Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

UAE Sides with Israel, Condemns Hamas for ‘Nihilistic Destruction’

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a statement Sunday directly condemning the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas for a bloody terror spree that has left over 700 dead since early Saturday, urging the region to avoid following the group toward “nihilistic destruction.”

The UAE is one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential explicitly Islamic governments. Abu Dhabi’s condemnation of Hamas and extension of condolences to the majority-Jewish victims of the Hamas rapes, abductions, and massacres on Saturday is a dramatic contrast in tone from neighboring Iran – where the regime threw a street party to celebrate the killings, complete with a fireworks display – and the eruption of pro-Hamas rallies and celebrations around the world, including in the United States.

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In the official statement, the Ministry “stressed that attacks by Hamas against Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza strip, including the firing of thousands of rockets at population centers, are a serious and grave escalation.”

“The Ministry is appalled by reports that Israeli civilians have been abducted as hostages from their homes,” the Emirati government asserted. “Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict.”

The government also ensured to send “condolences to the families of the victims and urge […] all diplomatic efforts to prevent a wider regional confrontation.” It encouraged Israel and Palestinian groups to seek to “de-escalate and avoid an expansion of the heinous violence with tragic consequences affecting civilian lives and facilities.”

The Associated Press

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai, center, on March 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The statement concluded with an appeal to other countries in the region and the world to avoid following Hamas in embracing crimes against humanity as a valid political option. It also asserted the country was “in close contact” with relevant partners, presumably including Israel.

“The UAE reaffirmed that the international community must remain resolute in the face of these violent attempts to derail ongoing regional efforts aimed at dialogue, cooperation, and co-existence,” it stated, “and must not allow nihilistic destruction to overtake a region whose people have already suffered enough war and trauma.”

Hamas terrorists swept residential communities and mass events, including a music festival, in Israel on Saturday, opening fire on civilians, abducting families from their homes, and desecrating corpses on video. At press time, Israeli authorities have confirmed that over 700 people were killed and over 2,200 wounded. An unknown number of civilians remain abducted by Hamas terrorists at press time; it is unclear if they are alive or dead.

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The attack, which remains an ongoing siege of the country, resulted in what experts identified as the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Israel formally declared itself in a state of war on Sunday, the first time in half a century it has done so. The Palestinian terror attack happened on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the final day of the annual High Holy Day cycle.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed Sunday that the administration of leftist President Joe Biden believes Americans were killed and kidnapped during the siege. Blinken’s State Department initially responded to early reports of the attacks by urging Israel not to defend itself.

“We unequivocally condemn the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing,” the State Department’s U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs wrote on Twitter on Saturday, in a tweet since deleted.

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The UAE’s unequivocal condemnation of Hamas follows a rapid warming in relations between Israel and the UAE that began with the Abraham Accords, a series of agreements signed under former President Donald Trump in 2020. The Abraham Accords brought Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain together at the White House to move forward with normalizing ties, including exchanging diplomats and expanding trade.

The UAE opened its embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, in July 2021, a week after the Israeli government opened an embassy in the Emirati capital.

“This is just the beginning. Both countries are innovative nations and we will harness these new approaches for the prosperity of the countries,” UAE Ambassador Mohammad Mahmoud Al Khajah said at the time.

Palestinian militants transport a reportedly captured Israeli woman by motorcycle, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 7, 2023. (-/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog made a historic visit to Abu Dhabi the next January to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, declaring that the UAE was helping Israel send “a message to the entire region that there is an alternative of peace and living together, and that the sons and daughters of Abraham can reside and dwell together in peaceful coexistence for the benefit of humanity.”

In May 2022, Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi signed a free trade agreement, Israel’s first such agreement with an Arab country.

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Both civil and military cooperation has expanded significantly since the signing of the Abraham Accords. In February, the two countries announced they had collaborated on the development of an unmanned naval vessel for surveillance use, beneficial to protect both nations from the rogue Islamist regime in Iran, the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism.

Iran’s government was among the most vocal in celebrating Saturday’s killing spree. Chants of “death to Israel!” and “death to America!” erupted in Tehran, where the regime organized a massive block party and set off fireworks. “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed in a post on Twitter – which remains visible on the site despite violating its terms of use on “public interest” grounds – that “the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region.”

A Hamas spokesman confirmed to the BBC on Saturday night that Iran offered direct support for the killings this weekend.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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