The United Arab Emirates is considering reducing the level of its diplomatic representation in Israel following Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s remarks that “the Palestinian people do not exist,” Arabic media reported.
Emirati Foreign Ministry officials ordered the UAE’s ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Al Khaja, not to meet with Israeli government representatives, it was reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has denied Channel 12 claims that Israel is in a crisis of relations with the UAE after the country announced it planned to stop buying Israeli defense systems in protest of the policies and rhetoric of the Netanyahu administration.
“Until we are sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu has a government he can control, we cannot operate jointly,” Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed reportedly told Israeli officials.
Last month, the Emirates also condemned other statements by Smotrich when he said that the Palestinian town of Huwara should be razed to the ground. He later apologized for his remarks.
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