Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday night with United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to a statement issued by Netanyahu’s office on Monday. It was the first and so far only phone call held between Netanyahu and an Arab leader since the attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7.
The statement said the two leaders discussed regional developments following Hamas' attack and agreed to stay in contact. Netanyahu emphasized in the conversation that Israel is determined to destroy the military and political capabilities of Hamas while making every effort to prevent harm to the "uninvolved" (noncombatants).
The conversation between Netanyahu and Nahyan is significant against the backdrop of the strong ties established between the two countries since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020. The Emirates was the first to sign the historic normalization agreement, followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. Israel also has peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt. More than 150,000 Israelis visited the UAE in 2022. Relations have also expanded in high tech and innovation, smart agriculture, health treatments, cybersecurity and many other fields.
The Emirati Foreign Ministry issued on Oct. 8 a reaction to the attack by Hamas: “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 statement added that the UAE was “appalled by reports that Israeli civilians have been abducted as hostages from their homes.”