The head of the Israeli government is due to meet on Monday with the strongman of the Emirates, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, of the
strengthening ties between the two countries, Naftali Bennett’s office announced earlier.
The two leaders are also to discuss the
economic and regional issues that contribute to wealth, prosperity and strengthening stability between Israel and the Emirates.
The Israeli official was greeted by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, according to photos and a video posted on Twitter by Ofir Gendelman, a spokesperson for Naftali Bennett.
” I am very moved to be here on the occasion of the first official visit of an Israeli leader. We hope to strengthen relations between the two countries. “
When he left Israel, the prime minister mentioned a visit
historical and an
first, according to his office.
The visit is intended to deepen cooperation in all areas.
Relations are excellent, we must cultivate them, strengthen them and build peace between peoples, he had again said in a video broadcast by his office.
On the Emirates side, no official announcement was made and the media, who did not cover this visit, were not invited to the airport tarmac for the arrival of the Israeli prime minister.
Low profile in the Emirates
After a honeymoon in broad daylight, ties to Israel have become more discreet in the Emirates, with a population still hostile to the Hebrew state and in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Visit comes as negotiations to save Iran nuclear deal
concluded in 2015 resumed in Vienna between Tehran and the great powers.
These talks have been decried by Israel, which called on Washington to end them as well as to take
concrete measures against Iran.
The agreement, which offered Tehran the lifting of part of the sanctions stifling its economy in exchange for a drastic reduction in its nuclear program, placed under strict control of theUN, has been dying since the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the pact in 2018 under Donald Trump.
Washington had thus reinstated sanctions, prompting Tehran in response to detach itself from most of its commitments.
Current US President Joe Biden says he wants to return to the agreement on condition that Tehran also renews its commitments, but the negotiations stumble in particular on the sanctions that Washington is ready to lift and the guarantees that Iran is demanding.
Countries fearful of Iran’s nuclear activities
Israel has developed its relations with certain Arab Gulf countries which also fear Iran’s nuclear activities and its interventions in various regional theaters. The Islamic Republic nevertheless remains an important economic partner of the Emirates.
At the beginning of December, the Emirati national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, visited Tehran.
It was the first trip by a senior Emirati official since the rupture in 2016 of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, leader of the Arab monarchies in the Gulf.
On September 15, 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Gulf Arab countries to publicly normalize their relations with Israel, under the leadership of Donald Trump.
These “Abrahamic accords” had also resulted in similar pacts with Morocco and Sudan. They were signed by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and approved by the current ruling coalition, then in opposition.
treason for the Palestinians
They were denounced by the Palestinians as a
treason, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict having long remained a condition for any normalization of the relations of the Arab countries with the Hebrew State.
At the end of June, the head of Israeli diplomacy Yair Lapid inaugurated in Abu Dhabi the first Israeli embassy in the Gulf, as well as a consulate in Dubai, during an unprecedented official visit, the Emirati officials having done the same to Tel Aviv.
The Emirates, embarked on decades of diversifying their economy, relying less and less on oil, have since normalized a series of agreements with Israel ranging from tourism to aviation to financial services.