Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tony Blair's role in normalising relations between Israel, UAE

September 10, 2020 at 11:36 am

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in Jerusalem on 15 July 2014 [Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images]

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was a key figure in laying the foundations for the Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) peace agreement through his secret operations over many years.

Israel Hayom reported that the former UK prime minister was a mediator between Israel and the UAE as he travelled between London, Abu Dhabi and Nicosia to hold a series of clandestine meetings with lawyer Yitzhak Molcho, a former special envoy of Benjamin Netanyahu and a UAE government minister.

These private meetings initiated by Blair in 2015, and continuing over the years, have set the stage for the Israeli-Emirati alliance and the normalisation of relations between the two countries, Blair confirmed in an interview with the Israeli newspaper.

According to Israel Hayom, the secret meetings were held between 2015 and 2018 until the forced resignation of Netanyahu’s advisor and special envoy, who was accused of corruption in the submarine agreement, known as “Case 3000”.

READ: US’ Trump nominated for Nobel Peace Prize after UAE-Israel ‘peace deal’

The meetings between Molcho and the Emirati minister took place in London, Nicosia and Abu Dhabi, where they were initially held with Blair’s participation, but later Blair revealed that: “The relationship had been renewed and had taken a particular turning point.”

During his mission, Molcho transmitted messages from Netanyahu to the UAE. Later, the growing relationship led to telephone conversations between Netanyahu and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. He also organised two meetings in 2018 between Netanyahu and Bin Zayed.

The negotiations have led to the rebuilding of trust between Israel and the UAE after a five-year interruption, due to accusations that Israel assassinated Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in a hotel in Dubai in January 2010.

In the press interview, Blair stressed that the Israeli willingness to suspend the imposition of sovereignty over parts of the West Bank has helped create an opportunity to establish public relations: “But the incursion came after a deep-rooted process that lasted several years, and without it, nothing would have happened.”

READ: UAE urges hotels to accommodate Jewish food needs