Heard the one about Israel and the Emiratis?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL January 11, 2024

We owe it to Axios’s Barak Ravid that the world has been informed about the limits (or lack of) in Israel’s position on the Palestinian people.

I say Israel, but better to be accurate: Bibi Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, seems to respect no limits with regard to the Palestinian people.

Mr Netanyahu, of course, is a man who’s hanging on to office for dear life and prolonging the three-month brutal military offensive against a vulnerable people seems to be his one way to do that. So long as Israel continues its military offensive – against Hamas, against the Palestinian people – Israel will probably be unable to hold an election, which would almost certainly see Mr Netanyahu forced from office.

For all that Mr Netanyahu specialises in no-limits effrontery his most recent demonstration of gall is breathtaking. Apparently, he asked the UAE’s president if his country would pay “unemployment” stipends to Palestinian workers from the occupied West Bank, whom Israel  barred from entering its territory after the October 7 Hamas attack.

More than 100,000 Palestinians, who live in the West Bank, worked in Israel before October 7. Now, they have neither work nor pay, which makes for worsening conditions in the territory. When Mr Netanyahu asked Emirati president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) for help, Axios quotes an unnamed Israeli official to explain what happened next.

The official reportedly said MBZ was stunned and could hardly believe Israel’s prime minister thought he would be willing to pay for a problem that was created due to Israel’s decision not to allow the workers in.

Axios also quotes Israeli and US officials saying that Israel wants the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to take charge of rebuilding Gaza after the war. However, the Emiratis have a red line on that – it’s called progressing towards a two-state solution.

But Israel and Mr Netanyahu aren’t talking about that…at all.

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