Photo Credit: Moshe Shai / Flash 90
The Tamar natural gas rig 24 km off the coast of Israel (archive).

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday vetoed the United Arab Emirates’ inclusion in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, as payback for the UAE’s peace agreement with Israel that was not conditioned on the two-state solution.

The EastMed Gas Forum (EMGF) is an international organization formed by Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. It was established on January 16, 2020, with headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. On Tuesday, France’s membership was approved while the UAE’s request to be recognized as an observer was vetoed by the PA and rejected. The US was awarded an observer status.


All EMGF resolutions must be unanimous, and so the PA’s nay vote was enough to deny the UAE’s request.

Sources involved in the Forum’s vote told Kan 11 News that the European ministers were surprised by the PA representative’s opposition and asked if he was willing to abstain instead, but he made it clear that he wanted his veto to stay and so the UAE’s request for an observer’s status was denied.

The Palestinian Authority and the United Arab Emirates have been at odds for many years, ever since Muhammad Dahlan, once PA Charmin Mahmoud Abbas’ heir apparent, took residence there. Also, the PA saw the agreement between the UAE and Israel as a betrayal and refused to receive assistance from the Emirates in the fight against the coronavirus. Last August, the same agreement with Israel blew up reconciliation talks between PA Chairman Abbas and Emirates ruler Mohammed bin Zayed.

On August 30, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the Israel-UAE diplomatic achievement “will pave the way for other countries to normalize their ties with Israel,” adding: “I think for too long the Palestinians have had a veto on peace. Not only between Israel and the Palestinians but between Israel and the Arab world.”

Turns out they do have a veto on something…

Interestingly, the Greek-language Forbes magazine website ran the official statement of the EMGF which ignored the veto altogether, stating instead: “Further, the meeting discussed the formal requests submitted by countries wishing to join the Forum, where France became a new full member, while the Forum agreed to welcome the United States of America as an observer country.”

No fuss, no muss…


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