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October 23, 2019
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UAE Minister calls for Arab ties with Israel

DUBAI: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said that the relations between the Arab countries and Israel need to shift in order to make progress towards peace with the Palestinians.

The Minister said that the decision of many Arab countries not to talk with Israel has complicated finding a solution over the decades.

UAE’s The National newspapers quoted Gargash as declaring the years-long Arab decision to halt contact with Israel as “a mistake.”

“Many, many years ago, when there was an Arab decision not to have contact with Israel, that was a very, very wrong decision, looking back,” Gargash stressed, calling on the Arab governments to “dissect and divide between having a political issue and keeping your [Arab states] lines of communication open.”

The UAE official added that he was expecting “increased contact” between the Arab countries and Israel through various bilateral deals and officials’ visits. He urged for what he described as a “strategic shift” between Israel and the Arab governments.

“The strategic shift needs actually for us to progress on the peace front,” he pointed out, warning that the two-state solution “will no longer be feasible because a sort of reduced rump [Palestinian] state will no longer be practical.”

Gargash’s remarks came after the UAE and other Gulf states had criticised the US President Donald Trump’s recognition earlier this week of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights – a strategic highland that was captured from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, during which Israel had defeated the Arab armies and conquered Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel currently has formal diplomatic relations with Egypt and Jordan only. It sees Arab states as natural allies against Iran.