UAE Ambassador to U.S. Addresses Israeli Public, Warns Annexation Risks Ties With Arab Countries

The United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba directly addressed the Israeli public on Friday and warned that Israeli annexation of the West Bank would undermined the progress made in Israel's ties with the Arab world, the National reported.

In an article published in Hebrew by Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday, Al Otaiba pointed out the possible risk annexation would pose to Israel's warming ties with other Middle Eastern countries and it's affect on the stability of the region. 

“Annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE,” wrote Al Otaiba.

In a seperate video message to The National, Al Otaiba said that "the attitudes that have been changing toward Israel, people becoming more accepting and less hostile to Israel" could be undermined if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government goes forth with its plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and illegal settlements across the West Bank.

– Video

UAE Ambassador writes in Israeli newspaper outlining the costs of annexation – versus the great potential of warmer ties.

— هند مانع العتيبة Hend Al Otaiba (@hend_mana) June 12, 2020

Al Otaiba reaffirmed that the UAE stood firmly behind a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. "We remain an ardent advocate for the Palestinian people and a long-time champion of the Arab Peace Initiative."

"This is supposed to be part of a negotiation, part of a two-state solution, and by moving unilaterally you’re basically saying I don’t believe in the negotiation or the two-state solution, or I am doing something to undermine it," Al Otaiba added. 

His decision to reach out to the Israeli public through an op-ed published in Hebrew for the largest Israeli newspaper by circulation, Al Otaiba admits, is a controversial one. However, using late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's 1977 visit to Jerusalem as an example, he explains that "speaking directly to an audience" will assure that "your message gets across to them."