Kuwait is doubling down on its anti-Israel stance, days after Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced that they would be normalizing diplomatic relations, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported.
In a formal announcement issued, Kuwait said, "Our position toward Israel has not changed as a result of the deal to normalize relations with the UAE, and we will be the last to normalize ties.”
Dr. Michael Barak, a Middle East researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, told Israel Hayom that "the Muslim Brotherhood movement is very strong in Kuwait, and the state has very strong ties with the Palestinians."
"The Kuwaitis don't want to go back on their traditional support of the Palestinians, especially from the royal family, and the Arab national view that is still prominent in Kuwait. Those ties saw a major crisis because of the Palestinians' support for Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, but by 2015 relations were gradually restored," he added.
As for the Kuwaiti parliament, Barak noted that "the Muslim Brotherhood is a strong force there, and they are very close to the royal family, which tries to present itself as the defender of the Palestinians.
"In Kuwait, there are Salafi associations that transfer donations to Hamas, which shows us that their ties [to the Palestinians] aren't only with the PA leadership in Ramallah,” said Barak.
"These issues influence the royal family, which does not want a direct conflict with the many members of parliament from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafi parties, or the parties that hold a pan-Arab worldview," Barak explained.
Kuwait does not recognize Israel and has been in the headlines in the past following the refusal of its national airline, Kuwait Airways, to transport an Israeli citizen on a flight originating in Frankfurt.
The country has said it supports the Palestinian people in their quest to attain legitimate rights and its officials have made clear that Kuwait will continue to abstain from normalizing relations with Israel unless the demands of the Palestinian people have been met.