Yousef Al Otaiba with Mike Pompeo
Yousef Al Otaiba with Mike Pompeo REUTERS

A top diplomat from the United Arab Emirates warned Israel against implementing its plan to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, writing that the plan could disrupt the Middle East and threaten warming ties between Israel and parts of the Arab world.

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, published an opinion piece in Israel’s Yediot Aharonot Friday, urging Israel to abandon plans pushed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend Israeli sovereignty over roughly 30% of Judea and Samaria as part of the larger Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

“A unilateral and deliberate act, annexation is the illegal seizure of Palestinian land. It defies the Arab – and indeed the international - consensus on the Palestinian right to self-determination,” wrote Al Otaiba.

Representing one of America’s key Arab allies, Al Otaiba said the sovereignty plan would “send shock waves” across the Middle East, rocking other moderate Arab states, like Jordan.

“It will ignite violence and rouse extremists. It will send shock waves around the region, especially in Jordan whose stability - often taken for granted — benefits the entire region, particularly Israel.”

Al Otaiba added that the sovereignty plan could imperil Israel’s warming ties with moderate Arab states like the UAE, which have worked with Israel and the US to counter Iran’s military aspirations in the region and Tehran’s efforts to pursue its nuclear program.

“Annexation will certainly and immediately upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with UAE.”

“With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation.”

Al Otaiba’s opinion piece comes weeks after several ranking officials from moderate Arab countries told Israel Hayom that Arab states allied with the US tacitly accept the sovereignty plan, drawing criticism from the Palestinian Authority, which demanded ‘clarification’ from Arab states, lamenting that they had received no denial of the Israel Hayom report.