The United Arab Emirates’ normalization deal with Israel was not an anomaly but rather the beginning of a trend in the Arab world, Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, told an Israeli reporter in an exclusive interview Tuesday night.

“I don’t know which countries are ready or when they’ll be ready, but what we did actually broke the ice, broke the taboo that this is no longer impossible that it can be done,” he said.

“Bahrain did it very quickly after us, Sudan did it very quickly after them which tells you this is not an aberration. This isn’t one or two rogue countries going out of line and doing something unconventional. This is a trend.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that more Arab countries are expected to announce peace deals with Israel in the near future.

During the 10-minute interview with Yonit Levy, the anchor for Israel’s Channel 12 news, Otaiba — who we featured on All Arab News as “the most influential Arab ambassador In Washington” — also said he was not worried whether Joe Biden will try to return the U.S. to the Iranian nuclear deal. The Trump administration, he said, has provided the U.S. with great leverage.

“We think there should be a deal with Iran,” he said. “By all means let us have a negotiation.”


UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba on Israeli news. (Photo: screenshot)


“So now you have a new administration, but you also have a lot of leverage on them. Whether it’s sanctions, whether it’s COVID, whether it’s low oil prices, whether it’s the region and what it is going through in general, why are we not using this leverage to get a better deal?” he said. “I think the Biden administration is in a better position in the negotiations. Whether he wants to thank Trump for it or not is up to them.”

Otaiba also said it was Israel’s pursuit of annexation that pushed the UAE into a peace deal with the Jewish state this summer. Otaiba said that annexation would have had a negative impact in the region.

And he made it clear that the “two-state solution is the only game in town.”

“At the end of the day, the Abraham Accords created space for a two-state solution. We do need – you do need (as Israelis) – to move forward with a two-state solution,” Otaiba told Levy. “But this requires diplomacy and more importantly a willingness and political courage from the leaders to make the compromises that you have to make to get this issue resolved.”

Watch the full interview here


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