JERUSALEM

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) envoy to Washington published an op-ed in one of the main Israeli daily newspaper Friday in a move toward normalization with Israel.

It is the first for Yousef Al-Otaiba since the deal was announced by US President Donald Trump last week and second after publishing his first article in June.

Al-Otaiba said the agreement with Israel would allow “direct” advocacy for the Palestinian cause, including the establishment of a sovereign state, now with “stronger” tools.

“As we have for fifty years, we will forcefully advocate for these ends,” he wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth.

“Now, we will do it directly, face to face and empowered with stronger incentives.”

Regarding Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank, he wrote: “recently, Israeli leaders have promoted excited talk about normalization of relations with the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states. But Israeli plans for annexation and talk of normalization are a contradiction.”

“We look forward to welcoming Israelis to visit their pavilion and more than 100 others at the World Expo in Dubai next October,” he said in the piece titled, “Shalom, salaam and welcome.” 

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

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

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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