While Iran Condemns UAE and Israel Accord, Saudi Arabia Remains Silent
Foreign Policy

While Iran Condemns UAE and Israel Accord, Saudi Arabia Remains Silent 

Last updated on September 19th, 2020

The United Arab Emirates has become the first Gulf and third Arab state to normalise ties with Israel, after the US brokered a deal. Under the deal, Israel agreed to suspend its controversial plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Following the agreement last week, the UAE and Israel have now launched direct telephone services between their countries. While the international community has been quite welcoming towards the treaty, Palestine, Iran and Turkey have denounced the agreement.

Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi, on Sunday, tweeted that the two sides “decided together on the establishment of a direct communication channel ahead of the signing of the normalisation agreement between the two countries and… to meet soon.”

Israeli numbers with country code +972 have been unblocked by telecom providers in the UAE. Normalising relations between the UAE and Israel would also mean opening of embassies in each other’s country.

“I congratulate the United Arab Emirates on the unblocking. Many economic opportunities will now open up and these trust-building steps are important for advancing the countries’ interests,” said Israeli communications minister Yoaz Hendel.

Following the suit, Bahrain and Oman could be the next Gulf states to formalise relations with Israel.

“In the wake of this agreement will come additional agreements, both with more Gulf countries and with Muslim countries in Africa,” Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said.

“I think that Bahrain and Oman are definitely on the agenda. In addition, in my assessment, there is a chance that already in the coming year there will be a peace deal with additional countries in Africa, chief among them, Sudan,” he said.

While both the Gulf states have praised the US-brokered deal, neither of the countries have commented on their own prospects of normalising ties. Iran, on the other hand, has strongly condemned the normalising ties of the UAE and Israel.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said, “They [the UAE] better be mindful. They have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act.”

The UAE foreign ministry retaliated the strong comments, saying the speech was “unacceptable and inflammatory and had serious implications for security and stability in the Gulf region.”

As the UAE and Israel announced the beginning of new diplomatic ties, the Arab world’s biggest economy Saudi Arabia has maintained a deafening silence over the whole accord. Experts believe that Saudi Arabia may not immediately follow the UAE’s footsteps, but the Saudi-Israeli interactions may increase via the UAE only.

If Saudi also moves in the direction of the UAE, Palestinians may see this as a betrayal. Although the kingdom already has built covert relations with Israel in recent years under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, despite the fact that his father King Salman has voiced steadfast support for an independent Palestinian state.

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