The British Financial Times newspaper - quoting Israeli and Western officials - said that the UAE has reduced its official contacts with Israel in protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to invest his relationship with Abu Dhabi in his election campaign, thus triggering the first diplomatic crisis between the two countries since normalization. Relations between them last year.
The newspaper stated in a report that the UAE has worked enthusiastically - since the announcement of the agreement to normalize relations with Tel Aviv, or what was known as the "Abraham Agreement" last August - to strengthen its commercial and strategic ties that were previously secret with the Jewish state, which strengthened relations. The two countries are culturally, tourist and investment-friendly
But Abu Dhabi was shocked - according to the report - by Netanyahu's determination to exploit this bilateral relationship to achieve gains in the upcoming Israeli elections next week.
The newspaper stated, according to two unnamed Israeli officials, that the Emiratis were particularly disturbed when Netanyahu’s office leaked to the Israeli media the contents of his first visit to the Emirates, which was supposed to witness secret talks about "Iranian aggressions."
The flight, which was scheduled to take place last week, was canceled at the last minute, due to a dispute with Jordan over granting Netanyahu's plane permission to cross its airspace.
Israel normalized its relations with the UAE according to an agreement signed during the era of former US President Donald Trump (European)
Irritated and upset
The two Israeli officials explain that the Emiratis were angry and upset, especially because of Netanyahu's team's insistence on converting what was supposed to be a "quiet visit" into something resembling a state visit accompanied by his wife.
Israeli and Western officials confirmed that the UAE has since reduced official contacts with the Israelis to a "minimum", at least until the election hype ends and the new prime minister emerges.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who is considered the longest in office - hopes that the upcoming elections will break the political deadlock that pushed the Israelis to the polling stations for the fourth time in two years, but this path may be long and take weeks if not months, according to the newspaper.
The UAE expressed this dissatisfaction through "veiled statements." Anwar Gargash, an advisor to the President of the United Arab Emirates, said that the agreements provided a basis for peace with Israel and the entire region, adding - in a tweet he posted on his Twitter account - that "the UAE will not be part of any Internal election propaganda in Israel ... now or at any other time. "
For his part, Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technologies, Sultan Al-Jaber, affirmed that the Emirati investment package in Israel, amounting to 10 billion dollars, is based "on purely commercial goals and has nothing to do with politics."
According to the newspaper, this is not the first time that Netanyahu has raised the discontent of Arab countries with whom he would like to approach them.
Last November, Saudi Arabia felt anger and embarrassment after Israel leaked the news of a secret trip by Netanyahu to the kingdom to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the country.
This meeting came at a time when the Trump administration was seeking to persuade Riyadh to follow in the footsteps of the Emirates and announce the normalization of relations with Israel, and that leak led to the postponement of the ceremony for the signing of the agreement to normalize relations between Israel and Sudan in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Israeli, American and Arab officials.
According to Israeli officials, the Emiratis received from their Israeli counterparts a few days ago documents related to areas of joint economic cooperation, including the Emirati Investment Fund in Israel, worth $ 10 billion, and then ignored contact with the Israelis to follow up on these files.
An Israeli businessman said that he is considering rescheduling his trips to the UAE because he does not want politics to overshadow his meetings there regarding investments in agricultural technology. “It is just a waste of time at the moment, for the Emiratis there is one overt front, if the government is happy,” he added. My customers will be happy with the trade exchange, and during this time things are not going well. "
Officials and observers suspect that the UAE's annoyance over Netanyahu’s attempt to exploit his relationship with Abu Dhabi for electoral purposes weakens the foundations on which the normalization deal between the two countries was based, including the security cooperation files against Iran, bilateral investments and tourism exchange.
"It is imperative that this relationship with Israel - which remains controversial for many in the Arab world - is subject to politicization," says Senzia Bianco, a researcher specializing in Middle East affairs at the European Council's Institute for Foreign Relations.
She added that "the occurrence of some public disagreements is natural, but the possibilities offered by the agreement are very attractive, and the size of the Emirati interests in partnership with Israel in the fields of technology, biotechnology, financial and artificial intelligence should not be underestimated."