UAE: Palestinian state at ’67 lines a must despite peace deal with Israel

Palestinians have charged that the UAE and Bahrain had betrayed them by singing normalization deals with Israel.

United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 28, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 28, 2019
The United Arab Emirates will insist on a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the pre-1967 lines in spite of the peace deal it signed with Israel earlier this month, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed told the UN General Assembly.
“The call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with east Jerusalem as its capital in line with the relevant international resolutions and the Arab and international consensus will remain a firm demand,” he said on Tuesday.
Palestinians have said the UAE and Bahrain betrayed them by signing normalization deals with Israel. Leaders of the two countries have insisted that normalization with Israel and a Palestinian state at the pre-1967 lines can go hand in hand, even if brokered by the US, which along with Israel rejects those borders.
US President Donald Trump’s peace plan allows for Israel to annex up to 30% of the West Bank and recognizes its sovereignty over most of Jerusalem, including the Old City. But Israel agreed to suspend annexation in favor of a deal with the UAE.
The UAE would reject any Israeli effort to annex portions of the West Bank, bin Zayed told the General Assembly in a virtual address.
“My country has made persistent efforts using all available diplomatic channels to affirm our total rejection of the annexation of Palestinian territory, and we have warned of its impact on all parties and on the security of the region,” he said.
“With the signing of a historic peace accord with Israel, supported by American efforts, my country was able to freeze the annexation decision and opened broad prospects to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region,” he added.
Bin Zayed said he hopes the deal with Israel would “provide the opportunity for the Palestinians and the Israelis to reengage in negotiations to achieve peace.”
Bahrain expressed the same stance when it addressed the General Assembly last week.
Separately, bin Zayed said he is hopeful about the impact of the burgeoning Israeli-UAE ties.
“We will work to ensure that the peace accord will open new intellectual horizons in the region and create a prosperous path for future generations, who deserve a stable region and a better reality than wars and poverty,” bin Zayed said.
Israel’s deals with Bahrain and the UAE are part of a newly forming Middle East alliance against Tehran, which has come about just as the UN Security Council arms embargo against Iran is set to expire on October 18.
In advance of that deadline, the US has stepped up efforts to put an end to the Iran deal by reimposing international sanctions against Iran that would include an arms embargo. It hopes to pressure Iran into negotiating a new deal that would better eliminate its weapons threat, including ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Iran should “abide by Security Council resolutions by stopping the development of its ballistic-missile programs and ceasing the arming of terrorist groups,” bin Zayed said.
“In this context, my country is particularly concerned that the restrictions imposed on Iran under the nuclear agreement are soon due to expire,” he said.
Bin Zayed said he hopes a new agreement would be put in place that “addresses the concerns of states in the region and that makes them key partners in drafting the terms of the agreement.”
The US was one of six initial signatories to the 2015 Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The others were Russia, China, France, the UK and Germany.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the General Assembly he feels the JCPOA remains the best vehicle to prevent a nuclear Iran.
“We share the concerns about the end of the arms embargo as long as Iran threatens Israel and destabilizes the entire region from Lebanon to Syria to Yemen,” he said. “However, the destruction of the JCPOA doesn’t get us any closer to an arms embargo. On the contrary, at best, the JCPOA’s demise brings Iran closer to getting the atomic bomb.
“And this is why we, as JCPOA participants, continue to stand by its full applicability and call on Iran to likewise fully comply with the agreement,” Maas said.
Separately, the UAE on Tuesday announced it plans to seek one of five available UN Security Council seats in the June 2021 election, according to the Emirates News Agency. There are 15 UNSC seats. Five are permanent, and 10 are elected by the General Assembly and filled for two-year terms.