Israel is heading to the polls next week for the fourth time in two years and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to capitalize on his new partnership with the United Arab Emirates in his desperate campaign to stay in power
As Israel heads to the polls next week for the fourth time in two years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to capitalize on his new partnership with the United Arab Emirates in his desperate campaign to stay in power.
But the UAE has been mostly muted — and perhaps unimpressed — in response to Netanyahu’s ebullient descriptions of billions in Emirati commercial investments and promises of a historic meeting with the powerful Abu Dhabi crown prince. One Emirati official said the federation will not get involved in Israel’s electioneering, “now or ever.”
The conflicting signals from the countries, which normalized relations in a breakthrough U.S.-brokered agreement last fall, have set off a firestorm of speculation, highlighted the political differences between the sides and undermined Netanyahu’s talking points about the Gulf Arab sheikhdom’s friendly embrace.
“The honeymoon ended quickly,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent Emirati political scientist, tweeted on Thursday.
Locked in a tight re-election battle, Netanyahu repeatedly has tried to score a lightning trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, to brandish his diplomatic achievement. The visit promised little of substance beyond a valuable photo-op for Netanyahu, who has sought to present himself as an indispensable statesman uniquely qualified to turn Israel’s enemies into allies and guide his nation through turbulent times.