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The New Arab Staff

Palestinian official lashes out at 'dictator' MbZ

The remarks follow controversial normalisation deals with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 October, 2020

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Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince is 'just a small dictator', Palestine's ambassador to Paris said in an interview with the French Le Point magazine.
A Palestinian official has slammed Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed as a "dictator", drawing a verbal attack from the UAE’s Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash.

The Palestinian Ambassador to France, Salman Al-Harfi, thanked the UAE for "showing its true face" after the controversial normalisation deal with Israel.

"It [the UAE] was never on the side of Palestinians... It froze its aid to the Palestine Liberation Organisation in 1985 after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and cut it off completely after the 1990 Gulf War," the ambassador said, in an interview with the French Le Point magazine.

The Palestinian official went on to describe the crown prince - known colloquially by his initials MbZ - as "just a small dictator who is searching for fame and playing with fire".

The UAE's normalisation of ties with Israel was therefore "not surprising", he added, rejecting Abu Dhabi's false claims of victory over allegedly stopping the West Bank annexations.

The remarks drew fierce critics from the Emirati foreign minister who called called the Palestinian ambassador "ungrateful".

"I was not surprised by the Palestinian ambassador to Paris' remarks and his ungrateful handling of the Emirates," Gargash said in a tweet.

"We are accustomed to the lack of loyalty and gratitude and we are moving forward towards the future with our steps and convictions," he added.

Tensions between Palestinian, Saudi and Emirati officials have spiked since the deals were announced.

A senior Saudi royal accused the Palestinian leadership of being "failures" for opposing the recent normalisation agreement between Israel, UAE and Bahrain in a trailer for a bombshell interview given to Saudi state-owned channel Al-Arabiya.

Bandar bin Sultan, who served as the ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005, is the most high-profile Saudi royal to intervene in the fierce debate over Gulf states' normalisation with Israel.

"Their transgression against the Gulf states' leadership with this reprehensible discourse is unacceptable," bin Sultan told the interviewer.

"The Palestinian cause is a just cause but its advocates are failures," he said.

Bin Sultan also called the Palestinian leadership's discourse "lowly" and "truly painful to hear".

"It is not surprising that they would use terms like 'betrayal' and 'stab in the back' because these are their ways in dealing with each other," he said.

The agreement have been widely regarded as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause as they give Israel little incentive to end its occupation of the West Bank and agree to a sovereign Palestinian state.

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