Photo Credit: Presidential Executive Office of Russia / Wikimedia
United Arab Emirates President and Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, October 11, 2022

Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a strong denial Sunday night over a report that the United Arab Emirates had announced its intention to stop the purchase of defense systems from Israel. The UAE was the first Gulf state to sign the historic Abraham Accords with Israel in 2020.


According to the unconfirmed report by Israel’s Channel 12 News, the UAE decided to suspend “certain military purchases” from Israel due to “recent Netanyahu government actions and statements,” the news outlet said.

“Until we make sure that Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has a government that he controls, we will not be able to carry out joint projects,” UAE President and Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan allegedly said in his statement.

Within minutes of the report, however, the Prime Minister’s Office in Israel had already issued a firm denial.

“The report is baseless. Israel and the United Arab Emirates are holding productive diplomatic contacts in all areas, including today,” the PMO said.

“Contrary to this evening’s report, relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates are strong and stable,” Israel’s foreign ministry insisted in a follow up statement.

“Evidence of this is, among other things, the agreement reached in recent days on the text of an agreement on customs, which will lead to the start of a free trade agreement between the two countries, and expand the economic, commercial and political relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” the foreign ministry added.

The move allegedly came in response to a recent visit by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir to the Temple Mount, and a controversial statement about the Palestinian Authority town of Huwara by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who later walked back the remark.

Ben Gvir, who has been a regular visitor to the Temple Mount for years, simply continued his regular routine after taking office earlier this year. But as a government minister, Ben Gvir’s visits to the Temple Mount have attracted far more attention – and opposition.

Following a deadly terror attack in which two Israeli brothers were murdered in cold blood as they stood in traffic in Huwara – and a subsequent riot in the town by Israeli protesters who torched multiple homes and businesses in retaliation – Smotrich retweeted a remark by a local official saying the town should be wiped out.

He later qualified the remark, emphasizing that his statement, issued while in an emotional state, was not intended to be taken literally. Nevertheless, his remark was roundly condemned by the United States, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.