The UAE's agreement to establish ties with Israel deals a "death blow" to the annexation of Palestinian lands, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said of Thursday’s announcement.
Israel agreeing to halt annexation is a “very big breakthrough,” and “the impending danger to the two-state solution has been neutralised”, Dr Gargash told Sky News Arabia.
He said deep political disagreements remain with Israel and the announcement between the US, UAE and Israel “wasn’t perfect".
“Is it perfect? Nothing is perfect in a very difficult region,” Dr Gargash said. “But I think we used our political chips right.
He said the UAE had been contacted by several European countries in recent months asking what they could do to stop the annexation of much of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.
They said it was a “worry for countries worldwide” that if Israel went ahead with the threats it would make a two-state solution impossible.
After the March 2 election in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz agreed to a power-sharing deal to alternate as prime minister.
As part of the deal, the two agreed to extend Israeli law to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territories that are considered to be illegal under international law.
But the July 1 start date for annexation passed with no announcement, as the UAE and other countries intensified diplomatic efforts to stop the move.
Arab-Israel peace process
PLO chairman Yasser Arafat holds the second phase of the Oslo peace accords after the initialling of the document, September 24, 1995, as Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres looks on. Israel and the PLO will officially sign the agreement in Washington later this week. REUTERS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (R) during their meeting at Erez Crossing point, northen Gaza Strip, December 24, 1996. Arafat and Netanyahu met here in search of an agreement to end Israeli occupation of Hebron and revive the peace process. In the background at left is U.S. mediator Dennis Ross. REUTERS
Egyptian President Anouar el-Sadate (L) meets Israeli Prime minister Menahem Begin in Tel Aviv on November 23, 1977. AFP
Photo taken on 20 November 1977 of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (R) during a joint press conference he gave with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during his historic visit to Israel. Anwar al-Sadat's visit to Israel led fifteen months later to the signing of the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country. AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (2nd R) and Jordan's King Hussein (2nd L) are directed where to sign by unidentified aides as US President Bill Clinton (C) looks on during ceremonies at the White House in Washington, on July 25, 1994. AFP
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both gesture for the other to leave a meeting December 24 1996, in the Israeli Civil Administration headquarters located along the Israeli - Gaza Strip border area. The two leaders met for for over three hours in a bid to clinch the agreement on the long-delayed Israeli troop redeployment in Hebron. Although no agreement was reached U.S. envoy Dennis-Ross said that "real progress" was made towards the long-elusive accord. REUTERS
US President Bill Clinton (c) applauds as Jordan's King Hussein Ibn Talal (r) and Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin shake hands during the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty signing ceremony at the Araba Israeli-Jordanian border 26 October 1994. AFP
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (R) greets Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres in Doha, 30 January 2007. AFP
US President Bill Clinton (C), Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (2nd-L), PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (2nd-R), King Hussein I of Jordan (L)and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (R) arrive for the signing ceremony of a Palestinian autonomy accord in the West Bank, at the white House in Washington, DC, 28 September 1995. AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (from L to R) prepare to start their meeting at an Israeli military base at the Erez crossing point, the main point of passage from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The three met for the third time in two weeks in an intensive US push to seal a new interim Mideast peace accord. AFP
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (R) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after United States' special envoy Dennis Ross (C) spoke, early January 15 after the two leaders met and agreed on the term for the long overdue Israeli troop redeployment in Hebron. The talks lasted less than two hours and concluded months of negotiations which will lead to the end of the Israeli military occupation in about 80 percent of Hebron. REUTERS
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (R) jokingly pushes Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (C) into the Laurel cabin on the grounds of Camp David as U.S. President Bill Clinton watches during peace talks, July 11 2000. Arafat and Barak were insisting that the other proceed through the door first. Camp David is the venue where Egypt and Israel made peace in September 1978, and the Laurel cabin was the site of many of the meetings. REUTERS
Mahmoud Abbas (L), the Palestinian negotiator better known as Abu Mazen, and Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon turn to the cameras and smile as they shake hands at the start of their meeting in Sharon's office November 18. The two met to review the work of all the Israeli-Palestinian peace committees and to set a date for the resumption of final status talks. REUTERS
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) greets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting in Jerusalem September 16, 2008. REUTERS
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (R) shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (L), as U.S. President Bill Clinton stands between them, after the signing of the Israeli-PLO peace accord, at the White House in Washington September 13, 1993. REUTERS
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (C) sits next to at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (R) during a working meeting in the Houghton House at the Wye River Plantation Conference Center in Maryland 16 October, 1998. AFP
U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin join hands in celebration of the signing of the Treaty of Peace Between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 26, 1979. REUTERS
U.S. President George W. Bush discusses the Middle East peace process with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel (L) and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (R) in Aqaba, Jordan, June 4, 2003. REUTERS
U.S. President Barack Obama watches Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) shake hands during a trilateral meeting in New York September 22, 2009. REUTERS
United States' special envoy Dennis Ross looks on as Saeb Erekat (L), the chief Palestinian negotiator, and Dan Shomron, the chief Israeli negotiator, initial the documents that bring to a conclusion the long-delayed and overdue Israeli troop redeployment in the West Bank city of Hebron. Palestinian President Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu shook hands on the deal, and now both sides will take the agreement to their respective cabinets for approval. The troop redeployment will take place within ten days. REUTERS
With the potential impact annexation would have, Dr Gargash said the UAE wanted to “try and put one on one together” and “try and get something tangible".
“We came out and argued that in every difficult political file in the region, when you do have bridges and contacts you become more important and influential in trying to effect results and trying to help,” he said.
“The UAE has been always of the opinion that preserving communications and talks were necessary.”
While he said restarting peace talks was a decision for the Israelis and Palestinians, “it is our duty to support the Palestinian brothers in this direction".
“The region cannot move forward without leadership initiatives,” Dr Gargash said.
“Fundamentally, our initiative is not to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict – this is left to the Palestinian and Israelis.
"Rather, it is to contribute to defusing a time bomb that was threatening the two-state solution."
The UAE's ambassador to the US, Minister of State Yousef Al Otaiba, also praised the outcome of the deal.
"Today's announcement is a win for diplomacy and for the region," Mr Al Otaiba said.
"It is a significant advance in Arab-Israeli relations that lowers tensions and creates new energy for positive change."