First modification: 06/29/2021 – 15:43
Yair Lapid’s arrival in the United Arab Emirates constitutes a milestone in Israel’s relations with the Arab countries. The recently appointed head of Israeli diplomacy inaugurated on June 29 the first Israeli embassy in a Persian Gulf country, located in Abu Dhabi. A regional approach described as “treason” by the Palestinian community.
An agreement that opens borders. Yair Lapid, Israel’s Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs, landed in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to begin a “historic” visit, since both countries reestablished diplomatic relations in August 2020.
As soon as he arrived, Lapid inaugurated the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and is preparing to open a consulate for his country in the iconic city of Dubai. He will also meet with senior representatives of the Gulf State to materialize an economic cooperation agreement.
“Thirty years of experience as a diplomat, but seeing blue and white (the colors of the Israeli flag) at Abu Dhabi airport, waiting for the foreign minister to land, is exciting,” Eitan Na ‘tweeted this morning. uh, Israeli ambassador to the UAE.
Lapid himself described the visit as “historic” before taking off. Last year Israel signed the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, in order to normalize relations. A pact stipulated under the mediation of the United States with Donald Trump as promoter, who was then seeking a joint Middle East strategy to deal with Iran.
The accords met with a litmus test in May following clashes between Israel and Hamas, which lasted 11 days and in which at least 256 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. Despite the UAE’s criticism of the expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, as well as the police crackdown around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Gulf country remained on the sidelines during the ensuing days of crossfire and heavy bombardment in Gaza.
At the end of the attacks in Gaza, Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement to lift mutual sanctions and open a path to private investment; a first step towards opening up economically. These commercial and cooperation agreements amount to 354 million dollars in recent months and have meant the arrival of some 200,000 Israeli tourists to the UAE.
During his official visit, Lapid will visit the site of Expo Dubai, a flagship world fair for trade between the UAE and the world, which now includes a pavilion of its new economic ally: Israel. This month, the UAE opened its embassy in Tel Aviv, located for now on the eponymous stock exchange.
Lapid: “We are here to stay”
“Israel wants peace with its neighbors, with all its neighbors. We are not going anywhere. The Middle East is our home,” Lapid declared Tuesday during the opening ceremony of the temporary embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Another aspect of Lapid’s visit to the United Arab Emirates is security; So it will address meetings to analyze the security of the region, at a time when the new Joe Biden administration negotiates with Iran to revive the 2015 Nuclear Agreement, a pact fractured by the past administration of Donald Trump. Israel and the United Arab Emirates opposed this agreement from the beginning and supported the exit of the United States.
These agreements to normalize relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan, have been frowned upon by the Palestinian community to the point of calling them “treason.” Its leaders assure that the Arab countries should not maintain relations, until a Palestinian state is formalized with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Lapid, a former television host and promoter of the new political coalition that governs Israel, has criticized the management of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to him, the old administration made a “terrible” gamble by aligning itself with the Republican interests of the White House.
Last Sunday, Lapid held a meeting in Rome with his American counterpart Antony Blinken and when asked whether Israel would support the reactivation of the Iran nuclear agreement, he assured that his country maintains its “reserves”, but they believe that “the way to discuss it’s through direct, professional conversations, not press conferences. “
With Reuters and AP