Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Gulf states rebuke, reach out to Israel

AP, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

Tough rhetoric aside, Israeli businessmen are known to work in the UAE, often traveling in on US or European passports. The UAE hosts an Israeli representative to the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, while Israeli judo stars spar in annual competitions in the Emirati capital.

Among Arab Gulf states, Qatar’s statement was the most fiercely worded. It described the violence as a “brutal massacre and systematic killing committed by the Israeli occupation forces against unarmed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including children and women, during their peaceful and legitimate protest.”

Qatari leaders have spent millions of dollars on rebuilding the Gaza Strip and, in coordination with Israel, supplying humanitarian aid there. Qatar has also hosted Hamas leaders over the years.

However, even as it has provided aid to the Palestinians, Qatar has welcomed prominent pro-Israel figures from the US over the past year for conversations with the ruling emir.

Qatar’s outreach appears to be driven by an effort to maneuver politically in the face of a nearly year-long blockade by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

The standoff was ignited in part by Qatar’s support of extremist groups, such as Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and has fought three wars against Israel. The other Arab states are also angered by Qatar’s warm relations with Iran.

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