JERUSALEM 

Internal Israeli disagreements have led to the postponement of a visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to finalize details of a deal to normalize relations between the two countries, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday.

The daily said the disagreements have arisen over the composition of an Israeli delegation that will travel to the Gulf state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assigned the head of the Israeli National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabat, to form the delegation.

“The Israeli delegation that was meant to leave for the Gulf for those talks is being delayed by disagreements on the division of authority between the National Security Council, Mossad and Foreign Ministry,” Haaretz said.

According to the newspaper, Foreign Ministry representatives have already travelled to Abu Dhabi to check out buildings that might house the Israeli embassy.

Haaretz said many cabinet members, particularly those from Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s White and Blue coalition, are angry with the way Netanyahu conducted the talks with the UAE “while circumventing the Foreign Ministry and keeping Gantz and [Foreign Minister Gabi] Ashkenazi in the dark.”

“Instead of using people from the Foreign Ministry who had been working for years to strengthen ties with the Gulf state, Netanyahu sent his close associate, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, and Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer to conduct the talks practically by themselves,” the newspaper said.

According to the report, the Israeli-UAE talks have been taking place over the past two months, since the US administration suggested delaying the annexation plan “in exchange for normalizing relations with the Gulf state.”

The UAE is the first Gulf state and third Arab nation to have full diplomatic relations with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.

Despite reports that the deal halted Israel’s controversial plan to annex parts of the West Bank, Netanyahu confirmed his government’s continued commitment to the annexation plan.

Palestinian groups denounced the deal, saying it does nothing to serve the Palestinian cause and ignores the rights of Palestinians.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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