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Public support for normalising ties with Israel declines sharply in Gulf

July 19, 2022 at 10:17 am

The Emirati, Israeli and US flags are picture attached to an air-plane of Israel’s El Al, adorned with the word “peace” in Arabic, English and Hebrew, upon it’s arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport in the first-ever commercial flight from Israel to the UAE, on August 31, 2020 [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

Public support for the normalisation of ties with Israel has declined sharply in three Gulf states, a survey conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (TWI) has found.

The results of the survey, the TWI said, demonstrated that the percentage of those who view the Abraham Accords favourably in Saudi Arabia (KSA), Bahrain and the UAE has dropped.

According to TWI, the new survey was compared to polling from 2020, noting that more than two thirds of citizens in Bahrain, KSA and the UAE now view the Abraham Accords unfavourably.

“Current attitudes contrast with the relative optimism exhibited by a significant percentage of Emiratis, Bahrainis, Saudis and even some Egyptians in the months after the announcement of the Abraham Accords,” TWI said.

“When first polled in November 2020, attitudes in the UAE and Bahrain were effectively split as to whether they saw the agreement in a positive or negative light,” it said.

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It added: “Apart from the people of the signatory countries, 40 per cent of Saudis and Qataris then also supported the Accords. Now, the percentage of those who see the agreement in a positive light hover between 19 per cent to 25 per cent in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE.”

The 2020 poll found 47 per cent of the citizens in the UAE supported normalisation, while the new poll found this had fallen to just 20 per cent, while 76 per cent oppose it.

Bahrain and the UAE signed normalisation agreements under the auspices of former US President Donald Trump, while KSA, which has secret ties with Israel, has yet to join the agreement.