The United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a statement on Sunday condemning the new Israeli government’s plans to move forward on annexation of parts of Yehudah and Shomron.
“This unilateral step is illegal, undermines chances for peace and contradicts all efforts made by the international community to reach a lasting political solution in accordance with relevant international resolutions,” official Emirati media quoted him as saying.
The Gulf state, which has had warming relations with Israel in recent years, was slow in coming out against annexation, only after the Arab League and several countries in the European Union had done so.
Al Nahyan also rejected as false Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Arab states will eventually accept annexation.
Meanwhile, the UAE was one of three Gulf States that have expressed willingness in recent days to work with Israel in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the United Nations said that her government would be willing to collaborate with Israel on a vaccine, while Bahrain and another Gulf state contacted Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer to learn about the hospital’s response to the pandemic, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Yoel Hareven, director of Sheba’s International Division, said the countries are particularly interested in telemedicine or remote medicine innovations in Israel.
“We offered them any help they need, even if it’s connecting doctors or nurses, or sending teams to them, sharing logistical knowledge,” Hareven said. “Whatever help we can give our neighbors – we will do it happily.”
Hareven added that the other Gulf state did not wish to be named, but is a country that is not usually discussed as having any connection with Israel. There are things going on behind the scenes, he said.