the Arab Peace Initiative remains really at the heart and cornerstone of our collective approach to the resolution of the two-state solution,” Gargash said. Israel has so far rejected any resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians that is based on a return to the pre-1967 lines, such as the 2002 Arab Initiative which was modified for only minor swaps.

The Trump peace plan unveiled in January did not mention the pre-1967 lines and spoke of Israel annexing up to 30% of the West Bank. “Our goals have not changed in supporting the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause, but our approach in not communicating with Israel has not helped in addressing the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” Gargash said. There are benefits to a relationship between the Arab states and Israel, because it gives them leverage with regard to the resolution to the conflict, he added. “The more the Arab countries have leverage, the more the Israelis will understand that for them, to be part and parcel of the region, they will need to understand the region’s concerns and heed its advice,” he said.

Gargash said he believed the deal with Israel could move forward irrespective of who sat in the White House after the November election. There has been a “bi-partisan show of support” for normalized ties with Israel, Gargash said. “Every administration has its own take on how it views American’s national interests in foreign policy… So I feel that we have no issue adjusting to any changes, whether four more years of President Trump or a Biden administration.” Gargash clarified that the deal was a sign of US success that sends a sign that “the US, helped by regional allies, is a force of good change in the region.”

Looking at the larger picture, he said, this agreement differs from the deals Israel signed with Jordan and Egypt, because they had fought wars with Israel, but there has been no such enmity between Israel and the UAE. “This is really a bilateral agreement between two states that have no borders next to each other, have not fought a war with each other and look towards a more stable and prosperous region,” Gargash said. The deal with Israel, he said, in an important step forward to ending the disastrous regional polarization and he hoped others would follow the UAE example. Once the anger in the Arab world subsided, Gargash said, it would be obvious that this was the way forward.

“We have broken the psychological barrier and this was the most difficult thing, he said. In his article, bin Zayed wrote that the first priorities for the Middle East are de-escalating tensions – hinting at, but not mentioning Iran – and beginning a dialogue towards peace and security, to allow the establishment of peaceful coexistence and encouraging economic and cultural exchanges. “Progress on Palestinian statehood is also central,” bin Zayed wrote. “The pace and scope of normalization won’t be disconnected from progress on Palestinian statehood and rights.” Bin Zayed added that the peace treaty was “an opportunity for a fresh approach to tackling the region’s challenges” and “a disruptive reminder that Emiratis and Israelis and all the people of the Middle East are tired of conflict.”


I Love the Lord
Ahh, I was thinking the old 2002 Arab Peace Initiative from the Saudi King could be used as a base in this new initiative. That means pre 1967 before six day war
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