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Abu Dhabi crown prince says committed to Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital

Reuters , Monday 31 Aug 2020
UAE Israel visit
Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, U.S. President's senior adviser Jared Kushner and UAE's National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020.
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The Abu Dhabi crown prince said on Monday that the United Arab Emirates is committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV reported.

In a statement read by UAE's foreign minister Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said to the Palestinian community in the country that the normalistion deal with Israel was a sovereign decision in the favour of peace.

"Peace is a strategic choice, but not at the expense of the Palestinian cause," he said according to Al Arabiya. 

In a joint statement, the UAE, Israel and the United States urged Palestinian leaders to re-engage with their Israeli counterparts.

Senior U.S. and Israeli officials landed in the United Arab Emirates on Monday on a historic trip to finalise a pact marking open relations between Israel and the Gulf state, and they told Palestinians it was now time for them to negotiate peace.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner also said on arrival that Washington could help maintain Israel's military edge while advancing its ties to the UAE, the Arab world's second largest economy and a regional power.

Announced on Aug. 13, the normalisation deal is the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years and was forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE's move, seeing it as a betrayal that would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position which calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.

Kushner said Palestinians should not be "stuck in the past".

"They have to come to the table. Peace will be ready for them, an opportunity will be ready for them as soon as they are ready to embrace it," said Kushner, part of a U.S. delegation that accompanied Israeli officials on the first official Israeli flight from Tel Aviv to the UAE.

Kushner and U.S. national security adviser Robert O'Brien headed the U.S. delegation on the two-day visit. The Israeli team was led by O'Brien's counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates will discuss economic, scientific, trade and cultural cooperation on the visit. Direct flights between the two countries will also be on the agenda, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told al Arabiya television after landing in Abu Dhabi.

"That's what peace for peace looks like," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, describing a deal for formal ties with an Arab state that does not entail handover of land that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

At a news conference in Jerusalem late on Monday, Netanyahu said: "It will be a warm peace because it will be based on cooperation in the realm of economics, with an entrepreneurial economy like ours, with vast economic capabilities, with big money looking for investment channels."

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