UAE denounces Netanyahu comments saying it could take part in civil administration in Gaza

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed says UAE 'refuses to be drawn into any plan aimed at providing cover for the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip'

Israeli soldiers operate a tank near the Gaza border in southern Israel. Reuters
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The UAE will not take part in a new civil administration in Gaza, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Friday, denouncing recent comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli leader said in an interview that Middle East countries, including the UAE, might join a civil administration of the Palestinian territory.

“The United Arab Emirates denounces the statements of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, about calling on the state to participate in the civil administration of the Gaza Strip, which is under Israeli occupation,” Sheikh Abdullah said in a post on X.

The Foreign Minister said that Israel did not have the authority to make such a decision.

“The UAE stresses that the Israeli Prime Minister does not have any legal capacity to take this step, and the state refuses to be drawn into any plan aimed at providing cover for the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Mr Netanyahu made his comments on the potential future of Gaza during an interview with American talk show host Dr Phil McGraw, which aired on Thursday.

McGraw asked the Israeli Prime Minister what would happen to Gaza after Hamas is defeated.

“We probably will have to have some kind of civilian government, some civil administration by Gazans that are not committed to our destruction, possibly with the aid of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other countries that, I think, want to see stability and peace,” Mr Netanyahu responded.

Sheikh Abdullah said, however, that the UAE believes the future of Gaza should be decided by its people.

“The UAE affirms that when a Palestinian government is formed that meets the hopes and aspirations of the brotherly Palestinian people and enjoys integrity, competence and independence, the state will be fully prepared to provide all forms of support to that government,” he said.

One UN expert expressed doubt over Israel's expectations that the UAE will play a role in Gaza's future administration.

"Knowing the region, I cannot see any circumstances under which the UAE and perhaps others would agree to join an interim Gaza civilian administration at Israel's request," said Nickolay Mladenov, a former UN special co-ordinator in Iraq.

"It could only happen upon the legitimate invitation of the Palestinian Authority, which would have to be run by a competent, non-factional government, undertaking much needed reforms, and seriously committed to rebuilding Gaza."

Updated: May 10, 2024, 10:55 PM