CAIRO: The United Arab Emirates hit out at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday after the Israeli leader said the Gulf state could be involved in aiding a future government in Gaza after the war.

The prominent and influential Gulf state is one of few Arab states with official diplomatic ties to Israel, which it has maintained through Israel’s more than six-month war in Gaza, although relations appear to have become frayed.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan rebuked Netanyahu in an early morning post on X, saying Abu Dhabi denounced the Israeli leader’s comments.

“The UAE stresses that the Israeli prime minister does not have any legal capacity to take this step, and the UAE refuses to be drawn into any plan aimed at providing cover for the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip,” he said in an Arabic post.

Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE would be prepared to support a Pale­stinian government that met the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people, which he said included independence.

In an interview, Netanyahu said the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries could possibly assist a civilian government with Gazans in the enclave after the war.

Sources said that Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Netanyahu has fractured over the military campaign, with Emirati officials now rarely speaking with him.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2024

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