Emirati FM rails at Netanyahu for suggesting UAE might help to manage Gaza after war

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Tel Aviv on September 16, 2022. (Benjamin Netanyahu/Twitter)
Then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu meets with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Tel Aviv on September 16, 2022. (Benjamin Netanyahu/Twitter)

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed tears into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for suggesting that Abu Dhabi might assist local Palestinians in the management of Gaza after the war.

Netanyahu was asked in a Thursday interview with Dr. Phil who he’d like to see run Gaza after Hamas.

“We’ll probably have to have some kind of civilian administration by Gazans who are not committed to our destruction, possibly with the aid of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other countries that I think want to see stability and peace,” Netanyahu responded, while clarifying that Israel would maintain the right to enter Gaza as necessary to root out remnant terror elements.

Bin Zayed tweets the UAE’s denunciation of Netanyahu’s comments “calling on the state to participate in civil administration of the Gaza Strip, which is under Israeli occupation.”

“The UAE stresses that the Israeli prime minister does not have any legal capacity to take this step, and the state refuses to be drawn into any plan aimed at providing cover for the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip,” he adds.

“The UAE affirms that when a Palestinian government is formed that meets the hopes and aspirations of the brotherly Palestinian people and enjoys integrity, competence and independence, the state will be fully prepared to provide all forms of support to that government,” Bin Zayed says.

Emirati leaders have repeatedly asserted that they will not take part in the post-war management of Gaza absent Israel commitment to create a pathway to a future two-state solution — a framework Netanyahu opposes.

Some officials have suggested that Abu Dhabi has privately shown more flexibility.

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that five Arab countries “are prepared to help rebuild Gaza, prepared to help transition to a two-state solution… to maintain the security and peace while they’re working out a Palestinian Authority that’s real and not corrupt.”

Biden said he didn’t want to name. the five countries “because I don’t want to get them in trouble,” but he clearly appeared to be referring to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar.

Those five countries have established a forum in coordination with the US to craft a post-war vision for Gaza aimed at an eventual end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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