Emirates Nixes Netanyahu Trip

YERUSHALAYIM -
Anwar Gargash, the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

In an unusually blunt statement, the foreign affairs minister of the United Arab Emirates has said that his country will not host Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ so close to Israeli elections, lest it be taken as assisting his campaign.

“From the UAE’s perspective, the purpose of the Abrahamic Accords is to provide a robust strategic foundation to foster peace and prosperity with the State of Israel and in the wider region,” tweeted Anwar Gargash, adviser to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.

“The UAE will not be a part in any internal electioneering in Israel, now or ever,” he said.

Netanyahu denied in an interview with Army Radio that he would visit the UAE before the elections. “I’m not going to Abu Dhabi before the elections. That’s spin. I don’t know who’s putting that out,” he said.

But Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen (Likud) indicated to the station that it was still a possibility. “It’s this week or not at all,” he said.

Emirati sources told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Netanyahu’s schedule had been cleared of political events on Thursday, which suggested that there was an opening for the visit.

Last week, Netanyahu canceled a trip to the UAE, citing a tiff with Jordan over the premier’s plane crossing its airspace en route to Abu Dhabi. That trip had been planned and cancelled repeatedly due to the pandemic and scheduling problems. But it seems that the UAE’s reservations was at least a contributing cause to the postponements. They never officially confirmed his visits.