‘Very wrong’: Top UAE minister slams boycott of Israel, urges ‘shift’ in Arab world

The United Arab Emirates’ Anwar Mohammed Gargash foresees strengthening ties between Israel and Arab states in the near future and a closing window of opportunity for the Palestinians.

By World Israel News Staff

Speaking on the heels of the international Ideas Abu Dhabi conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital, Emirati Minister of State Anwar Mohammed Gargash predicted a “significant shift” in Israel’s relations with the Arab world in the coming years.

According to Gargash, the longstanding boycott of the Jewish state maintained by most nations in the Arab world was a major misstep.

“Many, many years ago, when there was an Arab decision not to have contact with Israel, that was a very, very wrong decision looking back,” Gargash told The National, a UAE-based English-language news service. “Because clearly, you have to really dissect and divide between having a political issue and keeping your lines of communication open.”

In addition to bilateral agreements between Arab states and Israel, political visits, and ramped up cultural exchanges, Gargash told The National he foresees a shift with regard to “progress on the peace front” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“I know that this conversation is there right now but it’s on the margins. But this conversation will shift because a two-state solution will no longer be feasible because a sort of reduced rump state will no longer be practical,” he explained.

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He added, “I think [in] 10 to 15 years, the discussion will be: what is the nature of the Israeli state, what are the rights of the Palestinians within that Israeli state?”

According to Gargash, the region needs a “more stable system” to resolve issues like the Yemen civil war, the Syrian crisis, and the Israel-Palestine conflict between themselves.

Gargash also took aim at “political Islam” as a system of government, which he deemed a “total failure.”

“If you look at political Islamists, they took over Egypt,” he said. “If you look at their literature they have hundreds of books on segregation between men and women. And they have very, very little on running a modern economy.”