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Abu Dhabi office approval shows that Israel 'is not living in isolation'

In an obvious celebration of the decision, Israeli officials are looking at Abu Dhabi’s approval for the Zionist state to open a representative office in the Emirates as a sign that “it is not living in regional isolation”.

Speaking on Saturday’s weekly “Yuman” news programme on Israeli television’s Channel One, the chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, Tzachi Hanegbi, said: “The Abu Dhabi decision shows that the strong and firm policy adopted by our government against the Palestinians does not bar some Arab states, who do not have diplomatic relations with us, from showing interest in widening the scope for recognising us and showing readiness to cooperate with us.”

He clearly regarded the Abu Dhabi decision to be a victory for Israel under the policies adopted by the right-ring government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. “This accomplishment offers the government an opportunity to provide further evidence to the Israeli public that its political and security agenda serves the national interests of the state of Israel,” he stressed. Indeed, according to Hanegbi, the go-ahead for the office in the UAE is an “appropriate response” to the claims made by left-wing and media elites inside Israel who accuse the Netanyahu government of undermining Israel's standing through its policies against the Palestinians.

Ehud Yiaari, the Arab affairs commentator on Israel's Channel Two TV, implied that the Abu Dhabi decision is the tip of the iceberg in relations between Israel and the UAE; communication and cooperation is, it seems, nothing new. The decision to open the Israeli office in the UAE, he suggested, simply moves the relationship into a public, rather than secret, phase.

Pointing out that some of the Gulf media elites are no longer reluctant to call for bolstering relations with Tel Aviv, Yiaari noted an article that was published on Friday in one of the local newspapers in which the writer called for the Arabs not to regard Israel as an “enemy state” on the grounds that it has never occupied Gulf territories.

On Hebrew radio last Thursday, Israel’s Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, was quoted as saying that the Abu Dhabi decision was “an important political and propaganda achievement for Israel.” He pointed out that the decision is contrary to the general trend against Israel within world politics. “This helps us in our fight against international sanctions because this decision is saying to the BDS movement and those who stand behind it that you cannot be more royal than the king himself,” he explained. “So, if the Arabs are keen on communicating with us, whatever you do is of no value.”

On a related note, the International Judo Federation announced recently that the Israeli team will participate in the World Peace Judo Championship to be held in Abu Dhabi next year.

Translated from Arabi 21.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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