Senior UAE Official: We Have U.S., Israeli Assurances Annexation Is Halted

'We remain with the Arab consensus,' Jamal Al Musharakh says, as the first Israeli delegation holds talks in Abu Dhabi

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
Abu Dhabi
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White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2020.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien at Al Dhafra airbase in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2020. Credit: DAN WILLIAMS/ REUTERS
Noa Landau
Noa Landau
Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI — United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Jamal Al Musharakh said Tuesday, "We have assurances from the United States through trilateral dialogue," that Israel would not annex parts of the West Bank. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Abu Dhabi as Israeli and American delegations met with UAE officials, Al Musharakh, the director of the ministry's Policy Planning Department, added, "We remain with the Arab consensus... What we did was halt the annexation. The ultimate solution and the end solution is a Palestinian sustained solution."

When asked if moving annexation foward would cause the normalization process to fall apart, Al Musharakh said, "it does not. However, as we said, one of the prerequisites of the commencing of bilateral relations was halting the annexation." Al Musharakh said, "We cannot predict what Israel will do in the future, but we have assurances from the U.S. and through trilateral dialogue."

Al Musharakh added, "We've been very clear. This is for the benefit of not only two countries, but also for the Palestinians."

The Israeli-American delegation arrives at the airport in Abu Dhabi, August 31, 2020.
The Israeli-American delegation arrives at the airport in Abu Dhabi, August 31, 2020.Credit: WAM/Reuters

In regards to the Israeli invitation to receive a reciprocal delegation in Israel, Al Musharakh said he hopes to see this happen "sooner rather than later." Al Musharakh reiterated that the UAE embassy would be in Tel Aviv, not Jerusalem.

He said that the discussions thus far had been promising, saying "this will be a gradual process" that will be "beneficial for our two countries and the region as a whole."

Al Musharakh also commented on reports that part of the plan is an arms deal in which the United States would sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE. "These are longstanding requests we’ve had [to purchase the jets]. We see them as legitimate,” he said. “This wasn't the condition or the catalyst for this deal. The past few days have proven that the partnership [with Israel] is in several fields, and one isn't prioritized over the other."  

An Israeli delegation landed on Monday afternoon in Abu Dhabi to formalize the U.S.-brokered deal to normalize the country's relations with the United Arab Emirates.

The Israeli delegation is headed by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, joined by his U.S. counterpart Robert O'Brien and senior U.S. Presidential Adviser Jared Kushner.

Responding to a question by Haaretz upon his arrival to the UAE, Kushner said the Palestinians should come to the negotiating table. 

The Palestinians, however, have fiercely opposed the normalization as peeling away one of their few advantages in moribund peace talks with Israel. Palestinians have held public protests and burned the UAE flag in anger.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said it was “very painful” to see the flight, which he said was a “clear violation of the Arab position on the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

"We had hoped to see an Emirati plane landing in a liberated Jerusalem,” he added.

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