Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Bahrain recommits to two-state solution despite U.S. push for Israel deal

The United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan speaks during the opening session of a two-day forum entitled Israeli officials plan symbolic Middle East trip with high-level escort: the White House
Bennie Garza | 29 August, 2020, 16:13

The president of the United Arab Emirates issued on Saturday a decree abolishing a law boycotting Israel and allowing trade and financial agreements between the two nations, two days before a delegation from Jerusalem was due to arrive in Abu Dhabi in the wake of a normalization agreement.

The decree formally eliminates a 1972 law on the UAE's books since just after the country's formation.

The development sparked controversy in the Arab world, with some nations like Turkey accusing Abu Dhabi of betraying the Palestinian cause for egoistic gains.

The direct flight between Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport and the UAE's political capital of Abu Dhabi is expected to carry an Israeli delegation and accompanying officials from the United States, which brokered the August 13 accord.

The normalization agreement said Israel would put on hold the proposed annexation of occupied Palestinian territories, but Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu de facto disavowed the provision, saying his government's plans did not change.

El Al Airlines will on Monday fly Israel's first flight to the United Arab Emirates by a commercial carrier, a timetable on the Israel Airports Authority's website showed, as the countries forge ahead with a deal to normalize ties.

The American delegation will be led by White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, who is set to leave his position at the end of the month. Also taking part would be the head of the Civil Aviation Authority and the directors of the PMO, the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry. He said the discussions will focus on flights and tourism, trade, business, energy, security, and health, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a historic agreement", Netanyahu said. "It will help bring general economic growth, especially during the coronavirus era".

If concluded, it will make the UAE the third Arab country to have a full peace deal with Israel after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

The Israel-UAE deal awaits negotiations on details such as opening embassies, trade and travel links before it is officially signed.

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