UAE ‘will never abandon’ Palestinians, senior official says after Israel deal

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After normalizing relations with Israel, the UAE wants Palestinians to know it will never abandon them, a senior UAE official told Al Arabiya English on Thursday.

“We continue to emphasize on all levels, from our leadership to our citizens, that we will never abandon the Palestinians, we will always be there for them,” said Jamal Al Musharakh, director of policy planning at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Our message is that we stand by Palestine, we stand for the two-state solution, and we will never abandon our Palestinian brothers and sisters,” said Al Musharakh, adding that Palestinians are a core segment of UAE society.

The remarks come two days after the UAE and Israel signed an agreement at the White House to officially normalize relations – a move condemned by Palestinian leaders including President Mahmoud Abbas.

But criticism of the agreement fails to acknowledge that “one of the prerequisites of going forward with this accord was halting annexation of Palestinian land,” according to Al Musharakh.

Israel halted its plans to annex Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory in August, in exchange for the normalization of diplomatic ties with the UAE.

“What we have done is provide hope for the future of the two-state solution, for the Palestinians to have their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said Al Musharakh.

East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine

The UAE still supports, and will always support, East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, according to Al Musharakh.

“The UAE is within the Arab consensus, which very clearly mentions that East Jerusalem is the capital of a future Palestinian state, and we still stand by that,” said Al Musharakh.

“We have not backtracked on this and we never will,” he added.

The Trump administration told Al Arabiya English last month that it continues to back an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite Arab allies like the UAE maintaining their stance of East Jerusalem being designated the capital for a Palestinian state.

Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which supports a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calls for an “united” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and assigns a future Palestinian capital to be in a suburb area to the east of the city of Jerusalem.

Palestinian, Arab, and other world leaders have long contended that any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement must return territory Israel annexed in the 1967 war, as stated by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

This annexed territory includes the part of the city known as East Jerusalem - where 360,000 Palestinians currently live under Israeli occupation.

Seventy-two percent of Palestinian families in Jerusalem are living below the poverty line, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

The UAE has been one of the top financial donors to the Palestinians throughout the years, and will continue to provide this support, according to Al Musharakh.

The UAE ranked fifth in countries that donated the most to the UN’s special agency for Palestinians last year, contributing over $51.8 million.

“The end goal is the prosperity for the region, for the Palestinians and for the youth of Palestine,” said Al Musharakh.

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