The United Arab Emirates plans to maintain diplomatic ties with Israel despite international outcry over the mounting toll of the war in Gaza.
According to Reuters, the UAE hopes to have some moderating influence over the Israeli campaign while safeguarding its own interests.
The UAE became the most prominent Arab state to establish diplomatic ties with Israel in 30 years under the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020. That paved the way for other Arab states to forge their own ties with Israel by breaking a taboo on normalizing relations without the creation of a Palestinian state.
The mounting death toll from Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip – launched in retaliation for cross-border attacks on October 7 by the Hamas militant group that governs the enclave – have stirred outrage in Arab capitals.
UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan spoke last month with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. UAE officials have publicly condemned Israel's actions and repeatedly called for an end to the violence.
As well as speaking to Israel, the UAE has worked to moderate public positions taken by Arab states so that once the war ends there is the possibility of a return to a broad dialogue.
Despite closer economic and security ties with Israel forged over the past three years, Abu Dhabi has had little apparent success in reining in the Gaza offensive.
Israel has rejected international calls for an immediate ceasefire. Netanyahu has pledged to destroy Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
While criticizing Israel's conduct of the war, Abu Dhabi has also condemned Hamas for its attack. The UAE sees the Palestinian militant group and other Islamists as a threat to the stability of the Middle East and beyond.