Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash (R) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS & MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel was in contact with half a dozen important Arab and Muslim states, a minister of a country believed to be one of those states – the United Arab Emirates – slammed Netanyahu for his comments about Israel being the nation-state only of the Jewish people.
“Not only are PM Netanyahu’s comments that ‘Israel is not a state for all its citizens’ repugnant, but they provide vindication sought by extremists,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, tweeted. “The road to peace is further undermined by this shameful approach.”
Netanyahu, speaking Tuesday at a memorial ceremony for Levi Eshkol, said that Israel is currently in contact with “half a dozen important Arab and Muslim countries that until recently were hostile to Israel.”
On Saturday evening, responding to an Instagram post by Israeli actress Rotem Sela saying that Israel is a country of all its citizens, Netanyahu took to Facebook and disagreed.
Gargash’s tweet came soon after a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Netanyahu's “blatant racism and discrimination,”
prompting Netanyahu to respond that it was a “joke” for “Turkish dictator Erdogan” to attack Israel’s democracy.
On Wednesday Erdogan, at a campaign rally in Ankara for his ruling Justice and Development Party contesting in local elections, shot back at Netanyahu, labeling him a “thief” – in reference to the indictments against him – and a “tyrant.”
“You are a tyrant. You are a tyrant who slaughters seven-year-old Palestinian kids,” Erdogan railed, continuing his pattern of stepping up anti-Israel rhetoric during Turkish election campaigns.
Erdogan slammed Israel’s decision to close the Temple Mount on Tuesday after a Molotov cocktail attack on a police station at the site.
“We will continue to fight till our last breath for the rights of the Palestinian people, and for al-Quds [Jerusalem] to be governed in a way that befits its importance for the Islamic world,” he said.
Netanyahu, for whom standing up to Erdogan could also be helpful with his electorate during his own election campaign, wasted no time in reacting, taking to Twitter to say that Erdogan is a “dictator who sends tens of thousands of political opponents to prison, commits genocide against the Kurds, and occupies Northern Cyprus.
“It’s best that he doesn’t get involved with Jerusalem, our capital for 3,000 years,” Netanyahu wrote. “Erdogan can only learn from us how to respect every religion and protect human rights.”
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