UAE cancels planned summit with Israel and Arab states over Netanyahu ‘electioneering’ concerns

The United Arab Emirates has canceled a state summit with Israel and Arab states that was due to be held in April over claims PM Benjamin Netanyahu had referenced his relationship with one of its leaders in a campaign rally.

Israeli media reported the cancelation on Thursday, stating that the summit was called off after Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was unhappy to hear that Netanyahu was apparently exploiting the states’ normalization deal for political purposes during his run for re-election.

 Netanyahu had claimed during a recent campaign rally that, during talks on normalizing relations between Israel and the Arab states, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince had personally guaranteed up to $10 billion in investment to the country.

The former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, seemingly confirmed the reason for the cancelation, tweeting on Thursday that “the UAE will not be a part in any internal electioneering in Israel, now or ever.”

The UAE is believed to have delayed a visit by Netanyahu, which was scheduled for Friday, until after the elections in Israel on March 23. It’s not currently known when the postponed visit will occur or if Netanyahu will still travel to the country. 

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The prime minister confirmed on Wednesday that his trip had been postponed, telling the country’s Army Radio that he would “not travel to Abu Dhabi before the elections.”

This is not the first time that Netanyahu’s travel to the UAE has been delayed. Last week, the Israeli leader called off a trip to the country when his aircraft was denied permission to enter Jordan’s airspace. The decision from Amman is believed to have been taken as a reciprocal measure after Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein Bin Abdullah’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was canceled, amid a dispute over security.

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