Yisrael Katz
Yisrael Katz Hillel Meir/TPS

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) claimed that there is no connection between the peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the decision to suspend the application of Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In an interview with Kan Bet Sunday morning, Minister Katz explained that the application of sovereignty was frozen even before the agreement with the United Arab Emirates, and that "presenting the agreement as related to it is more convenient for all the Arab nations."

Minister Katz, who served as Foreign Minister in the previous government, referred to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi's involvement and said: "When we overlapped, I recommended that he emphasize the move, I think he did not do that."

Later in the interview, Katz explained that the agreement with the UAE has positive potential for Israel. "The agreement can be a basis for a significant economic upgrade for Israel, along with things they need from us in agriculture, high-tech and water."

"There is a huge potential here, we can be their gateway to Europe and elsewhere," the finance minister explained.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash was interviewed over the weekend by La Figaro newspaper and said the agreement was intended first and foremost to remove from the agenda for good Israeli sovereignty moves in Judea and Samaria.

"The annexation could have eliminated any chance of the peace process. We have always worked in an attempt to promote peace in the Middle East and we assessed that the annexation is a tangible matter that could change all the dynamics and undermine the stability of the entire region," said Gargash.

"Although we have not set deadlines for the agreement, we want to advance it as quickly as possible. This is a historic opportunity but the pace of progress will be adjusted to the execution of the commitments made by Israel. We are convinced that everything will move quickly, due to the strategic breakthrough and willingness of both sides," the UAE foreign minister added.