By Alexander Cornwell
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The United States needs to push for a quick end to the Israel-Hamas war and a new process to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian issue or Washington will be seen as ineffective, the diplomatic adviser to the United Arab Emirates president said on Saturday.
Anwar Gargash also said that Israel's response to the Palestinian militant group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack has been "disproportionate", while the two decade policy of containment of the Palestinian issue by Israel had failed.
Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip has angered Arab states who are concerned about sharply rising civilian casualties and Israel's blockade of the coastal Palestinian enclave that has limited humanitarian aid access.
"US involvement will be seen by when we end this war, the quicker the better, and whether we can have another ..., sort of process at problem solving, at issue solving," Gargash said at a policy conference in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.
"If this crisis continues, and especially the humanitarian side, and if this crisis, brings us back full circle, to the old containment policy of pre-Seventh of October, I think the American role here... is not going to be seen as effective," he added.
A Gulf Arab power, the UAE is one of the United States' closest partners in the Middle East and hosts U.S. forces, has pursued a more independent and assertive foreign policy over the past decade.
It was the most prominent Arab state to sign the 2020 Abraham Accords, a pact brokered by Washington to establish diplomatic ties with Israel that broke with decades of pan-Arab policy that called for a Palestinian state before normalisation.
Gargash, one of the UAE's most prominent foreign policy thinkers, also called for a return to an approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue that addresses refugees, borders and East Jerusalem.
The Israel-Hamas war began when militants from the group broke through the border on Oct. 7 and went on a rampage attacking Israeli communities.
Israel says they killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 200 hostages. Israel's ensuing bombardment of the small densely populated Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million people has killed at least 9,488 people, including 3,900 children, Gaza health authorities say.
The UAE, concerned that the war could erupt into a wider regional conflict, has been pushing for a humanitarian ceasefire, which Gargash said he hoped would be more realistic in achieving than a full ceasefire - rejected by Israel and its allies - and not be vetoed by "any of the participants".
Gargash said anything that does not expand the conflict was a positive development, referencing Friday's speech by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah.
(This story has been refiled to add a dropped word in paragraph 6)
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Alexandra Hudson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)