The Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yair Lapid, opened this Tuesday in United Arab Emirates the first embassy of his country in the Gulf, within an unprecedented visit after the normalization of bilateral relations in September 2020. “Cutting the ribbon for the inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi with the Emirati Minister of Culture, Nura Al Kaabi”, the minister tweeted with a photo of him and the local official in the Emirates capital. Lapid’s visit is the first by an Israeli minister to the Emirates and was described by him as “historic.”
“What we do here today is not the end of the journey, it is the beginning,” added Lapid, who also published a photo of himself placing a ‘mezuzah’, a small case with a parchment with verses from the Torah, which is placed in the doorframe of houses and is touched by hand before entering a residence. “We must connect and prosper our economies,” he said, calling on all Arab countries in the region to “recognize” Israel.
During his visit, Lapid planned to meet with his counterpart, Abdullah ben Zayed Al-Nahyan, and with economic managers from the Emirates. Proud to represent the State of Israel on its first official visit to the United Arab Emirates. Thank you for the warm welcome, ”Lapid tweeted in Hebrew and Arabic upon arrival. However, the minister was not received on the airport runway by any senior official and he deserved little press coverage, a discretion that contrasts with the large announcements and the celebratory tone that followed the normalization of relations, reports Afp.
Tension with the Palestinians
Lapid’s visit coincides with an increase in tension in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Arab countries, including the Emirates and Bahrain, criticized the crackdown on Palestinian demonstrations by Israeli forces in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.
In addition, the Israeli bombings on Gaza, much criticized by the Gulf population in the streets and on social media, also put Israel’s new business allies in a tight spot.
In addition to Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco Y Sudan They also signed agreements to normalize relations with Israel, under the impetus of the previous US administration of Donald Trump.
Bahrain’s Ambassador to Israel
This Tuesday, Bahrain appointed an ambassador to represent his country in the Hebrew State.
The Palestinians denounced these approaches and called them “treason.” Until then, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an indispensable precondition for any normalization of relations with Israel.
In recent months, Israel and the Emirates have multiplied cooperation agreements in various fields, especially in the commercial sector.
In March, the Emirates announced the creation of a investment fund of 10 billion dollars (8.3 billion euros) for strategic sectors in Israel.
«See the blue and the white [los colores de la bandera israelí] waiting for the Foreign Minister to land at the Abu Dhabi airport is exciting, “tweeted the Israeli ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in the morning. Eitan Na’eh.
At the end of August, the first direct commercial flight between the Emirates and Israel landed in Abu Dhabi from the David Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, with an official US-Israeli delegation on board.
What was to be the first official visit to the Emirates by an Israeli prime minister in March, then Benjamin netanyahu, was canceled due to a “discrepancy” with Jordan over the overflight of its airspace, the Israeli side reported then.
Lapid is the architect of the coalition that ended the Netanyahu government in extremis in June. The current Foreign Minister will become Prime Minister later, alternating with Naftali Bennett, who is head of government at the moment.