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The New Arab Staff

'Ungrateful' Palestinians should be happy about normalisation, says Yousef al-Otaiba, UAE ambassador to US

Palestine is angry at normalisation [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 September, 2020

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Yousef Al-Otaiba, Emirati ambassador to the United States lashed out at Palestinians for not appreciating normalisation with Israel.
Palestinians should be grateful that the UAE normalised relations with Israel, Yousef Al-Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to the US, claiming that once again the event prevented Israeli normalisation of parts of the West Bank, despite official denials. 

According to the Israeli newspaper Maariv, in an online conversation with the former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro and a number of American officials who worked in the normalisation project, Al-Otaiba blasted Palestinians for being "ungrateful" about normalisation.

Al-Otaiba claimed that the Emirati-Israeli normalisation agreement had postponed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to annex up to 30 percent of the occupied West Bank.

The aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed lashed out at Palestinians who are angered at the normalisation project, claiming that they were supposed to feel "happy" about it.

"It is ironic that the Palestinians feel betrayed after the signing of the agreement, while they are supposed to be happy because this is what prevented the annexation," he reportedly said.

Read also: Prominent Emirati writer banned from leaving UAE over anti-normalisation stance

Al-Otaiba claimed, during his criticism, that 80 percent of the Israelis support the peace agreement between their country and the UAE.

At the start of the normalisation agreement, the UAE claimed to have normalised relations with Israel, which has been repeatedly denied by the Israeli government.

The US Ambassador to Israel on last week poured cold water on Abu Dhabi's claims that its normalisation agreement with Israel has suspended plans for the annexation of Palestinian territory.

David Friedman told Israel Hayom that he believed the annexation project - spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - "will happen".

"We had some obstacles because of the pandemic as well as some diplomatic difficulties," Friedman added, noting the recent developments with the UAE.

'Betraying Palestinians'

In August, US President Donald Trump announced the UAE had become the third Arab country and first Gulf Arab state to normalise ties with Israel, with Bahrain following suit shortly after.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is in talks with other Arab and Muslim leaders about normalising relations.

The UAE's decision to normalise ties with Israel has been welcomed by some Arab countries, but despite cheerleading from the US, others have rejected the idea and many approach it with caution.

The Palestinians have condemned the deal as "a stab in the back" by a major Arab player while they still lack a state of their own.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was on a Middle East visit last month, expressed optimism that more Arab nations would also sign up.

Recent reports suggest Sudan is also discussing the prospects of a move to normalise relations with Israel.

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