Normalisation with Israel: What does the UAE seek?

Sami Hamdi

When the UAE announced normalisation of ties with Israel, they expected to be embraced as an equal partner. However, Netanyahu proceeded to humiliate Abu Dhabi, openly calling on the US not to sell the F-35s that UAE officials had claimed were part of the deal, and proceeding to go to war with Gaza despite UAE’s Mohamed Bin Zayed announcing he had negotiated in Palestine’s interests.

The extent of Israel’s humiliation of the UAE was not lost on Oman and Sudan who received an eager US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo keen to convince these countries to follow the UAE lead. Failing to see any tangible benefits to normalisation for the UAE, these countries roundly rejected Pompeo’s overtures, leading to annoyance in the White House and a bid to encourage Tel Aviv to revive its position. Meanwhile, the UAE has exerted immense pressure in conjunction with Riyadh on economically beleaguered Bahrain in a bid to enhance its standing with Trump, in a bid to encourage Washington to ignore Israel’s protestations. This briefing assesses what the UAE seeks to realistically achieve through normalisation of ties with Israel.