Dubai: Dr Anwar Gargash, the minister of state for foreign affairs, has called on the Qatari news network Al Jazeera to apologise for allegedly publishing fabricated news about the UAE’s involvement in Israel’s war on Gaza.
The Arabic language version of Al Jazeera and other Qatari publications such as the English-language daily The Peninsula recently ran news reports alleging that Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister, met the Israeli regime’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman in Paris recently and offered to pay for its war on Gaza in an effort to eliminate the territory’s Hamas rulers.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum was later cited by Palestinian media as saying on his facebook page that he regretted that “some news outlets” had published such rumours “about the brotherly UAE”.
Most of the Qatari reports cited the Al Sharq newspaper and the Arabi21 site, both of which in turn cited Israel’s Channel 2 as the primary source of the information. Both Al Jazeera and The Peninsula cited the secondary sources.
Israeli media however did not carry such a story, leading Gargash to refer to it as a fabrication, and accusing Al Jazeera of falling for “the lies of twitter thugs”.
“With all the facts around the fabrication about a meeting with Lieberman, ‘professionalism’ requires a professional response. Is Al Jazeera and those who are in charge of it capable of making a professional apology?”. The minister later added that the fabricated reports could lead to the targeting of Emirati aid workers operating in Gaza.
Shaikh Abdullah tweeted that he “considered whether to respond or not, and decided not to”.
Gargash added: “The UAE’s commitment to the Palestinian cause is historic and we did not follow the path of normalisation [with the Israeli regime] as others did...”
The only Gulf states to have established relations with the Israelis were Oman and Qatar. Both states recognised Israel in the mid-1990s. Oman cut off ties after the second Intifada in 2001 and Qatar severed ties after the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008-09.