Yousef Al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, claimed during an event marking the first anniversary of the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, that his country’s decision to conclude this agreement “saved the two-state solution,” according to the British Middle East Eye report.
A year after the Emirati-Israeli normalization, which launched the so-called Abraham Peace Agreements, which launched a wave of normalization that the UAE was its godfather, and included, along with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, the UAE is trying to defend what it describes as “normalization gains” in the face of criticism.
Youssef Al-Otaiba and “saving” the two-state solution from his point of view
During the event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, Yousef Al-Otaiba claimed that if “the oil-rich country had not succeeded in concluding the Abraham Accords… Israel would most likely have annexed part of the Palestinian territories, and the two-state solution would have ended.”
As the Emirati official said, “This is probably the biggest concession that has been reached in favor of the Palestinian cause in the past 25 years.”
While Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States, said: “I believe that the Abraham agreements bring us one step closer to a comprehensive peace in the region, and set an example for others in the region.”
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Al Khalifa claimed that these agreements defused tensions faster than in previous conflicts. “I believe that these agreements have played an important role in reducing tensions,” he said.
Israel rejects the two-state solution
However, officials in Israel have repeatedly stressed their rejection of the principle of a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that his country’s government headed by Naftali Bennett will not conclude an agreement with the Palestinians for a two-state solution.
Last August, the Jerusalem Post quoted Israeli Channel 11 as saying that it was not possible to conclude an agreement for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during Naftali Bennett’s presidency.
He added: “The two-state solution will not happen within this rotation of the government, and there is no agreement on that.” In response to a question about changing the situation if he takes over as prime minister of the Israeli government, Lapid said, “It could happen.”
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The right-wing Bennett categorically opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, while the centrist Lapid supports separation from the Palestinians, without agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.
US support for Emirati-Israeli normalization
On the other hand, Al-Otaiba said that he sees the normalization agreements enjoying broad bipartisan support in Washington. “In all my conversations with the Biden administration, I found welcome and support, and this was a great achievement… Now we have to show that support.”
But speaking on the sidelines of the event, Erdan told The Times of Israel that the White House supports a two-state solution, but the Israeli government is “thinking differently.”
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“The current Israeli government thinks differently, and sees that it cannot be achieved at the moment,” Erdan said. Even the Biden administration, when it talks to us, realizes that there is nothing that can be achieved right now.”
Erdan added that Israel and the United States are focusing on providing economic projects to the Palestinians. The ambassador said: “The two-state option is not on the table, so we focus on what unites us and not what divides us.”
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