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UAE leaders are "baffled," "baffled," and "baffled" by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on the possibility of annexing parts of the West Bank, Rabbi Marc Schneier said on Wednesday after meetings in Abu Dhabi. the beginning of the week.
"I have heard from a number of UAE officials that they are confused by the confusing messages and that, while acknowledging the prime minister's desire to establish relations with the Gulf States, they are confused and perplexed by their comments about the annexation of the West Bank." said.
Schneier, a Long Island rabbi who runs the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an organization that promotes ties between Jews and Islamists, often travels to the Gulf state. While there, he interacts with several Arab leaders and discusses not only relations between Jews and Muslims – he was in Abu Dhabi from Thursday to Monday discussing various interfaith initiatives – but also about the ties between Israel and the Arab world .
Schneier said that, despite all the "euphoria" about the flowering of ties between Israel and the Persian Gulf countries, "the situation of the Palestinians is of paramount importance." Some people are under the misconception that they do not care about the Palestinian cause anymore, but it is of the utmost importance to them, and to think otherwise is completely wrong. "
The rabbi would not identify the leaders with whom he spoke, in addition to saying that they were senior UAE officials with whom he regularly engages. He said his message to Netanyahu was to be careful about how his message is heard, not only among the leaders of the Arab world, but also among the masses.
Despite his concern about Netanyahu's comments, Schneier would not characterize the reaction in the Gulf to Netanyahu's re-election as "disappointment."
Instead, he said, Gulf leaders were "concerned about the election results" and with the prospect of forming a far-right coalition. "I mentioned that a right-wing coalition was needed to make peace with Egypt," he said, referring to the Israel-Egypt peace agreement signed by Menachem Begin in 1979.
He estimated that re-election of Netanyahu would not delay the process of strengthening ties between Israel and the Gulf states, and that there is a feeling that "now we can just click the play button, and we do not have to go to the beginning of the process . I think there is a moment, and the election has not defined anything back. "
On the long-awaited US administration's peace plan, which is expected to be implemented in the coming months, Schneier said it is clear to the Gulf that "they will be playing a very significant role from the economic standpoint." . There are many who believe that this latest peace initiative is very economically driven, bringing financial and economic empowerment to the Palestinians. "
Schneier said that the involvement of the Persian Gulf should be "very large".
"They are no longer just standing, looking in," he said. "They will be very involved."
Schneier said the Persian Gulf states feel they are currently facing two existential threats: Iran, and the economic challenges caused by the fall in international dependence on oil and the need to recalibrate its economy. Israel, he said, is seen in the Persian Gulf as a country that can help them cope with these two challenges, even in a time when there will be a different – and perhaps less sympathetic – US president.
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